English is of fundamental importance for all students. The focus on reading and writing supports subjects across the curriculum and enables students to develop analytical skills which are vital throughout life. Alongside this, we aim for students to learn how to think flexibly and to develop a love of literature and language that they can take with them beyond the classroom. Our study of literature embraces the wider context in which a text is both written and received by its audience. The primary areas of study are reading, writing, speaking and listening, which are continuously assessed both formally and informally.
Prep School Curriculum
We believe in the general principles of the National Literacy Strategy and use and adapt many of its resources to aid our teaching. Wherever possible we follow the curriculum as prescribed to ensure continuity and progression throughout the Lower Prep. It has been appropriate, in some cases, to provide extra tuition with regard to the 11+ entrance exams and this is undertaken within class and during lunchtime activities.
Senior School Curriculum
Students in the senior school are exposed to a wide range of texts: media and non-fiction, drama, poetry, and novels dedicated to each year group. Some books studied at Key Stage 3 are 'Private Peaceful' by Michael Morpurgo, ‘Across The Barricades’ by Joan Lingard and ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding.
Students study a range of demanding tasks for GCSE English Language and English Literature, and therefore they will need to maintain focus throughout the two years. They will be required to keep organised and detailed notes, especially in preparation for the final examinations. Students are currently entered for the OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations) GCSE courses. From September 2010, the Examination Board we have chosen is AQA (The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance). Students will study two GCSE specifications: English Language A and English Literature.
The AS and A2 courses encourage students to read widely, to explore texts for their own value and to reflect on the ways in which they reach interpretations. Students become more critical readers and gain an appreciation of the moral, philosophical, historical and cultural influences of literary texts.
A level students follow AQA English Literature Specification A. At AS the central focus is The Struggle for Identity in Modern Literature, and at A2 the main theme is Love Through the Ages.