The English department is committed to making the subject a first love for all pupils. They are led through story and verse, through film and play, and through a wide range of non-literary texts so they can develop a keen understanding of the way good writers use the language. By encouraging pupils to write and talk and listen and by teaching them how to develop these skills, we propose every pupil acquires a creative control of the language.
All pupils choose and report on books regularly from an annual fiction list. In addition, the department organizes theatre trips and invites in speakers. The English Department runs the Debating and Literary Societies to provide students with opportunities to extend their communication skills and love of literature beyond the curriculum.
The library at Reed's School is extensively used as a resource in English.
English is a core subject for all pupils in the First, Second and Third Forms (Years 7, 8 and 9) where the objective is to develop both a love for, and a control of, language. To achieve this the national curriculum is broadly followed, targeting the core skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Pupils read engaging and challenging novels, plays and poetry then discuss the ideas that these texts explore, developing the skills and language necessary to write formal literary responses. These texts are used as a springboard for imaginative writing, particularly of poetry. Progress is evaluated throughout the year and achievements are celebrated in the opportunities given for performance and in the publishing of their work.
In the Fourth and Fifth Forms (Years 10 and 11) English Language and Literature are core subjects and all pupils follow IGCSE courses studying a range of texts. English Language is assessed by 2 examination papers covering non-fiction texts and transactional writing, as well as fiction texts and creative writing; this is assessed in the Autumn Series (November of Year 11). English Literature is assessed by 2 examination papers covering poetry and prose, as well as modern drama and Shakespeare; this is assessed in the Summer Series (May/June of Year 11).
At A Level pupils study a range of canonical and modern literature texts including prose, poetry and drama. They learn to compare and analyse form, structure and language and develop high level critical skills. Pupils are required to read and think independently and develop a personal engagement with texts and ideas. The course is assessed purely through essay writing, so much time is spent on developing the skills of clear, precise and lucid written communication.
English Literature A Level suits pupils who enjoy reading independently and are willing to read a range of challenging texts. They engage in discussion, consider other people’s views when forming judgments and develop their writing skills. English hones critical and analytical skills and engages pupils in an extraordinary wide range of ideas about the nature of literature and of the human condition. English is one of the most popular courses studied at university and graduates who successfully complete the degree are well suited to a range of professions.