The English Department aim to improve pupils’ confidence with language enabling them to foster an enjoyment of reading and writing while developing effective communication skills in preparation for the world of work. We use a wide range of teaching and assessment methods to ensure all pupils are challenged and supported appropriately.
From S1-S3, pupils will study a range of texts – including prose, non-fiction, poetry and film – and produce a variety of written and spoken outcomes which are assessed on the Broad General Education Levels 1-4. The analysis and evaluation of these texts allow pupils to develop their critical thinking skills and ability to communicate their ideas in both written and oral responses.
In the Senior Phase of the curriculum, the English Department offer S4-S6 pupils several National Qualifications. S4 pupils will work towards their National 4 or National 5 English qualification. National 4 pupils will also have the opportunity to achieve qualifications in Media Studies, Scottish Studies and Literacy. In S5-6, pupils will aim to achieve National 5 or Higher English – while pupils who have achieved Higher can study Advanced Higher English in S6.
All S1-S3 pupils should read a book of their choice for at least 10 minutes every night. Parents can support this by listening to them read aloud a few times a week. Pupils will have the opportunity for Personal reading in class and they are encouraged to bring their book to school every day, but they can also borrow a book from the class library. Further Literacy and Language homework will be issued regularly by the class teacher.
Pupils studying for National Qualifications should be regularly revising their notes, practising close reading and critical writing skills and working on their portfolio. Regularly reading of high quality journalism is highly recommended for pupils sitting their National 5 and Higher Qualifications.
Study Support for National Qualifications
Pupils are expected to take responsibility for meeting deadlines, revising course work and completing writing portfolio. In addition to this, the English department offer Supported Study for pupils sitting National Qualifications which runs every week from Oct-April. Pupils should ask their class teacher for details.
The English Department encourage pupils to write for pleasure and support this through:
- National Writing Competitions
- Workshops with Professional Writers
- Writing and Journalism Club
Supporting Reading through Fresh Start Literacy programme
Effective reading skills have a positive impact across the curriculum and the English department aim to support all children to read confidently. The Fresh Start programme is designed for students who need help to boost their reading age if progress is needed in this area. It is especially effective for EAL learners, students who have ‘switched off’ from reading, or who have slipped behind, and those with dyslexia or similar barriers to progress.
In Fresh Start lessons, students are taught to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to spell correctly and compose ideas for writing responses to texts. Throughout the programme students are taught the English alphabetic code. Simple mnemonics help students to read and write the letter-sounds quickly. Lively, age-appropriate stories and texts are matched to students’ increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words.
Students learn to understand the meanings of new words and how to spell these; they become able to read at speed and show understanding of the story’s key moments or characters. In terms of writing, students learn to write prepared sentences with correct spelling and punctuation, use new vocabulary in their writing, learn to correct mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation, and can write their own composition inspired by what they’ve read.
Students from S1-4 are assessed and grouped according to their phonic knowledge; they have 3 sessions per week, and work in pairs with a Fresh Start Reading Leader to ensure a positive, supportive experience. Once they have made sufficient progress, they graduate from programme.