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The focus of the teaching of English at Notre Dame is fundamentally on reading, writing, speaking and interaction. Our philosophy stems from fostering a love of the English Language in all of its forms: from classic literature to modern texts; from poetry through the ages to contemporary verse; from the development of language to how it works in today’s society.

Our English specialists come from an eclectic background which complements the multi-faceted approach we adopt in delivering our subject. Our primary concern is to build on – and extend – the reading skills developed at Key Stage 2, and ensure that the reading habit is continued through our Library Passport and Project system, holiday reading, and expectation that reading is at the very core of progression, not only in English but in all subjects.


The enjoyment of studying English and English Literature is at the heart of our teaching. Lessons are diverse, challenging and interactive with high expectations of all students. Students are taught to read and evaluate texts critically, using the knowledge gained from reading to inform their own writing. We expect them to acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, and use it in the appropriate form with accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling. In short, we equip them with the skills that universities and future employees seek in young people.

Our enrichment programme complements and extends enthusiasm for the subject: Public Speaking competitions run across the whole of the school, with all students given the opportunity to develop their confidence in speaking in front of an audience; the end of year whole school competition takes place in our own theatre where students are given the platform to speak to a wider audience; poetry competitions are run by our resident teaching poets, both of whom have had their own work published, and performance poetry is actively encouraged; visiting authors are invited to come and talk to the girls about a range of topics, ranging from the importance of reading and writing stories to creative writing; Shakespeare theatre groups are invited to perform in the theatre in order to bring these texts to life.

English at Notre Dame is designed to develop a wide range of talents and interests.


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