Our aim is to produce cultivated and literate young men, who can express themselves with accuracy and style.
There are three elements to our pre-GCSE programme: literature, grammar and writing.
Literature: Throughout years 7 to 9, we build a broad understanding of literature and its historical background, from Anglo-Saxons through to Romantics.
Grammar: Using a traditional programme, we give pupils a thorough understanding of the eight parts of speech.
Writing: Using proven methods of direct instruction and guided practice, we develop accurate and stylish writing.
Our programme begins with a study of Anglo-Saxon culture, including the great Old English epic Beowulf. We also study the Iliad, in order to build a broader knowledge of the role of the epic in ancient times.
In our second year, we move into the medieval era, with a particular focus on the Father of English Literature, Geoffrey Chaucer, and his ironic and satirical portrait of late medieval society, The Canterbury Tales.
The third year of our survey considers some of the ideas which have laid the foundations for our modern world. We focus particularly on the English Renaissance and the Romantic Movement. These provide an excellent basis on which to build our GCSE study of Shakespeare’s drama and post-1789 poetry.
Our GCSE programme continues to focus on building writing and analysis skills, as well as cultivating an understanding of great works of literature. We study Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Orwell’s Animal Farm, and a selection of post-1789 poetry.
Every year, in addition to the literature studied in class, boys at The Cedars read great stories that build their knowledge of the roots of our civilisation, as well as being interesting and enjoyable in themselves. These include plays by Shakespeare, stories of great heroes such as Robin Hood and King Arthur, and, in the later years, great classics of 19th century literature.