The aims of the English Department at Wellington College are twofold: to develop our pupils’ ability to communicate with confidence and to foster a love of reading literature.

The Department adopts a holistic approach to the teaching of English. There is a strong focus on active pupil participation in group work, discussion and other active learning methodologies such as role play and drama. Pupils are also offered the opportunity to use ICT and audio-visual facilities to produce their own texts.

In the study of both fiction and non-fiction texts, pupils learn about the literary aspects of poetry, drama and prose as well as the practical application of the spoken and written word.

Communication skills are fostered from Year 8 with embedded speaking and listening opportunities in every assessment. Many pupils relish chances to debate contemporary issues and present their views persuasively and creatively. This is perhaps most evident in our Year 9 house debate and the Year 10 Dragons’ Den competition.

The English Department also supports the value of live productions to enhance the study of literature. We regularly host professional theatrical productions at school as well as bringing our pupils to outside events. A Level pupils also attend literature lectures at the University of Ulster and Queen’s University.

We pride ourselves on having a vibrant, innovative and high-achieving Department.

Key Stage 3

“Communicate, Critique, Create”

The aims of the English Department at Key Stage 3 are:

  • to develop sound reading habits and encourage reading for enjoyment;
  • to improve skills in writing for various purposes;
  • to encourage confidence in students’ speaking and listening skills.

This is achieved through the study of a wide range of literary, non-fiction and media texts. We aim to fulfil all the requirements of the Northern Ireland Revised Curriculum and prepare the students for entry into their GCSE courses. The students have an element of formative written and oral coursework in each year, which is incorporated into their summative assessment.  

An outline of the main units of work covered in each Year is given below.  Each unit will feature writing, reading and talking and listening tasks aimed at developing pupil skills in each of these areas.

The English Department at Wellington College also provides time for concrete teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar across each of the Years at Key Stage 3.

Year 8

  • Induction unit – ‘School of the past, present and future’
  • Roald Dahl’s Boy
  • Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • Novel project
  • Personal Writing

Year 9

  • Poetry analysis and Poetry writing
  • Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
  • Gothic Horror Short Stories
  • Spoken Language
  • Reading Media Texts

Year 10

  • Writers’ craft
  • Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
  • Reading Non-Fiction
  • Persuasive Writing
  • War Poetry
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

We also encourage wider interest in the subject through competitions, outside speakers and close liaison with the College Library.  Every June the College participates in Cancer Fund for Children’s ‘Read On’ event, which involves students reading a novel of their choice every day in English class.

Assessment for Learning at Key Stage 3

Over the course of Key Stage 3, pupils at Wellington College will experience a wide range of classwork and homework activities aimed at developing their knowledge and understanding of English Literature and English Language.  Homework tasks include:

  • Spellings
  • Short story writing
  • Diary entries / blogs
  • Letter writing
  • Presentation preparation
  • Research
  • Essay writing
  • Reading tasks
  • Planning tasks
  • Correction tasks
  • ICT tasks


At GCSE, we follow the CCEA specification for English Language and English Literature. The course details are outlined below:


The English Department are immensely proud that – for three consecutive years – we have achieved 100% A*-C in GCSE English Language.

Specification: English Language

Examining Board: CCEA


The course allows students the opportunity to develop the application of skills to real-life contexts. These skills are embedded within this course:

  • Engaging with and making fresh connections between ideas, texts, words and images.
  • Studying spoken and written language, exploring how language varies.
  • Expressing ideas and information clearly, precisely, accurately and appropriately in spoken and written communication.
  • Forming independent views and challenging what is heard or read on the grounds of reason, evidence or argument.


Unit 1 (30%):Writing for Purpose and Audience, and Reading to Access Non-Fiction and Media Texts – Assessed by external examination(1hr 45mins)
Unit 2 (20%):Speaking and Listening – Internally assessed 
Unit 3 (20%):Written controlled assessment:The Study of Written LanguageThe Study of Spoken LanguageInternally Assessed (1hr 45mins)
Unit 4 (30%):Personal Writing and Reading Literary and Non-Fiction Texts


Specification: English Literature

Examining Board: CCEA


The course allows students the opportunity to develop the following skills:

  • Sustain independent interpretations of whole texts, supporting them with detailed textual references.
  • Analyse connections between texts, comparing and contrasting features and qualities that connect and contrast the presentation of themes, characters and settings.
  • Analyse the impact of style, language, structure and form.
  • Relate texts to their social and historical contexts, and to the literary traditions of which they are a part.
  • Understand how texts from the literary heritage have been influential and significant over time.


Unit 1 (30%):The Study of Prose(1 hour 45mins)
Unit 2 (50%):The Study of Drama and Poetry(2 hours)
Unit 3 (20%):The Study of ShakespeareControlled Assessment

A Level

The English Department are immensely proud that – for three consecutive years – we have achieved 100% A*-C in GCE English Literature.

Examining Board: CCEA

Course Description

This course should encourage students to develop their interest and enjoyment in literary studies through reading widely, independently and critically. At AS Level, students should develop as confident, independent readers of a range of texts. The A2 course should broaden and deepen the knowledge, skills and understanding developed at AS Level. A Level courses should also encourage students to explore connections between texts and appreciate the significance of cultural and historical influences upon readers and writers.


Pupils should be encouraged to:

  • read widely and independently both set texts and others they have selected for themselves;
  • engage creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them;
  • develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in speech and writing;
  • explore the contexts of the texts they are reading and others’ interpretations of them;
  • deepen their understanding of the changing traditions of literature in English.

Summary of courses 

AS 1: The Study of Poetry 1900-Present and Drama 1900-PresentSeamus Heaney and Robert Frost anthologyTennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire60% of AS24% of A Level
AS 2: The Study of Prose Pre 1900Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein40% of AS16% of A Level
A2 1: Shakespearean GenresA Winter’s Tale 20% of A Level
A2 2: The Study of Poetry Pre 1900 and Unseen PoetryEmily Dickinson anthology20% of A Level
A2 3: Internal AssessmentStudents select two novels of their choice, one of which must be a 21st Century novel.20% of A Level

Department Events & Pupil Work

Every year in the summer term, the English Department participate in a wide range of activities – both in and out of the classroom – to promote the key literacy skills of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

Reading: Cancer Fund for Children’s Read On event.

Every May, KS3 English students take one week out of their usual teaching to read for pleasure in English class. Pupils get sponsored by friends and family to read a novel of their choosing. The top three fundraisers in each year group receive an amazon voucher and a certificate. In 2019, Mr King also accompanied the winners on a trip to Daisy Lodge in Newcastle. Over the past two years, the College has raised over £3000 for Cancer Fund for Children.

Writing: Young Writers’ Creative Writing Competition

In the Winter term, Year 9 students enter the Young Writers’ Creative Writing competition with the opportunity to have their work published! In 2019, we had over fifty entrants into the “Through Their Eyes” competition, inviting our students to write a poem from the perspective of another person or even object! Below is one of our published entries:

Hidden world

All day long say on a shelf;
All alone left by itself.
We are filled with beautiful words,
Stories and facts: we’re not just for nerds!

They proudly boast that they are the best
But all they do is sneer and jest.
They think they are the ultimate heroes
But really they are just ones and zeroes.

The future they may possibly be
As long as they don’t forget about me.
If you would simply give me a chance
We could make your imagination dance.

Those devices have altered your view
I wish you could see what this is coming to.
A world without imagery, colour and wisdom
Can only end in perpetual boredom.

So before technology becomes your creed,
Pick up a book and have a read!

By Patrick C Year 9

Speaking and Listening: Year 9 Debate

In the Summer term, all Year 9 students participate in a House Competition Debate. Pupils research and prepare an opening statement in class based on a contention. In 2019, the contention was ‘Reality TV does more harm than good.’ The best male and female student in each class then went forward to debate the issue in front of their year group. They were asked questions by teachers and peers and a winner was announced!


In the English Department, we are very aware, as teachers, that the English classroom is about the wider world, with our pupils as present citizens, consumers, future employees and employers. We integrate Careers’ Education into our Schemes of Work and review our Careers’ provision annually.

We aim to use English to develop pupils as contributors to the economy and environment by:

  • Developing pupils’ communication skills as required by employers;
  • giving pupils opportunities to engage with issues around employment, economics and the environment at all key stages;
  • making pupils aware that media and language can be used to convey messages about the economy and environment in certain ways;
  • ensuring that, at the end of each key stage, teachers talk about Careers’ Pathways;
  • hosting external speakers to the College;
  • running extra-curricular clubs to provide opportunities for drama and writing;
  • organising trips and competition entries;
  • ensuring Careers’ displays in classrooms and corridors are updated regularly.

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  • Editorial assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Writer
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Civil Service administrator
  • Editorial assistant
  • Solicitor
  • Barrister

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Academic librarian
  • Advertising account executive
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Arts administrator
  • Information officer
  • Marketing executive
  • Public relations officer
  • Records manager

Useful Websites