“The limits of my language are the limits of my world”
The key aims of the English Department are to develop high levels of literacy and foster a love of reading across the College.
Members of Department
  • Mrs Cathy Boyle (Head of Department)
  • Mrs Roisin Browne
  • Ms Eleanor Dillon
  • Mrs Kathy McCaffrey (Junior Library Co-ordinator)
  • Mr Michael McKenna
  • Miss Aislinn McParland
  • Mrs Joanne Webb

Key Stage 3

Year 8
Focus: Developing pupils as Individuals through Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
 Term 1
 Exploring Genre:
 Magic & Mystery
 Fantasy/Myth & Legend
 Fiction Class Novel
 Term 2
 Introduction to Shakespeare's World
 Study of a Shakespeare play: 
 Twelth Night or A Midsummer Night's Dream
 Media Texts:
 Term 3
 Multi-modal texts:
 Advertisement Posters
 Functional Writing:
 Fiction Class Novel

Focus: Developing pupils as Contributors to Society through Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

 Term 1
 Short stories Poetry
 Exploring Genre:
 Travel Writing
 Fiction Class Novel
 Term 2
 Study of a Shakespeare play:
 The Tempest
 Developing Poetry Skills:
 poems about people and places
 Media Texts:
 Film Trailers
 Term 3
 Multi-modal texts:
 Newspaper Articles DVD covers
 Functional Writing:
 Writing Effective Speeches
 Fiction Class Novel 

Focus: Developing pupils as Contributors to the Economy and the Environment through Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

 Term 1
 Our World:
 Non-fiction texts
 Exploring Genre:
 Gothic Writing
 Fiction Class Novel
 Term 2
 Study of a Shakespeare play:
 Romeo and Juliet
 Poetry or War and Conflict
 Media Texts:
 Short Film
 Term 3
 Multi-modal texts:
 Functional Writing:
 Discursive and persuasive Writing
 Fiction Class Novel



We offer the CCEA specifications for GCSE English Language and Literature, with all pupils taking both subjects.
  • English Language: External Examinations taken at the end of Year 12.
  • English Literature: Unit 1 taken at the end of Year 11 and Unit 2 at the end of Year 12.

English Language

 Unit 1 (20%)
 Unit 2 (20%)
 Unit 3 (20%)
 Unit 4 (40%)
 External Examination:
  • Personal Writing
  • Multi-modal Texts
 External Examination:
  • Functional Writing
  • Non-fiction Text
 Controlled Assessment:
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Individual Presentation
  • Role-play
  • Group Discussion
 Controlled Assessment:
  • Task 1: The Study of Spoken Language
  • Task 2: The Study of Written Language
  • Task 3: Writing Creatively

English Literature

 Unit 1 (25%)
 Unit 2 (50%)
 Unit 3 (25%)
 The Study of Prose
 The Study of Drama and Poetry
 Controlled Assessment: 
  • Linked Texts
  • Task A: The Study of a Shakespeare Play
  • Task B: Comparative Study of a Shakespeare Play and a Heritage Prose Text


A Level

Since September 2009 we have offered the OCR English Literature specification. However, the change from a modular to linear system of examinations across all English Examination Boards means that we shall be teaching the CCEA specification at AS Level from September 2015.

AS English Literature:
 AS Examination Modules  Texts (To be chosen from the lists by teachers)

 Module 1 - Internally Assessed: 40% of AS

 The Study of Drama

 Two pieces of Coursework:

A. Response to Shakespeare

B. Creative Response to Drama

 Section A: The Study of Shakespeare.

 One text from:

 Henry IV Part I; Antony and Cleopatra; The Tempest; As You Like It; Richard II.

 Section B:The Study of a Twentieth Century  Dramatist:

 Edward Albee; Alan Bennett; Caryl Churchill; Brian Friel; Arthur Miller; Sean O’Casey; Harold Pinter; Peter Shaffer; Tom Stoppard; Timberlake Wertenbaker; Tennessee Williams.


 Module 2 - Two Hour Examination: 60% of AS
The Study of Poetry written after 1800
 The Study of Prose 1800-1945
 Section A: The Study of Poetry Written after 1800.

 Study one set of paired texts by the following poets:

 Hopkins and Dickinson; Duffy and Lochhead; Heaney and Montague; Thomas (E) and Frost; Yeats and Kavanagh.

 Section B: The Study of Prose 1800 – 1945.

 One text from:

 Jane Austen: Mansfield Park; Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights; F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby; E.M. Forster: A Passage to India; Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South; Thomas Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge.

A2 English Literature
Students entering Year 14 in September 2015 will continue their study of the OCR specification and complete the following modules:
 A2 Examination Modules  Texts:
 Module 3
 The Study of Shakespeare.
 The Study of Drama and Poetry pre-1800.
 Closed Book Examination
- 30% of total A2 marks.
 King Lear
 One of the following Drama texts:
 The White Devil – Webster
 The Rivals - Sheridan
 One of the following Poetry texts:
 Songs of Innocence and Experience – Blake
 The Wife of Bath - Chaucer

 Module 4
 The Study of three texts:
 one poetry text, one prose and one from any genre.
 one extended essay of not more than 3000 words
 - 20% of total A2 marks.
 Death of a Salesman - Miller
 The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
 Selected Poems - Slyvia Plath

Examination Results

Results 2014:

 Dominican College 
 A* - C Grades
 N.I. average for Girls' Grammar School
 GCSE English Language
 GCSE English Literature 
 A-Level English Literature

'Ellen Reid receives the Seamus Heaney Prize for English Literature for achieving the highest GCSE marks in English Literature'


In Years 8 and 9, pupils have a timetabled Literacy lesson once a week in addition to their English classes. During this time, pupils follow a programme that promotes reading for pleasure, library skills and literacy skills.

The Junior Library, co-ordinated by Mrs McCaffrey, offers a range of reading material from favourite classics to the latest and most popular fiction and non-fiction covering all curriculum areas.

The Senior Library offers extended school opening hours Monday –Thursday until 6 p.m.
Additional Literacy Support:
  • Weekly attendance at the English Support Group for help with literacy skills.
  • English Mentoring with Year 13 pupils.
  • Referral through the class teacher to the Literacy Support teacher, Mrs Kane for one-to-one support.

Extra-curricular Activities


 Scribbles Creative 
Writing Club

 Mrs Boyle

 Junior Debating
 Mrs Browne 

 The Reading Gang
Mrs McCaffrey

 The School
Newsletter and
Magazine Group

Mr McKenna

 Junior Library
 Mrs McCaffrey

 English Support
 Mrs Boyle



Special Events

Celebrating Belfast Book Festival with Performance Poet Tony Walsh
Year 9 and 10 pupils had a unique opportunity to attend a Poetry Reading and workshop with Manchester poet Tony Walsh in the school library, as part of the Belfast Book Festival in June. Tony performed some of his poems, talked about his work and worked with the pupils to produce original collaborative poems with each group.

Tony’s poem ‘Start all the Clocks’ :
"or click here to view in youtube"

Annual School Book fair

It was time to choose some great summer reads at the Scholastic Book Fair. As well as the popular titles by John Green and Suzanne Collins, new favourites this year included brand new editions of the classics like Wuthering Heights and stories from World War II.

Sinead Morrissey Poetry Workshop

We were delighted to welcome Sinead Morrissey for another visit to the English Department in March this year. Year 8 and 9 pupils took part in a poetry workshop and created their own sensory poems using memory as inspiration.





38 Fortwilliam Park,

Belfast, County Antrim

BT15 4AQ

028 9037 0298