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    "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.

    An English Lesson at Kimbolton School
    A Sixth Form English Lesson at Kimbolton SchoolAuthor Terry Pratchett Giving a Talk to Pupils at Kimbolton schoolKimbolton School English and History Trip to the Battlefields of FranceA Sixth Form English Lesson at Kimbolton School


    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: pupils study a range of literary non-fiction texts and learn how information is presented in different ways. They learn how to write for different purposes in a confident and assured way. 
    • OCR GCSE English Literature J352: 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. 

    Lower and Upper Sixth Form – A Level optional subject

    1.  English Literature (AQA specification A)

    Paper 1 (Love through the ages)

    Study of three texts: one poetry and one prose text, of which one must be written pre-1900, and one Shakespeare play. Currently, we offer 'Othello', 'The Great Gatsby' and the pre-1900 poetry anthology supplied by AQA. Examination will include two unseen poems.

    Paper 2 (Texts in shared contexts)

    Study three texts from modern times (literature from 1945 to the present day) one of which must be written post-2000. Currently, we offer ‘The Feminine Gospels’ (2003), ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

    Coursework (Texts across time)

    This unit encourages independent study. We encourage students to read widely and settle upon two companion texts, one of which must have been written pre-1900. Students are given guidance throughout the planning, redrafting and writing process. The coursework constitutes 20% the overall qualification.

    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.

    Extra-Curricular Activities

    • We are central to the yearly Whole School Book initiative, by helping to select the ‘summer read’.  We give a copy of the same novel to every Senior School pupil (including newcomers) and staff members and ask them to read it during the summer holidays before using it in assemblies and across the curriculum in the following term.  

    • 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.

    • Senior Lit Soc runs once a fortnight, with students from Sixth Form, Fifth and Fourth, and teachers presenting on an aspect or topic of literature that interests them.

    • Ingrams Independent is a group of First and Second Form students who meet weekly to create articles, essays and creative submissions for the publication which will go to print in the summer term.

    Regular Trips, Visitors and Competitions

    Each year we run regular trips for all age groups, such as: Stratford with the First Form; 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.

    In addition, we run various poetry and writing competition for all age groups throughout the year.