Article Index

Aims of the English Department

The aims of the department reflect the requirements of the discipline at all levels, and conform to school, divisional and national directives.

  • To encourage and foster positive learning which challenges all individuals, taking account of their personal needs and preferences.
  • To provide appropriate courses which are stimulating, challenging and rewarding.
  • To foster an awareness and understanding of the world in which we exist, in both human and physical terms.
  • To elicit and encourage an appreciation of other peoples and cultures.
  • To prepare students for life outwith school and to equip them with the skills which they will require.
  • To encourage good citizenship and responsibility.
  • To encourage the development of rational thought and analytical skills.
  • To implement whole-school policy via the curriculum, liaison with SMT and Pupil Support, and by exhibiting good practice.
  • To provide a safe and healthy environment conducive to learning and teaching for students and staff.
  • To promote the physical, ethical and emotional development of all students and staff.
  • To promote the positive ethos espoused by the school, and to foster respect for others.
  • To promote positive links with associated primary schools, Learning Support and the Guardians of our students.
  • To assist in maintaining and enhancing the reputation of the department and the school at every opportunity.

Close Reading Questions


  • Mrs K. Lawrie - Principal Teacher
  • Mrs J. Anderson - Teacher of English
  • Mrs J. Kazeminia - Teacher of English
  • Miss A. O'Neill - Teacher of English
  • Mrs P. McCrory - Teacher of English
  • Mr S. Purvis - Teacher of English
  • Mr R. Townsley - Teacher of English/Media Studies
  • Miss S. Hughes - Probationer Teacher

  • S1-S3 Broad General Education

    Describing Our Emotions

    The Broad General Education phase during S1 to 3 is designed to enable pupils to make progress with their Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening Skills. In addition, the North Lanarkshire initiative of Active Literacy is embedded in the BGE course. By the end of S3, pupils begin preparation work for their National 4 and 5 qualifications.


    There is a clear emphasis in the department on reading in its various forms, with strong links to the School Library. Pupils have daily reading time and are encouraged to keep records of their reading habits. Clear emphasis is also placed on the Six Reading Strategies of the Active Literacy Programme, which are: Prior Knowledge, Metalinguistics, Visualisation, Inference, Main Ideas and Paraphrasing and Summarising. Pupils are also given a foundation in Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation (Close Reading) skills, such as ‘understanding’ questions, where they learn to put challenging vocabulary into their own words, ‘purpose and audience’ questions, where they consider why a text has been written and for whom it is intended and questions on analysis of various writers’ techniques.


    In S1-3 pupils study Drama, Poetry, Prose and Media, with pace and challenge increasing as pupils become more independent writers. Creative, Personal and Discursive writing skills become firmly embedded through units from S1-3. Again, Active Literacy principles help to guide the teaching of writing, including the most relevant of the 7 main Writing Genres recognised by the programme. These include: Recount, Informative, Narrative, Persuasive and Discursive. Pupils are also encouraged to enter various writing competitions.


    The English Department works alongside the wider school to promote a strong ethos of speaking skills across the school curriculum. The department provides numerous opportunities for pupils to further their talk skills and to increase confidence in speaking in front of groups, whether through co-operative learning activities in class, group discussion, solo talk presentation or debate. Again, the Active Literacy approaches lend themselves to the preparation, delivery and reflection on performance required in this area.


    From S1, pupils are encouraged to recognise good listening skills going hand in hand with good talking skills, developing further their ability to listen to others and show effective body language. S1-3 Active Listening activities teach pupils how to analyse spoken text by identifying the purpose and audience of the text, how to note-take and summarise main details and how to analyse features of effective spoken presentation.

    To access details of BGE on the Education Scotland website, click here

    National 3,4 & 5

    National Qualifications are designed with flexibility to suit the needs of individual students. As such, the English Department offers National 3,4 and 5 qualifications from S4 onwards.

    National 3 Course

    The National 3 course is internally assessed and consists of two units – Creation and Production (Writing and Talking) and Analysis and Evaluation (Reading and Listening.) The course covers the four Literacy outcomes which build the necessary skills for life, learning and work.

    National 4 Course

    The National 4 course is internally assessed and consists of two units – Creation and Production (Writing and Talking) and Analysis and Evaluation (Reading and Listening.) The course covers the four Literacy outcomes which build the necessary skills for life, learning and work. A mandatory Added Value Unit involves the students undertaking an independent project which combines the four key skills of Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening to provide an end product which must be passed in order to achieve an overall National Four Course Pass.

    National 5 Course

    The National 5 course includes a manatory internal talking/listeniung unit called Performance Spoken Language. There is also an external exam, consisting of a Reading for Understanding, Analysis, Evaluation (Close Reading) Paper, and a Scottish Set Text and Critical Essay Paper. Pupils must additionally submit an externally assessed Writing Folio, consisting of a Discursive Piece and either an Imaginative or Personal/Reflective Piece.

    Please note that pupil progress is tracked through the Unit and National 5 Prelim and any movement between the levels is dependent upon progress.

    The unit builds upon the Talking and Listening skills from S1-3 and allows pupils to further their skills by critical study of these key areas.
    Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation (UAE) is an important aspect of the exam, and pupils will work steadily on these skills throughout the year. As mentioned earlier, the exam requires that students write a critical essay on a text, and undertake a Scottish Text analysis, which are demanding tasks.

    Pupils experience a variety of writing tasks for their folio: imaginative writing, personal/reflective writing and discursive essay writing. The final folio is submitted to the SQA. It is essential that students meet the deadlines set by the school. Study skills and target setting will continue throughout March and April in the run up to the National 5 exam.


    The unit outcome of Performance Spoken Language requires to be overtaken to gain the National 5 qualification.  If on re-assessment pupils are not successful, it is possible that they will change level to National 4.  Maximum opportunity and support is given to aid individual success.


    In the National 5 exam pupils analyse an extract from the Scottish Text they have studied worth 20 %. This is followed by a critical essay on another text studied worth 20%. The Reading for UAE assessment is worth 30%. At National 5 pupils produce a folio of two pieces of writing – creative and discursive - to be externally assessed, which also covers the writing unit outcome. (30%)

    For SQA Specimen papers on the new qualifications please visit: www.sqa.org.uk

    S5-Higher English


    Being competent in English is the key to success in many aspects of life and work. Skills in English language and communication are important in many school, college and university courses and are essential in many occupations. A qualification in English is often required for entry to Further and Higher Education. This course aims to improve and extend a student’s experience of English literature in Prose, Poetry, Drama and Media.

    Recommended Entry

    This is at the discretion of the school but the normal expectation would be to have attained a pass at National 5.

    Higher Course

    The Internally Assessed Course is made up of one mandatory Unit which provides learners with the opportunity to develop their Listening and Talking skills. The unit is called Performancepken Language.

    To gain the overall award of the Course, the learner must pass this Internal Unit as well as the External Course assessment outlined below:


    • Reading for UAE Exam =30%
    • Critical Reading Exam - One Critical Essay. 20%
    • Critical Reading Exam -Scottish Text Question. 20%
    • Critical Reading Exam - 40% in total

    Writing Folio

    • 2 pieces: 1 broadly Creative + 1 broadly Discursive
    • Creative: Personal/Reflective or Imaginative.
    • Discursive: Argumentative or Persuasive.
    • Maximum 1300 words each essay.
    • Each piece marked out of 15 = 30%

    For specimen papers and more information on Higher English please visit: www.sqa.org.uk

    S6-Advanced Higher English


    The Advanced Higher English course is intended to broaden the Language and Literature experience of candidates and extend their skills in English in ways which allow them to develop their interests within a framework of some choice. Successful completion of the course should be personally and vocationally rewarding, providing an entry qualification appropriate to various Higher Education courses and one which signals a high degree of competence across a range of higher order skills.

    Recommended Entry

    Students for Advanced Higher English are expected to have gained a strong pass at Higher Grade English; they must also have enthusiasm and stamina for reading!

    Advanced Higher Overview

    Internal Unit assessments
    1. Analysis and Evaluation of Literary Texts

    • Outcome 1: Critically analyse and evaluate complex and sophisticated literary texts in depth.
    • Outcome 2: Undertake research into an aspect or aspects of literature

    2. Creation & Production

    • Outcome 1: Produce complex and sophisticated written texts.

    Externally Examined Coursework: Portfolio

    1. Dissertation

    • 2500–3000 words
    • 30%
    • Choice of prose, poetry or drama

    2. Writing Folio

    • Two pieces of writing from a choice of genres
    • 30%

    Exam question Paper

    1. Literary study (Critical Essay) – no set texts

    • Choice of drama, poetry, prose fiction and prose non-fiction
    • 20%

    2. Textual Analysis question paper

    • Choice of drama, poetry, prose fiction and prose non-fiction
    • 20%

    For specimen papers and more information on Advanced Higher English please visit: www.sqa.org.uk

    Web Links

    • A mine of information for students of English.BBC Bitesize
    • Stream educational clips about poetry, travel writing and much more straight into your PC with Learning Zone Broadband.BBC Learning Zone
    • The Education Scotland page on Debating and Public Speaking in schools.Debating in Schools
    • Critical evaluation of literary non-fiction using autobiography and travel writing as examples. Scottish Non-Fiction
    • Review and share your comments on a wide range of excellent books. Then post your comments to the message boards. BBC Student Book Club
    • Search for books with a search engine designed for the purpose.Google for Books
    • The complete works! Shakespeare