Margaret Atwood


    English at Ryde School encourages each student to find their own voice, through the written or spoken word, to become a confident individual who can think clearly and communicate effectively, whether it be a piece of creative writing, literary criticism, a job application or a persuasive speech.

    In the Lower School, our students enjoy a rich and varied diet of poetry, novels and plays from different eras, as well as journalistic and other texts. They also have the opportunity to develop their own writing skills, learning how to adapt the language and content of their pieces according to genre, purpose and audience. Meanwhile, a timetabled library lesson once a fortnight allows them the additional time and freedom to explore and refine their literary tastes, or to discover new favourites.

    In Years 10 and 11, students work towards Edexcel International GCSE qualifications in English Language and English Literature. They study non-fiction and media texts, short stories and poetry from different eras and cultures, covering a variety of themes. They also read a novel, a Shakespeare play and a modern drama text, while honing their ability to write descriptively, creatively, analytically and persuasively.

    In the Sixth Form, we currently offer AQA A Level English Literature and AQA AS English Language, as well as IB English at both Standard and Higher Levels. These courses offer students the opportunity to study our language more closely and a range of interlinked texts in more depth, to enable them to adopt an increasingly independent, critical perspective across genres and the wider literary canon. Students go on to pursue the arguably unparalleled variety of university courses and careers for which studying English at this level is a highly valued preparation.

    The English Department hosts an ever-increasing number of extra-curricular activities and events that aim to inspire students and show them where English can take them, both during and beyond their school lives. The Debating and Public Speaking Society, as well as its Lower School counterpart, offers students the chance to learn those invaluable skills and put them to the test in local and national competitions. The Creative Writing Club seeks to nurture budding novelists, playwrights, screenwriters and poets.  We also have a student School Poet, appointed as part of our celebration of National Poetry Day, and we are proud to welcome professional writers and performers, including some of those here for the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, to visit us and share their knowledge and experience. Meanwhile, tomorrow’s journalists are given a taste of life in a newsroom, as part of the annual BBC News School Report project and we also publish our own student-led Inkling Magazine every term.

    Both within and beyond the classroom, we aim to foster a love of literature and language, along with intellectual curiosity and the ability to think critically and independently. Students are challenged to read, comprehend, interpret, write and debate, to equip them with the skills they need for the future, while developing the appreciation of the written and spoken arts that will enrich their lives, whatever path they choose.

    "Find enough clever things to say, and you're a Prime Minister; write them down and you're a Shakespeare"



    © 2019 Ryde School