If a child has confidence in English, that has benefits for him or her in all other subjects at school. So, a fundamental aim of the teaching of English is to instil the confidence to enable a child to stand up in public and speak to a crowd, to write interesting and imaginative stories, and to express an opinion, which is not just an echo of someone else’s idea. And, in parallel, to discover the pleasure of reading broadly and fluently.
Enthusiastic teaching is the key to all this and, at Abberley, the children are privileged to be taught by a variety of staff, exposing them to different areas of special interest and emphasis.
The curriculum is based on the syllabus for the Common Entrance examination, or the various Scholarship requirements and is sufficiently flexible to allow staff to express their individuality.
Particular importance is given to reading; the boarders have half an hour to read before they go to sleep at night and our timetable includes regular periods set aside for quiet reading. The well-stocked Library is regularly updated with new publications and the children’s reading is monitored carefully by English staff. It is recognised that some children need extra help and specialist tuition is available from the Learning Support Department.
Every term there is a large Book Fair for the whole school when an outside bookshop visits the school for a day and visiting authors hold workshops for the children.
Handwriting is specifically taught during the first two years and, thereafter, children are encouraged to develop a stylish and legible hand as they progress through the school.
We encourage the children to express themselves with originality and to gain experience of a variety of forms of poetry and prose and we hold a humorous verse competition annually. The resultant ability to talk to a group is a useful skill whatever one’s chosen career. Children are taken to a huge variety of plays with one theatre trip being made each term if suitable plays are available.
EAL (English as an Additional Language) lessons from a qualified teacher are offered to all overseas students. As well as teaching the children on a 1:1 or group basis as appropriate, the teacher also plays a large part in helping the foreign students integrate into life at an English boarding school.