Our vibrant and dynamic English Department aspires to engender a love for the written and spoken word and fundamentally believes in the power of literature to engage young minds. English is taught in a relaxed, friendly, open-classroom atmosphere based on the foundations of good discipline, high expectations and hard work.
The Department provides something for everyone. From etymology to exegesis, we offer the full range of linguistic and literary opportunities.
The past few years have seen record exam results in the English Department.
How English is taught at Hampton
In the First to Fourth Years, English teaching takes place in ‘mixed ability’ form groups. In the Fifth Year, boys are settled into smaller teaching groups of around 16 based on ability. Students are offered every opportunity to stretch and challenge themselves in the smaller groups under the guidance of their teacher.
A Level English Literature, alongside the A Level English Language course, retains its high prestige among universities and is well served by the highly qualified teachers at Hampton. There is a real focus on the importance of the essay as a means to explore texts and we offer writing clinics on a weekly basis to help students hone their skills. We are also keen to further reading and scrutiny beyond the syllabus and boys are encouraged to participate in discussion groups at both AS and A Level.
There is no setting at A Level and we tend to limit the size of each group to a maximum of fourteen students, in order to ensure that discussion work and preparation are as efficient as possible. Extension lessons are provided for those with the intention of studying English beyond A Level.
Creative Writing Awards
The English Department runs annual Creative Writing Awards for the Junior, Middle and Senior pupils. In 2017, author Saci Lloyd judged the entries. A shortlisted selection of poems, short stories and scripts entered into the competition can be viewed here:
For a further taste of creative writing at Hampton, read the publication Lion Print below:
THE BOOK GROUP
Open to younger students and directed by more senior pupils, The Book Group foregrounds modern fiction and stimulates discussion of texts at the margin of the taught curriculum.
CREATIVE WRITING CLUB
Run for the Fifth and Sixth Form boys, the group meets weekly to explore a wide variety of writing styles and genres. In response to stimuli provided, students produce and publish their own original writing.
Hampton has a vibrant Debating Society run by the History Department Find out more
Each year, pupils from Years One to Three read and discuss all texts on the Carnegie short list. Their experiences of the texts are then shared with pupils from neighbouring schools.
CAKE AND CULTURE
To widen pupils’ experience of literature beyond the syllabus and provide a stepping-stone to undergraduate study, a weekly seminar is held for Sixth Form students covering a range of literary topics. Past titles include: ‘Passing, Queering: Race and Visibility in Afro-American Literature’; ‘The Lust of the Libertines’; ‘Egg versus Chicken: Liberal Humanism, Structuralism and the Rise of English Studies’
The Young Reporters programme is run in collaboration with Newsquest Media Group in schools across London and the South East.
It enables teenagers to gain some industry experience, hone their writing skills and develop the discipline of meeting deadlines, while still at school.
Students who sign up to the scheme will be expected to complete eight different journalism assignments in a range of categories across the year. Their articles will be published online and those who complete all of the assignments by the deadlines will be awarded Certificates of Recognition. Prizes will also be awarded for the best writing within different categories.
Boys who join Young Reporters will have a chance to experience what it is like to be a journalist, and to have their articles, on the local issues that interest them, published for a real audience.
For those with a creative bent this is Hampton’s bi-annual magazine, celebrating all aspects of journalism, the arts and culture, designed and written by a team of upper school boys. Scoops include interviews with Stephen Moffat, Phillip Pullman and Vincent Cable.
THE LION CUB
The Lion Cub magazine offers Hampton’s younger writers a wealth of opportunities. Rivalling Literary Lions, its older brother publication, The Lion Cub encourages First to Third Year boys to improve their creative, analytical, persuasive, and factual writing.
HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE (HSC)
Overseen and run by a team of Fifth and Sixth Form aspiring journalists, the HSC is published twice a year. Written in newspaper style, it covers all aspects of the sporting calendar at Hampton and considers wider national and international sporting issues.
The English Department is committed to offering a broad spectrum of opportunities to enrich boys’ experience of the written word. These include: theatre trips to London and Stratford Upon Avon, visits to writers’ houses and museums, drama based workshops, seminars and lectures.
In particular, First Year pupils enjoy an annual trip to The Globe theatre in London which includes a tour of the auditorium and a drama workshop led by professional actors, and in the Second Year, boys enthusiastically participate in Book Character Day, dressing up as their favourite literary character to raise money for charity.