English at The Dragon


English at the Dragon is at the heart of the curriculum. The ability to communicate effectively, infer accurately and respond with sensitivity is vital to a child's development and subsequent contribution to society. The Department aims to excite and enthuse children about language and literature. Much emphasis is placed on discussion and the formation of individual opinions and a balance is sought between linguistic and literary, oral and written, creative and technical skills.


EEnglish is taught in form groups in Year 4, with the curriculum based in part on the National Literacy Strategy. Time is spent consolidating skills in the basics of reading, spelling, grammar and handwriting in a well-resourced and lively environment. Year 4 learning is based around the creative curriculum and is linked to topics studied in History, Geography, RS and ICT.

In Years 5 and 6 there are seven teaching groups and eight in Years 7 and 8, which are banded by ability. English is taught as far as possible through literature. We are fortunate to have a superb range of resources and children will study a wide variety of novels, poetry and plays as well as many types of non-fiction during their time at the Dragon.

We aim to instil in children a love of reading and appreciation of English literature, coupled with the ability to express themselves imaginatively, eloquently and accurately. Each class has a fortnightly reading lesson in which individual children's reading is monitored.

In Year 8, two classes are prepared for Scholarship examinations to senior schools and all other classes are prepared for Common Entrance. A challenging enrichment programme is offered in the summer term to those who have taken scholarship examinations. Learning Support is offered both inside and outside the classroom to those who need it and English takers and LS takers work together closely to offer the optimum support to individual pupils.


All pupils have comprehension tests twice a term, either in the form of an exam or a timed comprehension in class. Years 4, 5 and 6 take a diagnostic spelling test at the beginning of the academic year to identify children in need of additional support. Creative writing is assessed throughout the year and in the end of year exams.


“I was at the Dragon School for four years – till 1944 - and I was intensely happy there. Also, since I was there for such a long time compared to my other two schools, or indeed university, the Dragon School must certainly have marked me for life, for better, as I certainly believe.” Lady Antonia Fraser, Writer (OD 1944)
A number of English-related activities take place across the academic year.
“The Dragon has been one of the great forming influences on my life for almost 50 years now, and whenever I revisit Oxford, I try to look in on it. I feel such gratitude and affection for the old place.” Pico Iyer, essayist and novelist (OD 1970)