Department Members:
Mrs S. Campbell-Hanna- Head of Department

Dr. Bresland

Mrs L.Brown

Miss M.Elliott

Mrs B.MacManus

Aim of department: We, the English department in Strabane Academy, hope to instil, nurture and develop a wide variety of communication skills in our pupils. Communication skills are a vital tool that all our young people should be equipped with in today’s society, now more so than ever. With the increasing presence of the media, the ever-present political dialogue, the advent of ‘fake news’ and the encroachment of social media on the lives of today’s children, it is essential that we teach our pupils skills of analysis, interpretation, inference and empathy for people whose lives, represented through fiction and non-fiction, are very different from our own. These are the goals we will help our pupils pursue throughout their studies in English at Strabane Academy.
Timetable allocation: Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Key Stage 5
6-8 periods per week 6-7 periods per week 9 periods per week

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Key Themes

Year 8 Term 1 Fiction – The novel

E.g. War Horse and The Butterfly Lion

Term 2 Poetry – Focus on School
Term 3 Non-fiction – Advertising – Products
Year 9 Term 1 Fiction – The novel

E.g. Private Peaceful

Term 2 Poetry – Focus on The Natural World
Term 3 Non-fiction – Advertising-Movie Poster and trailer
Year 10 Term 1 Fiction – The novelE.g. Noughts and Crosses and To Kill a Mockingbird
Term 2 Poetry – Focus on Heaney and childhood
Term 3 Non-fiction – Advertising – Leaflets

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Year 11 Exam Board CCEA
Overview Every pupil in Strabane Academy will study GCSE English Language (CCEA). This is an essential qualification required by the vast majority of employers and third level educational institutions. This course will be studied over a two-year period and pupils are encouraged to explore and respond, both imaginatively and critically, to a variety of texts. Students use reading to improve their writing skills. They also enhance their understanding of how language variations relate to identity and cultural diversity. Transferable skills such as selecting and adapting speech and writing to suit different situations and audiences will also be developed.

From 2017, pupils have the opportunity to achieve a recognition of achievement in Functional English.

The specification provides a sound basis for progression to further study, higher education or employment. This qualification can lead to careers in the media, advertising or marketing and, with further study, teaching or law.

Unit Title Assessment Weighting Availability
Unit 1: Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-Fiction and Media Texts External examination 30% January and Summer
Unit 2: Speaking and Listening Controlled Assessment 20% January and Summer
Unit 3: Studying Written Language Controlled Assessment 10% January and Summer
Year 12 Exam Board CCEA
Unit Title Assessment Weighting Availability
Unit 3: Studying Spoken Language Controlled Assessment 10%
Unit 4: Personal or Creative Writing and Reading Literary and Non-Fiction Texts. External examination 30% Spring and summer


• All Year 8 pupils participate in the Accelerated Reader Programme in which they read specially selected books, take online quizzes and are rewarded for their participation and successes.

• We participate each year in the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children’s ‘Read On’ where Year 8 pupils hold a reading week.

• Every year pupils have the opportunity to take part in the school production; past showstopper have “Cinderella” and “Joseph”.

• World Book Day takes place annually and its main aim is to encourage young people to explore the enjoyment of reading. It is celebrated throughout the school with polls, quizzes, guest speakers and more!

•Critical Media Literacy Project- KS3 pupils participate in an 8-week project developing their critical reading skills using The Irish News.

•Children’s Books Ireland Awards- A group of enthusiastic readers from KS3 read and vote on their favourite book from new writers.

•Writers’ Web- an online club in which enthusiastic writers come together to share their creative stories, poems and plays. Our students’ work is entered for a wide variety of creative writing competitions.

• Pupils can order books throughout the year from the Scholastic bookshop.

• KS5 pupils visit the Seamus Heaney Home Place and attend lectures at Queen’s University.

•  Theatre trips are frequently organised and have included recently pupils attending performances of Macbeth and An Inspector Calls.

Careers Links:

English Language and Literature are subjects that helps to develop many important skills and attributes.   The close reading skills required help to develop both powers of analysis and independence of thought.  As well as the more obvious professions of teaching and journalism, there are many others for which the study of English is an excellent preparation.  Recently qualified students have gone to university to study a variety of subjects including: English Literature, Teaching, Fashion and Communication, SEN and Early Childhood Education, Computer Science, International Politics and Conflict Studies, Social Work, Biology, History, Health Studies, Drama, Criminology, Psychology, Law, Linguistics, Sociology and Speech and Language.