English Masterclass Programme
The Bede's English department runs three different kinds of English Masterclass as part of the Co-Curricular Programme.
Our First Year and Fifth Form Masterclass programmes run in evenings once a month and are invite-only activities, welcoming the highest-achieving pupils from Year 9, 10 and 11 to a series of lectures about great writers, writing and literature.
The Sixth Form programme meanwhile runs weekly, on Thursday afternoons, and is open to all pupils from the Lower and Upper Sixth.
In terms of how the Masterclasses function, a major rule of thumb is that no additional work is set during the sessions; they are much less about pupils writing than about reading and discussion, and in many ways they function similarly to University lecturers and seminars.
During the First Year English Masterclass Programme, for example, Mr Vaux guides pupils through the key movements and genres of English literary history, starting with the notion of the Western Canon and working through key artistic movements, great works, and the development of Liberal, Marxist, Feminist, Psychoanalytic and Post-Colonial Literary Theory.
In the Fifth Form, Mr Sealey then hosts monthly sessions for both Lower and Upper Fifth pupils, taking a more thematic approach; covering topics such as 'Fools', 'Villains' and 'Feasts', groups read extracts from a range of great texts, debate, and develop personal views and attitudes on subjects and writers that most readers would not encounter during their GCSE years.
Finally, in Mr Cheshire's Sixth Form Masterclass Programme, attendees are challenged to bring their own extracts based on a stimulus before reading and sharing their thoughts and ideas about them.
With Mr Cheshire always bringing his own inspirational, divisive, thought-provoking extracts to the sessions, the scheme functions both as an extension of the Cambridge Pre-U English programme and as an enjoyable way for any lover of literature to pass their afternoons in outstanding company.
“ It is through reading and writing that we discover who we are, or who we want to be. In each piece of writing, I want my pupils to have the chance to reinvent themselves. ”
Matt Oliver, Head of English and Dicker House TutorLearn more about the Bede's English department
English News and Blogs
22 August 2019
Bede’s pupils have achieved another excellent set of GCSE result with 78% of grades at 9 – 5 level, the equivalent of A*-B.
15 August 2019
Congratulations to this year’s Upper Sixth who achieved 70% A*- B grades with half of all grades at A*- A.
18 June 2019
Mr Vaux reports on the recent First Year and Lower First Year trip to Shakespeare’s Globe.
English Masterclass Programme staff
“One of the best things about being a teacher is that you don't just teach - you continue to learn at the same time.”
David Cheshire, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, Teacher of English and Dicker House Tutor
“Working at Bede's is a dream job. I get to share my unquenchable passion for literature with a new generation of fertile minds in an inspirational, supportive environment - it is a joy and a privilege.”
Justin Sealey, Camberlot Deputy Housemaster and Teacher of English
“I am deeply passionate about the kind of education available to children at Bede's. It is extremely rare for a school to offer so much to its pupils.”
Martin Vaux, Teacher of English and Knights House Tutor