At Chesterton, our English faculty’s mission is to ensure all students leave school with a secure understanding of the English literary canon; the ability to communicate confidently via written and spoken word alike; a grasp of how to respond both critically and personally to a wide range of texts, and above all having acquired a passion for reading that will extend well beyond their school years.
Our department is diverse, inventive and highly imaginative. We love learning from each other and are pleased to be a department where very experienced staff and ECTs work dynamically alongside one another. We are constantly looking for new and interesting ways to expand and improve our teaching and learning, with a view to making our lessons as engaging as possible for students, whilst remaining knowledge rich and rigorous.
Our curriculum ensures students leave KS3 having been exposed to a wide range of texts reflecting the diversity inherent in our society, ensuring that many perspectives and voices are explored. By the end of KS3, students will have engaged with a varied curriculum and will have been exposed to novels, plays, and poetry as well as a range of non-fiction texts. As a result, students enter KS4 as observant readers who better understand perspective and its subjectivities. You can read more about our exciting text choices, as well as our KS4 and KS5 curricula on our main website page.
Our thriving school library is a key resource for our department; it’s a beautiful space, well-stocked with fiction and non-fiction for all age groups. We love to visit the space at break and lunchtimes, where you’ll always find it bustling with students from all year groups: reading; discussing their thinking; playing chess; helping behind the front desk. We’re so proud of our library and use it often as a flexible teaching space for English lessons.
As a department we have strong links to local libraries, universities and performing arts venues, and regularly attend literary events across Cambridge. We also venture further afield, taking pupils on trips to the Globe on London’s South Bank, West End theatres, in addition to venues closer to home. Our links with Cambridge University mean that regular events and visiting speakers are planned with colleges across the university and the team at the University Library, exposing students to high profile literary events run by one of the best universities in the world.
The English department at Chesterton also prides itself on its outreach work: our older students in years 10 to 13 volunteer to work as reading mentors at local primary schools as well as at the central library, and regularly visit local care homes to read aloud to residents.
We hope we’ve given you a flavour here of how our department works, what’s important to us, and the kind of experience we’re always striving to provide for students at Chesterton. We welcome visits to the school and department itself from prospective colleagues, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Michaela, our head of faculty, for more information.