English Language and Literature

Dreaming Spires English - Building Relationships

We offer four categories for our “fireside chats” that make up our English department: Middle Ages, Renaissance, British Novels, American Literature. We welcome students as young as Year 7 to register for them, many of whom would benefit from this longer, slower pathway to UK exams.

We also have creative writing for those who want to get serious about their craft, and this year, there are two options: one for ages 11-13, and the other for 14 and up. See the Creative Writing page for more info.

We offer a four-year English program 
that builds confidence and maturity

While the course titles are probably rather self explanatory, we get many questions as to the best starting point for a student. The answer depends on the age and reading level of the child, his or her interests and aptitudes, and ultimately, the goals you hope to achieve. 

That being said, here are some thoughts to bear in mind.

First, there is not one right way to proceed with our English courses: you could choose to start either in chronological order with Middle Ages Lit first, or opt for British Novels since a student might be more comfortable with that genre as a starting point, or finally, simply go with the one that fits your timetable best. 

For those aiming for IGCSE in English Language, we suggest the Middle Ages course with add-on writing in the year before sitting the exam. For English Literature, we highly recommend the Renaissance Lit with add-on writing, or British Novels with add-on as an acceptable alternative. For both exams, we also offer short-course crammers or private tuition in the term before the exam as an extra with our sister site, Dreaming Spires Revision.

See the page about add-on writing extensions for more details.

Some UK families are forgoing the IGCSE system and collecting credits for a US-style transcript instead. There are FB groups in support of this alternative route to university, so please get in touch and we can link you to them.

Regardless your exam aspirations or timetable, the four courses all follow the same format. Students meet weekly in our live webinar session for a one-hour Powerpoint presentation, then for the remainder of the week, they read between 50 and 70 pages, write one summary, and answer three discussion questions. We keep the homework low key and personally relevant so those relationships between student and text can grow without being smothered.

Once each 10-week period, they will prepare a presentation which they deliver in class, either using their mics or by providing a screen recording of something they prepared beforehand. Sometimes, this includes collaboration in pairs or small groups.

There are sound educational reasons to recommend any of these combinations, so feel free to do what works best for your family. If you’re still unsure, then you can connect with us via the contact form so we can talk it over with you in greater detail.

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Suggestions, ideas, tweaks, or maybe you're just a happy Dreaming Spires student who wants to leave some encouraging words! Thanks for posting! Kat