Beyond the classroom
Our commitment to reading is our priority. We have a ‘reading calendar’ that is sent out to parents and displayed prominently in the school. The calendar has a plan of all the activities over the academic year that are directly linked to reading: meet the author and author visits, book fairs, whole school competitions and evening events for the parents. We also provide an opportunity for pupils to review draft manuscripts and current books that they are reading.
We are very lucky to have a direct link with ‘Hayling Island Bookshop’. This is an independent bookshop that recommends new authors and titles that our children will not be exposed to on the High Street.
Theatre trips for all of the year groups are very important as they bring texts alive and enable the pupils to see the characters that they have previously imagined. By visiting the theatre regularly, the pupils are encouraged to develop their critical eye and analyse the effectiveness of the performance. We also have different actors visiting the school to do workshops with the pupils. For example, we invite Shakespeare4Kids to work with our Year 6 pupils when we introduce them to, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. The pupils are involved with performing different key scenes together which is an excellent way to study Shakespeare, especially as he never wrote his plays to be read!
Debating is an area in itself that is linked to English. We introduce pupils to debating via inter-patrol competitions in Years 6, 7 and 8. We plan parents versus pupils debates once a term, and we organise fixtures against other prep schools including Brighton College Prep and Lancing Prep.
I have been teaching English for twenty-five years in a variety of different schools and settings. I have picked up an eclectic mix of ingredients along my journey to create a unique English recipe for Westbourne House. It is an excellent formula academically, culturally and socially. This is evident in our Year 8s when they leave the school: in their results and in the children themselves, who are articulate teenagers.
I am passionate about English. I believe that through my energy, experience and enthusiasm I make the love of words and literature infectious, even contagious, throughout the school.