Subject Overview

Building on the aims of English in junior cycle, the programme in senior cycle aims to develop in students:
  • A mature and critical literacy to prepare them for the responsibilities and challenges of adult life in all contexts;
  • A respect and appreciation for language used accurately and appropriately and a competence in a wide range of language skills both oral and written;
  • An awareness of the value of literature in its diverse forms for enriching their perceptions, for enhancing their sense of cultural identity, and for creating experiences of aesthetic pleasure.


The syllabus is organised around the two general domains of comprehending and composing. Within these two domains students will be actively engaged in using language classified under five general headings
  • The language of information
  • The language of argument
  • The language of persuasion
  • The language of narration
  • The aesthetic use of language
In addition, a range of literary texts is prescribed for study. Students must choose a single text for close study, three or more texts to form a comparative study, and they must follow a course in poetry as set out in the list of prescribed texts.


Assessment is by means of a written examination at two levels:
  • Ordinary
  • Higher
There are two papers at each level. Paper I consists of a number of thematically linked unseen texts leading to a range of comprehending and composing tasks. Paper II consists of a range of questions on the prescribed literary texts and on an unseen poem.