The English Faculty at Bedford School is devoted to nurturing the intellectual development of every student through an engagement with quality works of literature. We value above all the habit of reading and the practice of critical enquiry that enriches the academic and personal growth of any young mind.
The English Faculty seeks to provide every pupil with a comprehensive, stimulating and successful education in all aspects of English Language and Literature. Whether it be nurturing creative writing skills, engaging in independent research or building confidence as a public speaker, the Faculty provides an environment that challenges the boys to improve, but also to take a few risks along the way.
We place a strong emphasis on the fundamentals of effective writing in Fourth to Fifth Forms and require the students to value the accuracy of their communication and, as importantly, to give them the tools to engage in more challenging arguments and analytical approaches that open up the subject and give real freedom to the learner. Each boy is asked to create a literacy profile that encourages them to address strengths and weaknesses, but also to apply a more diverse and ambitious prose style to their work. As much as possible, we aim to teach the mechanics of English through passages of quality literature and through the example of established writers.
Every boy is encouraged to read and their private reading is tracked and reviewed by their teacher. Whether it be the ‘reluctant reader’ or the next Oxbridge hopeful, every boy will have care and attention given to their journey through literary works. It is our aim to cover a diverse range of texts and to provide equally for the full range of ability in the school’s intake. We hope to ensure that all boys are curious about literature and connected not only to books, but to the plethora of moral, spiritual and personal dimensions that great books facilitate and promote.
The English Faculty is housed in the Rice Building, a large and attractive Edwardian town house on the edge of the school campus. The six English classrooms are each well-stocked with a diverse range of literary texts, and equipped with interactive whiteboards and other AV equipment.
Boys are encouraged to frequent the library and, in particular, make use of the extensive online resources available to them, including The Cambridge Companions Online and JSTOR. We have a growing online presence via the English Firefly site where departmental resources are shared and boys contribute in online forums devoted to reading and review.
There is always something going on in the English Faculty from marquee lectures, to small workshop meetings in a classroom at lunchtime.
The English Society is open to all boys and is a student led group that meets each week to explore literary works that range from the most established pillars of the canon to the most innocuous new writers. We invite performance poets, local writers, established lecturers and the boys themselves to deliver talks and workshops. We organise for boys to see the drama texts they study in the theatre and run frequent trips to London, Cambridge, Stratford, Oxford and beyond to ensure they get a taste for dramatic art. We also organise for boys to attend lecture days or online lectures in areas relevant to their study or interests.
The faculty runs three major prizes each year (The Fowles Prize, The Detweiler Prize and The Archie Wellbelove Prize) that encourage the boys to submit critical and creative work they have produced outside of the classroom. Boys are also encouraged to enter external creative writing prizes and poetry recital competitions.
The faculty is also responsible for the debating and public speaking teams and societies. These societies meet on a weekly basis and enter major national competitions, such as the ESU public speaking and Mace Debate competitions.