We believe that teaching in the twenty-first century is driven by the aim of creating self-motivated, ambitious and confident individuals. As English teachers, it is our primary goal to empower our pupils with the skills to utilise and interpret language and to negotiate the ever-changing and complex world of multimedia communication in which they live, but also to encourage a love of reading and an appreciation of literature.

“We live for books.” Umberto Eco

We also aim to develop essential life skills through enjoyable interactive learning which will enable pupils to express themselves clearly and effectively, thus building confidence and allowing them to fulfil their true academic potential.

We work hard to ensure that the texts and stimulus chosen are relevant and involve learners in an engaging and challenging way. Our focus on contemporary issues is carefully balanced with promoting an appreciation of the literary canon. Our pupils study a range of texts from Euripides to Shakespeare; Orwell to Joyce as well as writers such as Atwood, McCarthy and Zephaniah. Weekly current-event based activities are also used to encourage pupils to develop their skills as open-minded thinkers.

Careful planning and individualised target setting and tracking are central to the work of our department.  With our smaller classes, we are able to build on prior attainment in a focused and meaningful way.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Franklin.

S1 and S2

Our S1-2 course is designed to build on pupils’ prior experience of language and literacy and cultivate their critical and creative thinking. It aims to offer breadth and depth of study through the use of different contexts for learning. Across the Department we aim for excellence in learning and teaching at all levels and strive to ensure pupils will be actively engaged with their learning and the experiences we offer. We aim to provide a course that is sculpted around the skills pupils need to develop through our texts and units. This allows teachers to structure their planning to meet the needs and interests of the learners in their class more effectively.

Pupils will be exposed to a broad range of texts and they will develop their skills in the core aspects of English – Reading, Writing, Listening and Talking.

Throughout the course, pupils will be given regular opportunities to reflect on their progress with their teacher and generate targets for their learning. This will be carried out in their good work jotters, using the feedback given on the outcomes they produce.

The department expect pupils to read a minimum of one book per month throughout S1-3.  Pupils will keep a record of their personal reading throughout the year. 

By the end of each year, all pupils will have built up a portfolio of work which illustrates the progress they have made across the areas of Reading, Writing, Listening and Talking.  Pupils will record Success Criteria, Areas of Strength and Areas for Development for each outcome.

The portfolio will include a range of outcomes:

  • Reading for Understanding, Analysis & Evaluation assessments
  • Critical responses to a variety of texts studied
  • Imaginative, personal/ reflective, functional and persuasive writing in different formats as appropriate to the context.
  • Evidence of engagement in formal group discussion
  • Critical listening assessments
  • Evidence of a pupil’s ability to deliver solo talks and participate in group presentations
  • Responses to personal reading

In S1 and S2, the focus is on providing pupils with a solid foundation in key literacy skills.

We study a range of texts depending on the needs of our individual pupils.  Recent selections have included: Theresa Breslin, Michael Morpurgo, Frank O’Connor, R J Palacio, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, James Watkins, Malala Yousafzai and Benjamin Zephaniah.

National Five

In the National 5 English course, there is an emphasis on the development and application of key language skills closely associated with literacy and communication. Language skills have personal, social and economic value and importance. Our ability to use language, and to communicate, lies at the centre of the development and expression of our emotions, our thinking, and our sense of personal identity. It is generally accepted that language competence helps to unlock learning across all subjects.

This course provides candidates with the opportunity to develop skills in reading, writing, talking and listening. Consequently, candidates should be able to understand, analyse, evaluate, and use, detailed language for a range of purposes in practical and relevant contexts.

This course will allow candidates to encounter and engage with a wide range of texts across literature, language, and the media. The course enables candidates to communicate, to think critically, and to be thoughtful and creative. Candidates will be encouraged to reflect on, and to build an understanding of, their own experiences, environment, and culture, and the experiences, environments and cultures of others. Through the study of Scottish writers, candidates will develop an appreciation of Scotland’s own literary heritage. Language and literature are key aspects of our culture, and the cultures of others, and through them can be fostered an awareness, and a celebration of cultural diversity.

At National 5, learners will develop over the course of the two years key skills in the evaluation and appreciate of language and its uses. These skills are summarised below:

  • Understanding, explaining, analysing and evaluating detailed texts (language, literature and media) in oral and written forms
  • Creating, structuring and producing detailed texts for different purposes
  • Developing detailed language skills in language, literature and media contexts
  • Using different media for learning and communication
  • Social and interpersonal skills
  • Identifying sources, selecting and using
  • Planning, researching and decision-making
  • Effective questioning and reflection
  • Justifying ideas with evidence
  • Communicating ideas, feelings and information orally and in writing with technical accuracy
  • Understanding how language works
  • Developing cultural awareness
  • Using creative and critical thinking to synthesise ideas and arguments

Examples of texts studied at National 5 – Alejandro Amenábar, Margaret Atwood, Harper Lee, George MacKay Brown,  Arthur Miller, George Orwell, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and William Shakespeare.

From the SQA Scottish Specified Texts, we have focused on the work of Iain Crichton Smith, Sorley MacLean, Carol Anne Duffy and Norman MacCaig.


Language is at the heart of the Higher English course. Higher English is representative of a set of highly valued, and highly valuable, language skills giving candidates the opportunity to contribute to and to flourish within a communications-driven society. 

The growth of language skills, and the acquisition of further language competence associated with Higher English, provides a gateway to further study in English literature and language and in many other disciplines. Increased confidence in reading critically, responding to, talking about, and writing detailed and complex texts ensures that candidates are ready for the demands of further and higher education, and equips them with many of the skills required for the modern workplace. 

The course offers candidates further development of their abilities to communicate effectively, to think critically, and to be thoughtful and creative. 

Literature is a strong focus of the course: it is a rich source of powerful examples of language in effective use. The study of detailed and complex literature offers candidates opportunities for personal, social, emotional, cultural, and economic growth and development. Engaging with a wide variety of literature, language and media texts exposes candidates to a diversity of people, places, events, thoughts and ideas, many of which are outside their own immediate experience. 

Through the study of Scottish texts, candidates develop an awareness of Scotland’s rich social and cultural heritage.  

Building on skills gained at National five, learners with further develop in order to:

  • Learners will be able to: listen, talk, read and write, as appropriate to purpose, audience and
  • Understand analyse and evaluate texts, including Scottish texts, as appropriate to purpose and
  • In the contexts of literature, language and media create and produce texts, as appropriate to purpose, audience and
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the


During the course, learners will have the opportunity to:

  • use different media for learning and communication
  • understand how language works
  • use language to communicate ideas and information in English
  • think creatively and critically
  • appreciate a wide range of literature and texts
  • develop detailed and complex language skills

Examples of texts studied at Higher: Margaret Atwood, Francis Ford Coppola, Euripides, F Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Liz Lochhead, Cormac McCarthy and William Shakespeare.

From the SQA Scottish Specified Texts, we have focused on the work of Iain Crichton Smith, Sorley MacLean, Carol Anne Duffy and Norman MacCaig.

Advanced Higher

The main purpose of the course is to provide learners with the opportunity to apply critical, analytical and evaluative skills to a wide range of complex and sophisticated texts from different genres. Learners will develop sophisticated writing skills, responding to the way structure, form and language shape the overall meaning of texts.

The course provides personalisation and choice for learners by allowing them to choose to develop skills in different types of writing, and by developing their awareness of the relationship between text and context in the analysis and evaluation of literary texts.

The course aims to provide opportunities for learners to develop the ability to:

  • Critically analyse and evaluate a wide range of complex and sophisticated literary texts, as appropriate to purpose and audience
  • Apply critical, investigative and analytical skills to a literary topic of personal interest
  • Create a range of complex and sophisticated texts, as appropriate to different purposes and audiences Apply knowledge and understanding of complex language in a wide range of contexts and use creative and critical thinking to synthesise ideas and arguments.
  • The Course also develops high levels of analytical thinking and understanding of the impact of

There are lots of opportunities for extra-curricular drama. In addition to a wide variety of Junior School shows, we also run a school musical for senior pupils. Past productions have included Grease, Guys and Dolls and The Addams Family. The certificate classes present their acting exam pieces in the Evening of Drama every Spring and a S1/2 Drama club runs in the summer term.

Book a tour

To find out more about how we engender hard work and determination in our young people, come and visit us and meet our dedicated teaching staff and speak to our pupils.