English as a First Language

Pupils in Years 9 and 10 who have an intermediate and higher proficiency in English enjoy a varied course in which a range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, are studied and created.

Assessment is ongoing throughout the year and we aim to improve the English proficiency of all our pupils through focused work in the key skills of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. In addition, our more proficient students are taught language through literature with the study of a Shakespeare play, a variety of poetry, both heritage and contemporary, and at least two novels (one contemporary, one from the 19th century). This gives our pupils a solid base for the various GCSE and IGCSE courses that they move on to in the following years.

Year 11 pupils who follow the English as First Language course, study and create a variety of complex, challenging and interesting texts, both fiction and non-fiction. The course develops and enhances high proficiency in English by discussing, editing and crafting writing as well as debating how writers use language to create meaning. In addition to written English, pupils create and perform their own individual presentation on a topic of their choice; they are assessed on their ability to present, listen to follow up questions and then respond appropriately. The course is inventive, interactive and discussion-heavy, with emphasis on the wider reading of challenging English-language novels as a way of engaging with and improving on skills inherent in the study of English.

There are further opportunities for pupils to develop their English throughout the year such as theatre trips that complement the English courses, a focus on regular silent reading for pleasure, engagement in debating clubs both at The Mount, Mill Hill International and Mill Hill School and a partnership with Grimsdell pre-prep school in which Year 9 and 10 pupils are paired up with Reception pupils as regular guided reading buddies.