The English Department offers students a rich and diverse learning experience which enhances their communication, interpersonal and creative skills, helping them to become independent learners. Our aim is to cultivate a love of literature in our pupils as well as a confidence in applying the practical skills of English. Media Studies and Journalism are also offered within the Department and afford our pupils the opportunity to bring their English skills into a variety of contexts.
KEY STAGE 3
All students in Years 8, 9 and 10 have 5 periods of English per week. During each school year, students study a variety of poetry, prose, drama and media texts which enhances their reading, writing, talking and listening and thinking skills. Students are also given the opportunity to incorporate ICT skills into their presentation of tasks (using computer packages and audio-visual equipment) and to recognise links between English and the other key subjects which they study.
A range of literacy-based initiatives is provided to help support and nurture our students’ literacy progress including: a readathon; spellathon; paired reading partnerships; and student mentoring. Students in Key Stage 3 also visit the Library to enhance the skills acquired in the English classroom and also for recreational reading. A variety of extra-curricular activities, competitions and excursions is also available to the pupils throughout the school year.
Three GCSEs are offered by the Department: English Language (compulsory); English Literature (compulsory); and Journalism in the Media and Communications Industry (optional). Students are provided with the opportunity to study works of literature in an in-depth and critical way; practise their creative and communication skills; work independently and within a group; appreciate the nuances of language and how this is applied in a variety of contexts.
The study of English Language allows students to:
- demonstrate skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing necessary to communicate with others confidently, effectively, precisely and appropriately;
- express themselves creatively and imaginatively;
- become critical readers of a range of texts, including multi-modal texts;
- use reading to develop their own skills as writers;
- understand the patterns, structures and conventions of written and spoken English;
- understand the impact of variations in spoken and written language and how they relate to identity and cultural diversity; and
- select and adapt speech and writing to different situations and audiences.
The study of English Literature (which complements the GCSE English Language) allows students to:
- understand that texts from the English and Irish literary heritage have been influential and significant over time, and explore their meaning today;
- explore how texts from different cultures and traditions may reflect or 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 study of Journalism in the Media and Communications Industry allows students to:
- develop the core skills and knowledge (including background and context) underpinning Journalism in today’s world (print, broadcast and e-based);
- develop critical thinking and decision-making skills through consideration of issues that are important, real and relevant to them;
- present ideas and arguments supported by research and evidence;
- develop and practise the key transferable skills that are important in working life.
Two A-Levels are offered by the Department: English Literature and Media Studies.
Students are given the opportunity to study not only a wide range of literature written by home-grown Irish writers but also literature from outside the UK and literature in translation. Through independent and critical reading, students develop their interest and enjoyment in literary studies and become accomplished, discerning readers. A-Level English Literature students can engage creatively with a variety of texts and develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in speech and writing. Students are encouraged to explore the contexts of the texts they are reading and others’ interpretations of them and deepen their understanding of the changing traditions of literature in English. This A-Level provides an excellent basis for students who intend to embark upon a career in law, journalism, teaching, advertising, politics, or any career which requires an analytical thought process and a flair for communication.
Students are given the opportunity to enhance their enjoyment and appreciation of the media and its role in their daily lives whilst being given the skills required to engage in a critical understanding of the media (through analysing and evaluating media products and concepts and through the creative application of practical skills). Students explore production processes, technologies and other relevant contexts in order to produce their own media products. Students of A-Level Media Studies are encouraged to become autonomous learners who can apply practical skills in a creative and meaningful way; and critique and evaluate existing products and media practices and the media’s influential role in today’s society as well as debating major contemporary media issues. This A-Level provides an excellent basis for students who intend to embark upon a career in the creative arts, media or advertising.