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Saturday 17 March 2018

Leaving Cert English Higher Paper II: 'A dream paper – the most settled for many years'

Loreto College Cavan pupils, (l-r) Sheryl Galligan, Georgina Fox and Chloe Smith
Loreto College Cavan pupils, (l-r) Sheryl Galligan, Georgina Fox and Chloe Smith
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A "delightful, dream paper" and the "most settled English Paper 2 for many years" were among the comments of teachers to what Leaving Certificate higher-level candidates were treated to yesterday afternoon. Even Sylvia Plath obliged.

Michael Doherty, of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), said he "never saw such elation coming out of an exam".

Mr Doherty, of Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Co Donegal, said that in the single text section, Macbeth would have been the popular option and the question on his character "was a very good one for students at this level, while the question on imagery was straightforward".

Jim Lusby, of the Institute of Education, who thought it the "most settled paper in years", said there was a consistent and recurring focus on the creative use of language, not only in the Macbeth question, but throughout the entire paper.

However, the question on imagery was only for those who had specifically studied the imagery of the play.

Alan Thompson, of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) and Abbey Vocational School, Donegal, thought that the question on Macbeth's character took some deciphering, but it was a very good question.

On the comparative study question, Mr Lusby said examiners should give more thought to the phrasing of the questions.


Mr Lusby said the unseen poem section contained a "hugely welcome change from previous years, in that it presented for reading and discussion a real poem, 'The Fist', by a real poet, Derek Walcott.

In the prescribed poetry section there would have been much delight among students at the appearance of Plath, always a popular choice.

Sinead Caslin, of Yeats College, said the appearance of Plath, along with Elizabeth Bishop, Derek Mahon and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the questions pertaining to them, offered nice variety to students.

Irish Independent

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