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Our aim is to introduce our students to the widest possible range of poets, novelists, playwrights and non-fiction writers. We believe that as learners grapple with the widest possible range of texts, the deeper their understanding and enjoyment will be. That will have a positive impact not simply on their reading and writing in English but on their learning across all subject areas.

At Key Stage 3, our students read whole texts, such as Marcus Sedgewick's The Foreshadowing and Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. We also introduce them to Shakespeare, and a wide selection of poetry, from ballads to sonnets. Our writers experiment with a range of different styles: newspaper articles, letters and reports, short stories and descriptions.

We encourage students to keep a reading journal and to make the most of our superb library, where our librarian, Glenda Murphy, ensures that we stock the latest best-sellers, such as Frances Hardinge's Costa-award winning The Lie Tree as well as the classics. We offer students the opportunity to shadow the short-list of the Carnegie Children's Literature award and participate in a range of writing competitions. Our students participate in public speaking competitions and debates to increase their verbal dexterity and they also have the opportunity to participate in our Film Club, writing scripts and making short films.

At Key Stage 4, we concentrate on preparing students for their IGCSEs in English Language and English Literature. We build on our students' knowledge of Shakespeare, engage them with 19th century classics and explore anthologies of poetry covering our lyrical heritage from the 17th century to poetry written only a few years ago. We also help our students to learn the essential skills of editing, proof-reading and redrafting, as well as polishing their reading comprehension and analytical skills.

We also offer further opportunities to hone debating skills, direct and edit short films and to participate in the Fifth Form Book Club where we read for pleasure and curiosity, discovering more about genre classics such as Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Life of Pi.

Every student in the Sixth Form must study English, and our students make the choice between the IB English Literature course and the English Language & Literature course. Both entail wide reading as well as more intensive study of set texts. Our students have the opportunity to engage with Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, the lively verse of our Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and classics from the US such as The Great Gatsby and The Crucible. Individual teachers also have the opportunity to introduce students to a wide range of genres and styles, from memoir to graphic novels.

In addition, at King William's College, we host writers and poets such as Mark Grist and the Manx Bard, Stacey Astill. We also support the Writers' Day for local authors operated by the Manx LitFest, now in its fifth year. We produce magazines of student writing as well as our official school magazine, The Barrovian. We hope that all our students will leave school with a profound love of reading and an ability to write clear, confident English.


Group 1 courses are intended to develop a sophisticated appreciation of the aesthetic, social and cultural aspects of literature and language.

All students study English as a Group 1 subject; those fluent in a second language, notably German, may choose to study two languages in Group 1. Students have the choice of two different English options: Literature or combined Language and Literature. Those students planning to read English Literature at university are recommended to take the Literature option. The Language and Literature course explores modes of communication in greater depth together with the analysis of major literary texts.

Students may choose to study either option at Higher or Standard Level.

I loved King William’s College from the start. I made up my mind within an hour of our time there that I wanted my son to attend. You have to come to College to understand what makes it stand out from the rest. It is a place of genuinely caring and friendly people. Another aspect of College we love is its vast international community. Our son has made some great friends and as a result has come to appreciate and respect other cultures and traditions. Our son loves College. He loves the independence to make choices, the easy access he has to his tutors, the opportunity to make his own mistakes and learn from them, but most of all, he loves the fact that expert assistance is always a breath away.

U5 Overseas Parent