English & Drama
English courses from S1 to S4 equip pupils with the skills and knowledge required for success in literacy across the curriculum. As a key part of their broad general education, we enable pupils to develop confidence and competence in communication in all forms.
In mixed ability classes, pupils work individually and in groups to explore a wide variety of texts, across a range of genres (poetry, prose fiction and non -fiction, drama and media etc.). Broadly, the Outcomes and Experiences at Level 3 and 4 enable each child to develop skills as creators of texts – as confident communicators in speech and writing; and competent critical consumers of text through analytical and evaluative reading and writing tasks.
All pupils are required to follow a programme of personal reading in school and at home. We work closely with the LRC to provide rich opportunities for pupils to engage with language and with the world of books. This is reinforced across the school where once a week everyone (pupils and staff) reads in class (ERIC).
In S1 and S2, one of our five weekly periods is dedicated to knowledge about language, focussing on the key skills of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Our courses up to and including S4 enable pupils to develop and demonstrate their skills in writing for a range of purposes (e.g. creative, reflective, persuasive, informative, discursive) and in a range of genres (e.g. essay, short story, letter, article, film, script etc). Skills in talking and listening and in critical thinking are developed through structured classroom dialogue and in S1 and S2 through weekly philosophical enquiry (P4C).
Attainment in English is very good, and is consistently well above the national average. As a department we demonstrate our commitment to inclusion and to meeting the needs of all our pupils through using a variety of methodologies, through differentiated resources and excellent partnerships with ASN and with the LRC.
We take a very active role in creating interdisciplinary learning opportunities such as filmmaking, media reporting and the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).The well-established cross-department working in our school also offers our pupils numerous opportunities to develop their skills in literacy and to apply them across the curriculum, for example through initiatives such as RREC, the John Muir Award, Junior Rangers and Duke of Edinburgh.
Assessment of pupils’ progress is continuous and entails a mixture of self, peer and teacher assessments, both formative and summative. Pupils regularly self- evaluate their confidence in the development of their skills. These judgments, along with the variety of evidence collated over S3 will form the basis for presentation for final assessments at National 3, 4 and 5.
All pupils in S1 and S2 take part in weekly drama lessons. Our focus is largely on building pupils’ confidence in performing and presenting through drama games, improvisations and short performances. In this forum, pupils’ skills in working with others, creative problem solving and in using voice and movement are developed. Pupils are also encouraged to evaluate their work and that of others through constructive criticism.