Expectation & Excellence
established 1546



“Words, words, words.” - William Shakespeare.

Our aim in the English Department is to enthuse students with a love of the English language, a passion for ideas and an empathy for the experiences and perspectives of others. We also aim to equip students with the tools to respond to texts in a mature, thoughtful and independent way. As a department, we follow shared schemes of work but have the flexibility to teach to our diverse enthusiasms.

- Mrs Harvey, Head of English




Mrs Harvey Head of English; Assistant Head
I joined the English department in 1999, and despite significant curriculum changes during my time here, the one constant has been the brilliant books we get to teach every year. I particularly enjoy the A-Level texts, such as 'King Lear', Philip Larkin’s 'The Whitsun Weddings' and the literature of the First World War. It’s great to hear GCSE students finding new things to say about texts we have taught for many years – it’s impossible to get bored with 'Of Mice and Men'! I hope in the near future W.B. Yeats or Ben Okri make an appearance on a syllabus, as they were the writers who inspired me as a Sixth Former many moons ago. In my spare time, I am an amateur musician, playing the cornet with Sidmouth Town Band.

Mrs Bean Second in English
I teach across all the Key Stages, my favourite aspects of English being novels and poetry. The ending of ‘Of Mice and Men’ still brings a tear to my eye, despite having taught it for over nine years, and I particularly enjoy teaching William Blake’s poetry in Year 13. The best element of teaching English, for me, is seeing students develop confidence in their own independent ideas and responses to texts, especially when they illuminate an aspect of a text I have never noticed before. Away from school, I have a young family, and when I’m not spending time with them, I enjoy cycling.

Mr Bush English Teacher
I was head of English from 1992-2010, and was an Assistant Headteacher from 2008-2017. I did an MA in creative writing in 1986. I run both the school's film club and the student reporters club.

Mrs Ellis English Teacher
I studied English literature at university focusing on the analysis of literary theory and using these concepts in creative writing. I therefore enjoy getting pupils to analyse the intentions of the author and the conventions of genre and seeing the results of pupils structuring these ideas into their own writing. I spend much of my free time in Bristol watching classical concerts, opera and theatre. In more tranquil moments, I write poetry.


In English we balance a solid grounding in the basics with the encouragement to think independently and creatively. A key focus throughout all Years is on students’ personal response to words, images and wider patterns, and therefore discussing ideas and listening to other people’s views is common in class work. Skills and topics assessed at GCSE and A-Level are initially developed in the younger years, so students feel a sense of consistency and familiarity with the requirements of external exams. We study a range of Literary texts in the younger years, and teachers have the flexibility to select those texts they most enjoy and, more importantly, feel their students will respond best to. In Year 8, all students have a fortnightly Drama lesson, which often ties into their English studies, but which also introduces them to Drama as a subject in its own right.

At AS and A-Level, students are supported to be independent readers and thinkers, often able to select their own texts for study and to choose their own titles thoughtfully. Students are well supported, however, when it comes to forming their responses in a clear and sophisticated manner. Throughout all Years, we encourage respect and empathy for alternative ideas and experiences, using the Literature we teach to challenge students’ preconceptions. We aim to offer each Year a range of enrichment opportunities, be they theatre trips, residential trips, writing workshops or author visits. We also keep students informed about a range of local and national competitions. Over the last few years, Colyton students have achieved highly in a number of national competitions. This year, enrichment activities have included: Year 7 visit to see children’s author Chris Bradford; Year 8 visit and writing workshop with The Two Steves; Year 8 visit from touring Shakespeare company; Year 11 Writing Workshop with Philip Gross; Year 11 theatre trip to see ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’; Year 11 theatre trip to see ‘The Great Gatsby’ ballet and a Year 12 residential trip to the battlefields of WWI.