Confucius stated that, “without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” Whilst the English department might not go quite so far as to argue for impossibility, we would certainly agree that language is a vital foundation for study across the curriculum, as well as a stimulating and rewarding subject in its own right.

TBS-English-3The skills developed by close analysis of literary texts, and of their many linguistic and grammatical features, are also fundamental to self-expression and communication with others. We consequently seek to create a supportive and open learning environment in which students’ judgements are fostered, challenged and developed.

The English team comprises fourteen staff in total. We share a genuine love of language and literature and a passion for reading – something we strive to share with our students. Similarly, we seek to encourage students to share our high expectations of their attitudes to learning and strive for all to reach their full potential. Our aim is to get students reading more carefully, thinking more deeply and writing more precisely.

We provide opportunities for the study of novels, poetry, drama, non-fiction and media texts in all Key Stages. Our lessons regularly use multi-media and practical activities to support the learning of students in all years. Many students will also benefit from a personalised literacy intervention to enhance their reading abilities through the Accelerated Reader programme. In addition to delivery of the core curriculum, wider cultural experience in English is encouraged through a range of extra-curricular activities.

During their time with us students can enjoy meeting authors, watching and working with theatre groups, visiting the theatre and touring Shakespeare’s Globe. We are also keen to support students’ wider reading by organising reading clubs, working closely with the school library, and providing recommended reading lists. In addition, we have a creative writing specialists (one prose writer and one published poet) among our team who also contribute these skills to the wider school community.

Read more about English studies across all key stages.

TBS-English-1About us

  • 2015: Best ever results: 85% A*- C English Language GCSE
  • 100% pass rate A-level
  • A committed, enthusiastic department

What to expect from lessons

  • Academic rigour
  • Fun, creative and engaging lessons
  • High expectations, high levels of challenge, high levels of appropriate support


Media Studies immerses students in the theories, debates and wider issues surrounding media texts. From the beginning of the course, students learn to analyse and deconstruct texts – reading them in the same way Literature is read. As they mature and develop their understanding of media texts, they will be exposed to the issues affecting the making of and the outcome or effect of media texts on consumers.

Media Studies have often been subject to periodic polemical attacks by different stakeholders, i.e. the popular press, dominant groups in society and even bizarrely leading individual Journalists. Against this jeremiad backdrop, the course seeks to interrogate the place, scope and future of Media Studies in an increasingly evolving and digitised world.

Media Studies is offered within the English Department, and is an option which students can elect to pick from Year 10 up to Sixth Form. Media Studies is taught by Andrew Chatora who hails from Zimbabwe, where he taught English for seven years, before immigrating to England. Andrew is well settled in England, which he warmly considers his other home, and is an avid, Scholar, Film, and Television critique. Andrew has an MA in Media, Culture and Communication from The UCL, Institute of Education.

As a Department, we believe the study of Media enables students to:

  • Sharpen their critical faculties, as they are able to look at the world from different perspectives by adopting a holistic approach to issues.
  • Develop their own opinions and formulate convincing and well-reasoned arguments.
  • Cultivate a sense of empathy and critically assess different viewpoints.
  • Analyse historical and contemporary texts and interrogate media texts and institutions.
  • Acquire proficient technical skills in relation to diverse media fields such as, Film making, Photography and Animation, among others.

With an emphasis on discussion and written communication, Media Studies helps students develop a range of important skills for the future. Media Studies is the paradigm of English, as Communication, in that both disciplines complement each other well. Students who take Media Studies often do better in English, as they are learning the same skills. In the English and Media Department, at The Bicester School, we are happy to celebrate this symbiotic relationship.

Read more about Media studies across Key Stages 4 and 5