Course Information

Course Title: English

Course Level: H


Principles and practice

Language and literacy are of personal, social and economic importance. Our ability to use language lies at the centre of the development and expression of our emotions, our thinking, our learning and our sense of personal identity. Language is itself a key aspect of our culture. Through language, children and young people can gain access to the literary heritage of humanity and develop their appreciation of the richness and breadth of Scotland’s literary heritage. Children and young people encounter, enjoy and learn from the diversity of language used in their homes, their communities, by the media and by their peers.

Literacy is fundamental to all areas of learning, as it unlocks access to the wider curriculum. Being literate increases opportunities for the individual in all aspects of life, lays the foundations for lifelong learning and work, and contributes strongly to the development of all four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence.

The Literacy and English framework promotes the development of critical and creative thinking as well as competence in listening and talking, reading, writing and the personal, interpersonal and team-working skills which are so important in life and in the world of work. The framework provides, for learners, parents and teachers, broad descriptions of the range of learning opportunities which will contribute to the development of literacy, including critical literacy, creativity, and knowledge and appreciation of literature and culture.

How is the Literacy and English framework structured?

The framework opens with a set of statements that describe the kinds of activity which all children and young people should experience throughout their learning, to nurture their skills and knowledge in literacy and language. Teachers will use them, alongside the more detailed experiences and outcomes, in planning for learning and teaching.

The statements of experiences and outcomes themselves include both literacy and English statements and emphasise that learning is an active process: for example, the outcomes stress making notes, rather than the passive activity implied by taking notes.

  • Experiences represent important continuing aspects of learning, such as exploring and enjoying text, and
  • Outcomes describe stages in the development of skills and understanding.

The three organisers within the Literacy and English framework are:

  • listening and talking
  • reading
  • writing.

Within these organisers there are subdivisions:

Enjoyment and choice: experiences and outcomes highlight the importance of providing opportunities for young people to make increasingly sophisticated choices

Tools: includes important skills and knowledge: for example, in reading it includes such important matters as reading strategies, spelling and grammar

Finding and using information: includes, in reading, critical literacy skills

Understanding, analysing and evaluating: statements encourage progression in understanding of texts, developing not only literal understanding but also the higher order skills

Creating texts experiences and outcomes describe the kind of opportunities which will help young people to develop their ability to communicate effectively, for example, by writing clear, well-structured explanations.

The experiences and outcomes have been written in an inclusive way which will allow teachers to interpret them for the needs of individual young people.

What is meant by Literacy?

The literacy experiences and outcomes promote the development of skills in using language, particularly those that are used regularly by everyone in their everyday lives. These:

  • include the ability to apply knowledge about language
  • reflect the need for young people to be able to communicate
  • effectively both face-to-face and in writing through an increasing range of media
  • take account of national and international research and of other skills frameworks
  • recognise the importance of listening and talking and of effective
  • collaborative working in the development of thinking and in learning.

Effective learning and teaching in Literacy and English

Throughout their education, young people should experience an environment which is rich in language and which sets high expectations for literacy and the use of language. Young people need to spend time with stories, literature and other texts which will enrich their learning, develop their language skills and enable them to find enjoyment.

Effective learning and teaching in Literacy and English will involve a skilful mix of appropriate approaches including:

  • the use of relevant, real-life and enjoyable contexts which build upon young people’s own experiences
  • effective direct and interactive teaching
  • harnessing the motivational benefits of following children and young people’s interests
  • through responsive planning
  • collaborative working and independent thinking and learning
  • making meaningful links for learners across different curriculum areas
  • building on the principles of Assessment is for Learning
  • frequent opportunities to communicate in a wide range of contexts, for relevant purposes
  • and for real audiences within and beyond places of learning
  • the development of problem-solving skills and approaches
  • appropriate and effective use of ICT.

The balance between these approaches will vary at different stages and across different sectors and areas of the curriculum. Continuing dialogue about learning and teaching approaches within and across sectors will help to ensure continuity and progression.

Literacy Across Learning

In addition to the opportunities to develop literacy in all aspects of learning, there are strong connections between learning in English and learning in other areas of the curriculum. There are close links, for example, between the expressive arts and creative writing, and social studies and critical literacy. Interdisciplinary studies are likely to involve both research and a strong element of presentation and provide valuable opportunities to extend language skills. In numeracy, information handling outcomes link clearly to the critical literacy outcomes where learners are asked to assess the reliability of information.

Whatever the sector, whatever the subject area, young people will be:

• engaged in talking together to deepen their learning and thinking

• working together to prepare for reading unfamiliar texts

• reading a wide range of texts to gather and analyse information for a range of purposes

• writing clear explanations

• communicating information or opinions.


Pupils who complete the S3 CfE English course may progress to National 4 or National 5 in S4 depending on ability.


National 4/5
Higher Grade