From Snow White to strudels, Beethoven to bierfests, Einstein to the Economic Miracle, the German world is an endlessly rich and varied one. Like the tourist trail, the Romantic Road, which stretches from Frankfurt down to Mad King Ludwig’s fairy tale castles beneath the Alps, German has for generations at Brentwood delighted, inspired, surprised – and occasionally shocked – the intrepid student who has embarked upon it.
At Brentwood, German does not just mean learning the language: it fosters an understanding and appreciation of the people, the turbulent history, landscapes and geniuses which lie behind it. In the Rhineland, we follow in Beethoven’s footsteps and explore the myths and legends behind the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm; the School’s longest running exchange takes us to baroque jewel of Bamberg and also to walled, medieval Nuremberg where the post-war trials of leading Nazis still echo; in Berlin we thrill at one of the most vibrant and creative cities of the modern world but encounter at every turn reminders of the great political tensions - fascism versus democracy and then democracy versus communism - which became so prominent there.
Coursework at Sixth Form has thrown up a plethora of subjects, ranging from the love motif in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde to an exploration of German-speaking minorities in Rumania; from Germany’s economic pre-eminence, to how the philosopher Nietzsche made an indelible impression on world literature. At university, our students have not only studied solely German but have also combined it with a whole range of subjects, including French, History, English, Business, Psychology, Music, Economics, Medicine, Philosophy, and even Chemistry.
It is no surprise that such a rich culture and multi-dimensional language offers intriguing insight to all students, no matter what their interests might be. We invite you to join us in studying German; you are sure to find a road which will fascinate, delight and amaze you, too.
“Brentwood School creates a friendly atmosphere, which makes my children feel comfortable and confident to express themselves in the classroom.”
To view the German curriculum please click here.
Mr Ian Walton
Head of German Senior
Head of Language
Though Mr Walton came to German relatively late (as a Fifth Former), he was hooked on it from the start. Taken by the language’s possibilities, he won a place to read the subject at St Peter’s, Oxford, gaining a double first in Modern History and Modern Languages. His tutors there imbued him with a lasting fascination with literature, ranging from the ballads of medieval minstrels, through Schiller’s dramas, to twentieth century war novels. Having worked variously as archaeologist, bookseller and road sweeper, he was very glad to eventually alight on Brentwood where he has been able to indulge and impart his love of German to three generations of students. Convinced of the civilising effect of foreign travel and cultures, he has led or accompanied over fifty residential trips to Germany, France, and Spain. His other interests include opera, chess, cricket, French wine and the music of Bob Dylan.
Mr John Bowley
Mr Bowley teaches French, German and Creative and Critical Thinking. He was inspired by his own teachers at Brentwood School to read further French and German literature, especially of the mid to later nineteenth century, at Oxford, and is always keen to promote learning of languages to able and dedicated pupils in the Sixth Form, and for Oxbridge entry. However, Mr Bowley is very pleased to encourage pupils of all abilities at all levels using his own energetic yet grammatical and methodical style. He is a firmer believer in the benefit of visits to countries where French and German are spoken, and accompanies the Normandy trip each year, and the biannual Rhineland trip. Critical and Creative Thinking, both in the classroom at First Form level, and in twilight Oxbridge sessions for Lower Sixth Formers, has provided a new teaching challenge for Mr Bowley, and he delights in finding plausible and logical, but unusual angles of intellectual approach, perhaps borne of his interest in Gide, Flaubert and Mann.
Miss Melanie Clayton
Miss Clayton has travelled and worked all over the world using her languages and encourages her pupils to broaden their horizons by doing the same. Her enthusiasm for vocabulary and grammar, which her pupils find infectious, stem from her own lessons at school where she was inspired by several fantastic teachers. She has come to language teaching via a background in outdoor education, and during the holidays you will find her climbing in the mountains or kayaking on a river somewhere…in Wales, Scotland, the Alps or further afield. She loves music and literature, giraffes, good food and travelling. She teaches German and French at Brentwood.
Mme Laetitia Dearmer-Decup
Madame Dearmer-Decup is a native French speaker from the South of France… Attention: not the southwest or the southeast, THE SOUTH! She studied at the University of Montpellier and Salford university. Madame Dearmer-Decup also teaches German, a subject she particularly enjoys as it was the first modern language she studied at school. She loves English literature, modern and classic. She enjoys travelling and usually spends her summer holiday in Andalucia where she tries to improve her Spanish at every opportunity. She goes back home to Beziers to visit her family as often as she can.
Mme Niluka Rooke
Mme Rooke is originally from Sri Lanka and is a passionate linguist. She speaks Singhalese, English, French and German and has lived in four different countries. Mme Rooke moved to France as a young student and attended the Sorbonne University in Paris, studying Literature and Teaching French as a Foreign Language. She later moved to London with her half-German, half-English husband and completed her teaching practice at King’s College London. Mme Rooke worked in both France and the UK teaching at schools and at university, before starting her job at Brentwood School. She loves to read and travel, and enjoys watching films from different countries. She also paints in her free time. Mme Rooke teaches French and German at Brentwood School.
Mrs Heike Sheppard
Mrs Sheppard is German and came to the UK in 1978 after having spent some time at university on a teacher training course. When coming here she took the Final Diploma in English as a Foreign Language with the Institute of Linguists and her C&G teaching qualification with LEA of Essex. She has been in Adult Education since 1981 and has also taught German in local infant and junior schools as well as running a junior German club on a private basis. She is also employed by Adult Community Learning Essex as a Curriculum Manager for Languages and as External Moderator for the Open College Network. She greatly enjoys holidaying in Germany and, as a very keen athletics fan, follows Team GB in many stadiums around the world.
Dr Richard Storey
Dr Storey started learning languages seriously from the age of 13 and enjoyed some first-class teaching in both French and German. A first extended trip to Germany and Austria at the age of 17 set him up for what became a lifetime’s involvement in the language and people. Study breaks for his doctorate in Tübingen and Dortmund were followed by teaching in Cleveland and Cambridgeshire before he came to Brentwood. An avid reader, Dr Storey is an enthusiastic fan of the IB and its possibilities for exploring German literature in all its forms and styles. He is keen sportsman and fan, enjoying particularly athletics, cycling and handball.