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Subject Overview

All students study English Language at Key Stage 3 and at GCSE.

Key Stage 3

Year 8

In Year 8, pupils study the following topics:

  • All About Me

  • Halloween Project

  • Poetry

  • William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

  • Novel

Head of Department

Mrs T Hughes

Year 9

  • Novel Wonder by RJ Palacio

  • Persuasive Writing

  • Fair Trade

  • William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

  • Creative Writing

Year 10

In Year 10, pupils study the following topics:

  • Media – Advertising

  • Understanding Fiction Texts

  • Writing to Argue

  • Speeches

  • 19th Century Texts


Key Stage 3 Extra Curricular Activities /Trips/Industry links


Each year we celebrate Literacy Week in St. Mary’s.  This week long event coincides with World Book Day and is a celebration of our love for reading, writing and speaking and listening.  Whole school events and competitions are organised, pupils and staff are encouraged to take part in a range of activities and tasks.

Bi-annually we hold our St. Mary’ Public Speaking Competition. In English classes pupils prepare and present speeches on range of topics, each class is then represented in the final. The final is a whole school event and takes place in the hall.

Spelling Bee: Pupils compete against in each in our very own school Spelling Competition.

Author visits:  Each year we welcome local authors to our school to support and promote their work and writing.

Shared Reading Programme:  Year 8 Pupils and parents share the experience of reading together for a short period each night, with a view to enhancing the pupil’s reading age and experience. 

Literacy Support:


Year 8 | Reading Partnership Talking Partners

Year 9 | Talking Partners and afterschool spelling support


Year 8 Book Club held weekly. A small group of pupils meet to share the experience of reading for enjoyment through the medium of kindles. A range of fun activities and lively debate takes place each week.

Literacy Club Key Stage 3 held weekly. Pupils partake in a range of literacy based activities



Key Stage 4


All students study CCEA GCSE English Language in Years 11 and 12

Assessment structure


20% - Speaking and Listening

20% - Controlled Assessment

Examinations | 2 exams

January Year 12 – 30%

June Year 12 – 30%

Year 11/12 Topics


Unit 1 Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-Fiction and Media Texts

Unit 2 Speaking and Listening

Unit 3 Studying Spoken and Written Language

Unit 4 Personal or Creative Writing and Reading Literary and Non-Fiction Texts

English Literature

Students can choose to study GCSE English Literature which involves studying a variety of texts in depth including prose, drama and poetry.

Assessment structure


Unit 3 – 20%

Examinations | 2 exams

Unit 1 – 30%

Unit 2 – 50%


Year 11/12 Topics

GCSE pupils will follow the CCEA Specifications for English Literature.

Unit 1 The Study of Prose (Of Mice and Men) and Unseen 19th Century Prose

Unit 2 The Study of Drama (Blood Brothers) and Poetry

Unit 3 The Study of Shakespeare

Key Stage 4 Extra Curricular Activities /Trips/Industry links


Communication skills development of oracy and presentational skills

Literacy week - Authors and poets visiting school

Excursions to a variety of performances in line with literature studied at GCSE.

Employability/job opportunities/further study


GCSE English is an essential entry requirement for high study and employment.


St Mary's High School, Newry

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