The aim of the English Department is to stimulate and develop pupil interest and enjoyment of English in an atmosphere where pupils wish to learn and where pupils and teachers give of their best. We aim to nurture confidence and bring a sense of achievement, by extending pupils to realize their full potential and strive towards the highest possible standards in all aspects of English.
Key Stage 3
Pupils are given a range of experiences: to read a variety of texts; to write in a range of styles; to research; to use I.C.T. where appropriate; to draft and edit work and to develop critical skills. Each unit of work incorporates coursework and talking and listening activities which contribute to external examinations. Pupils gain confidence in expressing their views and from peer and self-evaluation of their work.
Key Stage 4 and 5
Pupils study English Language following the CCEA specification. There are usually four GCSE classes which are streamed broadly using achievement in Year 10. In English Literature pupils follow the CCEA syllabus. The aim of the GCSE Literature course is to enable pupils to develop both critical and creative skills as well as to enrich them culturally. Results in both English and English Literature are excellent (well above the Northern Ireland grammar school average).
At Key Stage 5 English Literature is a popular choice. The English Department teaches the CCEA specification and there is one English Literature class in Year 13 and one class in Year 14.
All pupils are encouraged to read widely and to write for the school magazine and for literary competitions. A number of extra-curricular activities are linked to the teaching of English including Debating, Public Speaking, Book Club, Writing Club and Drama. School trips are organized on a regular basis to the theatre; regular performances are attended at The Market Place Theatre and we receive visits from theatre companies.
“Writers make a difference with words, creating new worlds and experiences in literature.”
English Literature at A level offers opportunities to develop your own interests and enthusiasms, especially a love of reading that is usually only the beginning of an enduring passion that will stay with you for life. Our A-Level course contains many magnificent novelists, playwrights and poets. You will have the opportunity to read and respond to some of the greatest literature ever written!
In addition to your own personal enjoyment, studying English Literature will equip you with valuable skills relevant to a wide range of careers. Students of English Literature are seen as literate and articulate. Studying great literature will help you to express your own opinions and ideas in the most appropriate and powerful way; an invaluable skill for your personal and professional future. English Literature fosters skills in communication, arguing effectively and using supporting evidence, thinking logically, strategically and critically, working both independently and as part of a team, meeting deadlines and in using computers. You can expect to leave our department with all these skills, making you an excellent candidate for a career in the media, law, accountancy and finance, management, personnel, and administration.
What CCEA says: “This qualification is for students who have an interest in reading and derive pleasure from it … Through the study of English Literature students will acquire skills that are valued in further and higher education as well as in the workplace. These include analysis, independent research, higher order thinking skills and the advanced study skills which will help prepare students for third level education.
There are few jobs where the subject-matter of your English Literature degree is essential – secondary teaching or an academic career being the main ones which spring to mind. However, the skills you develop through the study of English Literature (effective written and verbal communication, time-management, organisational skills, team-work, independent study and research, developing persuasive arguments …to name but a few), are marketable in a wide variety of professional areas. At least 50% of graduate jobs do not specify a degree discipline. Some areas which have traditionally attracted English Literature graduates include advertising, marketing and PR work, arts administration, library and information management, the legal profession, editing and publishing, journalism and other areas of the media.
Remember that the skills that you develop in English Literature are useful in almost every job. Through the study of English Literature, you can:
Communicate clearly in speech and writing
Study and interpret information
Follow and present an argument
Develop creativity and imagination
Improve your spelling and punctuation
Develop an interest in wide an independent reading
Explore the contexts of the texts studied and others’ interpretations of them
Most jobs need some English skills and, indeed, in many occupations these skills are an important part of the job.
At The Royal School students of English Literature have gone to university to study degrees traditionally associated with English Literature such as Journalism, Law and Media but also less traditionally degrees such as Nursing and Medicine.
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