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English and Drama

Our aims are to develop pupils’ understanding of language, their ability to use it effectively in both spoken and written forms, and their love of and enthusiasm for English language and literature.

English and Drama

About Our English and Drama Departments

English

During their early years in the Senior School, from Transitus through to 2nd Year, we aim to lay the foundations which will ensure success for all pupils in National 5 and Higher examinations.  Above and beyond this, however, our aims are to develop pupils’ understanding of language, their ability to use it effectively in both spoken and written forms, and their love of and enthusiasm for English language and literature.

We will ensure that pupils can read and understand the written language in a range of different forms and can begin to develop an appreciation of the writer’s craft. This will involve the study of literary texts, but also of more transactional texts such as newspaper articles, documentaries and blogs.

Pupils will also write in many different forms as part of their English course and they should be trying to develop the style and accuracy of their written expression. 

Pupils will be given many opportunities to develop their speaking skills, both individually and in group discussion, and their progress in all three areas of Reading, Writing and Talking will continue into the senior courses.

It is expected that all pupils will progress to National Five level and, in most cases, will then be given the opportunity to sit Higher English as well. Pupils who particularly enjoy English might also choose to sit Advanced Higher English in their Sixth Year.

Staff

Mr Paul Toner (Head of Department)
Mrs Roz Baynham (Maternity Leave)
Mrs Sheona de Groot
Mr Philip Ford (Housemaster - Bannerman)
Mrs Natalie Lawther
Mr Tom Lyons (DofE Coordinator)
Mrs Janet Muir
Dr Patrick Toal (Maternity Cover)
Mrs Alexis Viswanathan


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Drama

All junior pupils are given the opportunity to study Drama. This is taught in blocks, with pupils in Transitus to S2 attending Drama for half of the year. Transitus pupils are given two periods a week of Drama in each block, while S1 and S2 are given one period.

In Drama, pupils will study the skills specific to the subject, such as acting and production skills, but will also have the opportunity to develop their confidence. In addition, the department runs a popular Junior Drama club and there is also a full scale production for Junior dramatists.

Pupils who wish may carry Drama on to National Five, Higher and Advanced Higher. The department is fully involved with staging senior school productions.

Staff

Mrs Melissa Noonan
Mrs Alexis Viswanathan

Curriculum Information

General Aims

Beginning with the S3 group in session 2012/2013, all pupils will be presented for National 5 English at the end of S4, and, during S3 and S4, the department aims to prepare them thoroughly for all elements of this certificate as well as beginning to lay the foundations for the Higher course.

At the same time, we hope to build on the skills developed through Transitus to S2 and to continue to inspire an interest in literature and language in all their forms.

 

Pupils are divided into five ability sets for their English teaching in S3 and S4.  The more able pupils are in larger sets while those that need greater support will be in smaller sets.  The sets remain the same throughout the two years and are taught by the same teacher where possible. 

Five periods of English are available in S3 and six in S4.  A co-operative teacher is available for two periods per week throughout the two years.  There will be at least two double periods per week.

Individual teachers are given freedom to plan their own courses, with teaching and homework time divided as they wish between the various areas of the course, although the assessment system creates a uniform overall structure.

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Learning Outcomes

Mandatory Units:

Analysis and Evaluation

The receptive skills of Reading and Listening will be assessed over the course through co-ordinated programmes of work. These skills will be developed over the two years to a level defined by the SQA, before the final external assessments at the end of S4.

Through the activities of Reading and Listening, pupils should be able to show an intelligent appreciation of a variety of forms of text, and to analyse ideas and illustrate points made through appropriate reference.  They should also convey their personal response to the texts and demonstrate an awareness of techniques through clear analysis and the use of appropriate critical terms.  They should show an ability to give an appropriate response to a specific question.

In this Unit, two internally assessed Outcomes will have to be passed for pupils to complete the National 5 course. One of these will be in Reading and one will be in Listening. The assessments will be integrated into the normal class work and, once a pass is achieved in each, this will be recorded by the class teacher. 

 

Creation and Production

The productive skills of Writing and Talking will be developed in this Unit, again through co-ordinated programmes of work.

In Writing, Personal pieces should show insight and awareness and should express feelings sensitively.  Imaginative pieces should display skill in using the conventions of a chosen literary form (e.g. short story) and in manipulating language to achieve effects. Discursive pieces should convey information clearly, showing an ability to select what is relevant and to present evidence effectively. Ideas should have depth and complexity and be expressed objectively. 

In Talking, pupils should be able to speak to a small audience expressing ideas of quality, relevance and interest, linking ideas clearly, showing an awareness of purpose and using a varied and accurate vocabulary and range of sentence structures.  Talks should be delivered audibly, fluently and with variety in pace and intonation, and there should be evidence of a sensitive awareness of the audience. There should also be appropriate use of eye-contact, facial expression and gesture. In addition, it is expected that Talking skills will be used in conjunction with Listening skills in collaborative discussion exercises.

As with the previous Unit, two internally assessed Outcomes will have to be achieved in the Creation and Production Unit. One of these will be in Writing and one will be in Talking.

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Course Assessment

The Course Assessment will test pupils’ skills in Reading and Writing only. These will be assessed externally in the form of a Reading Question Paper and a Portfolio of Writing. The summative grade derived from the Course Assessment will provide the English grade that appears on pupils’ final certificates.

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1) Reading Question Paper

  • Section One:
    • Reading for Analysis and Evaluation (30 marks).

This Section will require pupils to answer a number of questions on an unseen, non-fiction text.

  • Section Two:
    • Critical Reading (40 marks).

This section will require pupils to write critically on two texts studied in class, one of which will be a Scottish text from an SQA set list.

 

In the first exercise, one text will be written about in a straightforward critical essay which responds to a general, genre-based question.

In the second exercise, an extract will be provided from the Scottish set text and pupils will write critically about the extract and then the text as a whole.

 

2) Portfolio of Writing 

  • First Piece:
    • Creative Writing (15 marks)
  • Second Piece:
    • Discursive Writing (15 marks)

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Course Content and Resources

The study of literature continues to form the core of the teaching, with S3 and S4 sets expected to study between five and eight texts over the course of the two years.  A Reading List is issued, too, providing guidance on suitable material for personal reading which will be encouraged during the two year course.

The following literature texts are allocated for the National 5 course (although some may also be used at Higher, at individual teachers’ discretion):

Prose:

  • Empire of the Sun
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Sunset Song
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • The Cone Gatherers

Drama:

  • Julius Caesar
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Macbeth
  • The Crucible
  • All My Sons
  • A View from the Bridge
  • An Inspector Calls

Poetry:

  • War Poetry
  • a selection of Edwin Morgan’s poetry
  • a selection of Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry
  • other teacher choices

Higher (from 2015)

General Aims

This course will follow a structure similar to the course at National 5, with two compulsory units of Analysis and Evaluation, and Creation and Production. In addition, the final assessment will also involve an examination that will focus on Reading and a folio that will provide assessment material for Writing.

Most pupils are presented for Higher Grade English at the end of S5, and the department aims to prepare them thoroughly for all elements of this examination. 

In the Higher course, we hope to build on the skills developed through Transitus to S4 and to continue to inspire an interest in literature and language.

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Learning Outcomes

Mandatory Units:

Analysis and Evaluation

The receptive skills of Reading and Listening will be assessed over the course through co-ordinated programmes of work. It will be expected that these skills will be developed over the session to a level defined by the SQA, before the final external assessments at the end of S5.

There will be a mandatory Outcome to be passed for both Reading and Listening. These will be integrated into the normal course work of the class and, if a pass is not achieved on the first occasion, pupils will be given another opportunity to achieve the outcome. 

 

Creation and Production

The productive skills of Writing and Talking will be developed in this Unit through co-ordinated programmes of work.

As with the previous Unit, there will be two mandatory outcomes that will have to be achieved, this time in Writing and Talking, which will be integrated into the normal course work and which might be assessed on more than one occasion for pupils who are unsuccessful in their first attempt.

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Course Assessment

As with the course at National 5 level, Listening and Talking will be assessed on a pass/fail basis during the work of the course, and will not be assessed summatively at the end to be included in the final grade achieved by pupils.

Again, following the structure of the course at National 5 level, pupils who have shown the various skills to the appropriate level will be able to complete the course assessment, which will be assessed externally in Reading and Writing, leading to the summative grade on pupils’ final Higher certificates.

Reading will be assessed by examination, with pupils being tested on their ability to answer questions on an unseen passage and to produce written responses to two texts previously studied in class.

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1) Reading Question Paper

  • Section One:
    • Reading for Analysis, Evaluation and Summarising (30 marks).

This Section will require pupils to answer a number of questions on an unseen, non-fiction text. In addition, there will be a second text and a question requiring pupils to compare both texts.

  • Section Two:
    • Critical Reading (40 marks).

This section will require pupils to write critically on two texts studied in class, one of which will be a Scottish text from an SQA set list.

 

In the first exercise, one text will be written about in a straightforward critical essay which responds to a general, genre-based question.

In the second exercise, an extract will be provided from the Scottish set text and pupils will write critically about the extract and then the text as a whole. 

Writing will be assessed in the form of a folio, which will include pieces redrafted before being submitted. 

 

2) Portfolio of Writing

  • First Piece:
    • Creative Writing (15 marks). 
  • Second Piece:
    • Discursive Writing (15 marks).

 

Advanced Higher outline TBC

National 5 

This Course focuses on the development and use of a range of drama skills and production skills to present drama.

The aims of the Course are:

  • Responding to stimuli when creating drama
  • Working with others to share and use drama ideas
  • Developing awareness of social and cultural influences  
  • Exploring drama form, structure, genre and style
  • Gaining knowledge and understanding of a range of production skills
  • Using a range of drama and production skills when presenting
  • Using evaluative skills within the creative process

 

Higher

This Course focuses on the development and use of complex drama skills and production skills to present drama.

The aims of the Course are:

  • Generate and communicate thoughts and ideas when creating drama
  • Develop an understanding of the complex social and cultural influences
  • Develop complex skills in presenting drama
  • Develop understanding of complex production skills when presenting drama 

 

Advanced Higher

Learners will investigate how theatre practice has been shaped by key practitioners. They will expand and develop their own skills within their chosen area of acting or design. Learners will also develop their skills in devising and interpreting text. Further, they will explore means of using theatre and performance skills to communicate effectively with an audience and investigate how key practitioners have influenced the theatre today. They will also learn to analyse their performance and the performance of others.