“Language most shows a man; speak, that I may see you.” Ben Johnson.

Welcome to the English Department. We, the faculty members, guide young learners to confidently create milestones of success, as they journey ahead in the competitive world of education. Years of outstanding results at the London Board examinations is clear reflection of the persevering, collaborative effort of all the faculty members.

English Language, an essential foundation for success in all subjects, is a compulsory subject and the medium of teaching. As the global language of communication, it is necessary for children’s well-being to achieve fluency in reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of the language . At St.Mary’s , the English Language and Literature Curriculum is based on the National Literacy Strategy framework and Edexcel Scheme of Work .
The aim of the Department is to equip beginners in the Lower Primary, students in the Upper Primary, as well as Secondary, with the essential skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing and facilitate the adaption and use of the English language as a powerful tool of communication of views, concepts, thoughts, and feelings. The study of Language and Literature, integrating the four modes of the language – listening, speaking, reading and writing is a holistic experience and embodies the aspirations of the Department.
Speaking and Listening is crucial for learning the language. The wide range of speaking and listening activities – poetry recitation, reading aloud, oral narration of stories, recounts, giving a talk/speech, group discussions, debates, problem solving activities and role-play, offer ample opportunities for students of all grades to develop creative and critical thinking, develop understanding of the language , develop vocabulary and build knowledge , select the appropriate register for effective communication through attentive listening, questioning, suggesting reasons, speculating, hypothesising.
Speaking and Listening complements Reading and Writing. Students are provided broad, exciting and enjoyable reading experiences throughout the Primary and Secondary years. Students experience the joy of learning the language through imaginative, fiction texts – stories, novels, plays, poetry, and factual non-fiction texts – autobiography/biography, diary entries, letters, and media texts. The contextual, grammatical learning experiences of fiction and non-fiction texts contribute towards developing the mechanics of the language. Reading strategies are taught to support their developing fluency and confidence in reading. While teaching reading, we foster in students an enduring love of and need for reading. Teaching reading strategies supports the early development of emergent literacy. Reading strategies are consistently reinforced using higher level reading resources in Secondary school.
The big challenges in achieving the aim of fluency and confidence in reading, despite the increasing demands posed by modern technology, relate to comprehension and critical literacy : interpretation, inference, response to, evaluation of media, non-fiction and fiction texts. Whereas, writing, both creative and critical, presents a different challenge than reading to comprehend, because, like speaking , its focus is on language production – to communicate ideas matching it to purpose, audience, form and style.
Achieving competence in writing is fundamental to progress in school, to success in higher education and in the work place. The English Language and Literature curriculum focuses on writing activities that are relevant to students’ lives and needs. A wide range of forms of writing – narratives, explanations, descriptions, recounts, reports, arguments and discussions, comparisons, evaluations and summaries, is practised in Primary and Secondary English language lessons. The writing activities make the acquisition and reinforcement of punctuation and spelling skills a challenging and enjoyable experience. A developmental approach to teaching writing, emphasising on composition, is the norm. In most grades, shared writing is practised to enable students to develop into competent writers.
Evidently, the English curriculum is complex, challenging and fascinating. The study of English Language and Literature, in school, enables students to develop to full potential, communicate effectively, achieve excellent results, and make a difference in their lives, in their society and the world at large.