English

In literature and journalism, tweets and posts, words influence and shape our lives. We believe that critical reading and thinking is integral to the intellectual culture of Alleyn’s, in order that our pupils might flourish and fly, not just academically, but personally.  

Our English classrooms are vibrant and exciting. Pupils feel safe to discuss, debate, explore and question their teachers, each other, themselves and society at large in order to become critical, discerning and sensitive readers. Whether discovering the subtext of a novel, comprehending the persuasive techniques of a hard-hitting piece of journalism, or appreciating the beauty and complexity of a poem, we encourage pupils to love language and understand its power.  

At the same time, we guide them in mastering the craft of communication, so that they are capable not only of writing with impact, clarity and subtlety, but also of speaking with confidence, within and beyond the classroom. 

Our teachers are passionate about designing dynamic, challenging and inspiring lessons:  you are as likely to find Year 7 using found objects to inspire creative writing or Year 8 writing their own children’s books as part of a linguistics module as you are to see Year 9 revelling in the language of Romeo and Juliet. At GCSE pupils explore a vast array of texts to encounter different cultures and eras. Many pupils join us for English Literature A Level, or AS English Language, where a seminar-style approach encourages the expression of opinions and palpable intellectual excitement. 

With our roots in the vibrant world of Elizabethan theatre, we guide pupils of all ages to love Shakespeare and the theatre, and take every child in Years 7 -11 to see a production. Study days, visiting speakers and authors, as well as external lectures, provide vital opportunities to challenge their ideas and appreciate different viewpoints. Pupils also find their own voices through writing: The Trib magazine is written and edited by pupils, poetry and creative writing competitions are held in school and we regularly enter national competitions such as New Views, a playwriting programme run by the National Theatre.  Creative writing residential trips and a literary sojourn to Dublin take pupils to new places, both real and imaginary.

“I love English at Alleyn's because we always have the most fun and interesting discussions in class. I’ve learnt so much this year and the feedback we get from our teachers is always helpful. The atmosphere is great.”

Year 9 pupil

Boys and girls concentrate during their lesson