We are passionately committed to providing a stimulating learning experience that stretches and challenges our students from Year 7 until they leave us in Year 13, many with a top grade A level in English Literature to their name.
Our students study Shakespeare, literary classics and contemporary novels, drama and poetry, inspiring them with a love of reading for pleasure as well as the means to explore their own identity, the individual in society, and life itself. Girls learn to read and write critically as well as creatively, becoming independent thinkers and fearless debaters with a life-long appreciation of the power and beauty of our language.
Do I dare to disturb the universe?
At Key Stage 3 a variety of themes are explored though texts such as coming of age, the truths and deceptions of children and adults, what it feels like to be in a true adventure, and the tragedy of the human condition. We encourage broad reading at every level, combined with a tight focus on literacy and grammar skills. Our Year 7, 8 and 9 students always carry their private reading with them and that internal universe is then brought out in our lessons, adding to and developing the ideas of the set texts that we read together. Our librarian leads library periods which inspire Year 7&8 students to “read on”, graduating from great junior page turners to some of the best ‘grown- up’ fiction around.
Choosing Cambridge IGCSE has been phenomenally successful with 98% of our students achieving A*/A in English Literature and 93% A*/A in English language in 2016. The rigour inherent in the course, particularly the challenging set texts, prepares and inspires large numbers of girls to take the subject at A level.
Choosing the linear, two year A level course enables students to maximise their potential in the subject, and, during a lower sixth year without a public exam, to read, read, read! They discover what they enjoy the most, find illuminating connections between texts and contexts and become confident and articulate critical essayists.
For Years 7 – 9, we run a creative writing club called ‘Scribblers’ and a residential trip to the Arvon Creative writing course in Shropshire.
For the older year groups, the English Department runs many extra-curricular extension activities such as It’s Critical, a discussion forum devoted to off-syllabus writers and genres. The Mind Matters lecture series features regular contributions on specialist subjects from members of the Department and staff also help run Debating for all ages and abilities. There is a huge range of speaking and writing competitions and senior girls are building a much- valued association with Wimbledon Bookfest.