S1 to S3

Courses in S1, S2 and S3 are based on the Literacy and English outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence.  Literacy is fundamental to all areas of learning, as it unlocks access to the wider curriculum and increases opportunities for young people in all aspects of life.  While there is a particular focus on significant aspects of learning in English, pupils are also supported in the development of skills in Talking, Listening, Reading and Writing which will support their learning across the curriculum. Pupils will be encouraged to see those literacy skills as underpinning success in all of their learning.

In both S1 and S2, pupils will be given opportunities to:

  • Communicate, collaborate and build relationships
  • Reflect on and explain their literacy skills, using feedback to help them improve and giving others feedback to support their learning
  • Engage with and create a wide range of texts in different genres
  • Develop their understanding of their own culture and language
  • Explore the richness of English and Scots, how they can affect them, and the creative possibilities they offer
  • Extend and enrich their vocabulary
  • Enjoy exploring and discussing word patterns and text structures.

In S1, these experiences will be enriched by:

  • A series of six lessons in the library, reflecting on the relevance of their literacy skills across their learning
  • A series of six lessons in Drama, introducing them to a subject they may be interested in pursuing in S3
  • The opportunity to take part in events organised as part of the Literary Festival
  • Involvement in the ‘Scotland and Its People’ project in January, discussing and creating texts in Scots

 In S2, these experiences will be enriched by:

  • The opportunity to take part in events organised as part of the Literary Festival
  • The S2 Reading Challenge, which encourages pupils to use the library to support them in reading more widely and more often

In S3, pupils will begin preparation for the Senior Phase of English.  For many, this will involve extending their learning into the fourth level experiences and outcomes.  For all, their learning will be enriched by:

  • The opportunity to bring their skills in Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening together in one project, as they will be required to do in the senior courses.  This more formal assessment will support pupils in their preparation for S4, and help them understand which senior course is likely to be most appropriate for them.


In S4 pupils will build on what they have learned in S3, leading to presentation for National 3, 4 or 5 Qualifications at the end of S4. Further information about the National Qualifications  can be found by using this link: Nationals in a Nutshell

National 4

Analysis and Evaluation Unit

Creation and Production Unit

Literacy Unit

Added Value Unit

National 5

Analysis and Evaluation Unit

Creation and Production Unit

Folio of Coursework (1 creative and 1 persuasive essay)

Exam (Close reading paper, a question paper on a selected Scottish text and a critical essay)

S5 / S6


Units: Analysis and Evaluation, Creation and Production

Course award: 40% Close Reading exam, 40% Critical Essay exam, 20% Writing Folio.

Advanced Higher

Units: Specialist Study, Creative Writing/Textual Analysis, Literature.

Re -Portobello (Minority Time)

The school magazine/newspaper, produced on a regular basis. Written, edited and published by the pupils in conjunction with the English Department (Mrs Latimer), RePortobello covers events in the school, provides articles on culture, politics and all manner of things of interest to young people.

Debating (Minority Time)

Competes regularly in competitions such as ‘Debating Matters’, ESU Mace, ESU Juniors, Procurator Fiscal Debating Tournament and St Andrews Debating Tournament. The Junior debating team recently won the Procurator Fiscal Cup while the Senior Team won the St Andrews Debating Tournament. Both teams regularly attend extra-curricular trips to the Crown Court, Scottish Parliament and are invited to join the audience of the BBC’s “Big Debate”.