Subject Team

Mrs L O’Neill – Head of Department, Teacher in Charge of Public Speaking, Debating & Mock Trial
Mrs A Cassidy – Assistant Head of Department
Mr M Clements – Head of Year 10, Soccer, Asst. Co-ordinator of Drama Productions
Mrs M Dennehy – Teacher in Charge of Kids’ Lit Quiz
Mr R Devlin – Co-ordinator of Lighting for School Productions
Mrs L King – Raising students’ expectations by creating and coordinating opportunities for intellectual development beyond the curriculum
Mrs B Logan – Senior Teacher: Responsible for management of school co-ordinators,
Management of Cross-Curricular Skills (KS3, KS4 and post-16), Management of school council
Mrs F McIlvanna – Library Co-ordinator, Drugs Education Co-ordinator
Mrs A Mitchell – Communication Across the Curriculum Co-ordinator
Miss S Mullin – Teacher in Charge of Writing Partnerships & The Carnegie Shadowing Scheme
Mr M Shields – Head of Drama, Co-ordinator of Drama Productions, Teacher in Charge of Improving Students’ Personal Presentation
mr devlins class

Department Aims

Our aims are:
1 – To provide our students with a keen understanding, interest and proficiency in their use of language, both written and spoken.
2 – To show them the nature of the society and world in which they live, both through direct observation and through the books, plays and poetry which we teach and which we encourage them to experience independently.
3 – To inculcate in them a love for the material they have studied – which will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
4 – To enable them to obtain examination results which will allow them to make their own career choices.
5 – That the students will enjoy our lessons and find them worthwhile and stimulating.

English as a subject is unique in that its borders are so wide. Our interests cover both traditional Literature and all forms of media; likewise we are as concerned with the teaching of grammatically correct Standard English through learning about the history of the language and the origins of its dialects at home and abroad. Similarly, it is hard to say where the classroom stops and where extra-curricular activity begins. The lesson-time mock trials lead on to the Bar National Mock Trial competition; the winners of the annual KS3 public speaking competition go on to achieve great success in local and national competitions; the teaching of a play is often accompanied by seeing it performed in, for instance, Armagh or Belfast.


Topics Studied:

Year 8:

“Getting it write” (Developing literacy skills); War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Novel study); “Speak up!” (Public speaking); “Our environment” (Non-fiction texts); “Rhyme and reason” (Poetry); “Toil and trouble” (Macbeth by William Shakespeare); Exploration of the Animated Tales version of Macbeth (Moving image).

Year 9:

“Magical Landscapes” (Fantasy fiction); Holes by Louis Sachar (Novel study); “Hitting the right note” (Public speaking); “The Simpsons” (Moving image); “No stranger here” (Poetry); “Star-cross’d lovers” (Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare); “Comical capers” (Media Education: Children’s comics).

Year 10:

“Voices from the past” (Pre-twentieth century fiction); The Black Book of Secrets by F E Higgins (Novel study); “Speak out!” (Public speaking); “Sell, sell, sell!” (Non-fiction: advertisements); “I hear it in the deep heart’s core” (Poetry); “The battle of the sexes” (The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare); “For the love of…” (Moving image).


St Patrick’s Academy GCSE Subject Choice
Subject Information for students Subject: English Language What the subject is about
English Language is a compulsory subject which provides you with the opportunity to engage with spoken and written language, allow you to explore texts, words and images and learn how to express opinions, form independent views and challenge ideas.
Course content and assessment schedule
% of total
1 hour 45 minutes

Exam: Writing for purpose and Audience and Reading to access Non-Fiction and Media Texts;
You will engage with reading and writing tasks based on a variety of texts
5 Tasks to be completed in the examination
2 CA
Controlled Assessment: Speaking and Listening;
You will complete an individual presentation and interaction, a discussion and a role play. You will complete several speaking and listening tasks over the 2 year course and your best mark for each type of task will be used for your final mark.
3 CA

Controlled Assessment: Studying Spoken and Written Language;
You will study the impact of Spoken Language and demonstrate knowledge of characters, themes and genres in literary texts.
This Unit is assessed in two controlled assessment tasks worth 20%of the overall GCSE qualification.

1 hour 45minutes
Exam: Personal or Creative Writing and Reading Literary and Non-Fiction Texts.
You will engage with writing and reading tasks based on your reading of a variety of non-fiction texts
4 Tasks to be completed in the examination

A Level

English Literature

English Literature is one of the most rewarding A-level subjects you can take. Universally recognised as a core academic subject, it is held in very high esteem by all universities.

An A-Level in English Literature tells prospective universities that:

  • you are highly literate
  • you can investigate, analyse and assess written material
  • you can condense facts, ideas and arguments
  • you can produce written material that is clear and articulated
  • you are innovative and creative

Increasingly, universities are citing the above as highly desirable skills in candidates applying for any degree course. Creativity, innovation and high levels of literacy are essential to a healthy economy. In this respect, an A-Level in English Literature is to be highly recommended, not only to students studying other humanities A-Levels, but to those choosing pathways that involve science and business too.

Studying English Literature gives you the opportunity to explore an interesting and diverse range of literature, including poems, novels and plays. You will get to know the writing of particular authors in great detail and develop your passion for literature – passion that we hope will remain with you for the rest of your life. This kind of study affords a unique way of appreciating the power of the written word and the cultural history of our own and other countries.

An English Literature A-Level will equip you with skills that are readily transferable into many other areas and many university courses. It opens up the opportunity to go into a great variety of careers, such as:

  • law
  • publishing
  • teaching
  • TV, film and media
  • journalism
  • marketing
  • writing
  • advertising
  • public relations

Students who choose to study English Literature with us enjoy consistently high grades. Our track record at A-Level is the best in the school:

  • 100% of students have been awarded grades A-C since 2005
  • 65% of students in 2014 gained A*A (the NI average for grammar schools is 35%)
  • “Outstanding standards achieved in A-Level English Literature” (Education & Training Inspectorate)

We want students who love reading, have opinions and who will engage in lively discussion about what they have read. If you are engaged and ‘switched-on’ in class, the work required from you at home is very manageable. Your two teachers will be happy to provide help and guidance at all stages. It is worth considering that 40% of your AS grade is determined by coursework (2 pieces) and the remaining 60% is one exam paper (2 texts).

Exam board: CCEA
Texts studied at AS: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald; All my Sons and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller OR The History Boys, People and The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett OR Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey; the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and Liz Lochead OR the poetry of W B Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh; Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare.

Texts studied at A2: The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe OR The Illusionist by Jennifer Johnson; The Outsider by Albert Camus and The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger OR Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and The Colour Purple by Alice Walker; The Pardoner’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer OR The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope; the study of Tragedy (King Lear by William Shakespeare and The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney) OR the study of Satire (Volpone by Ben Jonson and The School for Scandal by R B Sheridan).

Department News/Events

Outstanding A-Level results

Congratulations to the class of 2014 whose results were outstanding: 65% of students achieved A*/A, far exceeding the NI grammar average of 35%!

Bar National Mock Trial Competition

Rehearsals are well underway for the Mock Trial competition which is being held on 22nd November 2014 in the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast.

National Poetry Day, remember? Remember! 2nd October 2014

National Poetry Day is a nationwide celebration of poetry held on the first Thursday in October. Since 1994 it has shaken poetry from its dust-jacket into the nations’ streets, offices, shops, playgrounds, train stations and airwaves, through live events, happenings, classroom activities, conversations, broadcasts, tweets and spontaneous uncontrollable outbursts of poetry.

The theme this year is Remember.
Looking for inspiration? Click on this link
We’d love you to share poems you remember with us via Twitter with the hashtag #nationalpoetryday.

Here’s a much-loved Heaney poem on the theme of ‘Remember’:

In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Seamus Heaney

Educational Visits/Trips

25th September: Frank Pig Says Hello by Patrick McCabe, The Market Place, Armagh (A2 students): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOGtdPJgsOA
4th December: The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Odyssey Arena, Belfast (Year 12 students): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=869BSUeKQ4w


Bar National Mock Trial Competition

Past pupils and law under-graduates, Hannah Lynch and Niamh Marley are working with local barristers, Tony and Conor Lunny to assist the Mock Trial team with their preparations for the regional final of the competition.

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