Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr (1809–1894) Author, Poet, Physician, and Teacher
The limits of my language are the limits of my world.Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) Philosopher
The careful acquisition of language and the ability to write freely, inventively and accurately are central to our teaching of English. Our aim is to ensure that each pupil achieves their full potential in their time at Oakham, and to instil a joy in the subject.
The English Department comprises a close-knit group of 15 subject specialists, who are committed to sharing their own enthusiasm for the subject, to students of all ages.
In the Lower School, we focus on consolidating spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as promoting good habits, such as alert and intelligent reading. The weekly library lessons are central to reinforcing our pupils’ love of reading through the reading schemes that have been established, over the past few years, in conjunction with library staff. The biennial We are Writers publication showcases pupils’ creative writing and encourages them to craft their work carefully.
In the Third Form, unfettered by public exams, we focus on providing a transition to GCSE by exploring texts and styles of writing and enhancing pupils’ skills through a series of projects and competitions. A highlight is the Shakespeare Project, where students get the chance to visit the Globe theatre in London and watch one of its exciting summer productions.
In the Middle School we follow the Edexcel IGCSE courses; these have been selected to stimulate and engage the students, as well as providing an excellent preparation for post-16 study.
English is a popular choice post-16: students can study English Literature at A-level or in the IB Diploma at Standard or Higher Level
We ensure that students seeking to pursue English beyond School are very well prepared for making their university applications, through Oxbridge classes, extension sessions, a regular programme of Literary Society (LitSoc) talks and, where possible, theatre trips.
I moved to Oakham School in September 2015, having spent 16 years at Stamford High School, where I was Second in Department. My main role at Oakham, in addition to teaching English, has been to supervise the English IGCSE programme. Head of Department from September 2017, I am responsible for leading a team of colleagues delivering a core subject across the entire age range. I also enjoy being an Upper School tutor, working with tutees in Stevens and Round House. I hold an English BA from the University of East Anglia (First Class Hons), an MPhil from UEA for research in Shakespeare's Early Comedies, an MA in Theology from Oxford University, and a PGCE from the Open University. My particular academic interest is 16th and 17th century drama. My wider cultural interests include reading, Latin and French, the theatre and concerts; I also enjoy cycling and walking. I am married, with three very grown-up children and three grandchildren at the latest count.