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The English Department is housed on top floor of the Morey building and the rooms command idyllic views of the school grounds and of rural Berkshire. The setting offers a civilised atmosphere which is conducive to the discussion and open enquiry which is characteristic of our subject. Our classrooms are well resources with interactive whiteboards, full audio and visualizers to aid creative teaching. We use a variety of approaches and texts in our teaching and while we keep high academic expectations, we are also sensitive to the individual needs of our pupils.

Our Key Stage Three curriculum is exciting and diverse, offering opportunities to explore many different types of writing and to develop pupils’ individual creative skills. These opportunities are underpinned by a rigorous emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar. As the boys move through St. Philip House and into the Third Form pupils will learn the importance of expressing their ideas with clarity and precision, whilst taking pride in the level of detail that they include in their written work. Reading for pleasure is encouraged and promoted at all levels and we have well-stocked classroom libraries, as well as our main School Library. The boys take part in the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme in April every year, as well as inviting a visiting author in on World Book Day.

In the Fourth and Fifth Form we follow the Edexcel IGCSE (9-1) specification for English Language and English Literature. For both qualifications 60% of the course is externally examined and 40% is internally assessed through written coursework. Throughout the GCSE years we continue to develop the reading and writing skills learnt at KS3 as well as to continue to inculcate a love of reading and an interest in English language and literature in all its forms.

At A level Edexcel English Literature is offered, and with its coursework components, gives even greater scope for an independent choice and study of texts. Through wide and varied reading from Chaucer to a post-2000 poetry selection, pupils are able to experience an exciting range of literature, developing their skills in literary analysis to a deeper level, as well engaging with the social, political and historical contexts of the texts.

We are lucky that the members of the department all have their own areas of subject expertise, while remaining experienced and grounded classroom practitioners. Our teachers take an active part in the extra-curricular life of the school, contributing to creative writing, the school magazine, debating, leading many trips and visits outside of school as well as welcoming authors and speakers. This year the Department was proud to sponsor the Henley Literary Festival and to lead the delivery of the creative writing workshops.

Camilla Sharrock

Head of English