English is about reading texts, writing about them and creating them. Texts can be written, visual and oral. Visual texts are such things as film and the myriad of texts that combine pictures and words. Oral texts include speeches and interviews.

Years 9 and 10 English

The Years 9 and 10 course continues work from Years 7 and 8. We are intent on building student literacy so that when students encounter the assessments of the Senior school they have a strong knowledge of grammar and have practised decoding difficult texts. The most important aspect of English is reading. We try and advance the reading ages of the students by having them engage in reading activities every day. The reading mileage they gain will, for most students, increase their ability in parallel with their chronological age. Students who stop reading at home will stagnate; the impact of this will probably not be felt until they reach Year 12 and 13. To encourage student reading we have enrolled every Year 9 and 10 student, except the Year 10 Extension Class, in an App called Reading Plus. The programme provides individualised  reading homework each week that will increase each student's reading mileage and therefore increase their ability to comprehend written texts. 

Writing is another important component of our programme. The asTTle testing programme has allowed teachers to design activities to help boys to advance this skill. As a result we are confident most boys are writing at the standard needed to complete the relevant Achievement Standard (AS90053) in Year 10.

As well as attending to the fundamental skills of reading and writing it is our mission to foster creativity. The students at Sacred Heart are very good at Public Speaking; again we try and reward this ability by having the boys complete the speaking Achievement Standard (AS90856)  in Year 10. Also, there is a trophy to present to the best speaker at each year level: the John C Reid at Year 9 and the Vincent O’Sullivan at Year 10. In a similar vein, the Dan Davin trophy is awarded to a Year 9 or 10 student who excels at creative writing.

Senior English

The English programme at Years 11, 12 and 13 follow the Achievement Standards closely. At Level 2, the universities have imposed a minimum literacy standard. Students are required to gain five credits in reading Standards and five in writing Standards. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that students can read and write independently and at a level which will allow them to cope with university courses. Thus the bar is set high. Our programme is designed to ensure students gain this literacy requirement.

Excellence is fostered in the Senior school through speech contests: the Pat Sheehan Memorial Trophy at Year 13, the Brother Stephen at Year 12 and the Brother Remigius at Year 11. Excellence in creative writing is rewarded with the Toa Fraser Cup.


In the academic arena, we collect 60 students into two extension classes that complete NCEA Level 1 over two years. The students consolidate high level skills so that they can excel at level 2 and 3. The objective of these class is to gain Level 3 subject Endorsements at Excellence and Scholarship.

Thematic Studies in English: Thematic Studies allows students to reach the literacy requirement over two years. Each student can complete similar coursework while attempting assessments at their own level. In other words, a student completing assessments in a Year 13 Thematic Studies class may be awarded Level 3, Level 2 or Level 1 credits, depending on the standard of their work.

English is a compulsory subject until students gain NCEA Level 2. For most students the study of English does not lead directly to a career but develops the skills that are the building blocks of competence in most areas of endeavour.

English Department Staff
Mr Don Harland Head of Department
Mrs Viktoria Jowers-Wilding Assistant Head of Department
Mrs Juanita Farrelly Teacher-in-Charge of Media Studies
Mrs Stephanie Ioka Teacher-in-Charge of Classical Studies
Mr Scott Chalmers Teacher-in-Charge of Drama
Mr Grant van Ansem  
Mrs Debbie Grant  
Miss Susan Brunton  
Mr Vinnie O'Connor  
Ms Sacha Lascelles  
Mr Aidan Kavanagh  



Media Studies

At NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 students can pick up Media Studies. This subject deals with the skills necessary to create media products as well as the issues that the media brings to contemporary society. Students study the conventions of film genre and current theories of film-making. They will produce short films or newspapers. They also investigate how television positions its audience and advertisers seek to sell a message.

The subject provides an excellent link between English and the Visual Arts. Media Achievement Standards contribute to University Entrance literacy requirements.

Media Studies is offered at Years 12 and 13 and is an optional subject. Successful achievement in this course will help students complete a Communications degree with a view to working in the media industries, public relations and/or marketing.

Year 10 Visual Literacy

This course is an option that provides a sound base for Media Studies. It concentrates on the visual language aspects of the English curriculum. The course requires that students have excellent literacy skills as students will often have to communicate their understanding through extended written work.

It is about understanding how visual and oral elements are combined to communicate ideas in 'moving images' - films, plays, television, advertisements, video and animated films; and 'Static images' - newspapers, magazines, comic strips, advertisements in print and computer media..

In this course students will analyse visual communication by viewing a range of visual language and studying the theory that is behind the visual and oral elements. Students will also turn the theory into practice and present their own visual images, both moving and static.


Students keen on making films are encouraged to enter the 48 Hour Film Festival which has a Secondary Schools section. This competition requires a high degree of competency with the production of film. Competitors must write, film, edit and present a complete film over the course of a weekend. There are many opportunities for boys wishing to build a portfolio of finished productions.


As well as the Toa Fraser and the Dan Davin Cups, there are many opportunities for budding authors to demonstrate their talent. This year boys have been involved in seminars run through the Michael King Writer’s Centre. Our goal is that the talents of every enthusiastic writer will be nurtured during his time at the College.


Classical Studies

Classical Studies is a multi-disciplinary subject. Students explore Ancient Greece and Rome through their social histories, literature, art and architecture. Through this, students gain an invaluable insight into the underpinnings of Western Civilisation. Over the course of their studies students will also be able to make significant connections with other subjects, such as English, History, Religious Education and the Visual Arts. Classical Studies is offered at Years 12 and 13 and is an optional subject. 

Students may choose to continue studying Classical Studies and Ancient History at university; therefore, the skills they acquire at school will assist them with their tertiary endeavours.

In April 2019 there will be a trip to Europe. This trip will take the students to Rome, Pompeii and the Valley of Temples in Sicily.

Mrs Stephanie Ioka, Teacher-in-Charge



Drama offers students a wide range of learning opportunities through physical work. Students will explore existing scripts as well as devising their own original material. The nature of a Drama classroom means that students will develop their understanding of how Drama is created and communicated, as well as their ability to effectively communicate both to large audiences and within groups.

Year 10

At Year 10 the course will concentrate on the elements and conventions used to create stories and perform them to audiences. The work is largely physical, with a focus on getting on stage and presenting ideas as often as possible. Students will spend most of the year developing the skills vital to effective group work.

Year 11

Level 1 Drama explores different performance styles and themes. With a more academic focus the course offers Level 1 Literacy credits for a range of skills including writing, devising, and performing. While this course builds on the experience of Year 10 it is not a requirement to have any Drama experience.

Year 12

Level 2 offers students more freedom to explore ideas and texts. Students will extend their range of devising and performing skills by working with more sophisticated ideas. Students may enter the course at Level 2, but an audition may be required by the Teacher in Charge.

Year 13

Level 3 is a natural extension of the course. Students will be challenged by difficult classic texts and will have the chance to explore challenging ideas and performance styles. Students will need to be dedicated to the class in order to make the most of the performance opportunities. Students may enter the course at Level Three, but an audition may be required by the Teacher in Charge.


Scholarship Drama is a practical exam which will require students to present two prepared monologues and perform an improvised piece. Scholarship is run separate to the Level Three course and required the students to develop their own unique voice as well as having a solid understanding of Drama theory.

Teacher-in-Charge            Mr Scott Chalmers