The English/Literacy Curriculum
The curriculum for English - and for Literacy, as our subject is called in the Pre-Prep and in the junior years of the Prep - is informed by the National Curriculum, which we use as a framework to ensure that our pupils cover all of the skills they require and also to ensure that we are building in sufficient challenge at each stage in a pupil's progress. However, we are certainly not tied to this framework and we are able to adapt our curriculum fully to meet the specific needs of S. Anselm's pupils.
Speaking and Listening
At S. Anselm's, we aim to produce articulate pupils who use speaking and listening skills to communicate successfully in a range of contexts. This might mean discussion, debate, individual or group presentations or the recitation of poetry or prose. We work closely with the drama department to ensure success in this area. We are introducing English Speaking Board examinations for some year groups to support this work. In addition to this, some pupils take Lamda examinations in the school as an extra activity.
Reading is at the core of our work and we encourage pupils to read widely. We have recently introduced The S. Anselm's Reading Award in the Prep School to reward pupils for their reading. This is a House competition in which pupils earn House points based on the number and the complexity of the books they read. We publish a Reading List (could we have hyper link here please?) which is regularly updated. English teachers run the school library and use it extensively in lessons. In English lessons, pupils will encounter a variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama texts. Our aim is to turn out well-read pupils who can respond to a variety of written texts with understanding and insight. Above all, we seek to foster a life-long love of reading.
Pupils study writing in a variety of genres and they are encouraged to use what they have learned to shape their own writing. Formal and informal writing is practised regularly and pupils are encouraged to enter their work for The S. Anselm's Short Story Prize and the Peace Poetry Prize. This year, the English Department organised a week long residential creative writing course with The Arvon Foundation which has sparked a renewed interest in creative writing amongst our pupils.
Accurate grammar, punctuation, spelling and neat handwriting are essential to effective written communication. These are taught alongside the more creative aspects of our subject as we believe that pupils learn about them best when they are taught 'in context'. These skills are also taught and revised in class or individually with a pupil as the need is identified.
Learning outside the classroom
As well as taking pupils to residential events, the English Department also lays on a variety of other trips to cultural events throughout the year. There are regular theatre trips to local theatres such as The Crucible and to theatres farther afield such as the RSC at Stratford upon Avon and the Globe in London. A growing number of pupils also accompany us to the Hay Festival each year.