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Departmental Aims

The key aims of the English Department are to develop high levels of literacy and foster a love of reading across the College.  To achieve these aims, we endeavour to:


  1. Promote pupils’ language development so that they become proficient in thinking rationally and creatively when communicating with each other;

  2. Promote pupils’ competence in the interactive skills of talking, listening, reading and writing;

  3. Enable pupils to understand and respond imaginatively and sensitively to what they hear, read and experience in a variety of media and different literary genre;

  4. Develop pupils’ confidence in speaking clearly and fluently in a variety of situations using appropriate language and vocabulary;

  5. Develop pupils’ confidence in listening with sensitivity and understanding in a range of circumstances;

  6. Enable pupils to read accurately, fluently and confidently with understanding and enjoyment; respond to, analyse and evaluate a range of different materials; to extend their experience and understanding of how reading is necessary for their personal and working lives in a challenging society;

  7. Enable pupils to write and convey meaning for a range of purposes and audiences in the appropriate style through the development of ideas, careful planning, drafting and editing, thereby creating effective pieces of work, in which they can experience a sense of pride;

  8. Develop the pupils’ empathy and understanding of others through all aspects of their writing, reading, talking and listening work;

  9. Provide a supportive environment where effective teaching and learning can take place by having high expectations of everyone; assessing and carefully responding to the needs of all pupils by monitoring their progress and regularly evaluating practice.

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world"

— Ludwig Wittgenstein


Mrs C Boyle

Mrs R Browne (HoD)

Ms E Dillon

Miss A McParland

Miss C Vaughan

Mrs K McCaffrey

First Recipient of The Seamus Heaney Pri

Key Stage 3

Term 1:  September – December

Literary Fiction

Creative Writing

Novel – Classic Literary Fiction*

Term 2:  January – Easter


Reading Non-fiction and Media Texts

Term 3:  Easter – June

Writing for Purpose and Audience


Novel – Modern Literary Fiction

Key Stage 4: GCSE

We offer the CCEA specifications for GCSE English Language and Literature, with all pupils taking both subjects.

  • English Language: External Examinations -  Unit 1 taken in January of Year 12 and Unit 4 taken in June of Year 12.

  • English Literature: External examinations -  Unit 1 taken in May of Year 11 and Unit 2 in May of Year 12.

English Language

English Literature

Key Stage 5:  A-Level

We study the CCEA English Literature specification at A-Level. Pupils will study AS English Literature in Year 13 which will contribute 40% of the total marks of their A-Level grade.  In Year 14, they will continue their study at A2 for the remaining 60% of their grade.

AS Units

Unit 1 – The Study of Prose:

(40% of AS/16% of A-Level)


One novel from the list below:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Assessment: 1 Hour External Examination

Unit 2 – The Study of Drama and Poetry:

(60% of AS/24% of A-Level)


The Study of Poetry by Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost

The Study of Drama: one play from the list below:

Translations by Brian Friel

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Assessment: 2 Hour External Examination

A2 Units

Unit 1: The Study of Shakespeare

(20% of A-Level)


One play from the list below:

King Lear


External Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

Unit 2: The Study of Poetry:

(20% of A-Level)


Section A: One poet from either:

William Blake or

John Donne

Section B: Unseen Poetry

External Examination: 2 hours

Unit 3: Comparative Study of Prose Texts:

(20% of A-Level)


The study of two novels, one of which must have been published in the 21st Century.

Internal Assessment: 2500 word essay

Careers with English

Careers in english.jpg

English is a core subject. Apart from equipping young people with essential life skills, qualifications in English are also an essential requirement for almost all careers and courses of Further and Higher education. English Literature is an enriching subject which complements the study of English Language and enhances many of the skills and values necessary for adult and working life.  It is difficult to imagine a career that will not involve using the skills of communication and creativity that these subjects provide.

English Language and Literature are particularly useful for careers such as:

  • Writing

  • Law

  • Administration

  • Business

  • the Arts

  • Politics

  • Teaching

  • Journalism and the Media.

You can find an interactive version of the poster on-line at:

English Department Activities and Events:

Regular Extra-Curricular Clubs

  • Creative Writing Group

  • Junior Book Club

  • Junior Debating Society

  • Board Games Club

  • School Magazine and Leavers’ Booklet Editorial Team

  • Junior Library

Junior Book Club


Join us at lunchtime to chill out with a book. You can choose a new book from the library, do Arts & Crafts or enter the many literary competitions. 

The Sixth Year Literary Mentors are here to encourage, guide and support you.  Remember ‘Good books are just like good friends’. 

The Magazine / Leavers’ Booklet Editorial Team

Every year a group of 20 pupils, drawn from senior classes, mostly years 13 and 14, join together to work on the official school magazine. This editorial team, with skills from Art, Technology and Design, alongside ICT and Media Studies devotees – as well as many pupils who study AS/A2 English Literature, join together to forge the annual publication.

Annual Events

Every year we celebrate National Poetry Day in October and World Book Day in March. Our celebrations include:

  • The Annual DCF Poetry Competition

  • Visits from poets, writers and illustrators

  • Design a Book Cover Competition

  • Scholastic Book Fair

  • Special Assemblies and Class Activities to celebrate Reading


Special Events

Visiting Writers and Workshops

We have been privileged to welcome a range of talent from the world of literature and publishing to our school. We have hosted visits and workshops from Belfast Poet Laureate Sinead Morrissey, the late Ciaran Carson, performance poet Tony Walsh, author Cecelia Ahern, YA fiction author Ruth Eastham and most recently, comic artist and illustrator Tanya Roberts, who has worked on big-name comics such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Toy Story and How to Train Your Dragon.


School Trips and Theatre Visits

As part of the enriching experience of studying English Literature, we are always looking for opportunities for pupils to visit exhibitions, attend workshops and see live performances of texts studied in class. Recent visits have included:

  • Drama and English Trip to London

  • Seamus Heaney HomePlace Poetry workshop and Lecture

  • ‘An Inspector Calls’ Live Performance at The Grand Opera House, Belfast

  • ‘Blood Brothers’ Trip to the Bord Gais Theatre, Dublin


Special Awards/Achievements:

Each year we award The Seamus Heaney Prize for Literature to the pupil in the College who has achieved the highest mark in GCSE English Literature. With permission from Marie Heaney, the prize was inaugurated in 2014 and presented by Paddy Heaney, nephew of Seamus, to our first recipient Julie Toal.

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