English Department


Dr Simon Evans, BA, MA, PhD
Head of English

Dr Evans has a specialisation in the works of the Irish writer James Joyce, and enjoys texts that are impenetrable and humorous. His favourite book of the 20th century is Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, but he is also passionate about the poetry and literature of the past, and loves to read aloud. He believes that the best study of literature is a dialogue with the finest minds of the past, and seeks to introduce his students into that conversation today. 


Mr Steven Taylor, LLB, PGD
Deputy Head of English
Hough Housemaster

Mr Taylor has a keen interest in Gothic fiction old and new, in particular the vampire genre. This grew out of a love of old Universal and Hammer horror films which he still watches. He loves Chaucer and thinks that Christopher Marlowe is a better playwright than Shakespeare. Alan Bennett, David Sedaris and Dylan Thomas also feature heavily among his favourite writers. Mr Taylor has a passion for musical theatre, too.




Mrs Caroline Bowley, BA, MA
Teacher of English and French


Mr Matthew Bulmer, BA
Director of Performing Arts
Head of Drama
Teacher of English

Mr Bulmer came to Brentwood as Director of Performing Arts having led the Drama departments in two large independent schools in London. His teaching experience has been exclusively in the independent sector where he has developed curricula and an approach to live performance that encompasses the nature of independent schools. It is his belief that an independent education should encourage all students to seize every opportunity offered to them and, once mastered, go looking for more. It is the then the school’s job to provide those opportunities. Indeed, an independent school that is not looking to move forward year on year, term on term, needs to drastically consider its modus operandi. 

Mr Bulmer's time at Cambridge University dramatically furthered a passion for Literature and Theatre that was planted and nurtured in his own school days somewhere in the vast rural splendour of North Yorkshire. It is his dream that all students can enjoy and feel inspired by Literature and live performance just as he was. 

Mr Bulmer continues to balance teaching with work in the industry with a professional production of Twelfth Night to be staged in January 2015 in London. Other recent work includes two shows that were nominated for the Edinburgh Fosters Award, a 120-student production of Sweeney Todd, two school productions that played at the Edinburgh Fringe, one an adaptation of Junk, by Melvin Burgess and a European tour of Hamlet. He has worked as an actor, director, producer and theatre company manager all across the country over the past decade. 


Mrs Mary Callender, MA
Teacher of English

Mrs Callender's appetite for literature is wide ranging and far reaching and consequently she struggles to pinpoint a particular aspect as being her favourite.  She does however have a soft spot for Thomas Hardy and considers him a much undervalued poet as well as an inspiring novelist. Her enthusiasm and excitement for her subject frequently spills into her lessons.


Mr Rob Higgins, BA, MA
Teacher of English
Director of Sixth Form

Head of U6


Mrs Veronica Denman, BA
Teacher of English


Mr Ryan Irvine, BA
Teacher of English

Mr. Irvine was raised on the works of Lewis and Tolkein and his guilty pleasure has been fantasy and science fiction literature ever since. He thoroughly recommends the haunting My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgewick and the epic Belgariad series by David Eddings. Currently in the middle of an experiment to write a novel in a year, Mr. Irvine values creativity and a deep enjoyment of literature of all types. He believes that there is a surpassing value in literature to reveal truth where reality sometimes fails to do so.


Miss Ania Kwolek, BA, MA, UGDip
Teacher of English


Mr Samuel Levien, MA
Teacher of English


Mrs Philippa Moriss-Jeffery, BA
Teacher of English

Mrs Moriss-Jeffery has a passion for feminist literature, and specialised in the Girl in the Book. She enjoys poring over the pages of Little Women, The Mill on the Floss, Alice in Wonderland and Atonement, and exploring the world of the female protagonists. When she is not reading Mrs Moriss-Jeffery can be found on the netball courts or singing – hopefully not both at the same time. 


Mrs Sian Schwar, BSc
Teacher of English & Learning Development

Mrs Schwar studied Anthropology at Durham University and was thrilled to get her undergraduate dissertation published in the Durham University Anthropological Journal. After taking a gap year to explore a few corners of the world, she then went back to the beautiful Durham to do her English PGCE. Her passion is creative writing and literature; she hopes to inspire her students to become future poets laurite or the next J.K Rowling. She believes hard work and enthusiasm, as well as a good cup of tea, are the keys to success. 


Miss Freya Spriggs, MA
Teacher of English


Miss Cecily Tiernan, BA, BS, MA
Teacher of English

Miss Tiernan has possessed a deep love for literature since she voraciously devoured The Lord of the Rings as a child. While she is still an avid fantasy reader today, she also embraces any excuse to discuss the works of Shakespeare, Margaret Atwood, and Jane Austen. Poetry is a particular passion, as she finds it to be the truest expression of the magic of language. Miss Tiernan’s educational background in History, Biology and Psychology tends to find its way into her classroom often, and she enjoys weaving hints of these subjects into the teaching of her primary discipline.