"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." Haruki Murakami
When you study English at Kimbolton, we hope that your lessons will be exciting, challenging and mind-expanding.
As a core subject, English is central to every pupil's education. So, we provide a broad and adventurous curriculum, incorporating digital innovation and drama, while keeping Literature at the heart of the subject. We also make time for full stops, spelling rules and grammar, because communicating well matters – whatever a student chooses to do when they leave school.
Head of English
Second in Department
First to Third Forms – compulsory for all pupils
In the first three years of the Senior School, pupils follow a course which introduces them to a wide range of poetry, modern drama, texts from other cultures and features a Shakespeare play in each year. Creative writing, performance and independent projects ensure that the children access literature in different ways, whilst ensuring that the key skills of analysis and literacy are firmly embedded.
Fourth and Fifth Forms – GCSE compulsory subject
During the examination years, we try to make the study of English fun and creative through workshops, author visits, theatre trips and academic seminars from university professors.
All pupils take two English GCSEs:
- OCR GCSE Language J351. Assessed via two exams.
- OCR GCSE English Literature J352. Assessed via two exams.
English at Kimbolton is exciting, thought-provoking, and mind-expanding. In part, the study of language and literature is the key to gaining a greater understanding of ourselves – of culture, history, society, politics. It challenges us to think beyond the everyday and allows us to reflect on situations and emotions we may never have experienced.
Through the study of language in non-fiction and literary texts, you will discover how writers can persuade and inform us about important events and issues. You will explore how writers describe personal experiences, whether entertaining or harrowing. You will learn how to analyse how these different pieces of writing (or speeches) have been constructed and how language has been manipulated to its particular function; and in doing so, you will develop your own skills as a writer for diverse purposes.
Through our study of literature, you will learn how to interpret and extract meaning from texts, and you will be taught how to construct arguments in response to these texts. Looking at poetry, prose and drama across four centuries, you will examine political, social and historical factors and explore themes such as power, violence, morality and love. Whether witnessing the violence of 12th century Scotland, falling in love in a seedy hotel room in modern day Paris, or perhaps even exploring an imagined dystopian future, you will learn about experiences apparently far away from your own, but you will confront issues and ideas that are closer than you might think.
Lower and Upper Sixth Form – A Level optional subject
English Literature enables you to study poetry, drama and prose spanning 600 years, including some very modern writers – for example, Alan Bennett and Michael Frayn – alongside the ‘father of literature’, Geoffrey Chaucer. Whilst you will delve deeply into language and structure, the texts will also spark debates about big issues such as race, morality, gender, and politics.
Our seminar style lessons encourage you to become an independent reader and thinker. One of the joys of the subject is that there is no definitive ‘right’ interpretation of a book. Each reader brings something new to it and we encourage you to embrace this and to enjoy sharing your ideas in discussion.
Beyond the classroom we offer a range of exciting literary trips. In the past we have journeyed to Dorset (Thomas Hardy country) and Haworth in Yorkshire, once home to the Brontë family. We also organise many theatre visits, most recently to London to watch an immersive production of The Great Gatsby, and we use our lecture theatre to stream showings of National Theatre productions such as ‘The Tempest’
Kimbolton 7th Period Super-Curriculum: In your 7th period Literature lessons, you will go back in time to the very first stories to see how they influence your studied texts and other elements of modern culture. For example, did you know that Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones is based on the myth of Persephone, dating back to Ancient Greece?
2. English Language (Edexcel)
As an English Language student, you will develop your subject expertise by engaging creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses. You will learn to analyse and interpret language and develop your understanding of how people communicate, how they assign meaning to words and how language can be a powerful tool.
The course is more of a Social Science than Arts subject. This means you examine how language is influenced by who you are, where you come from and how old you are. You will also examine the psychology of language; how advertisers persuade you to buy more stuff or how newspapers and social media influence your decisions. As with Literature, this subject is all about the words and the intentions behind them.
As well as analysing texts, English Language also gives you the opportunity to hone your skills as a writer. You will study a genre or an author (usually this is a free choice) and then create a text that is similar in style. It is a small, yet important part of the course
Kimbolton 7th Period Super-Curriculum: The Language 7th period lessons will enable you to undertake your very own language investigations and experiments, enabling you to make your own judgements about modern communication, its origins, and its effects.
- View our Sixth Form Prospectus
Kimbookworms is a thriving lunchtime club for First and Second Form pupils who love reading and undertakes a wide range of fun reading activities including theatre trips.
Culture Shock runs weekly, and led by the English Department is Kimblton’s Liberal Arts Society. Students from Sixth Form, Fifth and Fourth, and teachers present on an aspect or area of culture, literature or art that interests them.
For Ingrams, we offer a creative writing group. These pupils meet weekly to create articles, essays and creative submissions for publication and competitions.
Regular Trips, Visitors and Competitions
- Each year we run regular trips for all age groups, such as: the RSC in Stratford; theatre trips for all years; a three-day visit to the Battlefields and war graves in France and Belgium for the Third Form; and residential trips for the Sixth Form - for example literary pilgrimages to Dorset, Edinburgh and Haworth in Yorkshire.
- We also host regular visits from poets such as Jo Shapcott, Adisa and Charles Tomlinson, and from authors including Mark Robson, Julia Jarman, Alexander McCall Smith, Gemma Malley and Geraldine McCaughrean.
- We mark National Poetry Day and World Book Day in a variety of different ways each year, including competitions, treasure hunts, competitions and often staff in fiction-themed fancy dress!