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Our aim is to teach children how to use English, whether in its spoken or written form, as efficiently, concisely, imaginatively, and accurately as possible – and to help them enjoy discovering its huge potential for communicating the full range of human experience.

In the Junior Department, children acquire basic reading and writing skills. There is daily fun with phonics, one to one reading and reading in groups, handwriting practice and discovering spelling patterns. A Beechwood Park child starts to become a writer of words and sentences, learning, as he or she goes, how to organize and punctuate writing. By the end of Year 2 in the Junior Department, most are independent readers raring to go, many having proudly read their first ‘chapter’ books!

In the Middle Department, words are chosen for their effect. The concept of using powerful and purposeful verbs and adjectives is introduced, as the child’s vocabulary broadens with daily reading both at home and frequently to the class teacher or teaching assistant. Writing is now paragraphed with the full range of punctuation taught and used by the end of Year 5.

Children read in both guided reading groups as well as undertaking independent reading in the library and by sharing a whole class text. Handwriting is cursive and joined, with best work attractively presented in increasingly individual styles. Children take part in the annual Verse Speaking Competition, both as individuals and by performing a whole class poem in their teaching groups to parents and peers.

The Senior Department consists of three year-groups. In the first of these, Year 6, we prepare children for their KS2, 11+ and some entrance to senior school tests; we introduce them to their first Shakespeare play. In Year 7 we begin the Common Entrance and scholarship syllabuses in earnest; we prepare 12+ entrance assessment candidates for their respective exams; trips and outings include a visit to the Globe in London; we deepen pupils’ knowledge both of language and of literature. Year 7 pupils have the chance to participate in the Beechwood Park Summer Shakespeare Competition; advanced comprehension skills are honed, and the spelling, punctuation and grammar syllabus becomes correspondingly more challenging. In the Top Form (Year 8) we prepare pupils for the 13+ Common Entrance and scholarship examinations.

Creative writing is encouraged and developed through preparation for national events such as the 500 word short story competition.

Readathon and World Book Day celebrations, together with reading records and weekly Library lessons contribute to prioritising and holding reading as a central focus of English at Beechwood.