"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:
- Edexcel IGCSE English Language (A): 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. The coursework element here is worth 40% and the portfolio comprises a piece of imaginative writing and an analytical essay on a selection of poetry and prose texts.
- AQA GCSE English Literature (A) : pupils study a pre-twentieth century novel, a Shakespeare play, poetry from the AQA anthology Power and Conflict and a modern text, for example: ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘The History Boys’ or ‘An Inspector Calls’. In the examination, pupils are required to respond to an untaught poem using the skills of analysis developed over the course.
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.
2. English Language and Literature (OCR English)
- Unit One: Exploring non-fiction and spoken texts using anthology of material (1 hour exam)
- Unit Two: The language of poetry and plays (2 hour exam)
- Unit Three: Reading as a writer, writing as a reader (2 hour exam in-cluding creative writing)
- Unit Four: Independent Study Coursework - mixture of analytical and creative
The combined Language and Literature course is an exciting option as it combines analytical skills with creativity. You will study literary texts by authors such as Tennessee Williams and F Scott Fitzgerald but will also look at speeches, newspaper articles, interviews and even graphic novels. You will learn new, critical vocabulary and will explore closely the construction of texts through language and other choices. You will also write creatively. You will use different styles and, in the exam, you will write a short piece and then analyse your own writing!
The coursework task is particularly exciting as you will have the chance to explore texts which are not customarily part of an English course such as: The Secret Footballer and Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman. Independence is the key to success in this course and you will be expected to show initiative by leading seminars and reading around your core texts.
Kimbolton 7th Period Super-Curriculum: Here, we explore the relationship between page and screen, looking at texts such as Atonement, The Time Traveller’s Wife and Henry V. We explore how to make meaning on film and offer an introduction to analysing the use of cinematography, editing and sound. Here you will apply your understanding and recreate a storyline from texts beyond the English course.
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.