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Alexandra College




It is the mission of the English Department to foster each student’s potential as a thinking, sensitive, responsible, articulate and confident human being and in this process, to impart a love of language and literature.

The study of English is traditionally seen as one of the key components in the education of the students at Alexandra College and the English department is very much aware of the significance of English, not just in terms of the subject itself, but also in terms of the overall development of the individual in all subject areas. To that end, we try to ensure that each student is given the opportunity to develop her personal strengths fully in the rich resource areas of the subject.


Thinking is promoted through the development of reading skills all the way through the secondary years.

From 1st Year the courses involve an intellectual engagement with an extensive range of literature. The student’s response to literature may be developed in many forms but the primary focus of the department is on written expression.

Understanding language is seen as the key to development of the intellectual process. Students may represent their engagement in many forms, but the primary method at the moment is the written word. Students are encouraged to think about literary texts and to achieve a personal and independent understanding of texts. Their developing understanding and expression will be reflected in their oral and written language.

Sensitivity to the written word is also at the heart of our mission in the English Department. It is hoped that a sensitive approach to a rich variety of material, from a range of backgrounds and origins will engender a love of literature and expression. Sensitivity to subject, theme and an objective treatment of material is essential for profound critical understanding. In the end it means that students will be sensitive to the power of the written word and that, through a close study of language, they will also come to use language with sensitivity and delight.

With the power of the written word comes the responsibility to use it fairly. The role of the Department is to distinguish between excellence and mediocrity both in writing and in reading. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility in their writing and in their approach to English studies. This is also reflected in the day to day effort and responsibilities necessary for students to achieve their best in the English class.

The remit of the English Department reaches far beyond the needs of the Certificate Examinations. While it is the aim of the Department to prepare students in every possible way for excellent results in the exams, it is also our aim to reach out to those who do not fare quite so well in written exams, for a variety of reasons. As part of that aim, we endeavour to engage all students in order to develop their understanding and enjoyment of ideas. We seek to encourage those who need it, to assist those who make great efforts to succeed and also to challenge those who may be limited by the narrowness of the examination syllabuses.

Articulation is a key skill for any student and while the written response is still the form of assessment most significant to students, it is also the role of the department to encourage oral expression both informally in class and formally in debate. Modern Irish society is looking for thoughtful, articulate individuals and we give our students every opportunity to express their ideas openly, freely and effectively. An articulate student is a confident student and it is our aim to encourage all our students to develop a sense of confidence through effective communication.


  • To encourage independent learners and critical thinkers.
  • To nurture an appreciation of literature in all its forms.
  • To enhance students’ creative imagination.
  • To create confident, competent writers.
  • To enhance listening and oral skills
  • To prepare students for exams by equipping them with the necessary skills to sit examinations – both house and State exams


The English department has dedicated English classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards and overhead data projectors.

Each member of staff has their own iPad and laptop computer. The English Department is proud to have such a well-resourced library and full-time librarian, Ms Gillian Dean, at our disposal. The library is a valuable space for library classes, research, competitions, class discussions, debates and visiting speakers. The English Department also makes extensive use of the computer room to encourage research and to help students to perfect their writing and editing skills using IT.


The English Department recognises the value of learning outside of the classroom to bring the world of literature and language alive for the students.

To this end, many excursions are undertaken throughout the school year to the theatre, cinema, and workshops.


  • Mixed Ability Classes. We in the English department believe that students perform better in mixed ability groupings. Our excellent results in the State Examinations prove that this approach is successful. 
  • Teachers who are experienced examiners with State Examinations Commission and the International Baccalaureate.
  • Well resourced library and full-time librarian.
  • Book Clubs for each year group and library events.
  • Writing Competitions and Prizes.