‘This above all: to thine own self be true’ – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

English Subject Page Update

Subject Introduction/Overview:

The general aim of teaching English is to reinforce and nurture the intellectual, imaginative and emotional growth of each student by developing his/her personal proficiency in the arts and skills of language.


Teachers are free to choose their own texts and materials to achieve the objectives of the programme, to ensure that learners are enabled to achieve the learning outcomes appropriate to the general aims of the syllabus.

Teaching of language and literature should not be separate from one another. There should be a wholeness or unity to the student’s language experiences, so that language learning (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, and so on) should happen as a natural part of the student’s encounters with the whole range of texts suggested above.

Junior Cycle Assessment:

English encourages all students to:

  • Develop an informed appreciation of literature through personal encounters with a variety of literary texts.
  • Be creative through language and to gain enjoyment and continuing personal growth from English in all its forms.
  • Use their literacy skills to manage information needs, and find, use, synthesise, evaluate and communicate information using a variety of media.

Students are actively involved in the integrated skills of oral language, reading and writing and in discussing and comparing a wide variety of texts and forms of English.

Strand 1 – Oral Language

Students will know and use the conventions of oral language interaction, in a variety of contexts, including class groups, for a range of purposes, such as asking for information, stating an opinion, listening to others, informing, explaining, arguing, persuading, criticising, commentating, narrating, imagining, speculating. Our students will be able to use editing skills continuously during the writing process to enhance meaning and impact: select vocabulary, reorder words, phrases and clauses, correct punctuation and spelling, reorder paragraphs, remodel, manage content. The new learning journey allows our students to listen actively in order to interpret meaning, compare, evaluate effectiveness of, and respond to drama, poetry, media broadcasts, digital media, noting key ideas, style, tone, content and overall impact in a systematic way.

Strand 2 – Reading

In the English classroom students will develop the necessary key skills to read texts with fluency, understanding and competence, decoding groups of words/phrases and not just single words. Students will read their texts for understanding and appreciation of character, setting, story and action: to explore how and why characters develop, and to recognise the importance of setting and plot structure. This will aid students to understand how word choice, syntax, grammar and text structure may vary with context and purpose.

Strand 3 – Writing

Students will be able to write competently in a range of text forms, for example letter, report, multi-modal text, review, blog, using appropriate vocabulary, tone and a variety of styles to achieve a chosen purpose for different audiences. These key skills will help students engage with and learn from models of oral and written language use to enrich their own written work. Therefore, allowing students to use language conventions appropriately, especially punctuation and spelling, to aid meaning and presentation and to enhance the reader’s experience. 

CBA 1 Oral Presentation

The students will deliver an oral presentation to their class. The oral presentation can be:

  • Performance: The student(s) may participate in a scripted or improvised performance, including drama, alone or with others.
  • Presentation: The student(s) may speak with or without notes, and a reading of a prepared script is allowable.
  • Interview: The student may respond to questions asked by the teacher and/or other students; the student may assume the role of interviewer as well as respondent in a dialogue setting.

CBA 2 Collection of Texts

Students will create a collection of texts based on previous class work.

The focus of the collection of texts will be on the creation of a range of student texts which might include pieces in the following genres: opinion piece, descriptive piece, a functional writing piece, autobiography, humorous piece, media piece, critique, narrative, an expressive piece (including a poem), drama or film script, and so on.

For the purposes of the collection of texts students will, during Years Two and Three, plan to complete and retain at least four pieces of work (texts).  The collection of texts is selected by the students. Underlying and informing this task is a focus on the developmental nature of writing and on developing the student’s understanding of the writing process. This will be best supported by consistent student practice in the art and craft of writing.

Assessment Task

The Assessment Task is based on the principal objective of The Collection of the Student’s Texts, which offers students a chance to celebrate their achievements as creators of texts by compiling a collection of their texts in a variety of genres. The knowledge and skills developed by students during this Classroom-Based Assessment emerge from their growing awareness of the process of writing.

10% of final mark

Written exam

2 hour exam based on the learning outcomes the student will have studied throughout the 3 year course.

90% of final mark

Senior Cycle Assessment

Building on the aims of English in junior cycle, the programme in senior cycle aims to develop in students:

  • A mature and critical literacy to prepare them for the responsibilities and challenges of adult life in all contexts;
  • A respect and appreciation for language used accurately and appropriately and a competence in a wide range of language skills both oral and written;
  • An awareness of the value of literature in its diverse forms for enriching their perceptions, for enhancing their sense of cultural identity, and for creating experiences of aesthetic pleasure.


The syllabus is organised around the two general domains of comprehending and composing. Within these two domains students will be actively engaged in using language classified under five general headings

– The language of information

– The language of argument

– The language of persuasion

– The language of narration

– The aesthetic use of language

In addition, a range of literary texts is prescribed for study. Students must choose a single text for close study, three or more texts to form a comparative study, and they must follow a course in poetry as set out in the list of prescribed texts.


Students are encouraged to enter Belvedere College’s two creative writing awards – the John Daly Award for Junior Cycle and the George Dempsey Award for Senior Cycle. Both are named after influential previous English teachers of the College who nurtured and influenced the writing of their students. The winner of these creative writing awards have their work published in the Belvederian. Further information about the John Daly Award can be found by contacting Mr Shane Moloney at and for the George Dempsey, please contact Ms Bronwyn Patton at

Extension Programmes

Students in the English department are encouraged to enter as many creative writing competitions as possible. These can include school run competitions as well as external opportunities. Elements students occasionally have DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Time in order to encourage students to read. There is a strong link between the English department and the school’s Drama Department and there are opportunities for students to have their work performed on stage through shows such as Class Acts amongst others.

Staff in English Department

  • Ms Jenny Bourke
  • Ms Ciara Flynn
  • Mr Niall Kenny
  • Mr Shane Moloney
  • Ms Megan Oliver
  • Mr Ger O’Sullivan
  • Ms Bronwyn Patton

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