The key aim of the English Department is to awaken and sustain a lively interest in the subject and to establish firm foundations and then develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Learning to communicate effectively
Pupils get the opportunity to talk for a range of purposes, from reading stories and poems aloud to explaining and sharing ideas and opinions. The aim is to give pupils the skills to express themselves confidently and clearly, whilst also being able to listen carefully and respectfully, seeking clarification if necessary, and dealing politely with opposing viewpoints.
Developing reading and comprehension skills through a variety of methods
Pupils are encouraged to develop as enthusiastic, independent and effective readers. A reading scheme and personal recommendations from teachers and our school librarian ensure that pupils are given appropriate reading material. They are introduced to a wide range of literature through independent and shared reading, and given opportunities to read extensively for their own interest and pleasure as well as for information. In the Junior Department, the range of literature to which pupils are exposed embraces fiction by significant children’s authors, including some classic fiction, quality classic and modern poetry, myths, legends and traditional stories, and texts drawn from a variety of cultures and traditions. In the later years, this expands to a variety of plays (including Shakespeare), novels, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction texts. Pupils learn various reading strategies such as skimming and scanning, and are taught to evaluate and analyse texts.
Writing for a variety of reasons
Pupils are taught to develop, organise and communicate their ideas in writing for a variety of purposes and audiences, including: diaries, letters, reports, essays, scripts, stories, reviews and articles. Emphasis is placed on developing pupils’ abilities to organise and structure writing, using punctuation accurately, link sentences coherently, use paragraphs to demarcate topics, develop spelling strategies and produce legible, joined up handwriting. Pupils are also given opportunities to plan, draft, revise and proof read written work.