• English at LRGS
  • Accelerated reading scheme at LRGS
  • English at LRGS


Awarded the Top Performing Secondary School in England for the Accelerated Reader Scheme 2017


Our aims are:

1  To provide our boys with a keen understanding, interest and proficiency in their use of language, both written and spoken.

2  To show them the nature of the society and world in which they live, both through direct observation and through the books, plays and poetry which we teach and which we encourage them to experience independently.

3  To inculcate in them a love for the material they have studied - which will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

4  To enable them to obtain examination results which will allow them to make their own career choices.

5  That the boys will enjoy our lessons and find them worthwhile and stimulating.

English as a subject is unique in that its borders are so wide. Our interests cover both traditional Literature and all forms of media; likewise we are as concerned with the teaching of grammatically correct Standard English through learning about the history of the language and the origins of its dialects at home and abroad. Similarly, it is hard to say where the classroom stops and where extra-curricular activity begins. The lesson-time debates lead on to debates in local and national competitions. The good speaking and reading encouraged within the timetable appears in readings during the carol services. The teaching of a play is often accompanied by seeing it performed in, for instance, Manchester or Preston.

Staff Profiles

Miss Mitchell, Head of Department
Miss Mitchell joined LRGS in 2014. She previously taught at Ripley St Thomas School and has also worked for other organisations delivering training to teachers, in addition to her role in the classroom.  She is a regular member of a pub quiz team and enjoys fine dining; they are currently spending their winnings eating out at restaurants featured on the television series ‘The Trip’.  Miss Mitchell has a degree in English Literature from Lancaster University.

Mr Ashbridge has been teaching at LRGS since 1996. Prior to that, he taught in local schools and at Lancaster University and St Martin’s College. His interests include the life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson; he is also interested in contemporary fiction, with – he says – too much of a tendency toward detective novels; he listens to a wide range of music and enjoys the cinema. He is a long-suffering supporter of Carlisle United, and has both BA and MA degrees from Lancaster University.

Mr Hirst taught at LRGS from 1979-1985 and then returned in 2008 as Head of Sixth Form from Stowe School, where he had been a Housemaster and then Director of Studies. He originally graduated in English Literature from Leeds University, gained his PGCE at Newcastle and an MA in Late Victorian and Early Modern Literature from Manchester.

Mr Novell has taught at LRGS since 1983. He gained at MA in English Literature from Lancaster University and among his many interests, he is passionate about cinema.

Mr Rafferty joined LRGS in 2015. He has previously taught at Ripley St Thomas Academy after having completed a BA in English Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University. As well as an interest in reading and writing, he is a keen cricketer, playing for local team Shireshead and Forton. Other hobbies include playing and watching football, writing and playing music, quizzing, going to the cinema and eating out.

Mrs. Gibson joined LRGS in 2017, having spent the previous nine years teaching English at LGGS, where she worked as Head of English, Head of KS4 and as a part-time English teacher.  Previous to this, she was Head of English at St. Thomas a Becket Catholic College in Wakefield, after having gained a BA in English Literature and History of Art, and a PGCE at Leeds University.  She enjoys choreographing the joint school productions and also sings in a local choir.  She is a keen potter and loves to bake cakes, read poetry and attend story-telling events and music gigs in her free time.     


Email English Department staff

11+ Curriculum

All boys in the Lower School study English which follows the National Curriculum. This is divided into three areas: Speaking and Listening, Reading (ie understanding) and Writing. We do have some specific lessons on Language, but our teaching of this generally comes out of the boys’ own writing. We encourage boys to read widely through weekly Library lessons; the texts we study in class give a spread of prose (both fiction and non-fiction), poetry and drama. Talking and hearing what others say is a key part of lessons; boys are encouraged to give individual and group talks and to create their own drama.

11+ Extra-curricular Projects

Each year we have a number of competitions for boys to enter, these include the Short Story Competition and the Poetry Competition, where boys write their own original pieces for cash prizes. There is also a Reading Competition, held in Christ Church assemblies, where they compete in each year-group for a prize on Speech Day. The winners of this competition are encouraged to read at the annual Carol Services held in the Priory.

11+ FAQ

Do you test the boys’ spelling ages?
All Year 7 boys have their spelling tested early in the first term. Those who seem to do less well than they should for their age have their reading tested. If there are still concerns further testing is carried out to see if there is an underlying problem.

13+ Curriculum

In Year 9, boys consolidate the work of the previous two years in preparation for the public examinations at the end of Year 11. The boys are given a Teacher Assessment at the end of Key Stage 3.

In Year 10, they begin a two year IGCSE course, the first of which started in September 2013. This is taught as two separate subjects: we call them ‘English Language’ and ‘English Literature’, but strictly speaking their official Cambridge International Examinations titles are ‘First Language English’ and ‘Literature (English)’ respectively. The way the English Department structures its work from Year 7 onwards is a preparation for the two IGCSE subjects. (The present Year 11 is the last to complete GCSE.)

13+ Extra-curricular Projects

All boys are able to compete in the competitions which were outlined in the 11+ years. A number of boys have had work published in various poetry magazines.

13+ FAQs

What do IGCSE students do as well as the actual exams?
LRGS students following the CIE IGCSE English Language have ‘coursework’; this is not ‘Controlled Assessment’, but the type of work which was traditionally done for GCSE until several years ago. It is partly done at school and partly at home; it can be done on computer. These candidates also have ‘Speaking and Listening’ as an integral part of the qualification, and not as a ‘stand-alone’ element as in GCSE English Language. The IGCSE English Literature course is assessed entirely by terminal examination.

Sixth Form Curriculum

Since September 2012 we have taught the CIE Pre-U English Literature course. This has three examination papers at the end of the two-year course and also a Personal Investigation completed during the Upper Sixth year.

Sixth Form Extra-curricular Projects

Sixth Formers are encouraged to read other books than those on the syllabus, since a wide reading allows greater depth and maturity of interpretation of those being studied.

6th Form FAQs

Is Pre-U more demanding than A-level?
The grades for Pre-U and A-level are comparable, and at the bottom end a Pre-U P3 is the same as an A-Level grade E. An A-level A* is the same as a Pre-U D2, but additionally there is a D1 which is of a harder standard than an A*, however it is awarded very sparingly. Pre-U is not, therefore more demanding than A-level, but it does offer more reward intellectually; it does also offer more UCAS points for each grade than its equivalent A-level grade.