Skip to content ↓



English is the fundamental to all learning, and at Pilgrims’ we provide every boy with a thorough grounding in all aspects of literacy. More than this, though, we inspire a deep-rooted passion for reading and a genuine and lasting appreciation of literature.


Throughout their time at Pilgrims’, boys are taught to recognise the importance of clear communication. They learn how to write for a range of audiences, selecting and adapting the form and ‘voice’ to suit their purpose. Experimentation with writing styles, including narrative, discursive, persuasive, and descriptive writing is underpinned with rigorous focus on the mechanics of grammar, spelling, and presentation.


Poetry is something our boys relish, especially when given the opportunity to write their own. By creating an environment in which the boys feel comfortable and proud to share their work with peers, we help them to develop confidence, self-awareness, and self-expression.


With a strong culture of reading that runs through the whole school, Pilgrims’ boys soon develop a great love of books. Every day we have Sit Down, a pause in the day so that everyone can take time out to enjoy a book/to read, either individually or as a class. Many of the Junior boys participate in Cake Break, our school book club.

In class, the boys are taught to analyse the impact and effect of writers’ language choices, and how to use the appropriate critical vocabulary when doing so. In senior years, this detailed reading is enriched with a broader study of the social and historical contexts in which the literature was written.  Shakespeare, for example, is made accessible to 11-year-old boys by re-imagining Macbeth as The Simpsons, and by using the text to stimulate discussions about highly topical issues such as mental health, race, and gender stereotypes.

Books every boy should read before leaving prep school:
a series of reviews by Pilgrims' boys

Much Ado About Nothing
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Shadow of the Wind

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor boys’ independent reading.  Junior Pilgrims’ can pick a book at their own level and read it at their own pace.  When they have finished, they take a short quiz on the computer or iPad.  AR gives the boys and teachers feedback based on the quiz results and helps direct future progression.  AR has over 30,000 books on record with quizzes for each, and more are being added every day. 

AR keeps a running total of all the words each boy has read.  Keeping track of their ‘Word Count’ is something that strongly motivates the boys - the ultimate goal is for a boy to become a ‘Word Millionaire’ during an academic year.


Multi-Millionaires! Ten Junior boys have achieved ‘Millionaire’ status with Accelerated Reader, which is super reading, well done boys. We are very excited to congratulate four Junior boys for becoming ‘Multi-Millionaires’! Charles, Minwoo, Nathan and Orlando have all read over 2 million words each since the s…


Theatre trips bring the page to the stage, and visits by established and emerging authors motivate and inspire the boys, offering them invaluable insights into the writer’s craft through workshops and discussion.

Reading at our carol service
in the Cathedral

Speaking and listening skills are honed through structured classroom discussion and lively debate and are greatly enhanced by visits from professional speakers. Boys of all years will read or speak in school assemblies or in our services held in Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College Chapel. Many senior boys will gain invaluable experience of independent communication when showing visitors around the school.


Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.