The English Department aims to provide interesting and enjoyable experiences in reading, writing talking and listening.

We believe that the study of English will provide our pupils with the opportunities to communicate effectively and respond imaginatively to what they hear, see and read. We hope, eventually, as a result of these shared experiences, that they will be equipped for employment and adult life. Just as important, however, is our wish that the study of English will enrich their personal lives and relationships. The staff in the English department are committed and enthusiastic and believe that the basis of all our lessons should be:

  • Ideas
  • Inspiration
  • Information
  • Images
  • Imagination

In this department we are convinced that reading is the key to success in every other subject as well as our own. We try to provide as many opportunities for reading as possible including the following:

  • We run a Scholastic Book Club
  • Library Classes where pupils are encouraged to take part in paired reading activities and the Be a Better Reader scheme
  • Book Boxes – Each class has a book box and is encouraged to read during registration period for 10 minutes three times per week.

We have also enjoyed taking part in various projects such as Read-On, Spellathon, the One Book Project and are proud of the fact that we have raised over £6000 pounds for charity as well as honing our literacy skills!

Both staff and pupils ran a very successful Book Fair to which we invited our neighbours, St Colmans and Assumption Grammar.

Our pupils enjoy frequent visits to the cinema and theatre. We are currently organising a visit to Queens Film Theatre for all Year 9 pupils to see “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” and Years 11 and 12 pupils will soon have a chance to see a production of Macbeth in school.

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Programme of Study

Key Stage 3

Throughout Key Stage 3 pupils develop a range of skills accessing/ using poetry, prose, drama, non-fiction and regular language work. They also enjoy/their literacy skills are also developed through/ increased media awareness including digital story telling and animation.

Summary of Work at Key Stage 3

Most of this work is modular

  • Prose texts including:
    • Skellig
    • Calling a Dead Man
    • Two weeks with the Queen
    • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
    • Gangsta’ Rap
    • Private Peaceful
    • Private reading
  • Various types of poetry including writing their own
  • Media
  • Drama including:
    • Short Drama scripts
    • Shakespeare
  • Language including spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Talking and listening including:
    • Formal presentations using PowerPoint
    • Informal discussions
    • Debates
    • Role Plays including Hot Seating
  • Writing skills including:
    • Diary entries
    • Formal and informal letters
    • Newspaper articles
    • Drama scripts
    • Storyboarding
    • Cartoon strips
    • Book reviews
    • Narrative and descriptive writing
    • Recounts
    • Poetry
    • Discursive writing

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The current Year 11 pupils study the CCEA GCSE English Language specification in The High School Ballynahinch.  The details are listed below.

Controlled Assessment – Written -  Titles (submission 2015)   (40%).

  1. The Study of Spoken Language – Formal vs. Informal Talk   (10%).
  2. The Study of Written Language – “Of Mice and Men” – Love and / or Hate   (15%).
  3. Writing Creatively – Childhood   (15%).


Controlled Assessment - Speaking & Listening (20%)

1). An individual presentation on which they will take questions.
2). A group interaction.
3). A role play activity.


Examination Entries

Unit 1 – Multi Modal & Personal Writing (January 2015).

Unit 2 – Functional Writing & Non-Fiction (May/June 2015).




Controlled Assessment


September 2013

Speaking & Listening Assessment.

Creative Writing Assessment.

Individual Presentation Formal Assessment  (S & L).

“Childhood” Controlled Assessment preparation.


October 2013

Speaking & Listening Assessment.

Creative Writing Assessment.

“Of Mice and Men”- introduction to the novel and author.

Drama / Role play based on the novel.

Formal Assessment (S & L).

“Childhood” Formal Controlled Assessment.



Controlled Assessment


November 2013


December 2013

Speaking & Listening Assessment.

“Of Mice and Men” – reading the novel & preparing for “The Study of Written Language” Controlled Assessment.

Group Discussion Formal Assessment.

Final preparation for “The Study of Written Language” Controlled Assessment.


January 2014

“The Study of Written Language” Controlled Assessment.

Speaking & Listening – additional assessment preparation.

“The Study of Written Language” Controlled Formal Assessment.

Speaking & Listening Formal Assessment.


February 2014

& March 2014

“The Study of Spoken Language” – Formal vs. Informal Talk Controlled Assessment.

Speaking & Listening – additional assessment preparation.

Preparation for “The Study of Spoken Language” Controlled Assessment.

Speaking & Listening Formal Assessment.


April 2014

“The Study of Spoken Language” – Formal vs. Informal Talk.  

Speaking & Listening – additional assessment preparation.

“The Study of Spoken Language” Controlled Formal Assessment.

Speaking & Listening Formal Assessment.


May & June 2014

Unit 1 Examination preparation.

Unit 1 – Multi Modal  

Unit 1 – Personal Writing

Complete a mock paper.

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See the world differently through the eyes of Media!

Within the English Department at the High School we strive to keep up to date with the Technological advances that are rapidly changing our experiences and perception of life in the new Millennium.

We pride ourselves on our modern approach to teaching and Media is seen as the perfect tool to use as we try to extract the full potential from our pupils.

Recently we have been involved with a Creative Learning Center (Studio On) who have helped us introduce Digital Storytelling, Model Making and Animation into our classroom activities. Various skills are developed through this modern means of teaching, below are just a few—

  • The ability to solve problems and make decisions
  • The ability to work with others on a collaborative task
  • The chance to show their creativity
  • The ability to manage their own learning by being encouraged to evaluate their own strengths and weakness

At Key Stage Three level, some of the activities that feature in our classrooms are----

  • Learning about the ‘Language’ of film e.g. Understanding how camera angles and shot sizes work
  • Developing an appreciation of how the use of music, colour and character portrayal, influences the mood and atmosphere of a production
  • Compiling storyboards as the pupils plan their own Media piece
  • Learning how to set up the equipment needed to present a Media piece
  • Using Digital Technology such as stills and video cameras to record their own film pieces

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Reading advice for parents

read to succeedChildren who read for pleasure enjoy better opportunities throughout life because they have gained a richer vocabulary, more knowledge, critical thinking skills and a self-directed learning framework. Practitioners should be unapologetic about encouraging children to enjoy reading and focusing energy and expertise on nurturing positive reading behaviours, as both are vital to an individual's success at school and their economic and social capital later in life.

The Challenge

families read and succeedThe number of children who enjoy reading has remained low for the past decade. This is a real cause for concern because of the proven link between test results and reading for pleasure. Studies also show that reading a variety of literature independently by the age of 15 is the single biggest indicator of future success, outweighing negative factors such as socioeconomic background or family situation.

Please encourage your child to

read at home

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