The English and Drama department at Kensington School is dynamic, creative and fun. Our interactive classes embody our belief in the importance of communication and discussion: students can regularly be seen in frank debate using the choicest vocabulary, or exploring together the ideas underpinning the most influential texts written in English across the centuries.

Literature helps explore and analyse some of life's greatest questions and assists young people in gaining the skills required for a deeper thought process to life. Creative writing is encouraged and celebrated, with outstanding work published in the school magazine - The Quill - and thrilling performances on National Poetry Day.

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Key Stage 3

The emphasis within these year groups is very much on encouraging the pupils to read as much and as widely as possible, and on developing a love and understanding of books and words in so doing. Visits to our library are made on a regular basis and students are exposed to a range of different writing styles and literary genres, while at the same time developing critical-thinking skills that are vital for success in life. Alongside this, there is plenty of opportunity for the creative juices to flow in short-story writing, autobiographical writing, travel writing and the crafting of poetry, with time also dedicated to working on technical grammatical accuracy. Forms 1, 2 and 3 each put on a show once a year, in which performance skills and teamwork are the key learning foci. We make use of The Bard’s legacy by introducing Shakespeare plays with their original wording, and our annual performances are a highlight for both students and parents.

Key Stage 4

Teaching groups in Forms 4 and 5 have low teacher/pupil ratios. At iGCSE level, the focus of the work is very much on textual analysis; the skills involved in literary criticism – already introduced in Forms 1 to 3 – are developed and honed during these years. Students study a range of classic texts for their literature exams, ranging from the gritty realism of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to the moral darkness of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. For their language exams, students also have to write creatively and professionally, as they develop both their narrative and their non-fiction writing skills.

Sixth Form

Due to small class sizes, Sixth Form classes are virtually seminar based. We teach A-Level English Literature, which is divided into modules on prose texts, poetry, and drama. We begin with a Journey Through Literature module, in which we give our pupils an overview of English literature through the ages. At A Level, there is a strong focus on comparing texts, and on relating texts to the contexts within which they were written. Pupils also learn the basics of critical theory and begin to approach texts through different lenses, learning about different philosophical ideas that inform literary criticism. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the A Level for our students is the fact that we let them choose their two coursework texts, which gives them an opportunity to explore independently an area which fascinates them.

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An opportunity for a bright incredible future.

Sara, Form 4