English

Name of Department: English 
Head of Department: Ms. Pauline McCaul : BA Hons, MA, PGCE, House Tutor Alden’s

 
Staff List:  
Ms Lynsey Anderson BA Hons English & Drama, QTS; House Tutor Dobbin’s
Mr Mark Chalkley BA Hons, PGCE, Med, PQH NI; House Tutor Yates’s
Dr Ashley Dunne BA Hons, MA, PHD, PGCE; House Tutor Alden’s
Mr David Gilliland

BA Hons, PGCE English, Drama & Media Studies; House Tutor Price’s

Mrs Sharon Johnston BA Hons, PGCE; Learning Support & Literacy Co-ordinator
Ms Kirstin Marshall MA English, QTS; House Tutor Alden’s
Mrs Eliz McIlvenny

Head of Drama; BA Hons; PGCE English, Drama & Media Studies; House Tutor Allison’s

Mr Mark McKee BA Hons, PGDipModLit, PGCE; Year Head
Mr John Rea BSc Hons, PGCE; Year Head and Boarding Master

 

English

’He’s watched heroes fall and rise and fall again. He’s read many stories about men and women who have risked it all and lost, only to start again. And because of this, he fears nothing.’

Why reading books can help you become a better footballer.’
Danny Scott, writer and ex-professional footballer.

 

 

The English Department of Campbell College believes that the effects of reading on the mind are as powerful as the benefits of physical training for the athlete. ‘Concentration is key’. Outside of practice on the pitch, reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction trains the brain to interpret different possibilities from ‘characters’ on the pitch.

We want the boys in our classes to be aspirational in their outlook and develop life and career skills. As communicators of knowledge, creative thinkers and empathetic citizens, Campbell College boys will affect positive change and inquiry through the language techniques used in: debate, essays, reports, articles, letters, role-play, discussion, listening, thinking and responding, problem-solving, poetry, advertising – including to and with external audiences in position of responsibilities.

We provide the conditions for each boy to become a more confident, competent and discerning individual, who can create and respond to an increasing variety of fiction, including recent publications and non-fiction (including media). We create a balance between a focus on the boys developing independent study skills and working in collaboration with his group/teammates.

Key Stage 3

During his 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 in print and performance. They will discuss and read different types of media texts. As part of developing a love of reading and quiet time to oneself, the boys have a fortnightly library period in which they read for pleasure and reflect upon that reading in a journal.

There is the opportunity to be creative as the boys write their own stories and poetry, whilst developing their vocabulary and technical control. They will also prepare texts in a variety of non-fiction forms, whilst demonstrating awareness of purposes and audiences. Boys will use ICT as a tool for research, planning, editing and improving their work.

Boys will become creative and critical thinkers in English class through taking part in discussions, delivering speeches and sharing ideas with both their teacher and their classmates. Developing thoughtful listening and oral skills has never been a more important learning tool.

As the boys progress through Key stage 3, their English work will be assessed to monitor the development of their communication skills, against their PTE and CATs scores, and predicted outcomes. Each year they will complete major tasks that will address the three areas of communication: Talking and Listening, Reading and Writing. The series of assessments and reporting will be part of continuous assessment and contribute to the end of year examination. The skill level that is achieved will also be used to help inform progress cards. The examination at the end of the year will also assess each of the three skill areas.

At the end of Year 10, each pupil will be given an overall level of attainment in communication. This level will be used to help set the GCSE English Language and English Literature course.

GCSE English Language & Literature

The vast majority of boys study GCSE Language (CCEA specification), with a minority qualifying in International English IGCSE. The vast majority of boys also study GCSE English Literature (AQA specification) wherein many of the study techniques are interchangeable with English Language.

As with other GCSE courses, the grade in English Language will be determined by the performance in a number of controlled assessments and two examination papers, one of which will be sat at the end of Year 11, and the other which will be taken at the end of the course; this staggers the boys’ workload and allows for a gradual acquisition of examination skills to become embedded.

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. Speaking and Listening is worth 20% and entails demonstrating a high level of cognitive and verbal reasoning across Individual Presentation, Group Discussion and Role-play. The ability to express oneself formally as well as informally, is a most sought after skill in the world of work. Reading and writing skills are assessed through two Controlled Assessments: ‘The Study of Spoken Language’ and ‘The Study of Written Language’ (worth 10% each). These 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, marked and moderated by the English teachers and externally moderated by CCEA. Finally, there two examination papers, each worth 30%. These papers expect boys to be able to write in a range of forms such as a letter, essay, article, speech, creative story, as well as respond accurately to a range of non-fiction and fiction texts.

The GCSE Literature course is a linear two-year course offered by AQA. It 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: a collection of poetry on the themes of Power and Conflict; Shakespeare’s Macbeth; Conan Doyle’s ‘The Sign of the Four’, Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’, as well as responding to unseen poetry. The assessment of reading and responding to Literature is entirely through essays carried out in two examination papers. There is a good choice of texts and themes, and the course contains a great deal of interest and relevance in terms of social, historical, literary and political contexts.

A-Level Literature

The course the boys follow at AS and A2 Level is that offered by AQA (Specification A) and is a two-year linear course.

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 and extracts. They will study great works by writers as diverse as William Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charlotte Bronte, Tennessee Williams and Richard Yates.

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; 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. As part of their A2 study, boys are given the opportunity to carry out intensive literary coursework on linked texts across genre and across time. Indeed, the greatest success is often achieved by those who seek extra work in terms of writing essays, reading critical and other works, generally seeking to develop their knowledge and understanding beyond the classroom.

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 ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ are amongst plays viewed recently. Boys also have the opportunity to meet and listen to writers discussing their works and writing processes, as well as performing their own pieces in East Belfast Arts Programmes and other public forums.

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, coach rugby, cricket, and hockey, lead Duke of Edinburgh activities and contribute greatly to the wider life of Campbell College.

The English Department of Campbell College has the legendary status of having among its list of Old Campbellians, Nobel Prize writer, Samuel Beckett, who taught in the College briefly and early in his career, and the remarkable writer of the Narnia books, and theologian, C.S Lewis, who attended the College whilst originating from nearby Circular Road. The English Department is very mindful of the literati who have donned the College grounds: lyricists, such as the award winning musician, Gary Lightbody; actors, such as David Caves and Michael Brown; as well as high achieving pupils in the subject, such as Chris Wilson, who came first in English Language GCSE, in 2009. We are equally mindful of our fortunate location, not just surrounded by the inspirational views across the beautiful grounds of Campbell - for creative thinking and reflection - but the wider landscape of East Belfast, which is enjoying a literary and artistic output never witnessed before in such a surge, and never more needed and lauded in such a virtual-reality oriented society as in recent decades!

It is heart-warming and reassuring that in these increasing secular times, English takes on the added role of providing young people the understanding of the skills of thoughtful self-expression, and ensuring standards and forms of written and verbal communication are maintained, while language usage becomes challenged and, at times, undermined by social media trends.

Small classes, of up to seven sets, arranged by pupils’ literacy skills and language needs, tailor for the new international boarder, as well as challenge and stretch boys who have transferred from the local feeder primary schools with high AQE/𝘎L scores. The English Department prides itself on nurturing the skills of confident self-expression, repartee and debate, which sets a Campbell boy apart from his peers and competitors.


 

I certainly owe a lot to football…to teach me how to become a man and balance my own self-expression with the well-being and success of my teammates’.
Albert Camus.