Wellington English is an agora of intellectual and emotional exchange. Pupils are expected to weigh-in, barter, haggle, proffer and pitch both with each other and with their teacher. The atmosphere in our department is exciting and exacting. ‘Getting better’ at English involves burnishing everything from the usage of the semi-colon to the soul. Where the subject begins and ends is a mystery; there is, arguably, nothing outside the reach of English. Our students expect to feel inspired, challenged and surprised.
All Third Form follow a bespoke curriculum, with Edexcel GCSE qualifications in Language and Literature taken in the Fifth Form. English is highly popular in the Sixth Form, at both A Level (Edexcel) and IB – especially at Higher Level – for which we offer an inclusive fusion of anglophone classics and of contemporary and international literature. All options are underpinned by the same principles: a scrutiny of interpretation and expression; an insistence on clarity and coherence; a space for confident and individual expression in thinking, reading and writing.
There are plenty of outlets for excellence through a thriving extension programme, often led by visiting experts (writers, journalists, actors), masterclasses, the Literary Society, publications (creative and academic) and many competitions. The Academic Support & EAL departments also work closely with English and support is always on hand.
Pupils are encouraged to be self-conscious, independent and creative thinkers who reflect on how – and why – they are developing in their emotional and aesthetic maturity. During their time with us, we see them grow into “active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” The ‘can’ in this excerpt from the IB Mission Statement is where some of our most lively debates arise.
With a department of 15 subject specialists and an in-house library of over 3,000 volumes to supplement to College’s Mallinson Library, the English Department is a place where, over 600 years on from Chaucer, we also ‘Of studie [take] moost cure and moost heede’.