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.
AIMS OF ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
- To develop boys’ written and verbal communication skills
- To encourage boys to read texts with an enquiring mind, enabling them to analyse in detail and with sensitivity
- To enthuse and inspire boys, fostering a love of reading
How English is taught at Hampton
In the First to Third Years, English teaching takes place in ‘mixed ability’ form groups. In the Fourth and Fifth Year, boys are setted 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.
English Language IGCSE focuses on pupils’ reading and writing skills, developing their ability to understand, collate and explain explicit and implicit meanings, as well as helping them to articulate opinions and feelings using language and register appropriate to audience and context. There are both analytical and creative elements to the CIE IGCSE specification, assessed entirely through external exams. English Literature IGCSE offers the opportunity to study a variety of literature in English, including contemporary texts and global literature. The literary heritage is also well represented, with both Shakespeare and pre 1914 poetry featuring
The 2018 IGCSE English Language and Literature results were outstanding, with 69% and 74% of boys achieving A* respectively.
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. Whilst English Literature A Level allows boys to acquire a more nuanced appreciation of literary texts, their contexts and others’ interpretations of them, English Language A Level seeks to broaden the pupils’ knowledge of the nature and effectiveness of communication in English, focusing on linguistics and therefore introducing boys to an entirely new field of study. Boys learn about issues relating to gender and power, as well as studying children’s acquisition of language and the history of the English language. Both courses provide excellent opportunities for pupils to hone their interpretative and analytical skills, as well as developing their spoken and written communication.
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.
In the First and Second Year, Support Lessons run concurrently with Reading Lessons, providing extra help with topics such as written accuracy, synonyms, embedding quotations and structuring paragraphs. Those boys who attend Support Lessons benefit greatly, improving their understanding and writing, and gaining confidence. A Spelling Enhancement Programme is also offered to First Year pupils selected through the School’s screening procedures. At GCSE level, four new classes are created to enable us to teach boys in smaller classes and to focus more closely on the needs of the individual pupils.
The English Department offers weekly lunchtime enrichment sessions on critical theory, topics and texts beyond the syllabus for pupils who are studying English Literature in the Sixth Form and is aimed specifially at those who are thinking of applying for Oxbridge or English at university, or just extending their knowledge. The session is also hugely useful for work done throughout the A Level course and so all boys are encouraged to attend. The sessions cover a whole range of literary topics; for example, we engage with a wide range of critical theories, such as Marxism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Socio-historicism – subsequently applying them to various texts – and also develop an understanding of the history of literature, practise unseen skills, work on interview technique and explore many other areas of interest.
Creative Writing Awards
The English Department runs annual Creative Writing Awards for the Junior, Middle and Senior pupils. In 2018, author Saci Lloyd judged the entries.
THE BOOK GROUP
Junior and Third Year Book Group: Our KS3 book groups meet for lunch and a literary natter every week in the library. Both the Trinity Schools Book Award and the CILIP Carnegie Award are shadowed, with boys avidly reading and enthusiastically discussing the shortlisted novels. Joint literary balloon debates with Lady Eleanor Holles and Hampton High are also held, where opinions are readily shared!
Hampton has a vibrant Debating Society run by the History Department Find out more
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.
Pupils who sign up to the annual scheme are expected to complete eight different journalism assignments (with a local angle) in a range of categories across the year. Their articles are published online and those who complete all of the assignments by the deadlines will be awarded Certificates of Recognition. Prizes are also 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.
Lion print creative writing club
Lion Print enables students to share ideas for poems, prose and plays. Boys from First Year to Upper Sixth contribute their writing for the annually published Lion Print Magazine which showcases the imagination, innovation and inventiveness of our students alongside artwork by students across the age range.
The Lion Print magazine, an annual publication, enables boys to showcase their imagination in the written word, alongside artwork by creative pupils across all Year groups.
HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE
Hampton Sports Chronicle is a magazine written, edited and designed by the boys, which is published annually at the beginning of the Summer Term. Articles focus on all aspects of Hampton School sports, including match reports, profiles and interviews, featuring current and former pupils. Aspiring journalists meet one lunchtime each week to discuss the progress of the magazine as well as taking part in occasional visits out – for example to Sky Sports.
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 Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond which includes a performance 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. Upper School pupils enjoy performances and National Theatre Live screenings related to the texts which they are studying for GCSE and A Level at theatres such as the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and The Globe in London.
In Easter 2019, the English Department will be running its first residential trip to Boston, USA, for pupils studying A Level English Literature, History and Politics. Boys will get to learn about the cultural, social and political history of the city, visiting key literary and historical sites, as well as seeing the Red Sox in action at Fenway Park!