At King’s we seek to convey the “staggering peace” and “blinding lights” of literature; we give lesson time to reading, and monitor progress carefully.
We want our pupils to be meticulous in their study of language, and to be fearless in their creative endeavours. Most importantly, we help our pupils to find their voice, and provide the tools with which to express themselves with confidence, and alacrity. We achieve this through the study of challenging texts taught with passion, but without pretension. In the 3rd Form, we study a wide-ranging curriculum, beginning with the joint History trip to the Battlefields of the Western-Front, and ending with the study of Hamlet, with a great deal more in between. The English Department sits at the heart of the School in the Memorial Building, where we enjoy large, traditional classrooms, and a smaller designated 6th Form teaching room. We take regular visits to dramatic productions, places of literary interest. In September 2017 the Literary enrichment group The Oultonian Society was established, tasked with enriching and broadening literary horizons through a series of academic lectures and seminars.
I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights.
Notes on the Art of Poetry, Dylan Thomas
At GCSE, current 5th Form pupils follow that CIE IGCSE English Language qualification. This is assessed through a healthy mixture of coursework, examination, and speaking and listening assessments. Pupils beginning their GCSE course from September 2017 will follow the new AQA GCSE English Language syllabus, (with the exception of those in Set 4, who will remain with CIE). Both courses are challenging, but accessible, and our pupils emerge as confident writers, and communicators.
For English Literature, current 5th Form pupils follow the CIE syllabus - this is assessed through 75% written examination and 25% written coursework. Pupils beginning their course from September 2017 will follow AQA GCSE English Literature. Both specifications examine pupils on a range of poetry, prose and drama, with the addition of unseen texts for the AQA qualification. Pupils experience a wide-range of literature ranging from Shakespeare to the present day.
At AS and A-Level, we build upon the analytical skills developed at IGCSE and focus the pupils’ minds upon the wider issues of context and literary criticism. Here, they take the opportunity to specialise in a literary genre, and study a range of texts around this. The course comprises of recognised literary greats, and those emerging as such. It is really here that the seeds of a more complex and individual relationship with literary intrigue are sown. Our pupils are developed as investigators, writers, and thinkers; they achieve strong academic results, and emerge with a myriad of practical, real-world skills applicable to many University courses, and careers beyond King’s.