Mr A Crosbie – Curriculum Leader
Mr C Watt
Ms E Connell
Mrs S Sawers
Mrs F Kirkwood
Mrs L Wood
Mr M Roskilly
Ms S Bainbridge
Mrs J Bartlett
National 3, National 4 and National 5 English | Higher, Intermediate 2 and Intermediate 1 English | Advanced Higher
NATIONAL 3, NATIONAL 4 and NATIONAL 5 English
National 4 and 5 Explained – click to view
These courses are intended to help pupils develop the skills of reading, writing, talking and listening and to enable them to work with others, to be self-reliant, confident, thoughtful and creative. The courses take into account the curricular needs of all pupils in S3 and S4. All pupils will have the opportunity to attain at National 5 level, but the course they ultimately sit will depend on their performance in assessments throughout the two years. Pupils will be placed in sets at the start of S3 depending on how securely they have completed the Level 3 outcomes and experiences in S1 and S2.
Self, peer and teacher assessment are used formatively throughout the two years to enable pupils and class teachers to evaluate progress. All summative assessments for the National 3 and National 4 Qualifications are internal – there is no SQA exam.
For all three courses, pupils will be expected to complete a writing folio of two pieces, one creative or personal, the other broadly discursive. Pupils will be permitted to complete no more than TWO drafts of these pieces, and one of them may have to be produced as part of an ‘added value project’, which in Gillespie’s takes the form of a Persuasive Citizenship Project.
In addition, pupils will have to pass internal assessments in reading, talking and listening. If pupils fail any assessment twice at a particular level, they will have to move to the course at the level below. This will not necessarily mean that they have to change class and teacher, but it may do depending on circumstances.
In addition to the above assessments, pupils on the National 5 course will send in their writing folio to the SQA to be marked; they will also sit an examination set and assessed by the SQA in May of S4 – more details are given in the final section below.
Reading: All students of English have personal reading homestudy: a minimum of 15 minutes per evening or about one hour per week. Reading and re-reading of texts, and revision of notes taken during the study of this literature, will also be required to prepare for critical essays. Practice close reading tests will be completed regularly at home and self or peer assessed in class.
Writing: Planning, researching and writing notes for creative, factual or discursive essays. Redrafting of all types of essay for Folio. Redrafts should always be handed in with the original marked first drafts.
Talk: Interviewing and/or locating information, note-taking, preparation and practice for Individual Talk assessments.
Listening: Watching and/or listening to, and taking notes from, TV and radio news, current affairs, discussion and analysis programmes to prepare and practice for listening assessments. Similar activities for speeches and other spoken communication on websites, youtube etc.
The following is subject to change, depending on SQA decisions.
For National 5, the two writing pieces in the folio are worth 15 marks each, making a total of 30. The Reading Exam is as follows:
Section 1 – reading for analysis and evaluation. 30 marks.
Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation questions on one unseen text.
Completing tasks that involve inference-making and summarising.
Section 2 – critical reading. 40 marks.
Applying critical reading, knowledge and understanding in addressing two tasks which are based on literary texts. 20 marks each.
One task will involve a series of Textual Analysis questions on a set Scottish text.
The other task will be a critical essay on any text in a genre different to that of the Scottish text.
A grade of A, B, C, D or No Award will be given based on the total out of 100 attained by the pupil.
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HIGHER / INTERMEDIATE 2 / INTERMEDIATE 1 English
Students who achieve Standard Grade award at Credit 1 or 2 are expected to complete and achieve the necessary components for a Higher or Intermediate 2 grade award within one year.
Those who have been awarded a Standard Grade 3 or 4 are expected to gain Intermediate 2 or Intermediate 1 at the end of one year. Students awarded Foundation Level in Standard Grade may complete Intermediate 1 or Access 3 in S5.
The study of literature pervades the course as follows:
The SQA requires teaching of Scottish texts of any genre for study and appreciation, and responses in writing will be made to these;
The class teacher has the choice of teaching other poetry, prose and drama for further critical response.
Language Study and appreciation is taught through analysis of non-fiction, such as feature and opinion articles.
As well as the above, students practise Close Reading Skills and Creative Writing and continue to use Group discussion to explore various aspects of literature.
2 hours minimum per week.
Personal reading should be at the heart of pupils’ English homework.
Other work to be completed at home will be given by the class teacher and may include Close Reading, Writing, and reading and note making for Critical Essays.
Students should read opinion and features articles in quality newspapers every week.
Internal and External Requirements for Higher / Intermediate 2 / Intermediate 1 English Course:
To receive an award at any level, students must pass all elements of all internal units within that level. All internal assessment is Pass/Fail only.
3 internal assessments (NABs) – Close Reading; Textual Analysis; Writing in any genre.
The S4 course requirements are currently being adapted so that one or more of these NABs will be sat before entry into S5. This will serve two purposes: to improve preparation for the Standard Grade exam and to ‘de-clutter’ the S5 experience in order to devote more time to the S5 exam requirements.
Higher Paper 1: Close Reading, 2 passages, 1.75 hours. 50 Marks
Paper 2: 2 critical essays, different genres, 1.5 hours 50 Marks
Intermediate 2 Paper 1: Close Reading, 1 passage, I hour 30 Marks
Paper 2: Same as Higher 50 Marks
Intermediate 1 Paper 1: Close Reading, 1 passage, 1 hour, and 30 Marks
Critical essay, 45 minutes. 25 Marks
All courses require also a writing folio with a total of 25 marks (20% of total). Full details of this folio are given to pupils early in S5 and should be shown to, and discussed with, parents.
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ADVANCED HIGHER English
Entry Level: Pass at Higher English at A or B
The course consists of 3 units, with the emphasis on detailed study of literature and creative writing. Only one of these units will have an external examination.
Unit 1: Specialist Study. Candidates will make an independent study of, and produce a dissertation on, an approved aspect or aspects of literature. Length – 3500-4500 words, including quotations but excluding footnotes and bibliography. (Comprises 40% of total).
Unit 2: Literature. A range of set texts will be studied and all candidates will sit two internally assessed critical essays. In the external exam candidates will answer one question in a critical essay. (Comprises 30%).
Unit 3: Creative Writing. Candidates will produce three pieces of creative writing in at least two genres to be internally assessed. Two pieces in 2 genres will be sent to the SQA in a folio to be assessed externally. (Comprises 30%).
A lot of homework will be expected including the following: work on Specialist Study; reading set texts; practice critical essays; redrafting of creative writing – minimum of four hours per week.
External Literature Paper: 1 hour 30 minutes – one question.
Creative Writing Folio
2 Critical essays.
2 Pieces of Creative Writing
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Here are the critical essay questions taken from the Intermediate 2 past papers from the last few years. This will hopefully make essay practice a little bit easier as they are all collected in one place.
Remember: when writing your introduction identify all the parts of the question where you can put in your own information about your chosen text. i.e. a question reading
Choose a scene or sequence from a film or TV drama which provides a climax to the action. Briefly describe the events leading up to the climax, and then explain how the techniques used by the film or programme makers create a heightened sense of importance in this scene or sequence.
Constantine directed by Francis Lawrence has a climatic sequence in which the lead character, Constantine, chooses to sacrifice himself in order to save the heroine, Angela. Prior to this Constantine had been attempting to reset the balance between good and evil on earth. Lawrence has used various techniques in this climatic scene to create a heightened sense of the importance of Constantine’s actions at this point.
Remember: for your main paragraphs it is important to structure your essay properly. Try and stick to the PEEL system. In the first sentence state your main point or supporting argument. In the next sentence support this with some evidence from the text. Explain this evidence to the reader by making clear exactly how your evidence supports the point you have just made. Finally, link this back to the main argument.
1. Choose a poem which could be considered as having a powerful message. Show how the poet effectively conveys this message through his or her use of poetic techniques.
2. Choose a poem in which the poet creates a particular mood or atmosphere. Show how the poet creates this mood or atmosphere by his or her choice of subject matter and use of poetic techniques.
3. Choose a poem which portrays an interesting character. Show how the poet uses poetic techniques to make the character interesting.
4. Choose a poem which deals with an important issue such as war, crime, poverty or racism. Explain how the poet deepens your understanding of the issue by the choice of content and the skilful use of poetic techniques.
5. Choose a poem which describes an animal or a place or an event in an effective way. Briefly state what is being described and go on to show how the techniques used in the poem make the description effective.
6. Choose a poem written in a specific form such as ballad, sonnet, elegy, monologue, ode . . . Explain how the distinctive features of this form contribute to your appreciation of the text.
7. Choose a poem which describes a person’s experience. Explain how the poetic techniques used to describe the experience make the poem more interesting.
8. Choose a poem which arouses strong emotion in you. Describe how you feel about the poem, and explain how the poet leads you to feel this way.
9. Choose a poem in which the poet creates a particular mood or atmosphere. Show how the poet creates this mood or atmosphere by his or her choice of subject matter and use of poetic techniques.
10. Choose a poem which describes a place or an incident. Briefly state where or what is being described, and go on to explain how the techniques used in the poem make the description memorable.
11.Choose a poem which takes a particular form, such as sonnet, ode, ballad, elegy, monologue … Explain how the distinctive features of this form contribute to your appreciation of the poem.
12. Choose a poem which has an ending which you found surprising or interesting or satisfying or inspiring. Consider the whole poem, and by reference to the poet’s use of content and poetic techniques explain why you think the ending is particularly effective.
1. Choose a film or TV drama* which deals with issues which mainly affect young people. Explain how the film or TV drama* deals with such issues, stating whether or not you find the portrayal of these issues realistic.
2. Choose a scene or sequence from a film which provides a climax to the action. Briefly describe the events leading up to the climax, and then explain how the techniques used by the film makers create a heightened sense of importance in this scene or sequence.
3. Choose a film which you think is typical of its genre, for example: action, romance, comedy, horror . . . Explain how the film makers have used the features of the genre to create a successful film.
4. Choose a film or TV drama* which has a character who could be described as a hero or as a villain. Explain how the character is introduced and then developed throughout the film.
5. Choose a film or TV drama* in which setting is an important feature. Explain how the setting is established and go on to show how the setting contributes to the effectiveness of the film or TV drama as a whole.
6. Choose a scene or sequence from a film or TV drama* in which an atmosphere of mystery, or horror, or suspense is created. Describe what happens in the scene or sequence, explaining how the techniques used by the film or programme makers create this atmosphere.
7. Choose a film or TV drama* in which the main character is an individual for whom we feel sympathy. Show how media techniques are used to portray the character in such a way that we feel sympathy.
8. Choose a scene or sequence from a film or TV drama* which is particularly dramatic. Describe what happens in the scene or sequence, explaining how the film or programme makers effectively use techniques to create drama.
9. Choose a film or TV drama* in which there is a character who poses a threat to the main character. Show how media techniques are used to portray the character in such a way that the audience reacts against him/her and sees the threat which he/she poses.
10.Choose a film or TV drama* where conflict between characters is central to the plot. Explain the reasons for the conflict and show how media techniques intensify audience involvement at particular scenes.
11. Choose a film which is an example of a specific genre such as horror, romance, action or comedy. Explain how the film makers have used the features of the genre to create a successful film.
12. Choose a film or TV drama* which highlights a particular moral or political or social or environmental issue. Identify the issue and show how media techniques are used to persuade us to adopt a particular view or to explore the issue more fully.
1. Choose a novel which gives you an insight into an aspect of human nature or behaviour. State what the aspect is, and show how the characters’ actions and relationships lead you to a deeper understanding of human nature or behaviour.
2. Choose a novel with an ending which you find satisfactory. By looking at the novel or short story as a whole, explain why you find the ending satisfactory in bringing to a conclusion the main concerns of the text.
3. Choose a prose work in which setting is an important feature. Explain how the writer creates the setting, and then go on to show how this feature contributes to your understanding of the text as a whole.
4. Choose a novel in which you feel there is an incident of great importance to the story as a whole. Describe the incident and go on to show its importance to the development of the characters and the central concerns of the text.
5. Choose a novel which has a character who affects you emotionally. Describe how you feel about the character, and show how the writer leads you to feel this way.
6. Choose a prose work in which the writer uses a memorable style/voice/narrative technique. Explain in detail how features of the writing style/voice/narrative technique contribute to the effectiveness of the text.
7. Choose a novel where there is an incident which is a turning point crucial to the fate of the main character. Briefly describe what happens at this point and go on to explain why this is crucial to the fate of a main character.
8. Choose a novel in which setting in place and/or time is an important feature. Briefly describe the setting(s) and explain the importance of this feature to the story.
9. Choose a novel or a short story or a non-fiction text or group of texts which deals with an important human issue (such as the abuse of power, conflict between good and evil, loss of freedom or hatred between individuals or groups). Show how the author reveals the issue through the portrayal of people and events throughout the text, and show how your understanding of the issue has deepened.
10. Choose a novel in which there is conflict between two characters. Examine the nature of the conflict and explain to what extent it is resolved.
11. Choose a novel with a message which is still relevant today. Show how the author’s portrayal of events and character(s) highlight the author’s message.
12. Choose a novel which made a strong impact on you. Explain how the writer’s use of language creates this impact.