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15th Apr 2024
Congratulations to Louise Craig, Year 12, for successfully winning the Maureen Donnelly...

Key Stage 3 Overview

Key Stage 3 provides pupils with a foundation in the skill of communication to equip them

for the world of life and work beyond the classroom. At our school we aim to give pupils the

opportunity to develop their abilities in a range of work covering reading, writing and

speaking and listening tasks. A wide variety of literary texts are studied covering poetry,

prose and drama and pupils are strongly encouraged to develop the skills of an autonomous

reader. Written activities ensure an appropriate balance is given to fostering both creative and

analytical capabilities. The study of English has also broadened to include Media Education

and pupils have the opportunity to study moving image texts in Years 9 and 10.

GCSE Overview

At Key Stage 4 all pupils follow CCEA’s GCSE courses in English Language and Literature.

English Language develops pupils’ competence in reading and writing and provides

opportunities to develop skills in speaking and listening by undertaking a number of oral

activities. The English Literature course allows pupils to study a range of genre: poetry, prose

and drama texts. GCSE pupils are encouraged to read widely and think creatively and

analytically, not only to ensure success in external examinations, but also to foster a genuine

appreciation of language and literature. Over the last five years, Down High pupils have

achieved first place in Northern Ireland on two separate occasions in GCSE English


A-Level Overview

In Years 13 and 14 students follow CCEA’s English Literature specification. The aim of

studying English at AS and A2 level is to give pupils the opportunity to appreciate a range of

poetry, drama and prose texts at a more sophisticated level, delving deep into the richness of

the literature. An understanding of the broader historical background of the texts provides a

broad framework which facilitates a fuller appreciation of the work. Opportunity is given to

respond creatively and analytically to the texts and pupil participation in the classroom is

deemed central to the learning process. Frequent theatre visits to view live performances, as

well as visits from academics who often provide fresh insights on set texts, further enriches

and enhances pupils’ sixth form experience in English.



Mrs Deborah Drury (Head of Department)

 Mrs Ruth Adams

 Mrs Alison Green

 Mrs Kate Ellis

 Mrs Nicola Thorpe

 Ms Pamela Mills

 Ms Karishma Kher (Career Break)

English has a central role in the delivery of a liberal education. It transcends the bounds of a curricular subject and extends into all areas of human consciousness and culture. Through the medium of language English seeks to foster self-awareness and personal growth and to develop the creative power of imagination. It encourages an awareness and appreciation of our literary and cultural history and seeks to generate the necessary linguistic skills for individuals to play a positive and discriminating role in society. The English Department at Down High has a long and rich history and has succeeded in fostering a love of literature and language in generations of students.