Central to the Department’s ethos is that reading and talking about what has been read are not only joyful things to spend time doing but are crucial tools in building the intellectual, social and moral life of the individual. Interested people are interesting, thus, from the moment boys arrive in the School, we promote reading inside and outside the classroom.

Our Year 7, 8 and 9 curricula place a diverse range of texts from a wide variety of genres centrally to classroom practice, using these as the springboard for the writing, speaking and listening activities in which boys are engaged. In addition, boys visit the Library once every half term as part of their English lessons. Alongside this, the Year 7 and 8 curricula feature a detailed programme of grammar teaching, whilst the Year 9 curriculum places increasing emphasis on the development of the formal essay writing skills so crucial to success at IGCSE.

In Year 10 and 11, boys follow the CIE IGCSE English Language and English Literature syllabuses, in which they cover both pre and post 20th century texts including the genres of poetry, prose and drama, as well as a range of non-fiction texts and writing styles.

View some of our tips for encouraging boys (and adults) to read more.

  • Sixth Form

    As part of the IB Diploma, all boys continue to study English literature at either Standard or Higher Level. The curriculum presents both boys and teachers with an exciting opportunity to spread literary wings and enjoy a dazzling array of material that is assessed both orally and in writing.

    Every teacher delivers a bespoke course, designed to play to their strengths and interests whilst meeting the requirements of the syllabus. The result is lessons that combine academic rigour with the enthusiasm and energy born of genuine expertise and interest. Lessons are run as seminars in which boys are actively encouraged to lead discussion, bring independent reading and research to the table, and challenge ideas. There is a buzz around IB English that extends to the discussions boys have in the corridors and common room.

  • Beyond the classroom

    The department is committed to the wider life of the School and runs Bookworms (a book club for younger boys), drama groups, Literary Society, and Writers’ Society, which also produces an annual magazine of boys’ contributions. Members of the department also prepare applicants for Oxford and Cambridge; coach competition debating; edit the School’s annual magazine, Chronicle; produce some of the School’s plays; lead an annual creative writing residential trip; work alongside the library to run the Book Box programme; enter boys for national writing competitions; and organise and lead theatre trips.


Find out more information about the School’s library and download reading lists for different year groups from the library page.

BLOCK magazine

BLOCK is King Edward’s School’s writing magazine. The magazine is produced annually and past editions can be viewed on the student publications page.

Latest English news


Jonathan Coe returns to King Edward’s School

Bestselling author and Old Edwardian (1979) Jonathan Coe will be returning to King Edward's School on Thursday 9 February


Pupil receives royal response to HRH Prince Philip tribute

Year 8 pupil Harman has received a letter from The Queen in response to his tribute poem about the late Duke of Edinburgh.

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