English Department


  • Welcome to St. Mary’s English Department.
In line with the objectives of the Northern Ireland Curriculum, St. Mary’s English Department plays a significant role in helping all pupils prepare for life and work:
  • as individuals;
  • as contributors to society;
  • as contributors to the economy and environment.
English develops pupils as individuals by:
  • developing pupils’ ability to communicate effectively;
  • helping pupils to understand how language is used to define identity and convey ideas, feelings and experiences;
  • enabling pupils to explore and respond to others’ ideas and emotions imaginatively or critically;
  • encouraging pupils’ creative expression.
English develops pupils as contributors to society by:
  • providing opportunities for pupils to explore how the attitudes and actions of individuals can impact on other people’s lives;
  • providing opportunities for pupils to consider issues that affect society, through engagement with literature and media;
  • making pupils aware of the power that media and language have to shape society.
English develops pupils as contributors to the economy and environment by:
  • developing pupils’ communication skills as required by employers;
  • giving pupils opportunities to engage with issues around employment, economies and the environment;
  • making pupils aware that media and language can be used to convey messages about the economy and environment in certain ways.


  • Mrs Sinead O’Connor H.O.D.
  • Mrs Caroline Alexander
  • Mrs Ann Green (Literacy Coordinator)
  • Ms Ciara Haran
  • Ms Dana McDonald
  • Ms Rebecca Poole
  • Ms Karen Sweeney
  • Ms Paula Taylor


English is part of the core curriculum for all pupils at Key Stage 3. Pupils have six lessons of English a week. We encourage our pupils to become critical, creative and effective communicators. Our KS3 curriculum provides pupils with opportunities to explore a range of stimuli including peers, poetry, prose, drama, non-fiction and media. The three strands of the cross-curricular skill of Communication – talking and listening, reading and writing are all promoted and developed in the English Department.


CCEA English Language and English Literature are both available to study at GCSE.   GCSE English Language   GCSE English Language allows pupils to demonstrate their ability in functional English; to investigate and analyse language; and, to experiment and use language creatively. The scheme of assessment for GCSE English Language is unitised.   GCSE English Language (Revised Specification)   Externally Assessed Units: Unit 1: Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-Fiction Texts. (30% weighting) Unit 4: Personal or Creative Writing and Reading Literary and Non-Fiction Texts. (30% weighting)   Controlled Assessment Units: Unit 2: Speaking and Listening (20% weighting) Unit 3: Studying Spoken and Written Language (20% weighting)   CCEA GCSE English Literature (Revised Specification)   Unit 1: The Study of Prose (External Assessment - 30% weighting) Unit 2: The Study of Drama and Poetry (External Assessment - 50% weighting) Unit 3: The Study of Shakespeare (Controlled Assessment - 20% weighting)

Post 16

Post-16, the English Department follows CCEA’s GCSE English Literature Specification. Year 13 AS 1: The Study of Poetry 1900-Present and Drama 1900-Present (External written examination: 60% of AS and 24% of A2) AS 2: The Study of Prose Pre 1900 (External written examination - 40% of AS and 16% of A2) Year 14 A2 1: Shakespearean Genres (External written examination - 20% of A level) A2 2: The Study of Poetry Pre 1900 and Unseen Poetry (External written examination -20% of A level) A2 3: Internal assessment. Students complete a 2500-word essay. (20% of A level)

Examination Performance

The English Department celebrated success in both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature and both AS and A2 English Literature. Year 12 2019 GCSE English Language A* - C:   76.3% A* -B: 20.3%   GCSE English Literature A* - C:  97% A* -B: 54.5% A2 English Literature 2019 A* – B: 80%        

Extra Curricular

St. Mary's English Department offers pupils a wide range of extra-curricular activities:  
  • Irish News Critical Reading Literacy Project
  • The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition
  • Voice of the Future Public Speaking Competition
  • Rotary Youth Leadership Competition
  • Young Writers' Competition