The English Department in Fort Hill Integrated College is vibrant and forward thinking. It aims to provide a learning environment which promotes an enjoyment of the subject. Our team of English specialists promote a rich and varied curriculum that enables students to fulfil their maximum potential in all skills areas, both in the classroom and in examinations.

This year’s results of 78% A* - C grades in GCSE English Language, are significantly higher than the NI average of 65%.  Our most recent GCSE English Literature also results boast considerable success in achieving A* - C grades.   In addition, 100% of pupils entered for Essential Skills in Communication, achieved either Level 1 or 2.

Our pupils are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of activities. We hold a weekly Drama Club and the Library is available for personal study.  We also have a variety of support classes after school to allow pupils to receive extra help in a range of areas. 

Drama is studied by all pupils in Years 8 – 10 as an integral part of the English Curriculum. Key skills such as hot-seating, conscience alley, tableaux, freeze frame and thought tracking are explored fully.

Year 8 pupils enjoy an annual visit to a local pantomime which is supplemented by engagement with activities of a panto workshop, facilitated by members of the cast.  Other trips involve viewing films, plays or exhibitions which relate to texts being studied.  We actively encourage pupils to enter poetry competitions, public speaking events and to support Read On, a sponsored reading event in aid of NI Cancer Fund for Children.  Recently, pupils have entered a number of subject based competitions, notably in Poetry and Creative Writing.

A presentation for parents and guardians of yr 8 pupils

Creative Writing

Last year, the English department in FHIC ran a 'Tension and Suspense' writing competition for all year 9 pupils. The stories should be between 1-2 pages in length and the best two entries from each class will won a prize and were entered into the final. The winning stories were judged by a panel of pupils and teachers. The entries for the competition were fantastic and it was very difficult to pick winners.


Out of the finalists there were two winners: Jorja Hunter in 9A2X won the Pupils’ Choice Award and Lucy Grant in 9B1 won the Teachers’ Choice Award, their stories and Aimee Hayles’, whose story was highly commended, are available now to read here. (Health warning: we recommend not reading these stories in the dark).

Hopkins House of Horror

Aimee Hayles 9A2X

Horror House

Jorja Hunter 9A2X

Return of the Fishermen

Lucy Grant 9B1


GCSE English

Communication is vital for everyday life and a thorough knowledge of its features will encourage each pupil to use language more effectively.

The two year course is divided into four units which will assess the key areas of Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening. The course lends itself to various learning opportunities, including individual work, group work and whole class discussions. Students are encouraged to develop their use and understanding of language, including both spoken and written language for various purposes.

English Literature

“…prose; words in their best order; 
poetry – the best words in the best order.”
S T Coleridge

GCSE English Literature:

For the aficionados of literary analysis there is, of course, English Literature. 

The GCSE specification currently being taught enables students to explore the finer nuances of texts across the range of literary genres.  In depth study is made of modern classics such as Lord of the Flies or An Inspector Calls together with cultural exploration through a choice of prose texts including Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.


The study of Shakespeare as a prescribed author is assessed in the context of Controlled Assessment.  This allows candidates to experience Literature through the study of multi-modal versions of the texts, for example, stage and film interpretations. Provision to enjoy cinema and theatre visits is on-going. These experiences undoubtedly serve to illuminate the accessibility of the written texts for students.


T. S. Eliot wrote, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”  However, at Fort Hill Integrated College, our students have full access to a Digital Anthology, an on-line resource designed to fully enhance appreciation of the poetic encounter.  Heaney and Hardy typify the blend of literary heritage and contemporary poets open to study from the set anthology.   Together they present a challenging but infinitely rewarding experience for students.

A Level English Literature:

The aim of this CCEA AS/ A Level course is to:

  • Introduce students to detailed textual study of a variety of genres and the contexts in which they were written, therefore enabling students to express informed and relevant responses to what they have read.

  • To nurture an already existing enthusiasm for independent reading.

  • To build upon relevant knowledge of generic conventions and critical understanding of the ways in which writers craft their work in order to shape meaning.

Successful students will profit from excellent skills in both written and verbal argument as well as developed critical thinking, awareness of broad social, cultural and political issues and a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of literary genres.

Pupils will be encouraged to respond critically to a wide range of poetry, prose and drama in different contexts, including heritage texts such as Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, the poetry of John Donne and Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ as well as more modern works such as ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Behold the Dreamers’.

Essential Skills

Essential Skills Communication is a nationally accredited qualification, which is offered to some of our Year 11 and 12 pupils who find English Language a particularly challenging subject. Within the qualification there are a range of levels:

  • Level 1 Communication

  • Level 2 Communication


These levels are a series of progression points, which each pupil completing Essential Skills Communication will move through, ensuring a sense of success and confidence in his/her own achievements. By the end of Year 12, it is the aim that every pupil will have accomplished Level 2 Communication, which is seen by some employers and Further and Higher Education providers as an acceptable alternative qualification to GCSE English, A-C grade.


Essential Skills tasks are designed to be relevant and interesting to the pupils, enabling them to realise those communication skills that will be of upmost importance to them when they enter the world of work. By being motivated, enthusiastic and confident in their own English Language skills, our pupils will be able to reach whatever goal they have in their own sights.

English Trips

On Friday 15th Oct, the GCSE Literature class travelled to the Market Place Theatre in Armagh, with their teacher Mrs Richardson, to see a live performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Pupils thoroughly enjoyed the performance and seeing the production live will also benefit them as they prepare for their Literature coursework on the same text.


On Thursday 4th October, Both AS and A2 level Literature classes, accompanied by Mrs Johnston and Mrs Mcgrath, enjoyed watching a performance of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. The performance was broadcast to the Omniplex Cinema, Lisburn, live from the Globe Theatre, London. Pupils study this play for the A2 Literature exam and benefitted greatly from seeing it brought to life.


Tom Palmer Visit

Year8 pupils were thrilled to Welcome bestselling author, Tom Palmer and the talented story teller, Alec, to the college on Friday 12th October. Pupils had the chance to quiz Tom on his writing and life. They enjoyed listening to entertaining stories and poems, as well as taking part in a newspaper quiz. Pupils were left feeling inspired and motivated to keep reading and even to try their hand at writing their own stories. A great time was had by all!