English at Caldicott is a major subject, one in which we try to help each boy to achieve their full potential in both the use and understanding of the language. We also encourage them to appreciate the power and the beauty of the language in both written and spoken forms.

We aim specifically to help each boy achieve success at Common Entrance or Scholarship to the school of their choice, commensurate with his ability and aspirations.

Given that literature is at the very heart of English in Scholarship, Common Entrance and beyond, we aim to take a ‘book-centred’ approach to the teaching of English. Our intention is to engender a genuine interest in, and passion for, English; particularly reading and writing, both for study and for pleasure.

The nature of the subject is such that progress is recursive, rather than linear, and is based on developing skills rather than topic-specific knowledge. As such, the need for regular reinforcement of the basic skills is essential.

All boys gain experiences (actual or vicarious), which help their maturation, from intellectual challenge appropriate to their age and ability, through varied and appropriate reading materials, discussion, drama and writing.


Reading is one of the most important things that boys do at Caldicott. The importance of building a wide vocabulary, the ability to command a correct and fluent syntax, enjoying the journeys that fictional stories can provide, all combine to give a well-read child a greater sense of humanity, qualities of decency and goodness, a developed lively imagination and of course, a heightened awareness of effective communication between each other. The impact that it has on their writing is immeasurable.

There is a strong reading culture at Caldicott. Boys are often seen reading in their own time and seen wandering around the school with a book in hand. Boys in Years 3 and 4 are encouraged to read during their English lessons every morning. With guidance from the class teacher, a rota of parents read with each Junior class. Teachers liaise with the parents on a regular basis about the development of children’s reading and, over the course of the year, parents develop a good knowledge of the reading level of the boys and offer valuable support. This system is an important part of the progression of boys’ reading during the first two years at Caldicott.

Reading in Year 5 and 6 is monitored in a similar way and this happens within their English lessons with their teachers.

Once the boys begin boarding in the Year 7 they have the opportunity to read in their dormitory for 30 minutes most nights and there are two reading periods assigned during the time-tabled week.


Dave Evans - Head of English






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