Head of English – Miss Morven MacDonald BA (Hons) MA, QTS

Morven attended Durham University and took her degree in Education Studies and Psychology (BA). She undertook her teacher training using the Teach First route and has a Masters in Transformational Leadership. Morven’s teaching career began in Kent, where she spent two years teaching Year 6 at Folkestone Primary Academy. She joined Garden House in 2014 and has just begun her third year with Middle School One Boys (Year 3). She became Deputy Head of English in 2016.

Deputy Head of English – Mrs Isla Sweeney BA (Joint Hons) MA, QTS

Isla attended Leeds University where she studied Italian and Geography (BA). She undertook her teacher training using the Teach First route and has an MA in Education. Isla’s teaching career began in Croydon, and then moved on to Clapham where she taught at a French/English bilingual primary. She joined Garden House in 2017 and has just begun her second year with MSII girls. She became Deputy Head of English in 2018.

I like English because it gives me the freedom to write my inner most thoughts; to create a roller-coaster of emotions and senses, to build a mystical maze to unravel and to distract from any crisis that is around us.”
— USII Pupil
I love writing stories and using WOW words and I like using expression in my reading like when I shout “Oh no!”
— Prep Prep

The ability to communicate ideas and feelings clearly, effectively and with confidence. A love of reading with the ability both to comprehend and to question the text. These are qualities that our English teaching is designed to foster.

At Garden House, English is the medium through which almost all learning takes place, both inside and outside the classroom. During English lessons, as well as in many other parts of the curriculum, we lead our pupils to develop confidence in speaking and listening, spelling, grammar, reading and writing.

We teach children in a stimulating environment and our creative lessons provide opportunities for individuals to communicate independent views and opinions, listen and respond imaginatively and express feelings through spoken and written language. This helps develop their confidence to have a voice. The children develop their handwriting, being encouraged to use cursive script during Years 1 and 2 and working towards achieving their pen licences, typically in Years 3 and 4. In Years 4 and 5, the children undertake the English Speaking Board examinations, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills before external examiners.

In lessons, children will be reading, discussing, and producing a wealth of different texts. These include:

  • poems;

  • descriptions;

  • stories;

  • instructions;

  • recounts;

  • articles;

  • persuasive texts;

  • letters; and

  • play scripts.

We nurture a love of reading at Garden House; realising its potential to transport children to different places, whilst positively impacting on their ability to access all other areas of the curriculum. This begins in the Early Years where children are taught systematic phonics. These skills are then embedded as children progress through the school.

Particular highlights in the English calendar include author visits, Poetry Day and Book Week. These transform the school into a hive of creativity and immerse children into the world of literature.