‘The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean’ Robert Louis Stevenson

Head of Department:

Mr D Kernohan

Each member of the English department has their own interests and areas of expertise.  We all, however, share a pleasure in seeing pupils enjoying reading, writing, drama and, speaking and listening.

Pupils in KS3 are divided into six mixed ability classes and we try to ensure that they keep the same teacher until the end of the key stage. 

The academic year, in this department, is divided into five sections each lasting approximately eight weeks.  Previously, each section concentrated on the study of: a novel, a selection of poetry, a drama text, Shakespeare and Non-fiction material but, with the introduction of the NI Curriculum, we have revised our schemes of work into themes.

In year 8, pupils will study, in no particular order, ‘Prejudice’, ‘Me, Myself and Others, ‘Relationships’, ‘The World Around Us’ and ‘Myths and Legends’.  Each of these will be based on a core text reflecting a range of genre, both fiction and non-fiction.  The themes in year 8 usually encourage pupils to think about themselves and and the world around them.

We recognise that not every pupil enjoys reading and writing even though they do not realise that, as adults they will read and write more than they now can imagine.  For those who struggle and require extra help, we have a number of ‘helplines’.  Pupils can be paired with others in the class who are more competent to help them with their work.  Those requiring more assistance can attend academic mentoring during registration where they are paired with a senior school pupil.  Others work with one of two teachers who supervise the academic mentoring.

This department continues to build the key constituents of the NI curriculum into its traditional academic curriculum.  A range of thinking skills is intrinsic to this subject but we are conscious of the need to make them more explicit to the pupils. We know, however, that this is a school that expects high academic standards and we are aware of our responsibility to prepare pupils for external examinations.

At the end of KS3, pupils are placed in new but still mixed ability classes.  All but one of these classes will study GCSE English and GCSE English Literature.  We encourage as many as possible to take English at AS and A2 level.

Learning and experiencing English and English Literature is not all about passing examinations.  Members of the English department have been actively involved in junior and senior school musicals; there is a lively and very successful drama department; pupils visit theatres to learn about drama and to enjoy plays; pupils attend lectures at QUB and the University of Ulster; lecturers and visiting writers have even been known to visit the school and pupils are entered into writing competitions.

 Should you wish for more detailed information, please contact the Head of Department, Mr Kernohan.