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Aims and Philosophy

At St. John's we foster a love of literature, encouraging pupils to read widely and independently. Our aim is to develop discerning, critical readers whose analytical skills will serve them not only in their English studies, but enable them to achieve a deeper insight into texts in History, Science, Law and Politics. We recognise that living in an 'Information Age', analytical skills are more crucial than ever and we provide pupils with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to interpret the ever more complex linguistic world around them. Pupils learn to express themselves succinctly, confidently and creatively, according to purpose, with clear and correct use of English.

A feature of English teaching at St. John's includes competitions and prizes for poetry declamations (this goes further than mere poetry recitation. Declamation involves body language too). Another feature is that we follow the Accelerated Reader Programme whereby pupils choose at least five novels a year followed by a computer based quiz to test their understanding of the book (and to make sure they really did read it!)


All pupils take English Language and English Literature as separate subjects to G.C.S.E. Both are compulsory for our pupils. AS and A2 Literature is offered in the sixth form. We follow the AQA syllabus, studying a wide variety of authors from Chaucer to Steinbeck.

Outside the Classroom

There is a strong emphasis on public speaking and debating at St. John's. This starts in the first year (year seven), when the pupils read prepared extracts in front of the whole school. By the fourth year, they are writing and presenting their own speeches, again to the whole school. Pupils can take part in an annual inter-school debating competition, which usually yields impressive results.

The St. John's "Eisteddfod" is an annual poetry competition with 1st 2nd and 3rd prizes to be gained.

Throughout the year, every class attends at least one West End theatre production. During their third year pupils visit the Globe Theatre and take part in a workshop related to the play they are studying for their English SATs examination and later on further visits are arranged for Stratford upon Avon.

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