The English department of Dean Maguirc College

Teachers: Mrs Claire O’Hanlon (H.o.D.)

Dr Celine McKenna

Mrs Nuala Grimes

Mrs Jayne Murphy

Mrs Shauna Casey

Mrs Emma Keyes

Mrs Maura Haughey (librarian)

Our English department comprises of six very dedicated and enthusiastic teachers of English, English Literature, Essential Skills in Communication and Drama. We endeavour to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum to all the pupils in our care through the wide range of teaching and learning strategies we employ within the English classroom. We aim to encourage the spiritual, moral and social development of each pupil as well as assisting them to fulfil their academic potential. Classes are streamed according to ability and run concurrently so that pupils can be moved in accordance with their needs. Our aim is that every pupil is in the class which is most appropriate to their learning needs.

Throughout years 8-10 (Key Stage 3) all pupils will study English language, English literature, Media Education (incorporating ICT), Drama and partake in Library classes. Year 9 and 10 pupils will also participate in our annual Public Speaking competition which is currently in its 27th year.

Across KS3 the English teachers work alongside our colleagues in other departments to support and enhance the Communication skills of all our pupils. From year 8 onwards pupils will be given many assessment opportunities to display their abilities in Reading, Writing and Talking and Listening. These myriad assessments allow pupils to grow in confidence and in ability and this increases greatly their ability to become independent learners; our pupils are familiar with the levels of progression and strive to improve their end of Key Stage 3 level. We aim to create confident and able, self critical learners and our ongoing endeavours serve pupils greatly at GCSE.

We are confident to assert that we foster a love for reading, for writing and for articulating our opinions in these classrooms; our pupils’ self-evaluations attest to that.


GCSE English:

Pupils in key stage 4 will study either CCEA English GCSE or Essential Skills in Communication (entry level, level 1 and level 2). Three classes of GCSE English/language run concurrently to ensure that all learners are in a group that is appropriate to their ability level. The top set of pupils will study CCEA GCSE English Literature simultaneously, and this will require an after school commitment as there is a Tuesday afternoon class. There will be one Essential Skills class only.

This subject consists of controlled assessment, Talking and Listening module and two exams’ one in Year 11 and the final exam in Year 12.

Specification at a Glance

Unit 1:

Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-fiction and

Media Texts

External written examination

Untiered: 1 hour 45 mins   30%

Unit 2:

Speaking and Listening

Controlled assessment


Teachers mark the tasks, and CCEA moderate the results; 20%

Unit 3:

Studying Spoken and Written Language

Controlled assessment


Teachers mark the tasks, and CCEA moderate the results; 20%

Unit 4:

Personal or Creative Writing and Reading Literary and Non-fiction Texts

External written examination

Untiered: 1 hour 45 mins

Students complete four tasks; 30%

Our GCSE English results are consistently high- we vastly outperform schools with a similar intake and always surpass the NI averages.

GCSE English Literature: Those pupils who have demonstrated excellence in the study of English by the end of year 10, and in their Communication assessments and KS3 level, will be given the opportunity to study CCEA English Literature alongside English language at GCSE.

In this subject one piece of Controlled Assessment will be completed and is worth 25%.

Specification at a Glance

Unit 1:

The Study of Prose

External written examination; Untiered; 1 hour 45 mins

Students answer two questions, one from Section A (Of Mice and Men) and the set question in Section B.

Section A is closed book.

30% Summer from 2018

Unit 2:

The Study of Drama and Poetry

External written examination; Untiered; 2 hours

Students answer two questions, one from Section A (Blood Brothers or An Inspector Calls) and one from Section B.

Section A is open book.

Unit 3:

The Study of Shakespeare (Macbeth)

Controlled assessment; Untiered

Students complete one task: an extended writing question based on a


Teachers mark the tasks, and CCEA moderate the results.

The English Literature results here in Dean Maguirc College are outstanding. Our pupils have achieved 100% A*-C since we commenced this simultaneous study in 2003. In fact, most years we achieve 100% A*-B.

AS and A2 English Literature:

Those pupils who excel in GCSE English Literature and very capable GCSE students who have achieved grade A may opt to continue their study of English Literature to A-level. Pupils can study AS level for one year or can embark upon the full two year A-level course. In our department our results at A-level have been consistently excellent: 100% A-C achieved in the last fifteen years.

AS (YEAR 13):

The AS and A2 units are as follows:

  • Unit AS 1: The Study of Poetry 1900–Present (Heaney and Frost) and Drama 1900–Present: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (24% of A-level)
  • Unit AS 2: The Study of Prose Pre 1900- ‘Frankenstein’ (16% of A level)

A2 (YEAR 14):

  • Unit A2 1: Shakespearean Genres- King Lear (20% of A level)
  • Unit A2 2: The Study of Poetry Pre 1900 (Chaucer’s Wife of Bath) and Unseen Poetry (20% of A level)
  • Unit A2 3: Internal Assessment (coursework worth 20%)

Again it is important to note how successful the English department’s A-level results have been since we commenced teaching A-level. No child has ever achieved less than a grade C in this subject; a statistic we are very proud of.

We are very proud that an E.T.I. Inspection (March 2013) declared our English department to be:


This is what the Inspection report stated about the English department in Dean Maguirc College:

The quality of provision in English is outstanding.

The main strengths of the English provision are:

  • the outstanding standards achieved by the pupils, including in public examinations;
  • the quality of the teaching observed which ranged from outstanding to good with the majority being very good;
  • the commitment and enthusiasm of the teachers who work closely as a team;
  • the outstanding leadership of the head of department who leads by example and promotes English and literacy across the school and in the wider community;
  • the close collaboration with the SENCO which helps raise standards for all the pupils; and
  • the high levels of engagement and motivation among the pupils.

We are delighted that the passion, enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of the teachers and the motivated and hardworking pupils was recognised officially.

Well done to all our pupils and many thanks to my very supportive team.

Claire O’Hanlon (Head of Dept.)