'Ours is not to reap the harvest, Ours is just to sow the seed'
Blessed Anne-Marie Javouhey


Subject summary

At Leaving Cert level, the English course aims to develop:

  • The ability to critically analyse information, as preparation for the responsibilities and challenges of adult life;
  • A respect and appreciation for language used accurately and appropriately, and a competence in a wide range of oral and written language skills;
  • An awareness of the value of literature for widening horizons, for enhancing their sense of cultural identity, and for personal enjoyment.

Why study ?

  • Universities generally require a student to pass English.
  • Leaving Certificate English invites students into rich experiences with language so that they become fluent and thoughtful users of it and more aware of its significance in their lives.
  • The study of English develops a range of literacy and oral skills in a variety of areas - personal, social, and cultural.
  • Students develop a wide range of skills and concepts which will allow them to interpret and enjoy a range of material so that they become independent learners who can operate independently in the world beyond school.
  • Students interested in furthering their English studies beyond second-level have a wide variety course choices available.

Course Content

Language: Students are required to study the following five designated areas of language in a wide variety of contexts, functions and styles.

  1. The Language of Information.
  2. The Language of Argument.
  3. The Language of Persuasion.
  4. The Language of Narration.
  5. The Aesthetic use of Language.


  • Students are required to study one literary text from a list of prescribed texts.
  • Students are required to study three other texts in the Comparative manner, according to the comparative modes prescribed for that year.
  • Students are required to study at least six poets from the eight poets prescribed at Higher Level. At Ordinary Level 36 poems are prescribed.

Compulsory elements:

At Higher Level a Shakespearean Play must be one of the texts chosen for study on its own or as an element of the Comparative study.

Optional Elements:

At Ordinary Level the study of a Shakespearean play is optional.

Exam Structure

Paper I

Higher and Ordinary Level

170 mins.

200 marks.

Section I

Three texts - one which is visual - are presented to students on a general theme. Two sets of questions, an A and a B follow each text. Candidates must answer a question A on one text and a question B on a different text. (100 marks)

Section II (Composing)

Candidates must write an extended composition in a specific genre of language from a list of seven choices. (100 marks)

Paper II

Higher and Ordinary Level

200 mins.

200 marks.

Section I

The Single Text (60 marks)

Section II

The Comparative study (70 marks)

Section III

Poetry (70 marks)

Higher Level

(i) Unseen poem (20 marks)

(ii) Prescribed poetry (50 marks)

Ordinary Level

(i) Unseen poem (20 marks)

(ii) Four poems will be printed on the exam paper and students must answer questions on one of the four. (50 marks)

Career Possibilities

The study of English is beneficial to all students as it provides necessary skills in terms of control of language, critical thinking and composition of essays. The skills learnt will aid all students in their journey at third level. However, it will be of specific use to those who wish to pursue a career in journalism, teaching, broadcasting, law, social work, public relations, film, communications, performance, writing, production, theatre or politics.

08 2022
State Examinations
25 2022
1st Year Sports Camp - Half Day
25 2022
TYs meeting in school with Principal, Deputy Principal, Deans and tutors
26 2022
1st Year Sports Camp - Half Day
Mount Sackville Secondary School,
Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny,
Dublin 20,
D20 WP68

01 821 3317
01 821 4061

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