English and Literacy


Mr A Thomson - Curricular Leader

Mr J Caldicott

Mrs L Condron  (Mr J Thom) 

Mrs L Evans

Ms K Gilbert

Ms K McGrory

Mr S Watson

English study at S1-S3 level follows the Curriculum for Excellence and concentrates on reading, writing, listening and talking development. This builds up to Nationals 4 and 5 in S4. Students learn to identify key aspects of reading and writing such as structure, purpose, audience, levels of meaning, tone and stylistic techniques. They are also encouraged to write in a variety of styles, using techniques learned from their study of literature and close reading of texts. Students are encouraged to develop talking skills by participating in class and group discussions connected with coursework and by giving solo talks and group presentations on a variety of subjects.

In S4, National 4 and 5 certification is made up of assessment in talk, listening, reading and writing. National 4 is internally assessed: students must also complete an added value unit which requires them to apply all of the above skills to an extended piece of research. The course also includes a literacy unit. National 5 is assessed by a final exam worth 70%, and a writing folio worth 30% of the final grade.

National 5 English leads to Higher English in S5 (S6 for some) and Advanced Higher in S6 for those students who wish to take their studies further.


S1: Literature Circles (see attached document), reading and tasks, completion of classwork where required, personal reading and differentiated grammar booklet.

S2: Newsreaders (see attached document), reading and tasks, completion of classwork where required, personal reading and differentiated grammar booklet.

S3: Personal reading, completion of classwork where required, tasks to support and extend learning in class, close reading activities and differentiated grammar booklet.

S4: Personal reading, completion of classwork where required, tasks to support and extend learning in class, revision for Nationals assessment and exams.

S5/6: Personal reading, completion of classwork where required, tasks to support and extend learning in class, revision for NABs and exams.

Department News


Jade Fenton (S6) was shortlisted for this prestigious competition with her beautiful and thought-provoking story about the power of the music and what happens when we lose the power to create it.

Jade spent the afternoon at a writing masterclass with Louise Welsh a renowned and best selling author (The Cutting Room and The Bullet Trick) at the Merchiston Campus in Napier University. This is a tremendous achievement for Jade, the school and in the celebration of writing. Please spend some time and read this fantastic piece of writing (below in the 'Resources' page). Watch this space for the promotion of other writing competitions that the pupils of the school can enter. Queensferry High School and the English Department are all incredibly proud.                                                  

The QCHS Summer Reading Challenge!

I know what you're thinking. "I wish I could be given a list of great books to fill my head with adventure, bravery, dark deeds and friendship this summer." Look no further, my friends. We challenge all QCHS pupils to read at least one of the books on the list and complete one of the fun tasks at the end of the document, both below. Scroll down to 'Resources', they're all there. What are you waiting for? :)
(Seniors must read at least one of the books on their list - there is no task to complete)

Debating - congratulations to the following pupils on securing positions in Debate Club for 2019-20: President: Jonathan Riley (S5) Vice President: Calum Readle (S5) Secretary: Ewan Colvin (S2). All pupils are welcome to Mr Caldicott's room at 1pm on Wednesdays for Debate Club. Games, chat and discussing the important issues is only the start! Through crash course, we also help you hone your debating skills and become a more confident and effective communicator. Opportunities to compete for the school come along regularly.

P7 Visit 25th - 27th June - we have loved having the P7s in and around the Department this week. It's good to see so many excited young people ready to take the next step in their education. We have been encouraging their creativity through making human poems, as well as thinking how different the world would be if they were in charge of everything (!). We look forward to having you in our classes from August.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 19-27th August 2019

Once again, we are offering pupils the opportunity to attend workshops / presentations at the above event. There are some great opportunities to hear working writers discuss their inspirations, the idea of creativity and of course, the joy of storytelling. We are running trips to see the following writers / performers:

• Steve Camden
• Imam Baksh
• Matt Wesolowski
• Laura Bates
• Doug Johnstone
• Tongue Fu

Letters have already gone out to the parents / carers of interested pupils. If you'd like to read more about the festival, click here: https://learning.edbookfest.co.uk/schools/baillie-gifford-schools-programme/

 Barbara Wells Quaichs 2018/19

Congratulations to Rhianna Flores (senior creative writing) and Jakub Banasiak (junior poetry) for their success in winning these prizes dedicated to the memory of our lovely, late colleague, Barbara Wells.

  S2 Accelerated Reader Programme

We're pleased to announce that QCHS S2 pupils can now access the Accelerated Reader website as of today (13.06.19). Students can get recommendations, check their progress and take quizzes on recent books read. The link for access is here: https://ukhosted99.renlearn.co.uk/7002861 All S2 pupils will be issued with their usernames and passwords over the next week.

Does my book have a quiz on Accelerated Reader?

 The chances are high! They have 35,000 quizzes. If you'd like to check whether or not the book you're reading / thinking of reading has a quiz associated with it, the link is here: https://www.arbookfind.co.uk


Texts Studied in Class

Ms McGrory's Higher Class:

Salinger, J.D 'The Catcher in the Rye' (any edition)

Byrne, John 'The Slab Boys' (any edition)


Advanced Higher English

Gray, Alasdair, Lanark: A Life in Four Books (any edition fine)

Williams, Tennessee, A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays, London: Penguin, 2000 (also studying Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth in the same edition)

Other useful texts for independent study

Bridges, Ann, How to Pass Higher English, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2009 * for all Higher pupils except Ms Lewis's class
Bridges, Ann, How to Pass Higher English for CFE, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2014 (published end of September) *Ms Lewis's class only
Firth and Ralston, National 5 English: Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2013
SQA, SQA Specimen papers, past paper 2014 and model papers for Nat 5, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2014 (not available until October)
SQA, SQA Specimen paper and model papers for new CFE Higher, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2014 (not available until November) *Ms Lewis's class only
SQA, SQA Past Papers for Higher English, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2014 *for all Higher papers except Ms Lewis's class
Swinney, David, How to Pass National 5 English, Glasgow: Hodder Gibson, 2013

Parent Information Leaflets
Snow Closure Homework