"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
Even when teaching 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
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.
Edexcel IGCSE English Literature (A): pupils study a modern play, a Shakespeare play, a modern novel and poetry from the Edexcel anthology. In the examination, pupils are required to respond to an unseen poem using the skills of analysis developed over the course as well as the taught poetry and the modern novel. The coursework element here is worth 40% and the portfolio comprises two essays: one on the modern text (usually An Inspector Calls) and a modern novel (usually Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird).
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 Geoffrey Chaucer and Shakespeare. 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. 20% of the overall grade rests on the coursework portfolio, which comprises two analytical essays and you will be able to choose your title and thematic focus.
Beyond the classroom: Extend your learning by attending the Enlightenment Society where we discuss all manner of cultural, philosophical and historical matters, and their impact on Literature. English for University is a weekly session for those considering a degree course in English and allows pupils to discuss Literature beyond the syllabus.
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. 20% of the overall grade rests on the coursework portfolio, for which you have almost a free choice of genre to explore, and we will guide you to create two pieces of your own.
Beyond the classroom: Students will have the opportunity to participate in workshops and view the permanent collection at The British Library in London, which houses some of the world’s most exciting, beautiful and significant books and documents including Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks and handwritten manuscripts from the Brontë sisters, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. Our Enlightenment Society offers lively debate on many Language-related topics, including the impact of history, culture and philosophy on linguistics.
- View our Sixth Form Prospectus
- The Enlightenment Society runs weekly, and is led jointly by the English, History, and PRE Departments. Students from Sixth Form, Fifth and Fourth Forms, and teachers present on an aspect or area of culture that interests them. · 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.
- For Ingrams, we offer a creative writing group. These pupils meet weekly to create articles, essays and creative submissions for publication and competitions.
- We also run a Poetry Society for budding poets and performers to read, write and perform poetry.
Regular Trips, Visitors, and Celebrations
- 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 a whole-school ‘Drop Everything and Read’, national competitions, Sixth Form and Reception reading time, treasure hunts, and often staff in fiction-themed fancy dress