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Welcome to Dalriada’s English Department


- George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons: Part 1 Dreams and Dust (Game of Thrones)



The English Department at Dalriada is committed to the provision of a stimulating and supportive environment in which both pupils and staff enjoy their work, can be proud of their achievements and are not afraid to take risks.

Our English classes are rarely quiet for long. Pupils are encouraged to join in discussions, read aloud, perform, make presentations and ask questions. They are also expected to take responsibility for their own work and to respect the needs and opinions of others.

Our intention is to equip pupils to read, write, speak and listen effectively and confidently in whatever situations they find themselves now and in the future.


We are very proud of our examination results at GCSE, AS and A level in English Language, English Literature and Drama. We consistently achieve 100% A*-C and frequently obtain over 50% A*-A at all exam levels. This is significantly higher than the annual Northern Ireland Grammar School Average. These outstanding results are a reflection of the dedication, diligence and commitment of our department.


Mrs Kane (Head of Department)

Mrs Bradley (Assistant to the Head of Department)

Miss Brown


Mrs Steele


Miss Snoddy


Mrs Divin



At Key Stage Three (Years 8-10) the English Department aims to build on the foundations of Primary School literacy and establish good working relationships within the classroom. We focus on three skill areas: Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening. Our main objective is to help create life-long learners who can read a text analytically and critically but can also read for enjoyment, can write accurately in a functional and creative way, and can have the confidence to speak clearly and effectively in an individual and a group situation. This then paves the way for progress in all three skill areas at GCSE level and beyond.


Throughout our Key Stage 3 course, we investigate the three genres of literature: Poetry, prose and drama, as well as embedding the basics of grammar and punctuation and analysing the effect of language online and in the media. We read a range of novels ( including: Boy – Roald Dahl, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyce, Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian, The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins and others), we examine two Shakespeare texts (Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet) and we investigate a range of forms of poetry and language.

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English Department Poetry Competition

GCSE English Language

All pupils at Dalriada study English Language for GCSE while many opt to study GCSE English Literature as well; the study of Literature enhances pupils’ understanding of the skills required for success in English. Our examination results in GCSE English Language are consistently much higher than the annual NI Grammar School Average, usually with 100% A*-C.


There are four units within the course:

  • Unit 1: Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-fiction and Media Texts External. Written examination (1 hour 45 mins)  - 30%

  • Unit 2: Speaking and Listening Controlled assessment - 20%

  • Unit 3: Studying Spoken and Written Language Controlled Assessment - 20%

  • Unit 4: Personal or Creative Writing and Reading Literary and Non-fiction Texts External written examination (1 hour 45 mins) - 30%


Written Assessments

Studying Spoken Language and Written Language – Controlled Assessment. Both of these assessments are completed under HIGH control.

Pupils must complete three Controlled Assessments during the two year course:

  • Task 1 The Study of Spoken Language (10%) (1 hour)

  • Task 2 Response to Written Language (10%) (1 hour)


Pupils are required to complete a mixture of Formal & Informal tasks – the best one in each of these three categories counts towards the final mark:

  • Individual Presentation

  • Discussion

  • Role Play


If you would like to view the full CCEA specification, please open the link below:

GCSE English Literature

Many pupils choose to study English Literature at GCSE level and we are very proud of our exam success in this subject. We consistently obtain 100% A*-C, frequently with over 50% obtaining A*-A. Again our results are well above the NI Grammar School Average.


 Closed Book External Examination: 1 hour and 45 Minutes

  • Section A: Unseen Prose – Analysis of writer’s craft based on a 19th century text – 10%

  • Section B: One from a choice of two questions on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee – 20%


To listen to the audio of this novel, open the following link:

To watch a video on 19th Century Literature, open the following link:


2 hour Open Book External Examination

  1. One from a choice of two questions on ‘An Inspector Calls’ (25%)

  2. One from a choice of two questions on poems on the themes of ‘Identity’ (25%)


CCEA recommend pupils watch the following link for revision purposes:

An Inspector Calls -

To download the Poetry anthology, please click the link below. We study the Identity Anthology.


2 hour Controlled Assessment

  • Examining the presentation of themes, characters and/or settings in Macbeth with a focus on context


CCEA recommend the following link for revision purposes:


We like to ensure our literature students experience live theatre so we will endeavour to give a more rounded experience by visiting local theatres to watch live performances when it is deemed appropriate to do so.

Although all the essential information about GCSE English and English Literature will be covered in class, some pupils find it useful to use other sources as well.

Study notes on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Macbeth’ and most of the poems in the Anthology are available to buy online. CCEA also has some relevant notes on its GCSE Microsite, which you can visit by clicking 

There are also commercially produced guidance notes and practice materials available for GCSE English but please note that those created for Exam Boards other that CCEA may not cover the full CCEA course and may contain irrelevant information.

If you would like to view the full CCEA specification, please open the link below:

Sixth Form English Literature


Our involvement in the extracurricular life of the school is testament to the English Department’s commitment to our pupils’ education.

We develop pupil enrichment through:

· Debating

o Junior and Senior


· Drama Club

o Junior and Senior

· Reading Group: In conjunction with the library

· School Musical/ Dramatic productions

2018 Fiddler on the Roof

2017 Hairspray

2016 Macbeth

2015 Oklahoma!

2014 Phantom of the Opera

· Mentoring

· External Competitions


Many of our A level pupils proceed to university to study an array of degrees from English Literature itself, to Law, Medicine and Engineering. As one of the top ‘facilitating’ subjects at university, the skills acquired when studying English Literature can be transferred to a variety of careers.

Read some testimonies from our Past Pupils…

Ryan Wilson

I cannot recommend studying English enough!

The main reason is that it is fun; what’s not to like about reading great books and then chatting about them? But it also teaches you countless skills that can help you throughout your working life. You learn to put together an argument, to read analytically and to express yourself clearly in both speech and writing.

My own career since sitting in the English block at Dalriada has led me from teaching English myself, to writing a book to being a reporter and producing a radio programme on Radio 2. It’s not the most linear or logical career path…but I’ve loved it, and have the English Department at Dalriada, in large part, to thank for it.

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Over the years, many of our A level pupils have progressed to Oxbridge, where they have studied a variety of disciplines. Here are some of our more recent pupils:

Charlotte Warke 2012

Mark Scott 2014

Jack Hall 2017

Emma Hasson 2018

Benjamin Webb 2018 - Benjamin was also 2nd in NI in the A2 examination

Sarah Hadden 2019

What’s Happening in the English Department?

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