The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

English

The English and Drama Department at R.B.A.I. has a long tradition of excellence. Poets Michael Longley and Derek Mahon, novelist Forrest Reid and actors JonJo O’Neill and Niall Cusack are just some of our famous alumni who spent their formative years in the ‘W’ block. Moreover, Mr Frank Ormsby, the celebrated poet and critic, is a former Head of English.

The Department

The Department consists of five full-time teachers and four part-time teachers. As well as being responsible for all the extra-curricular activities within the English and Drama Department, members of the Department are also currently responsible for duties as diverse as PR, Media Studies and editing the “School News”, and all contribute to the pastoral system of the school as tutors.

Full-Time Staff

Dr E. M. A. Bailie, B.A., M.A., M.Ed., P.G.C.H.E.T., P.G.C.E. (Head of English and Drama)

Mrs K. Gilmore, B.A., P.G.C.E. (Head of PR)

Ms Z. Huston, M.A., P.G.C.E. (Head of Media Studies)

Mrs K. McClean , B.A., P.G.C.E.

Mr S. McMillan, B.A., P.G.C.E. (Senior Housemaster, Editor of School News)

Part-time Staff

Mrs G. Horner, BA (Hons), P.G.C.E.

Mrs V. H. McCord, B.A., P.G.C.E., Cert. P.D., M.Ed.

Mr I. Robb, B.A., P.G.C.E.

Mrs K. Walsh M.A., P.G.C.E.

Our Vision

The Department believes in a mixture of traditional and innovative teaching methods, and our primary concern is to encourage the boys to develop their skills, independence and fluency of expression – a fact reflected in the grades at both GCSE and at AS/A2 Level. Perhaps more importantly though, we aim to instil in students a genuine curiosity and joy in reading and literature that we hope will remain with them throughout their lives. The state-of-the-art Library is an excellent facility which works closely alongside the Department to encourage an enjoyment of reading in all boys. Together, we celebrate National Poetry Day and World Book Day, and Junior pupils participate in the Accelerated Reader Programme. Teachers from other departments often lend their support to our celebrations to remind the boys that reading is for everyone. Every year we have a number of visiting authors and workshops. In recent years, authors like Christine Hamill and Peadar O’Guilin have inspired our junior school pupils. For further information on our author visits, please see the Library website.

English with Media Education and Drama at KS3

Year 8 and Year 9 are taught in a House System, in six sets of mixed ability. On the basis of their progress in literary subjects, pupils currently enter banded sets in Year 10. At the beginning of Year 11, the Department is able to stream the pupils, based on their performance in English during Year 10. Continuity is observed between Years 11 and 12 as far as possible.

Celeb.jpg

Accelerated Reader Celebration, June 2018

In the Junior School, there is sustained emphasis on improving reading, writing and literacy and on developing skills and opportunities to ensure that the boys are well-prepared for their GCSE studies ahead. All Junior School classes have a Library period once a week, where they all follow the highly successful Accelerated Reading programme (compulsory in Years 8 and 9). In June, we hold a Celebrating Success in English and Drama Awards Ceremony in Christchurch, where parents are invited to come along and celebrate their son’s success.

Accelerated Reader proves that you actually read the book and it shows your understanding of it. I like moving up the levels and I like that it tells you your word count. (Year 8 pupil)

The Library

As I drift over the yellow desert,

I see Towers containing pure knowledge

Of Science, Horror, Mystery and Adventure . . .

I see this all as I drift over the sandy plains

Of the Library.

M Walsh, 8L

wordgames.jpg

Word Games with Mr Peak, Head of PE and Sixth Form, our Guest of Honour at our Accelerated Reader Celebrations, June 2019

Drama is also taught throughout Junior School. The Drama Studio in the W Block, funded by a generous donation, is highly prized, and an important feature of our Drama classes, presentations and performances.

Extra-curricular Drama

Extra-curricular drama activities are run by members of the department, most notably the Junior Drama Club, which is led by Mrs McClean. There is also a senior school musical or drama production almost every year in collaboration with Victoria College, directed and produced “in-house” by members of the English and Drama Department and Music Department. The most recent Senior production was of Macbeth in 2017; we are looking forward to the next collaborative Senior musical production at Victoria College in late 2019.

GCSE English Language and Literature

All boys study both English Language and English Literature as far as GCSE; this year marks the first examinations for the new, non-tiered CCEA Specifications. The new Specification puts a greater focus on exam than the previous one (GCSE Language is now 60% exam, up from the previous 40%; GCSE Literature is now 80% exam, up from the previous 75%).

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Here is an overview of the new English Language GCSE:

Unit One: 1 hour 45 minute exam paper (30%)

  • Writing for Purpose and Audience
  • Reading to Access Non-Fiction and Media Texts

Unit Two: Speaking and Listening (20%):

  • Individual Presentation
  • Group Discussion
  • Role Play

Unit Three: Two Controlled Assessments (20%):

  • Spoken Language Controlled Assessment
  • Written Language Controlled Assessment

Unit Four: 1 hour 45 minute exam paper (30%)

  • Personal or Creative Writing
  • Reading Literary and Non-Fiction Texts.

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Here is an overview of the new English Literature GCSE:

Unit One: The Study of Prose (30%)

1 hour 45 minute closed book exam paper:

  • 1 hour response to set text, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • 45 minute response to Unseen Prose (pre-1900)

Unit Two: The Study of Drama and Poetry (50%)

2 hour open book exam paper:

  • 1 hour response to one of two questions on Drama text, An Inspector Calls, by J. B. Priestley
  • 1 hour response to one of two questions on Poetry Anthology: Anthology Three on Conflict

Unit Three: Shakespeare Controlled Assessment (20%)

  • One Controlled Assessment in response to Macbeth

The Department has had notable success in both subjects, with most boys achieving an A* to C grade in both English Language and Literature.

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English Literature and Drama at AS/A2 Level

We have approximately 20-25 pupils every year who go on to study English Literature, again with CCEA, at AS/A2 Level. A Level pupils are given the opportunity to attend workshops and lectures, such as the recent King Lear Day at Stranmillis, in order to deepen their subject and contextual knowledge.

The Specification for AS/A2 changed for the first time last year. As with the new Specification GCSE, there is a greater focus upon examination, and the new AS course is 100% exam (the old Specification AS was 60% exam).

AS English Literature

Here is an overview of the current English Literature AS course:

Unit One: The Study of Poetry 1900–Present and Drama 1900–Present (60% of AS; 24% of A Level)

2 hour written exam: Poetry is open book; Drama is closed book.

For Poetry, we study poems a range of poems written by Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost.

For Drama, we study Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.

Unit Two: The Study of Prose (pre-1900) – (40% of AS; 16% of A Level)

1 hour written exam: closed book.

We study Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

A2 English Literature

Here is an overview of the current English Literature A2 course:

Unit One: Shakespearean Genres (20% of A Level)

We study King Lear for a 1.5 hour, closed book exam.

Unit Two: The Study of Poetry Pre 1900 and Unseen Poetry (20% of A Level)

This is a two hour, closed book exam.

We study the selected poetry of John Donne for Section A.

Section B is an Unseen Poem.

Unit Three: Internal Assessment (20% of A Level)

The boys study two novels, one 20th and one 21st century, on a particular theme and then research and write an extended, 2500 word essay as their coursework piece.

Further information about all the exam courses are available on the CCEA website at: http://www.rewardinglearning.org.uk/microsites/english_language/index.asp and http://www.rewardinglearning.org.uk/microsites/english_literature/index.asp.

English Literature – A Level results

Year

Entries

A

B

C

D

E

2018

19

5 (2A*)

7

5

2

0

2017

22

2 (1A*)

4

9

7

0

2016

23

5 (3A*)

2

9

7

0

2015

27

2

8

7

9

1

English Literature – AS Level results

Year

Entries

A

B

C

D

E

2018

12

1

4

3

3

1

2017

25

3

7

6

7

2

2016

28

4

7

11

6

0

2015

27

6

9

9

3

0

English – GCSE Results

Year

Entries

A*

A

B

C

D

2018

147

4

29

80

29

1

2017

147

10

32

65

38

2

2016

151

9

41

70

29

2

2015

149

6

44

66

31

2

English Literature – GCSE Results

Year

Entries

A*

A

B

C

D

2018

136

6

28

69

28

5

2017

145

8

41

50

37

9

2016

146

15

41

55

31

4

2015

148

7

45

63

30

2

Sep
16 2019
GCSE Geography Field Trips
Sep
17 2019
Translink Safety Bus
Sep
18 2019
Year 13 Parents' Information Evening
Sep
19 2019
Ganaway (Kelvin and Larmor)
College Square East, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT1 6DL
Tel: 028 90 240461
© 2019 The Royal Belfast Academical Institution