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In the English Department at Northfields International School, our primary aim is to nurture an appreciation and love of language and literature. We offer our students the opportunity to explore, experience and create all elements of the written and spoken form in order to equip them with highly refined skills and enthuse them about the subject.

We pride ourselves on being a subject which is full of variety. Teachers within the faculty employ a range of teaching styles, strategies and activities to ensure that our students thoroughly engage and interact with the teaching. One day we may be exploring personal experience through writing a poem or composing a chapter of an autobiography. Another day we may be reading a challenging text where the rich and subtle language make it ripe for exploration. We could be debating a current issue, writing our own speeches, or we could be comparing and analysing the ways in which different sorts of newspapers cover the same story.  The English Faculty at Northfields International School is there to help our students develop as successful readers and writers so asto provide them with an enjoyable time while learning. Our department is fully staffed with competent teachers who all bring forward something special in the teaching of our students and who all come from a range of teaching experiences and backgrounds.

Objectives and challenges

The English Faculty believes it is essential that we maintain a rigorous reading culture amongst our students. It is through reading that young people become world citizens, develop compassion and understanding of others.

Reading is essential, it will help with the tasks of essay writing, building vocabulary and expanding a solid repertoire of words.

We encourage personal reading in school by integrating 10 minutes of personal reading in most of our lessons. We encourage students to discuss and share their opinions on what they have read by including periodic presentations.

It is important for students to discover an unknown world, get lost in a book...

The English Faculty prides itself in offering students a holistic learning experience. We like to integrate various activities and competitions as part of our curriculum in order to develop essential skills that are necessary to develop our students into confident young adults who can function successfully in the real world. We also like to do this…for fun! We love a bit of competition!

The English Faculty organises cultural events at the end of each term:

  • Term 1: Inter-House Debate
  • Term 2: Inter-House Public Speaking
  • Term 3: Inter-House Spelling Bee

We expect all of our students to participate in these events as much possible in order to develop their skills and in order to contribute to the points for their respective Houses.

The school also enters and participates in all English Speaking Union competitions.

We have prepared and successfully taken students to the finals of both Public Speaking and Spelling Bee competitions.

Our students have also been national winners for the Spelling Bee for a number of years.

The Academic Programmes

Year 5-6

The lower prep school English department has the important task of ensuring that students have the reading and writing skills that are necessary to access content from all subject areas. The role of the department is to ensure that students become comfortable in an environment where English is the main language of instruction and to prepare students who are about to enter secondary school with the skills they will need as they progress to studying specialist subjects. Furthermore, the study of English provides students with the skills they will need in their everyday lives.

Emphasis is placed on passing on the skills necessary for students to become lifelong readers. The primary school has its own library, a place that students are encouraged to visit as often as possible so that they may read frequently and be exposed to a wide range of genres of both fiction and non- fiction books. It is important for students to not only develop a love of books, but to also develop the skills to share their own opinions and responses to what they read.

Students are also encouraged to develop skills necessary for spoken expression in a variety of contexts and forms including drama, debating, public speaking and group tasks.

Students at Northfields have seven hours of English per week. The week is divided up as follows:

MONDAY: Word Work
TUESDAY: Reading
FRIDAY: Novel Study

The year is divided into three terms, at the end of which, students receive a report. Each term, assessment is based on two comprehension assignments, one writing assignments, one novel-based
project and weekly spelling tests

Year 7-9

Our younger students are instilled with the skills they need to be confident readers and writers through Literature and Language lessons. They are introduced to narrative writing, analytical writing (using PEE), descriptive writing and persuasive writing.  They are exposed to a wide variety of novels, plays and poetry to develop an understanding and appreciation of texts of different genres. They are encouraged to read independently and formulate opinions on characters, themes, symbols and the plot.  Emphasis is placed on grammar and punctuation and students are encouraged to focus on the accuracy and structure of their writing. Students are also taught editing skills to improve the quality of their written work. They are encouraged via discussions to evaluate, argue and develop their thinking on complex issues.

Year 10 and 11

The Cambridge IGCSE syllabus for English First Language is a two- year programme. The aims and objectives are the same for both years as specified in the syllabus provided by the University of Cambridge International Examination Syndicate. The course aims to enable students to communicate accurately, appropriately and effectively in speech and writing, to understand and respond appropriately to what they hear, read and experience. It also encourages students to enjoy and appreciate variety of language and complement students’ other areas of study by developing skills of a more general application. The course also promotes students’ personal development and an understanding of themselves and others.  At the end of the two-year course, students are assessed through a Reading passages paper and a Directed writing and composition paper.

Alternatively, Students with English as a second language can opt for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language, a two-year programme aimed to develop learners’ ability to use English effectively for the purpose of practical communication, form a solid foundation for the skills required for further study or employment using English as the medium, develop learners’ awareness of the nature of language and language-learning skills and promote learners’ personal development. At the end of the two-year course, students are assessed through a Reading and writing paper and a speaking and listening examination.

The Cambridge IGCSE Literature (English) is a two year programme that aims to develop learners who enjoy the experience of reading literature, understand and respond to literary texts in different forms and from different periods and cultures, communicate an informed personal response appropriately and effectively, appreciate different ways in which writers achieve their effects, experience literature’s contribution to aesthetic, imaginative and intellectual growth and explore the contribution of literature to an understanding of areas of human concern. At the end of the two-year course, students are assessed through a Poetry and Prose paper and a Drama paper.

Year 12 and 13

The IB Diploma Programme, English A: Literature is taught over a period of 2 years with HL students studying 13 text books and SL students studying 11 text books. There is a combination of both written and oral examinations. Students study a variety of genres and sit two papers for their final exams. There are are 2 oral examinations which enable students to develop both written and oral skills. it is an enriching programme which enables students to understand human strengths and weaknesses.

The English Language course (9093) is a two-year course for students wishing to complete the full A-Level qualification, or a one-year course for students who wish to sit only the AS qualification. The whole programme is mainly focused on skills on developing skills of critical analysis, with a key focus being on the use of writers’ language and style. Creative, descriptive, narrative writing, as well as discursive, persuasive and argumentative is also assessed. The course requires the sitting of four papers when completing the A-Level programme and two papers when completing the AS programme:
Paper 1- Passages
Paper 2- Writing
Paper 3- Analysis
Paper 4- Language topics.

The Literature in English course is a two-year programme with students studying a variety of texts from Poetry to Drama and Prose. Students have opportunities to read, analyse and discuss exciting texts including Shakespeare and classical authors such as Austen. (depending on the syllabus) Students sit 4 papers and are assessed as follows:
Paper 3: Poetry and prose
Paper 4: Drama
Paper 5: Shakespeare and other Pre-20th century authors
Paper 7: Comment and Appreciation.