Senior School Classes


English is about exciting and stimulating young minds; it’s about getting them to think “individually” and confidently. Through this, pupils learn to have a greater appreciation, even love, for language and literature, but that they develop the confidence and power to think, speak, write and behave in today’s society.

In English, pupils will gain extensive skills in understanding, evaluation, comparison and analysis. Through individual study they will learn how to carry out close examination of texts, making reference to material they have studied earlier. They will learn how to express themselves in a sophisticated fashion in a variety of forms.

S1 and S2

The S1 and S2 courses are based on the outcomes and experiences of A Curriculum for Excellence and are designed to provide progression over the two years. Pupils study a variety of prose and drama texts, in addition to the study of language and poetry.

Assessment in S1-S2 takes the form of end of year examinations, in close reading and writing, and the folio of work which the pupils contribute to throughout the year.  Both areas of assessment are valued equally when setting pupils into their classes for the following year.

S3 and S4: National 5

Analysis and Evaluation unit (Reading and listening): In order to achieve an award in this unit, students must be able to understand, analyse and evaluate at   least one detailed written task (Outcome 1), and understand, analyse and evaluate at least one detailed spoken language activity (Outcome 2). Additionally, an external question paper will test reading skills.

Creation and Production unit (Writing and talking): In order to achieve an award in this unit, students must be able to create at least one written text using detailed written language (Outcome 1), and create at least one spoken interaction using detailed language (Outcome 2). 

Additionally, an external portfolio will test writing skills.

Assessment: Students are internally assessed in both units and must achieve both outcomes in each. Students also sit two externally assessed reading papers:
Component 1: Reading paper
Section 1)     Reading for analysis and evaluation (30 marks)
Section 2)     Critical Reading (40 marks) – Scottish text (20 marks) and critical essay (20 marks)

Component 2: Written portfolio
Additionally, students produce a writing portfolio of a broadly discursive and a broadly creative essay for external assessment (30 marks).

S5 and S6: Higher

Close Reading: The students’ understanding, analysing and evaluating of non-fiction texts, conveying complex information, is tested. Two passages are studied at this level in a single paper and questions are based on both. Close reading is assessed externally and internally.

Critical Essay: During the course of the year literary texts and media texts are studied. Two critical essays are produced as part of the external assessment.

Textual Analysis: Students are regularly exposed to unseen literary texts in a variety of genres. The textual analysis, internal assessment tests a student’s ability to understand, analyse and evaluate an unseen literary text.

The external exam: close reading (1 hour, 45 minutes)
Critical essays (1 hour, 30 minutes)
Additionally, students produce a writing portfolio of a broadly discursive and a broadly creative essay for external assessment (30 marks).

S6: Advanced Higher

English has enormous personal, academic and vocational value in the curriculum. This inclusive subject is comprised of numerous different components: literature, language awareness, technical skills, media, language for life, drama, oral and aural skills.

The student will study two mandatory units: 

Specialist study (40%): involves the candidate submitting a dissertation on their chosen topic for external assessment.

Literary study (30%): will involve producing one written essay based on texts previously studied in class. The question will be unseen and completed under exam conditions.

Option unit (30%): This is selected from the following options:

Textual Analysis paper which involves answering one question under exam conditions. This one unseen, single question will be chosen from a total of four questions. The candidate will have previously studied a range of different unseen texts from different genres.

Reading the Media paper which involves answering one unseen question, under exam conditions, from a range of unseen questions. A knowledge of previously studied media texts will be required.

The Creative Writing option which requires the candidate to submit a folio comprising two pieces of creative writing in different genres.

The course involves a combination of internal and external assessment. The candidate will be expected to pass an internal unit assessment in the literary study. There is a much greater focus on independent learning in this course, especially as far as the dissertation component is concerned.