A love of literature

The English Department embraces a variety of styles depending on pupils’ needs, the learning objectives and the teachers’ enthusiasms and strengths.

Learning and understanding are achieved by enthusiastic child-centred teaching. For instance, we use improvisations, visiting speakers, theatre performances, workshops and graphic novels to bring literature to life for the children.

We endeavour to develop the imagination and creativity of our pupils and ensure that they have a deep-rooted interest in English that will remain with them beyond school life.

Windlesham Book Week

The Windlesham Book Week happens every year when we aim to encourage and inspire our pupils to read a wider variety of books and be more aware of literature in general.

Each year we focus on a different theme such as, ‘Fairy Tales’ or ‘Myths and Legends’ and the children and staff dress up as a relevant book character. We run many quizzes and this encourages them to venture into the Library hunting for various volumes for answers.

The art of speech

The Windlesham Poetry Festival is another one of the highlights in the school year. Children are encouraged to compete in individual poetry recital competitions and every child in the school is involved in a class poetry performance.

We also hold regular Public Speaking Competitions and Debates to encourage and nurture the child’s sense of performance and to improve their use of persuasive language and increase their self-confidence.

The Department promotes reading through visiting authors. These poets and novelists help to bring literature to life, encourage children to consider themselves as writers, and to extend the range of literature that children might read whilst at the School.

Over the years we have had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Browne, Robert Muchamore, Ali Sparkes, Jeanne Willis, Justin Somper and Marcia Williams. Veronica Cossanteli, first time novelist, visited weeks before being shortlisted for the Carnegie Award.

We also have poets: Carol Ann Duffy (the Poet Laureate), John Hegley, Roger McGough, Brian Moses, Michael Rosen, Philip Wells (the Fire Poet), and Paul Cookson who have all visited in recent years.

We are also invited to take groups of children to the Steyning Literary Festival to meet authors and in the past years have met Gillian Cross, Ali Sparkes, Joshua Doder, Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart.

Various theatre trips are organised each year, including a pantomime for the younger children, and the Ones and Twos enjoy a Shakespeare workshop.

We also enjoy six professional performances each academic year in our own theatre

Nigel Parkin, Head of English