Raise standards in teaching English with this fantastic collection of themed English enrichment activities for all pupils, aimed at secondary English teachers

Written by John Senior and Sarah Philo

English is one of the hardest subjects to teach well. Every year, English specialists wrack their brains to find new ways of delivering the curriculum. What to do about grammar is one conundrum, how to inspire children to become passionate readers is another.

Enriching English is a collection of challenging enrichment activities designed to inspire more children to study English, to encourage high standards of English, to stimulate creativity with regard to English and to support an informed debate amongst pupils about the application and direction which English – both written and spoken – takes in our increasingly complex society, and will take in an increasingly complex and challenging future.

“There are few, if any, resources which combine academic substance with an understanding of the urgent need many students, often the very able, have to move at a fast pace.  Enriching English is not just beautifully presented but behind it one can sense an imaginative and sophisticated consciousness; one which students will trust.  I’ve been looking for this book for years.”
Anthea Church, Head of English, Kent College, Pembury

The Framework for Teaching English: years 7,8 and 9 (DfES) describes the kind of teaching more able pupils will benefit from; “…targeting higher order questions, building in challenging open-ended tasks, and directing supplementary study outside the lesson.” We believe that all pupils benefit from work that includes these elements, and the enrichment activities in Enriching English are intended to provide the kind of stretch and complexity of thinking that makes exploring a subject such as English enjoyable and worthwhile.

Enriching English will allow you to:

  • Enrich English lessons for all students and provide extension material that will challenge more able students

  • Improve students’ performance in this core subject by enriching the curriculum

  • Enhance students’ enjoyment of English and promote it as a subject for further study

  • Support whole-school improvement by raising standards in core subjects

  • Provide opportunities for students to expand their thinking skills through problem-solving and develop their social skills through teamwork

  • Improve students’ ability to self-direct their individual learning and help them to have fun and gain pleasure from thinking

Enriching English presents activities that are based within the national curriculum but that will also enrich and extend it. The activities are presented in three sections:

  • 10-minute activities
  • Lesson-length enrichment activities for Key Stage 3 and 4
  • Day-long enrichment and extension activities

Each activity is accompanied by teacher’s notes on how to use it and suggestions for further work and research, should your students wish to take the project even further. The book also includes a CD-Rom containing all of the activity task sheets for ease of reproduction.

Launch event at Kent College, Pembury

In a bid to gather some new ideas, Anthea Church, Head of English at Kent College Pembury invited a group of local English teachers to attend a launch of Enriching English.

Author, John Senior and co-author, Sarah Philo, piloted a couple of activities from the book. The first activity involved students from Years 7 and 8 compiling the beginnings of a new dictionary, by inventing words which they thought would be useful in twenty years’ time. John asked searching questions about their choices: why, for example, given the bleak outlook environmentally, did they feel a word which meant that “everything was fun” should be included?

Teachers from nearby schools Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar, Weald of Kent and Sevenoaks watched the children at work and are now eager to use the resource.


What the students said:

“The exercises we did helped me to understand that language is always changing and it made me wonder how people ever thought up words in the first place.”

“The main thing about this book is that it makes you think and it stops lessons from being uneventful.  It was a great privilege to be a part of the first group ever to pilot these exciting activities.”