‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world.’
In the English department we believe passionately in encouraging our pupils to move beyond their own perceived limits: in their reading choices, their own writing and their examination of work by established authors and poets. Through the celebration of the written and spoken word, we challenge children to learn with curiosity and to communicate with passion and enthusiasm.
The aims of the English Department
- to help children become confident, independent readers;
- to develop enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with challenging and substantial texts;
- to foster the enjoyment of writing, and a recognition of its value;
- to encourage accurate and meaningful writing, be it narrative or non-fiction;
- to enable children to speak clearly and audibly, and to take account of their listeners;
- to encourage children to listen with concentration.
Once a year, all our senior pupils transform their classroom discussions into a carefully-constructed and formally-delivered speech in the hotly-contested Senior Inter-House Public Speaking Competition. An annual poetry competition for pupils celebrates the poetic form, linked to our whole-school National Poetry Day activities. We also encourage our pupils to enter external competitions each year.
Extra-Curricular Events and Trips
Visiting speakers, story-tellers, poets and players all help us to enhance our enjoyment of the spoken and written word. Trips change year on year, responding to the current curriculum and class reader choices. For instance, trips to the Globe Theatre and the West End celebrate centuries of word craft; a Holocaust survivor’s reminiscences ensure that fiction is lifted off the page and made real and relevant.
Interaction with our local environment allows pupils to see words at work. For example, a visit to a museum might stimulate examination of advertising and information leaflets. As we are blessed with wonderful woodland around the school, nature walks provide stimulating opportunities for creative writing and poetry. Perhaps most importantly, the department aims to instil a belief that many aspects of our subject can be an enjoyable part of our leisure activities. We encourage pupils to enjoy their reading and writing through our holiday campaigns such as Get Caught Reading/Writing and our summer reading challenges.