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‘English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. It is a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding language provides access to the whole curriculum. Through being taught to write and speak fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas and emotions to others; through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.’ (English National Curriculum)

In English at BSM, we pride ourselves on providing innovative ways of facilitating learning through a range of imaginative and engaging approaches, which enable the development of a range of skills in reading, writing and speaking & listening. Students in all years are encouraged to participate in a range of activities, both in and outside the classroom, including student-led, competition-style units, peer teaching, dramatic lectures, debating, author visits, performances, various trips and student-choice modules.

‘Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart,’ - Salman Rushdie.

Our English Teachers

Carol Livingstone

Lisa Grey

Zoe Atkinson-Goffe

Stephen Jeffrey

Carol-Livingstone zoe-atkinson-goffe Stephen-Jeffreys





Helen Danbury





How is English taught at BSM?

Our mission, through the study of both literature and language, is to enable our students to become global citizens with an international future by enabling them to enrich their emotional and imaginative lives, allow them to develop an awareness of themselves, other human beings and their relationships, and widen their knowledge of experiences, periods and places other than their own.  We should also like them to discover a pleasure in thinking critically about the language they find all around them.

We believe that an essential part of developing our students’ imaginations and allowing them to find a voice with which to express their own thoughts and feelings is through creative writing.  We hope that students will learn how to express themselves as effectively as they can and in as wide a range of forms as possible.

When our students are ready to develop their responses to include not only imaginative and emotional responses to literature, but also reactions which are abstract and analytical, we seek to equip them with a critical vocabulary which allows them to explain and explore their responses clearly.

What will students learn?

Our main aim is make the study of English exciting and purposeful for all of our students at all levels in school. In doing so, we want students to:

  • read a range of literature (pre and post 1914) including texts from other cultures;
  • study and experience other texts through a variety of media;
  • think deeply and widely;
  • have the confidence to write creatively;
  • learn to express themselves persuasively both orally and in writing for a variety of audiences and purposes;
  • develop a ‘social conscience’ and sense of global responsibility, with an understanding, awareness and respect for other cultures;
  • become a reflective learner;
  • communicate in a confident, articulate manner in a variety of contexts;
  • read critically; speak and write analytically.

We believe that the department's strength lies in its strongly held commitment to the teaching of literature and in the diversity of approaches employed by its staff. As a department, we share a belief in the importance of being kind, as well as demanding, and we emphasise the building of confidence.

Useful Links

Literacy Update August 2016

'While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living,’
Cyril Connolly.