English Department


English Dept Pic

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”  ― Maya Angelou

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”  ― Roald DahlMatilda

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”  ― Alberto ManguelA History of Reading

English Department Staff

Ms. Susan Maguire    Ms. Niamh Maguire    Mr. Jeff Neville    Ms. Sandra Jones

Mr. Stephen Lynch


Grouping of Students (Mixed Ability & Streaming)

In DGS all English classes at Junior Cycle are mixed ability. In Transition Year the classes are also mixed ability. At Senior Level the students have the opportunity to take the subject at Higher or Ordinary level.

Student Access to Subject /Level

All students in Forms 1 & 2 cover content that is appropriate for Higher Level English. In Form 3 some students may find the Higher Level challenging and opt for the Ordinary Level Junior Cert. These students remain in the class and teachers differentiate according to students’ needs.

At Senior Level students are encouraged to try Higher Level English at the beginning of Form 5. If a student wants to change level this occurs in consultation with the relevant teachers, parents or guardians, the career guidance teacher and Year Head.

Variety of Resources/Availability of ICT Resources

The following resources are used by the teachers in the English Department:

  • School library
  • Individual classroom libraries and sets of books
  • Whiteboard/blackboard
  • English Room 1 has 4 desktop computers for students to use
  • Data projector or Interactive Whiteboard in each classroom – provides access to Internet, Teacher Resources, DVD Player, e-books.
  • 3 Camcorders
  • Computer room available- software available for writing, publishing etc.

Internet – www.dgs.edmodo.com and

Extra-curricular and co-curricular activities

Theatre Trips

In the English Department we believe that good education reaches beyond the classroom and we particularly encourage students to attend theatrical performances both locally and in Dublin.

Poetry Aloud – National Poetry Speaking Competition

AILO (All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad) – Competition for high achievers organised by DCU and TCD

Public Speaking – After school activity

Film Production – After school activity

DGS Book Week ­– Week long series of activities in Library

Creative Writing Competition ­– In house competition, sponsored by PTA and judged by external adjudicator

Debating – After school activity

Literacy Blog – After school activity

Leaving Certificate English

English at Senior Cycle focuses on the following aims:


  • Encouraging accuracy in language both oral and written
  • The development of a range of critical thinking skills: analysis, inference, reasoning, synthesis and evaluation.
  • The development of advanced reading and writing skills: composing in and interpreting a range of genres (including the language of narration, information, argument, persuasion and the aesthetic use of language).


  • Developing an understanding of the comparative study of literary texts
  • Encouraging a personal and critical response to the analysis of poetry
  • Developing an awareness of approaches to the study of film and other non-print texts.

6th Year Texts 2020 – 2021

Every year the Department of Education publishes a new list of prescribed texts and teachers make a selection from this list. The items listed below have been selected from the prescribed lists.

Single Text           King Lear (Higher Level) Philadelphia Here I Come (Ordinary Level)

Students complete a close reading of this text using a range of critical thinking skills and respond in writing.

Prescribed Poetry

Students at Higher Level study 6-8 poems by each of the following poets:Elizabeth Bishop, Seamus Heaney, Brendan Kennelly, D.H Lawrence, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Eiléan Ní Chuileanain, Sylvia Plath and W.B. Yeats.

Students at Ordinary Level study a list of 36 poems.

Comparative Study (Higher level) The Spinning Heart, Philadelphia Here I Come, Brooklyn (Film)

(Ordinary level) Eclipsed, Never Let Me Go (Film) 


The Examination

Students at both Higher and Ordinary level sit two exam papers in English.

Paper One (2hours 50 mins) – Students are tested in comprehension, functional writing and composition.

Paper Two (3 hours 20 mins) – Students are tested on the Single Text, The Comparative Study, Prescribed Poetry and Unseen Poetry

Junior Certificate English

English at Junior Cycle focuses on the following aims:

  • The development of skills of comprehension: analysis, inference and reasoning.
  • The development of skills of composition: planning, synthesis, awareness of genre and evaluation
  • Encouraging accuracy and appropriateness in language use, both oral and written.
  • Encouraging awareness and appreciation of texts: fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, film and digital media.

2nd and 3rd Year Texts 2018 – 2019

In 2nd year students study the novel The Outsiders, the play Blood Brothers and a selection of poems

Term 3 2nd year students complete CBA 1 (Classroom Based Assessment 1) Oral Communication

In 3rd year students study the play Romeo and Juliet and a selection of short stories and poems.

End of Term 1 3rd year students complete CBA 2 (Classroom Based Assessment 2) Collection of students texts & written Assessment task, worth 10% of Junior Certificate final mark.

The Examination

Higher Level & Ordinary Level students sit one exam which last 2 hours.

They are examined on their reading and comprehension skills, their ability to compose short and extended pieces of writing in addition to their understanding of media, fiction, drama and poetry .


Transition Year English

In TY students complete all of following modules. Each module lasts 16 weeks.

  • English 1 – Elements of Functional Writing.
  • English 2 – The Short Story
  • English 3 – Speech Writing.
  • Drama – Students work through a range of drama skills, performance techniques and complete a study of Irish Playwrights.
  • Oral Communication – Students work on modulation, use of vocal variety, facial expression, body language, breathing for speech work and participate in a range of oral activities. Their final presentation is assessed using criteria from the LCM Speech and Drama Exams.

Junior Cycle English

More specifically it encourages all students:

  • To be creative through language and to gain enjoyment and continuing personal growth from English in all its forms
  • To develop control over English using it and responding to it with purpose and effect through the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading and writing.
  • To engage personally with and think critically about an increasingly broad range of spoken, written and multimodal texts.
  • To develop an informed appreciation of literature through personal encounters with a variety of literary texts.
  • To use their literacy skills to manage information needs, and find, use, synthesise, evaluate and communicate information using a variety of media.
  • To gain an understanding of the grammar and conventions of English and how they might be used to promote clear and effective communication.

Term 3 – 2nd year students complete CBA 1 (Classroom Based Assessment 1) Oral Communication

End of Term 1 – 3rd year students complete CBA 2 (Classroom Based Assessment 2) Collection of students texts & written Assessment task worth 10% of Junior Certificate final mark.


Teacher In-Career Development

Drogheda Grammar School fully recognises and supports the importance of professional development for staff in the English Department. Below is a list of some of the courses that some of our staff have attended.

  • INOTE Conference – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018

New Ventures, a practical approach to teaching Senior Cycle English.

Workshops in: Film/Memoir/Chief Examiner’s Report

  • Implementation of Framework for New Junior Cycle English (PDST)

Navan Education Centre

  • Day Two of Two Day Seminar for Literacy Link Teachers (PDST)

Navan Education Centre

  • Mike Hughes Workshop


  • Leaving Cert Comparative Texts

Navan Education Centre

  • Junior Cycle English (PDST)

Navan Education Centre

  • Day One of Two Day Seminar for Literacy Link Teacher (PDST)


  • Self Evaluation and School Improvement in Action

(Network of School Planners Ireland)

School Self Evaluation

Presented by DES Inspector

  • Modular Integration of Novels, Poetry, and Personal Writing for Junior Cert English (INOTE Seminar)

Navan Education Centre

  • Literacy Workshop for Teachers of English (PDST)