"Outside of a dog a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog it is too dark to read" Groucho Marx

English is a very important subject. The skills that the boys develop in English underpin every area of the school curriculum and develop life long literacy beyond their school days.   

The English Department is housed in seven well appointed classrooms each boasting an interactive whiteboard in Ormiston. 

The Campbell College English Department believes that;

  1. the English language is wonderfully rich and diverse, and enables us to communicate effectively with the society in which we live
  2. literature is a source of joy and learning, illuminating our world and our appreciation of its variety

We believe that our role is to encourage an empowering and life long love of both our language and literature in our pupils.  


  1. Learning should be enjoyable. The English Department of Campbell College consider that each boy’s success in developing his skills in English is dependent upon hard work and clear thought. This hard work and positive thought develop best in an atmosphere that is supportive, friendly, varied, balanced, authentic, original and challenging. With this approach in mind we aim to make the study of English enjoyable; without enjoyment there is little learning.
  1. Developing effective communication skills. At the heart of studying English is the development of the core skills of Talking and Listening, Reading and Writing. We aim to provide the conditions for each boy to become more confident and competent in their ability to create and respond to an increasing variety and difficulty of fiction and non-fiction texts (including media) both independently and collaboratively. Developing a critical and creative understanding of the linguistic requirements of different audiences, purposes and contexts, while recognising the need for language to vary accordingly, is a fundamental part of this.


Head of Department: Mr M Chalkley BA, PGCE, MEd, PQH (NI)         

Mrs S Boyce BA, PGCE

Mrs L Brown BA, QTS

Ms K Marshall MA, QTS

Mr M McKee BA, PGDipModLit, PGCE

Mr J Rea BSc, PGCE

Mrs C Woods, MA, BA, PGCSE, PQH (NI)

Key Stage 3 

During their first three years at Campbell College each boy will have the opportunity to explore the huge range of activities and texts that make up the subject of English.
The boys have the chance to read and study different books, both fiction and non-fiction, read and write poetry and experience Shakespeare. They will discuss and read different types of media texts. In Years 8 and 9, as a part of developing a love of reading, boys have a fortnightly library period in which they have the opportunity to read for pleasure and to reflect upon that reading.
There is the opportunity to be creative as the boys write their own stories and develop their writing skills. They will also prepare texts in a variety of non-fiction forms and for a range of purposes and audiences. Boys will use ICT as a tool of research and as a means of editing and improving their work.
Boys will be asked to contribute in class through taking part in discussions, delivering speeches and sharing ideas with both their teacher and their classmates. Developing these oral skills is important in today’s world.
As the boys progress through Key Stage 3 they will be assessed to monitor the development of their communication skills. Each year they will complete major tasks that will address the three areas of communication: Talking and Listening; Reading and Writing. This series of assessments and reporting will be a part of continuous assessment and contribute to the end of year exam. The skill level that is achieved will also be used to help inform Progress Cards. The exam at the end of each year will also assess each of the three skill areas.
At the end of Year 10, boys will be given an overall level of attainment in Communication. The Department of Education expects most pupils to have achieved Level 5 by the end of Key Stage 3.
English is a wide-ranging and exciting subject - the more each boy puts in the more he will get out!

GCSE English Language & Literature

Both of the GCSE English Language and English Literature courses that the boys follow is the specification provided by OCR. Most boys do both GCSE's.
As with all GCSE courses the grade in each subject will be determined by the performance in a number of controlled assessments and examination papers which will be taken at the end of the course.
The GCSE English Language course (details below) addresses the three main skill areas that the boys have developed throughout Years 8, 9 and 10, namely; Speaking and Listening; Reading; Writing. The examined reading the boys will be doing for English Language is an "Extended Literary Text" such as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
The GCSE Literature course (details below) addresses a number of texts across the three main literary genres of Drama, Poetry and Prose. The texts the boys will study will also address different periods of literary writing, with options including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Owen, Steinbeck, Russell and Zephaniah: there is a good choice and the course contains a great deal of interest and relevance.
The Controlled Assessments are a vital part of each boy’s GCSE and must be taken seriously. There is allocated preparation time in class for each controlled assessment but a lot of preparatory work must also be done at home. Controlled Assessments are completed under exam conditions in class.

For course content please click here.

A-Level Literature

The course the boys follow at AS and A2 Level is that offered by CCEA.
In this course the boys have an opportunity to study many challenging and interesting texts. These exciting texts cover literature from Chaucer’s poetry in the fourteenth century to contemporary novels such as Tim O’Brien’s novel of the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried. They will study great works by writers as diverse as William Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charlotte Bronte, Edward Frost and Ernest Hemingway.
In studying these rich texts the boys have the opportunity to further develop their critical skills; exploring the techniques of each writer, developing an appreciation of the variety of contexts in which works are written and expressing their own opinion while challenging those of others both verbally and on paper.
Key to ultimate success at A Level is the boys’ ability to write effective critical essays. Accordingly, it is expected that boys will write essays regularly. Indeed the greatest success is often achieved by those who seek extra work in terms of writing essays, reading critical and other works and generally seeking to develop their knowledge and understanding beyond the classroom.

For course content please click here.

Beyond the Classroom

In order to enrich the boys’ experience of studying English they are encouraged to experience the subject outside of the classroom. Boys studying ‘A’ Level can attend lectures at Queen’s University and the University of Ulster. Theatre trips are arranged: King Lear and Macbeth by Shakespeare and Translations by Friel, are amongst plays viewed recently. Boys also have the opportunity to meet and listen to writers discussing their works and writing processes. Popular visitors recently include Alex Scarrow, Colin Bateman and Dave Cousins.
The members of the English Department are also involved in encouraging the boys to participate in activities beyond the classroom. As well as organising subject specific events they participate in the production of school plays and musicals, they coach rugby, cricket, and hockey, lead Duke of Edinburgh activities and contribute greatly to the wider life of Campbell College.