"Students attain high standards and achieve very well. Teachers guide their students very successfully and ensure that they achieve their best." Ofsted
English is taught as a compulsory subject to the end of Year 11, with the overall aim of developing students' powers of self-expression and understanding of the written word.
Essential to this process is the foundation in the subject laid in the first three years. The Department has developed a varied and structured approach to teaching in the lower school to ensure that all students follow a common programme for the purposes of National Curriculum assessment. In addition, the Department aims:
- to provide a wide experience of good literature and media texts related to the age and interests of the students, and so encourage an interest in reading and a critical awareness in preparation for work at senior level
- to motivate students towards creative and analytical written work
- to introduce, in context and using the national literacy strategy, important technical language skills and those of comprehension, listening and discussion
Regular library lessons are included in order to foster enjoyment of reading and to familiarise students with library practice.
In the lower school, drama and role play are also used as a way of exploring themes, ideas, issues and characters in literature as a means of stimulating creative writing and developing students oral skills.
In Years 10 to 11 students follow a course based on the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Key Stage 4. These give plenty of opportunities to read a wide range of material for a variety of purposes and to write in a variety of forms and registers.
Assessments at GCSE in both English Language and English Literature through a combination of coursework (60% English Language, 25% Literature) and terminal examinations take place at the end of Year 11. GCSE results are "consistently well above the national average".
In the Sixth Form, suitably qualified students will be able to proceed to a two-year course in A Level English Literature or English Language, using the AQA syllabus, which both involve coursework and modular examinations.
The Department makes use of audio-visual aids including ICT and interactive whiteboards as a stimulus to students' language development.
The Department is concerned to foster students' interest and enjoyment of the subject through activities beyond the classroom. A Poetry, Music and Art evening runs annually, supported by Poetry workshops; theatre visits occur regularly to support our teaching of Drama texts; A level students attend study days in London connected with their set texts; a writing exchange takes place between Mill Hill County and a high school in Sweden, and we often enter teams for spelling bee and debating competitions.