“Pupils develop important skills of close analysis, reasoned judgement and detailed and confident argument whilst also increasing their sensitivity to how language is used to shape meaning.”

Head of English


The English department holds that studying both literature and language is nothing short of studying life. The department teaches the importance of clear and accurate writing, instilling in pupils the power of literature to help people understand themselves and the world around them.

All pupils are prepared for two separate qualifications in English – the IGCSE in English Language and the IGCSE in English Literature. Pupils study a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts in different genres and from different time periods (including works by Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens) and learn important skills of close analysis, reasoned argument and careful writing. Written coursework components in both subjects give pupils the opportunity to explore their own particular interests and enthusiasms, and are good preparation for the kind of independent work pupils will encounter in the Sixth Form.

At A level, pupils are introduced to a wide range of novels, plays and poems from the medieval period to the present day. They are asked to think about their own responses to these texts as well as how the texts have been read by other people. They also have the opportunity to explore their own literary interests and enthusiasms in an extended coursework essay which they write in the first term of the Upper Sixth. This essay involves the kind of independent reading and research that is typical of, and certainly useful preparation for, university study.



Our Academic Scholarship programme seeks to inspire pupils who demonstrate either high general ability or exceptional ability in a particular academic area across either STEM or the Liberal Arts.


What our pupils think

To me, being a Scholar is obviously about working hard and upholding a certain academic standard, but more importantly, it’s about a curiosity to learn. In the classroom, teachers always find time to answer more advanced, or simply off-topic, questions, which stretches our knowledge immeasurably.

Academic Scholar


Educational Support is available to pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties, and for pupils with English as an Additional Language throughout their years at Oundle. The department offers one-to-one and small small group help to develop skills such as essay planning, revision skills, exam technique, mind-mapping and spelling. The department also run a Study Skills Surgery alongside Academic Surgeries.



The Educational Support department has six specialist members of staff with expertise in working with pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), including dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and organisational problems, or for whom English is not their first language.


In 1867 Oundle purchased Mr Swann’s commercial and posting house, the Dolphin Inn, as a residential boarding House. It was renamed Dryden House after the poet John Dryden, whose letters show he was often in Oundle on his way to and from Cotterstock. In 1938 Dryden House moved into a new purpose built boarding house on Home Close, and this building became known as Old Dryden.

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