English: Sussex University Professors Inspire Bede’s Students


On Wednesday 20 April, English students from every year group at Bede’s attended a series of lectures in the Recital Room organised by English teacher Mr Sealey and Head of English Mr Oliver.

Designed in part to give students an insight into the style of teaching that takes place at University and in part to help them to engage with the kind of higher level thinking required at university, a side objective of the day was to emphasise to students how much more to there is to English than what’s necessary to pass a GCSE.


The first talk, which was tailored for Fifth Form and First Year students, saw the topic of Dystopia discussed by Professor Peter Boxall from Sussex University’s English department.

Bede’s Academic Deputy Head Mr Tuson and fellow English teacher Mr Cheshire brought their classes along and dug deep into themes and ideas exploited by Bradbury, Burgess, Atwood and Orwell.

“The talk provided the students with the opportunity to explore topics and ideas which aren’t covered by the curriculum,” Mr Sealey explained, “and which added a richness and depth to the students’ literary knowledge.

“This will hopefully enable them to become more avid and sensitive readers, thus improving their English skills.”


Next, Bede’s Sixth Form Cambridge Pre-U English students attended two lectures entitled “Questioning the Canon” as delivered by Sussex University’s Early Modern Poetry Professor Tom Healy and Sussex Modernism expert Dr Hope Wolf.

Alongside exploring texts including Gawain and The Green Knight and Beowulf, the lectures touched on topics as wide-ranging as philosophy, postmodernism and the absurd, with the Q and A following the talk lasting well into the evening.

“Every English teacher at Bede’s is keen to encourage their students to think about studying Literature at university,” said Mr Oliver. “We also want to make them aware of the rich literary history of the county they go to school in, so are fortunate to be forging links with Sussex University.

“As an institution, Sussex are keen to help Bede’s students learn more about University life and study, and to help the school and the English department to broaden our students’ cultural knowledge, all while getting them great exam results.”


By putting on this event, Mr Sealey and Mr Oliver hope that Bede’s English department can continue to lead the way in enabling every Bedian to develop intellectually, build a passion and curiosity for Literature and provide a setting in which young minds can be challenged and stimulated.

“The event highlighted our commitment to intellectual development and constantly challenging ourselves to be that little bit better and that little bit more ambitious in all aspects of our lives,” Mr Oliver added, in conclusion.

“We are of course extraordinarily grateful to Professor Boxall, Professor Healy and Dr Wolf for being so generous with their time, and we are hopeful that our burgeoning relationship with Sussex University will continue to deepen and develop in the coming months.”


Learn more about the English department at Bede's >

Learn more about life in the First Year at Bede's >

Learn more about life in the Fifth Form at Bede's >

Learn more about life in the Sixth Form at Bede's >