The English department aims to provide a broad, challenging and enriching experience in English in the senior school.  We have high expectations of our students and are committed to ensuring everyone reaches his/her potential.


S1/2 – Curriculum for Excellence – Third Level

Pupils are given the tools for reading by getting experience of reading for enjoyment and choice; understanding; finding specific information; inference and appreciating writer’s craft.

For their writing they are expected to create texts in a variety of modes, notably expressive/imaginative and functional, paying due attention to writing skills such as structure, spelling and punctuation. Pupils are expected to understand, analyse and evaluate texts. Talking and Listening is practiced in individual talks and in group discussions.

Language Study is an important aspect of learning and is incorporated into the S1 and S2 timetable. Spelling and vocabulary work derive naturally from texts studied but the basic rules of spelling are also revised. Close reading passages come directly from the texts studied as well as from newspapers, magazines and other literary sources.

Texts studied over the past few years include: Boy – Tales of Childhood, The Machine Gunners, The Play of Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Amazing Spiderman and Jaws.


S3/4 – National 4/5

The English course at this stage enables learners to listen, talk, read and write appropriately for different purposes, audiences and contexts. The department provides learners with the opportunity to analyse and evaluate texts in the contexts of literature, language and media, to develop an understanding of the complexities of language, and to develop analytical thinking and understanding of the impact of language.

Texts studied over the past few years include:  Of Mice and Men, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Dark Knight, Death on the Nile, Whodunnit? – Detective Fiction and a selection of poetry from Carol Ann Duffy.


S5/6 – Higher

The course includes a language study which is made up of Close Reading and The Folio of Writing. This part of the course is designed to deepen understanding of language to improve skills in communication. The course also includes a literary study which is made up of Textual Analysis and exam preparation consisting of critical reviews of literature. It is designed to aid students in their appreciation of writer’s craft and literary technique.

Texts studied over the past few years include: The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, The Crucible, Othello and a selection of Scottish poetry by Carol Ann Duffy, Edwin Morgan, Iain Crichton Smith, Norman MacCaig and Liz Lochhead.


Advanced Higher

This course allows for an approach to the subject that is somewhat more tailored to individual interests and preferences and is suited to students with a particular enthusiasm for the study of English literature. The largest component is a 4000 word dissertation in which pupils pursue an independent study of several works by a major writer of their own choice. Writers studied have included Heaney, Shakespeare, Hardy, Dickens, Duffy and Attwood.


Useful Links






Clifton Hall operates a whole school literacy programme. All teachers in all subjects use the same marking codes when editing and correcting pupils’ written work. This is our marking key with links to helpsheets for common grammar errors. https://www.wholeschoolliteracy.com