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English Department

The English Department builds very effectively on work undertaken in the Primary Schools.

We aim to enable students to become effective communicators in both written and spoken forms.  Wider reading and the use of the excellent school library are encouraged for learning and pleasure.  Through exploring a wide range of texts, students gain the confidence to express themselves in new ways.  English lessons develop the awareness of the power of words and promote the qualities of insight, imagination and critical inquiry as well as broadening students’ cultural perspectives.

The English Department strives for, and achieves, high academic standards. We also believe that the teaching and enjoyment of English goes beyond the classroom. We try to involve our pupils in as many theatre and other relevant visits and activities as possible. Already this year pupils from across the Key Stages have enjoyed a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the Crumlin Road Prison, viewed a screening of a new film version the same play at a local cinema, watched a production of Moliere’s “The Hypochondriac” at the Lyric Theatre, attended lectures on Chaucer at the University of Ulster and enjoyed the writing tips provide by the highly successful author Alan Gibbons.

At Key Stage 3 pupils are taught in mixed ability groups, following schemes of work which include a wide variety of novels, plays and poems, ranging from Shakespeare to the language of text messaging and the Internet.

In Years 11 and 12, all pupils are prepared for the AQA English Language GCSE examinations; these involve spoken and written English and the study of a wide variety of poems, novels plays, non-fiction texts and short stories. As in Key stage 3, our aims are to assist the pupils’ language development and to encourage them to read widely and with discrimination. At GCSE Level, students can also choose to study English Literature and Journalism.  

English Literature is offered at AS and A2 level. The CCEA specifications allow students to explore a variety of texts and topics, some of which will be examined through coursework. Poetry, fiction and drama texts range from works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries to those of twentieth century authors. A-level English Literature develops skills and academic rigour much sought after by universities and employers.