We believe that English is at the centre of personal development, is at the core of relationships with others and is crucial to our understanding of the world around us. The English Department aims to maximise the development of each pupil intellectually, spiritually, academically and vocationally. English plays a vital role in the personal development of young people and we hope to promote a positive self-image within our students so that they leave our school as confident, articulate and responsible young adults. Our teaching aims to prepare students for the challenges of life beyond our school. We strive to achieve this by fostering an essential understanding of the power of the written word, alongside an appreciation of the ways in which language shapes our perception of the world and how it enables us to connect with others in meaningful ways.
The aim of the English department is that our students will leave Lumen Christi College with the skills to allow them to communicate effectively through speaking and writing. We hope to facilitate their personal growth, enabling them to succeed in examinations and more importantly, in order to be effective participants in wider society. An English programme has been designed for KS3 and KS4 that offers a rich variety of content and which encompasses prose, poetry, drama and media. The programme is heuristic, holistic and recursive and provides opportunities for pupils to progress through an integrated series of units of work.
Key Stage 3
At KS3 we follow the Northern Ireland Curriculum and our curricular provision is tailored to ensure that pupils build on their achievements from KS2. We provide opportunities for the students to engage with increasingly challenging texts, to develop their critical vocabulary and to make choices in terms of their own reading. Our lessons strive to nurture creativity and confidence and also to provide a broad and enriching experience whilst encouraging a scholarly approach to a variety of texts. Students examine a variety of texts that range across the centuries, from Beowulf – possibly the oldest text in the English language – to the post 2000 novel studied at A-level. We read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, investigating key features of form, style, character and theme. We work closely with the Drama department to develop students’ appreciation of English through the theatre, prose and poetry. The department’s overall aim is that by the end of the key stage, pupils will demonstrate confidence and competence in writing, they will be perceptive, fluent and independent readers and also effective communicators in speaking and listening.
At Key Stage 4 our curricular provision builds on the skills introduced at Key Stage 3 and aims to enthuse students through the study of a range of stimulating prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction texts. We aim to impress upon our students how the study of English Language and Literature will enhance their future prospects and personal fulfilment. All students are entered for CCEA GCSE English Language and English Literature and we strive to ensure that all of our students achieve their potential in both GCSEs, whilst maintaining an enjoyment of both subjects. We combine opportunities for discussion and independent learning with a rigorous approach to the demands of the course, giving students the confidence to be self-assured when faced with the challenges posed by the requirements of the examination, post-16 study and future employment.
In English Language, students become confident writers and readers, developing a critical awareness of the techniques used in many types of media to inform or persuade. In English Language, students read a range of nonfiction and fiction texts and their written work involves completion of functional tasks such as speeches, letters, articles and reviews as well as encouraging them to develop their creative and personal writing. As writers, they develop their creative technique to produce short stories, personal accounts and functional documents. They develop the skills and confidence as speakers and listeners that are essential for school and for their chosen career..
English lessons often involve paired and group work as well as whole class teaching. In speaking and listening, students are encouraged to deliver a short talk to their peers or teacher on a topic of their own choice. In English Literature, they develop the critical skills necessary to be enthusiastic and discerning readers.
At Key Stage 5, we aim to foster a life-long appreciation of the written word and encourage our A Level students to flourish as independent, reflective and critical readers. The English department offers the WJEC English Literature GCE qualification and we encourage students to appreciate writers and their choices and to consciously craft their own writing. In A level English Literature, students read a range of stimulating texts whilst also appreciating them from a variety of critical viewpoints. Students will also have many opportunities to engage in debate during their lessons and essays. They will be encouraged to explore the choices of a variety of different writers, continue to develop their communication skills and articulate themselves effectively.
A Level lessons place a strong focus on academic research, rigorous debate and students are encouraged to immerse themselves in works of literature. Our approach to A2 Non-Examination Assessment encourages independence and a sense of discovery by allowing students to choose their own novels and to decide upon the focused area that they wish to examine in their NEA response.
We offer a variety of extracurricular opportunities, including writing competitions, public speaking and Writer’s Club to encourage students to develop their key skills outside the classroom environment. Participating in public speaking competitions and class debates helps students to gain confidence by arguing persuasively and coherently. Students have been inspired first hand by writers talking about the experiences that have shaped their writing. We celebrate National Poetry Day and World Book Day through a programme of events each year.
Where to next?
Pupils who have studied A level English Literature have progressed to further study and employment in a wide range of areas from Engineering, Finance, ICT, Medicine, Law, Actuary, Drama, Teaching and Journalism.