Since its foundation in 1885, Channing has been known as a happy and successful community... read more »
Channing is a registered charity. It is now possible to use our direct and secure online donation pages to make a gift to Channing School.
In the Summer of 2013 Channing will embark on its most ambitious development programme ever. Click here for more....
Open Day Visits
Each year we set aside time for parents to look around the Junior and Senior School. Find out more »
The English department follows its own curriculum in the Middle School, which is structured around some of the principles of the National Curriculum to create readers and writers who are critical, creative, competent and cultural and allows us the freedom to benefit from teachers' specialisms and individual enthusiasms.
Every year, girls will study a drama, poetry and prose text, pre-twentieth century prose and poetry, a Shakespeare text, a non-fiction/media unit and at least one independently created and motivated project. All study incorporates speaking and listening activities, analytical and creative written responses, responses that require IT skills and a mixture of individual, whole class and small group learning
All students in the Upper School at Channing follow courses in English and English Literature and, provided the course requirements are met, are entered for both subjects at IGCSE.
English Literature is a very popular choice at A Level, and we have a remarkable success rate. The course followed is that offered by WJEC, with a combination of coursework and formal examinations. The students are taught in seminar groups, and are encouraged to participate in textual analysis and discussion. Most students opt to proceed to A2 after completing the AS section of the course.
English Literature is a very popular choice at A level in Channing and we are proud of the success rate we enjoy at AS and A2. Students are taught in seminar groups and lessons are discussion based. Most students opt to proceed to A2 after completing the AS.
Outside the Classroom
Literary Society at Channing
The English department plays a defining role in the cultural and literary life of the school. We have a thriving and well-attended Literary Society with an agenda set by the girls and weekly meetings run by students who give presentations on texts, writers and topics. We host writers' visits and English A Level students have lunch with them before listening to them read their work. This year, we have been lucky enough to be visited by the poet, Bernard O’Donoghue, and the novelist, Tracy Chevalier. In the past Kasuo Ishiguro, Carol Ann Duffy and Don Patterson have all talked to us.
The society is designed to extend the literary enthusiasm of those studying English A level and considering reading English at university and to allow those who are not studying English at A Level to maintain their interest in literature. While it is predominantly a Sixth Form society, the whole school is invited to the talks and readings given by visiting writers.
The Senior Theatre Club is designed to allow students the opportunity to experience a wide range of what the London stage has to offer. Recently, we have been to see One Man, Two Guvnors and Juno and the Paycock and Matilda. The club is run by a member of staff, but is always open to the suggestions of the girls. Indeed, the success of the club is down to the enthusiasm and cultural appetite of the sixth-formers, who will just as readily consume the Irish misery of Juno and the Paycock as the musical delights of Matilda.
Senior Debating Club (Years 9-13)
The English department runs debating and girls keenly contest a house debating competition, with the final presented to the whole school on the last day of the autumn term. Debating club is held every Tuesday (1.50-2.20pm) in the Lecture Theatre. Every week we hold a debate in which two teams compete for the house vote. The students themselves suggest motions and they range from the political to the social to the silly. We also discuss ways of debating and share top tips. Keen debaters enter external competitions, such as that run by the Rotary Club.
We had a wonderful trip to the prestigious Arvon Foundation residential creative writing course in June 2012. A group of sixteen selected girls stayed at the 14th Century Devon manor house, Totleigh Barton, for five days and spent the time writing and sharing their work. The course was led by two professional writers, Julia Bell and Cliff Yates, who gave tutorials and workshops. In such an idyllic setting, it was hard not to feel inspired and the girls produced excellent work, honing their skills and renewing their zeal for creative writing.
Middle School Creative Writing Club
The Middle School Creative Writing Club is a popular and active club at Channing. It meets once a week – on Tuesday lunchtimes in the Library – and there are two separate groups, one for Year 9 and one for Years 7 & 8. Dr Bremser oversees the running of both groups, but each group is guided by a sixth-form pupil who works directly with the girls, helping them develop their ideas and experiment with a variety of writing styles and ideas. Projects have ranged from individual poems, written in response to stimuli such as photographs or paintings, to group poems or prose passages resulting from group discussion and creative collaboration. The Year 9 group typically produces an anthology of their own work at the end of the year, and both groups have collaborated with the Channing Photography Club to produce joint displays on a theme: the theme for 2011-12 is ‘Murder Mystery’. Channing work is frequently submitted to writing competitions and has enjoyed considerable success over the years.
Below is a sample of recent work written by Year 9 creative writers:
This poem was inspired by the poetry of William Wordsworth
The sea, its depths so dull of colour,
Not even the sharp rays of morning sunlight penetrate,
Miles down, a world forbidden to us,
Its fields of rocks asleep on the sand,
Like fallen giants, so still, so quiet.
The majestic waves, young and wild,
Are unknown in this place.
The weight of the water seems to have crushed the few souls who dare to linger there,
Into monsters of the deep, warped and alien.
The darkness so mighty it is almost a creature itself,
Cradling its domain.
- Emily Reader
The following two poems were written in creative response to ‘ordinary objects’:
The radiator keeps
a warm hum
that vibrates around
Ridges up and down
A cream landscape
scarred by mountains.
It sits, quietly
in the corner,
that no one cares.
Obediently it does its duty:
Heat. 20°. Heat. 22°. Heat. 24°.
radiates from the radiator.
- Madeleine Bills
Cracks of light cast dark shadows across the room -
The air’s cold, but sunlight hints that there is warmth
on the other side,
A solid barrier that guards the closest portal
to outside the room.
Silent and tempting,
Keeping the world at bay.
- Amelia Morgan
Senior Creative Writing Club
Every Wednesday lunchtime, a group of girls from years 10 to 13 gather in the Lecture Theatre and give free rein to their creativity and imagination. Senior Creative Writing Club gives the girls the opportunity to take part in a variety of workshop activities and develop their skills. Writing and reading their work, discussing ideas and experimenting with a group of lively, imaginative people produces some remarkable results in an atmosphere of mutual support and shared enjoyment.
‘Poetry is the language in which Man explores his own amazement.’
Christopher Fry – playwright.
‘Poetry is the dictionary of our emotions.’
Ashley Yonga – Year 10
You froth into the night,
My raspberry bomb,
Outshining the stars
And leaving a tail of dizziness
As a hundred thousand caterpillars
Fleeing to the sky at the speed
Of coloured light,
Show me glory in a shower of sparkles
And beauty, in your fading dust.
Gabby Kardar (Year 11)
In Praise of Tea