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English

The aim of the English department is to pass on to the pupils the teachers’ knowledge, enthusiasm and skills, so the students become perceptive readers, confident and skilful speakers and talented writers.

The department is led by Dr Shaw whose colleagues, a further seven, combine wide experience, youthful spirit and impressive professional qualifications in a friendly, ambitious team.

We are fortunate in our spacious well stocked bookstore as we are in liaison with the library, where young adult fiction, contemporary drama and novels, and well-chosen literary criticism offer all boys excellent opportunities for success and self discovery. Our proximity to Stratford and passion for the theatre ensures that a wide variety of trips are always on offer. We are able too to take advantage of the workshops offered by the RSC and the Almeida Theatre to offer more active approaches to literary study.

In Years 7 to 9, the department encourages a great range of reading, writing, and speaking, whilst introducing pupils to the inexhaustible richness of our literary heritage in English. The work prepares pupils for the Cambridge IGCSEs in English and Literature, undertaken in what is usually a 2 year course with final Summer examinations in Years 10 and 11.

Thereafter between 20 and 30 pupils proceed to OCR A Level study at sixth form, when students enjoy the demanding freedoms and independence of interesting course work. For a few students, Oxbridge will beckon, and we always find time for the necessary teaching advice.

In English, boys’ talents find many outlets. The Literary Society has welcomed many prestigious speakers: Professor Hermione Lee, Martin Bell, Professor Sutherland, Professor Stallworthy and Professor Jeremy Treglown have all spoken at the school in recent years. We have also invited writers such as Charlie Higson, Marcus Sedgwick and Alex Scarrow to speak to the younger boys. Our long history of success in Debating and Public Speaking; popular Book Clubs; creative writing clubs and competitions; our charitable publication Generation Rising; all of these and more provide inspiration and satisfaction to both pupils and teachers making English one of the most lively and successful departments in the School.

Acting Head of Department - Mrs G Taylor