English Language


English Department

Departmental Staff List:

Dr F Lynch (Head of Department)

Mrs E Furey (Assistant Head of English/Literacy Co-ordinator)

Mrs C Blaney

Mrs L McCaughan

Miss A McFaul

Miss P McLoughlin

Mr M Ferguson


Curriculum Overview


Key Stage 3


Upon entry, students are grouped according to ability, as determined by objective validation tests, which are administered by the Literacy Co-ordinator.  These tests are also used as a means of target-setting.

Students identified as requiring additional literacy support are timetabled for two periods per week. They also have the opportunity to engage in paired reading with a Form Six student.  All KS3 students have a time-tabled library period.


Teachers endeavour at all times to be imaginative in their teaching, to facilitate encounters with as wide a range of literature as possible, and to promote enjoyment of English across all ability ranges.  They seek to make their classes lively and interesting, with a high degree of student participation.

Key Stage 4

All students are entered for CCEA GCSE English Language.  Teachers aim to assist students to become more effective users of language so that they can communicate with assurance, accuracy and appropriateness when talking and writing in a range of formal and informal contexts.  Students are also trained to read with understanding and perception literary and non-literary texts of increasing complexity and sophistication.


Students may also choose to study English Literature in conjunction with English Language, a ‚Äúdouble award‚ÄĚ option which delivers two GCSEs in a total of nine periods per fortnight.¬† Members of the English Department are actively committed to encouraging students to avail of this option: they seek to enlarge their students‚Äô imaginative and intellectual experience by a wide-ranging encounter with literature, and to teach them the value of a well-stocked mind.

AS /A2

A-level students of English follow the CCEA syllabus.  A wide range of literary texts from various cultures is studied.

Classes take the form of a deepening and extended conversation about writers and their work, about books, language, ideas and culture.  Teachers view their students at this stage as pre-undergraduates and tend to adopt a third-level style of teaching, involving both the communication of knowledge and expertise by the teacher (lecture) and the provision of opportunities for increasingly sophisticated response from the pupil (tutorial).


It remains the case that English Literature is regarded by universities as a traditional and highly-regarded academic A-level qualification, viewed by many disciplines, even those which are science-based, as an impressive hallmark of the educated person.  The student of English is able to argue a point, think independently, write and speak well, compile reports, present information and work as part of a team.  Careers in which these skills would be considered valuable asset include: journalism; writing; publishing; T.V.; film; radio; drama; music; marketing; advertising; public relations; law; personnel management; civil service; teaching.



GCSE English Language



The following excerpt describes the aims of the course, which is designed to encourage pupils:


  • to demonstrate the skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing necessary to communicate with others confidently, effectively, precisely and appropriately;
  • to express themselves creatively and imaginatively;
  • to become critical readers of a range of texts, including multi-modal texts;
  • to use reading to develop their own skills as writers;
  • to understand the patterns, structures and conventions of written and spoken English;
  • to understand the impact of variations in spoken and written language and how they relate to identity and cultural diversity; and
  • to select and adapt speech and writing to different situations and audiences.


The skills embedded in the specification are described as follows:


  • engaging with, and making fresh connections among, ideas, texts, words and images;
  • studying spoken and written language, exploring how language varies;
  • expressing ideas and information clearly, precisely and appropriately in spoken and written communication; and
  • forming independent views and challenging what is heard or read on the grounds of reason, evidence or argument.





UNIT 1: Personal Writing, and Reading Multi-Modal Texts.

External examination¬† –¬† 20%.


UNIT 2:  Functional Writing, and Reading Non-Fiction.

External¬† examination¬† –¬† 20%.


UNIT 3:  Speaking and Listening.

Controlled assessment¬† –¬† 20%.


UNIT 4:  Studying Spoken and Written Language, and Writing Creatively.

Controlled assessment¬† –¬† 40%.


Task 1: the Study of Spoken Language;

Task 2: the Study of Written Language;

Task 3: Writing Creatively. 



English Literature

Note:  Teachers reserve the right to advise pupils moving into KS4 regarding their suitability, in terms of aptitude and application, for the study of GCSE English Literature.  It should, however, be noted also that a grade A in GCSE English Literature is normally a pre-requisite for the study of English at AS and A2.




The aims of the course encourage pupils:


  • to understand that texts from the English and Irish literary heritage have been influential and significant over time, and to explore their meaning today;
  • to explore how texts from different cultures and traditions may reflect of influence values, assumptions and sense of identity;
  • connect ideas, themes and issues, drawing on a range of texts;
  • become critical readers of fiction and non-fiction prose, poetry and drama; and
  • experience different times, cultures, viewpoints and situations, as found in literary texts.


The skills embedded in the specification are described as follows:


  • developing and sustaining independent interpretations of whole texts, supporting them with detailed textual references;
  • analysing connections between and among texts, comparing and contrasting features and qualities that connect and contrast the presentation of themes, characters and settings;
  • analysing the impact of style, language, structure and form;
  • relating texts to their social and historical contexts, and to the literary traditions of which they are a part; and
  • understanding how texts from the literary heritage have been influential and significant over time.





Unit 1: the Study of Prose.  External examination; 25%.


Unit 2: the Study of Drama and Poetry.  External examination; 50%.


Unit 3: the Study of Linked Texts.  Controlled assessment; 25%.  Task is set by CCEA  every year.




GCSE English and English Literature are ideal subjects to engage with for those contemplating careers in broadsheet and television journalism, in the media generally, in advertising, in theatre, in education, in law and in public relations.

The development of the critical faculty, and the ability to analyse and empathise, are vital skills, which are eminently suitable for transference to any number of other disciplines at both primary and post-graduate levels.