‘Literature offers a language powerful enough to say how life is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place’.    Jeanette Winterson

Our students’ study of Literature and English Language encourages them to become confident thinkers, readers and writers.

We believe that literature is a ‘finding place’; a place to gain a sense of self in the world. Through the study of a wide range of novels, poetry and plays, we encourage students to engage with important questions about the wider world and to consider what it means to be human in a time of rapid change. Through our study of Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, we make connections with developing technologies and the ethical issues these raise. Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ provokes debate about power and strength, and our attitudes to ‘outsiders’. Through Literature and non-fiction texts, our pupils experience life in different times and places, and from different perspectives to their own. Students begin to recognise that the only constant is change.

Discussion is at the heart of our pupils’ learning. We want our students to be able to articulate clearly considered points of view and justify these with conviction and evidence. We want them to be able to differentiate between substance and prevarication or mere assertion. Our pupils will learn critical thinking skills in order to able to effectively weigh evidence and come to sound conclusions. Their lessons will support them to do this through carefully structured tasks and questioning. English teaching at Ditcham encourages pupils to be thoughtful, adaptable and resilient in the face of challenge.

Once discussion has enabled students to work through ideas collaboratively, pupils are taught to craft ideas into accurate and engaging writing. Emphasis is placed on clarity and precision of written communication, as well as knowledge of devices that give writing power and clear purpose.

Finally, we want our students to understand the relevance of English in their lives. We encourage this through involvement in a wide range of extra-curricular activities and events including: BBC Schools News Reporter; English Speaking Union debate competitions; Shakespeare By Heart; National Essay Writing competitions; and theatre trips.

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