General Aims

The English Department aims to help pupils nurture and develop an understanding of the English language and an appreciation of English Literature. Students are actively encouraged to analyse, interpret, evaluate and invent in a supportive and stimulating environment.

Specific Aims

  • To encourage students to value their own experience and opinions as part of their growth to maturity and personal development.
  • To develop pupils’ ability to express themselves clearly, logically, critically, and creatively
  • To extend moral awareness and standards of value through the teaching of English
  • To introduce pupils to a wide range of Literacy texts and genres, dramatic forms and techniques
  • To develop a pleasure in reading with comprehension and a growing awareness of the writer’s skill with language
  • To promote literacy, oracy and ICT in the classroom

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The course pupils follow is part of a three year course. It has three parts: Talking and Listening, Reading and Writing.

Talking and Listening

Pupils are given the opportunity to talk and listen in pairs, groups and in front of the whole class. They may be given the chance to express an opinion, do role – play, discuss ideas and comment on what they have read, viewed and heard. They will be expected to listen to others and perhaps respond to what they have heard.


They read a range of novels, plays, poems and non – fiction. Some of this is silent reading, perhaps for homework. They have the opportunity to read aloud to others and to the class. They are given the chance to talk about what they have read, write in response to it and answer questions.


In class pupils are given a range of writing tasks for different audiences, including stories, diaries, poems, plays, poetry, speeches and letters. They may get their work published in the Downshire News or the school Magazine.

English language is studied by all Year 11 and Year 12 pupils (Key Stage 4)

Pupils follow the CCEA Syllabus

The Course: 3 main areas of study

  • Talking and Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

These three areas cover all aspects of English reading, comprehension, creative writing, poetry, prose, drama, functional / practical written skills and oral communication.


  • by continual assessment in Talking and Listening.(20%)
  • by Controlled Assessment in Reading and Writing (40%)
  • by two written examinations at the end of Year 12 (40%)

Controlled Assessment

  • Task 1: The Study of Spoken Language. [10%]
  • Task 2: The Study of Written Language. [15%]
  • Task 3: Writing Creatively. [15%]

Examination elements:

  • Paper 1: 1 hour and 30 minutes Personal Writing and Reading Multi-Modal texts 20%
  • Paper 2: 1 hour and 30 minutes Functional Writing and Reading Non-Fiction texts 20%
Pupils follow the CCEA English Literature Syllabus.

They read, experience and respond to a wide variety of literature from various eras and cultures.

Three main areas of study: Poetry / Prose / Drama.

  • The study of 6 texts
  • 3 heritage texts, 3 other from Contemporary and Other Cultures
  • 75% exam on 4 texts
  • 25% controlled assessment on 2 linked texts

Pupils will follow the AQA GCSE Media Studies course. This course aims to develop a critical understanding of the role of the mass media in society, to encourage pupils to develop knowledge of the industrial and commercial nature of media production and also give the ability to analyse the media. Pupils will also have to develop their own production skills during the 2 year course.

Coursework: 60%

  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 1 cross-media assignment
  • 1 Practical Production and Evaluation

Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minute examination under supervision 40%

Task 1 Knowledge and Understanding

Task 2 Research, Planning and Presentation. Production and Evaluation

Range of Study: will include some of the following:

Television, radio, film, newspapers, magazines, comics, game shows, animated cartoons, soap operas, pop music, video, Desk-top publishing, computer-base technology.

Pupils follow the AQA GCSE Drama specification. The aim of the course is to develop an awareness of self and others, to build self – confidence and mutual respect in the area of drama, to express ideas and emotions, to enjoy drama and live theatre and performance.

The course is made up of two areas: the written paper and practical work.

The written paper is 1hour and 30 minutes long and is worth 40% of the overall grade. The paper comprises of three sections:

  • A –  Practical work completed during the course
  • B –  Study and performance of a scripted play
  • C –  Study of a live theatre production

The practical work is worth 60% of the overall grade.

Candidates are required to present practical work for two controlled assessment options. Each option will comprise of the process of understanding of skills development and a final presentation.

The module options covered are: Acting, Improvisation and Theatre in Education.

The texts to be studied will be: The Crucible (Arthur Miller) & Blood Brothers (W.Russell)

This is an active course of study and requires confident communication skills.


In recent years the mass media have become an important focus for exploration by students in an increasingly media saturated world.

This course offers students a framework through which they can study the distinctive contributions which the mass media make to their understanding and enjoyment of the world in which they live.

Through a variety of approaches to the changing media environment, students will develop a critical and analytical approach to the range of media texts as well as the media institutions which create and circulate them. This will include attention to the textual characteristics of the forms of output and representation to be found in those media texts.

Students will further explore the kinds of relationships the texts propose with audiences through a range of research, pre-production and production activities. The framework will be further extended by directing attention to the deeper study of the selected media industries and to the changes and debates surrounding the deployment, expansion and impact of media technologies such as the Internet and the growth of digital media within an international context.

AS Level

MS1 Media Representations and Responses (25%)

Three compulsory questions, including one question on unseen audio-visual or printbased material (interactive media will be presented as print-based).

MS2 Media Production Processes (25%)

Three components: one pre-production ; one production which develops from the

pre-production; and one report on the production process

A2 Level

MS3 Media Investigation & Production (25%)

Three components: a written investigation into media text(s) based on one or more of the key media concepts – genre, narrative and/or representation ; a media production ; and an evaluation of how the production is informed by the investigative research .

MS4 Media – Text, Industry and Audience (25%)

Three questions (30 marks per question).

  • Section A: one question from a choice of two.
  • Section B: two questions from a choice of four.

Candidates must answer each question on a different media industry.