Skip to content ↓

The English department strives to ensure that all students develop a love of language and literature, whilst also developing their proficiency in reading, writing and communication skills.


The limits of my language are the limits of my world.



Creative Writing club - Wednesday after school

Film club - Wednesdays after school

Luncheons and Dragons (board games) - Thursday lunch times

Why study this subject? 

English is vital to all students, whether they are entering the work force or furthering their studies. English enhances every career path through the skills developed in communication and creativity. Employers expect young people to be able to articulate their ideas in spoken and written form, and to have a mature understanding of both the self and others. 

Topics of study and assignments

In Year 7 you will learn a variety of fiction and non-fiction text to understand genre and writing for different audiences. You will learn the craft of writing and how to write detailed responses to questions about texts.

In Year 8 you will gain an increased understanding of audience and purpose and explore how language can be adapted in order to achieve intended effects with your own writing. You will study modern and heritage literature in order to gain the analytical and evaluative skills that will be required for GCSE.

From Year 9 onwards you will read challenging GCSE style texts and develop your analytical and evaluative skills in order to develop an opinion on the characters and themes. You will read poetry, study Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', complete creative writing tasks, compare a range of texts from different centuries and develop your writing skills. Spoken language is also a key element of the English Language GCSE and will require you to give a short presentation on a topic of your choice to a small audience.

The Team

Dawn Gillam is an Associate Assistant Headteacher and Head of Department for English. She has a BA Hons in Key Stage 2 and 3 Education and English with Qualified Teacher Status and a personal interest in providing students with a love of literature.

David Fouracre is the Head of Media Studies and an English teacher. He has a BA Combined Hons, PGCE and is particularly interested in the influence of media texts, intercultural communication and individual learning styles.

Shelley Baker, BA Hons QTS, MA, is the Headteacher. She is interested in personalised learning, partnerships between schools and families and governance in schools.

Elise James, BA Hons, PGCE, MA, is an Assistant Headteacher with a focus on interventions in the classroom. She enjoys building resilience and developing a growth mindset in all learners.

James Rayment, BA Hons, PGCE, is an English teacher and Key Stage 4 Lead with an enthusiasm for poetry and educational research.

Sarah Wenn, BA Hons, MA, PGCE QTS, is an English teacher and Key Stage 3 Lead.

Miracle Weir, BA Hons, Advanced GCE, PGCE, is an English teacher. She is passionate about diversifying the curriculum. 

Nicole Hayes, BA Hons, is an English teacher.

Kieran O'Sullivan, BA Hons, is an English teacher.

Isobel McCall, BA Hons, PGCE, CELTA, is a teacher of English with a personal interest in historical fiction. 

Alicia Sharp, BA Hons, PGCE, is an Early Career Teacher (ECT) in English. She is passionate about encouraging creativity and self expression. 

Benjamin Whiteside, BA Hons in English and Philosophy, Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, PGCE, is an ECT in English. He is passionate about exploring big ideas and challenging concepts with students through the study of literature. 

Nikki Baird, BA Hons, PGCE, is an English teacher. Nikki has a passion for creative writing, gothic literature and educational research.

Livvie Gilpin is a School Direct Apprentice teacher. She enjoys supporting students in their learing.

Tatiana Khalfa, BA Hons, is an English teacher

Lipi Sanyal, BA Hons, MA, GTP, is also interested in developing strategies for EAL students as well as developing literacy in English in Key Stage 3 and 4.

Elaine Kiely, is the Faculty Departmental Assistant.

Events and Activities

We aim to offer trips to watch theatre performances, such as those at Shakespeare's Globe or the Theatre Royal in Brighton; attend the Poetry Live performances in Brighton and often welcome authors and acting companies into school in order to share performances. We hold inter-school writing competitions and have also entered the national poetry competition 'Poetry by Heart'. Recently, we ran the Carnegie book group, which involved both students and teachers meeting on a weekly basis to discuss the shortlisted books.  


Twitter: @VarndeanBooks