English Language is taught to all pupils in Lagan College up to Year 12. The English Department has eleven full time teachers and two part time teachers, with close links to the Drama, Media and Learning Support Departments. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum that aims to support all our students in achieving their fullest potential as rounded individuals and members of a global community.
KS3 English includes resources which reflect the fast-paced, dynamic and diverse world we live in. We have recently invested significantly in new novels, active learning resources and software packages to ensure our pupils foster a love of learning for language and literature. We enjoy healthy links with our feeder primary schools and provide projects and learning resources to help our new Year 8 students prepare for the transition to post-primary. We integrate the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar into the fabric of our topics and set high expectations.
Literacy is of paramount importance for academic success across the curriculum and we endeavour to promote reading, writing and SPAG for all pupils. Our schemes of work at this level not only implement the Revised Curriculum but also provide our students with a solid foundation in the skills required for GCSE study; as it very much mirrors the GCSE English Language and Literature CCEA specification. Pupils are encouraged to engage in group work, paired work and self and peer assessment.
Year 8 pupils have the opportunity to take part in our annual sponsored reading event, in conjunction with ‘Read for Good.’ This event provides a stimulating focus for recreational reading and raises money for seriously ill children. Last academic year, our Year 8 students raised an outstanding £6259.29. Over the last eighteen years, students at Lagan College have raised over £60,483! ‘Read for Good’ have recognised and awarded this achievement with an outstanding school plaque.
All courses (GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature and Essential Skills Communication) promote the use of accurate, functional literacy skills, analysis, evaluation and higher order reading skills. We use a wide variety of interactive resources including audio-visual material, educational videos and programmes, active learning resources and iPad technology to stretch and challenge.
GCSE English Literature is studied by many students which includes Prose, Poetry and Drama, including Shakespeare. Pupils benefit from the focus on analytical and evaluative essay writing; which proves essential for Advanced Level study in most subject areas. Students have enjoyed an increasingly high level of success and we continually strive to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all learners.
English Literature is also a very popular option for A Level. The course involves the close study of a number of texts from throughout the history of English Literature – from John Donne to present day – within the three main genres of Drama, Poetry and Prose and leads to the CCEA AS and A2 qualifications.
Our most popular text choices to date have included ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley and the poetry of Robert Frost and Seamus Heaney. At A2 students enjoy William Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’; the poetry of John Donne; Unseen Poetry analysis and the opportunity to write a comparative essay on 20th Century prose, comparing ‘The Great Gatsby’ with a modern novel of the students’ own choice.
At AS and A2 the focus is on developing independent learning and research habits in order to prepare our young people for higher education and future careers where the ability to be resourceful, reliable and robust are essential. We encourage our students to ‘read around the subject’ and our AS students benefit from beginning their A2 course research and reading at the end of Year 13. We are also greatly indebted to the guest lecturers who visit our department from Queen’s University to offer their interpretation and evaluation of some of our core texts and we also enjoy the lecture study days organised by Sovereign Education.