The ethos of the English Department reflects the distinctive character and atmosphere of Sacred Heart College, which aims to promote the moral, intellectual, social and personal development of its pupils.
The English department aims to ensure that:
- The staff members are loyal to the department and its goals;
- The staff members have a good relationship and work well together in a constructively self-critical manner;
- There is a good relationship between teachers and pupils (both in and out of the classroom);
- Pupils show an interest in learning and respond well to effective teaching consistent with their abilities;
- Pupils achieve realistically high levels of success consistent with their abilities and as a result pupils and teachers are encouraged in their efforts and expectations;
- Teachers encourage parents to be actively involved in their children's work;
- Classrooms in the department are attractive and stimulating, and pupils' work is regularly displayed.
At Key Stage 3 pupils proceed through the Northern Ireland curriculum levels in Reading, Writing, and Speaking and Listening, and are assessed at the end of each unit. Continuous assessment is also evident in all classrooms as it allows pupils to demonstrate their capabilities and achievements.
At Key Stage 4, assessments follow the assessment criteria for CCEA English Language/English Literature at GCSE level. Functional Skills Levels 1 and 2 are offered to pupils who find the GCSE course too difficult. Pupils are made familiar with the assessment tasks set and are informed of the purpose and criteria against which they are being assessed. They are encouraged to comment on their own performance and how they view their work. Pupils are made aware of the resources available in the department, such as virtual learning environments, the library, and literary and non-literary reading material. All aspects of assessment are subject to review in light of evalution procedures within the department.
Each teacher keeps a personal record of individual pupils' work throughout the year. At present, one formal report is sent to parents at the end of the school year; teachers also give verbal feedback to parents at Parent-Teacher Meetings once a year. These records also contribute to individual pupils' record of achievement.
Teachers regularly meet at departmental level to plan formal assessment tasks that are differentiated by outcome and task. It is also necessary to develop assessment tasks that differentiate by outcome and task. In addition to grades in tests, pupils are given summative feedback in the form of a comment.
With increased emphasis on attaining A*-C grade in English Language at GCSE level, parents and pupils can be content in the knowledge that all teachers in the English department do their utmost to ensure that each pupil achieves their personal best at all stages of their education.