I assert literature to contain the materials which suffice for … making us know ourselves and the world."
- Matthew Arnold, poet and Inspector of Schools
There is nothing outside text."
- Jacques Derrida, critic and philosopher
The skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are of vital importance for a pupil's future, making English a uniquely important subject, underpinning any successful academic career. English gives its students the resources through which they will arrive at a greater understanding of their world and themselves, and also the ways and means through which they communicate that understanding, in practical or imaginative forms. Proficiency as a reader and writer can add immeasurably to an individual's chances in both career, and life generally: a love of literature - prose, poetry and drama – helps bring young people into a cultured adult community.
At King's we share the intention of inspiring, while ensuring that the compulsory study of English and English Literature in the 3rd form and GCSE develops critical and analytical reading and listening, and equips all young people with accurate and expressive communication skills.
The Third Form explore fiction and non-fiction, poetry and drama as an introduction to GCSE. In the Fourth and Fifth forms, pupils are in five streamed sets. The vast majority take CIE IGCSE English Language and English Literature as separate qualifications. At A level, pupils can opt for (OCR) English Literature; English is a popular subject at this level, studied with great success over recent years.
Specialist teaching is available for those who speak English as an Additional Language: international pupils in the Lower Sixth are expected to take an English qualification – IGCSE or IELTS – alongside A levels. The English Clinic provides support for all pupils, as a weekly drop-in.
The library is a vital resource, and integrated private reading encourages reading for pleasure. Research reading skills are also taught. Theatre trips are for all age groups an important and regular feature, as are trips to places of literary significance. The Sixth Form English Society combines academic matters with a social occasion. The Department runs the college news magazine, KMag, to which pupils in all years are encouraged to contribute. The annual Poetry Recitation Competition sees all pupils compete for year group prizes, leading to final, where winners recite for the whole school.