Assessments ahead!

Next week sees the beginning of your first formal assessments in Higher English. The Close Reading paper is first. You have booklets of sentence structure and word choice questions to practice with, and sheets of language questions which we used for group work in class but did not finish. Use them. You will also find worked answers to all types of questions for various papers on the appropriate page of this site. For the Critical Reading paper you must thoroughly revise both “Aunt Julia” and “Assisi” and also how to do the 10 mark question. If you are well prepared it is quite feasible for you to gain very high marks in this element of the paper ( 20/20 is not impossible even at this stage in the year.) “All My Sons” is the “big one” in terms of revision. You have plenty of notes an all Acts of the play; notes on the characters and themes and on the structure of the play.  You have to revise and you have to be able to use quotations from the play in your essay, so learn some key quotations. Fail to prepare………. ( you know the rest!!) I will be happy as long as I know you have done your best.


Starting the year without me!

This is for my Higher and Advanced Higher pupils to say that I am sorry you are having to start the new academic year without your English teacher. I have been in hospital for surgery and have been told that I must not return to work before a certain date. I know that it must be unsettling – it is for me too- but I have left work that you can do which will be very useful to you and I will make arrangements to have some of it collected from school so that I can mark it at home. We will catch up once I am back; please do not worry. Make sure, Higher pupils, if you have not already done so, that you read the rest of the play. If you want to see the play in performance then you can sign up to Digital Theatre ( and watch it online. This is the best version you will find. It will cost you £5.99 to buy access to the play, but you can then watch it as many times as you want. It would be money well spent- not just for now, but for studying for pre-prelims, prelims and the final exam. You should also be researching your topic for your discursive/persuasive writing. I think I managed to discuss topics with everyone before the summer holidays. You should have been given my Hotmail address by whichever teacher covered your class on the first day. Please do not hesitate to contact me on it if you need advice or help. Advanced Higher pupils I have set you a task based on Carol Anne Duffy’s “Originally”. There is a page on this site for the Duffy poems. I will be back at school as soon as I can be.


Time seems to speed up at this time of the year, so time is now of the essence. It is time to revise.  For both Nat 5 and Higher pupils, knowledge of the MacCaig poetry is key, as is the knowledge of how to do the 8 mark/ 10 mark question on poetry, which we have gone over and over in class. Nat 5 pupils, you should revise “Of Mice and Men” (see the N5 page of this blog)- know about characters, themes and the significance of key incidents. It is time to learn important quotations and to know why they are important. Higher pupils, your knowledge of “The Cone Gatherers” is vital. (See the relevant page here for notes, Power Points, questions, links to revision sites. Everything I have given you in class is here as well as other resources.) It is time to knuckle down to some serious work for those of you who have not yet been doing so. There is still time!!

Close Reading past papers are available on the SQA website and I have Practice Papers which I can give you. For this element of the exam , the old adage is true- practice makes perfect ( or at least it is the only way to improve!)

Partly because of the move to our new school, and partly due to personal circumstances as my mum has not been too well and I need to spend time with her, I will not be able to offer Easter Study classes this year, but I will continue to add resources to this site as much as I can. Spend your time wisely over the (extended) Easter holidays this year as we only have a week of school afterwards, then the exams begin.

Comic Sans

I was quite thrilled to receive my first comment on some of my resources. Until I read it! Apparently comic sans is not an acceptable font to use for worksheets/notes/slides. So I apologise deeply to anyone else who is offended by my use of it, on all of the many many many resources that I have shared on my site; and all of the resources and worksheets that I give to my classes! According to my daughter “It’s an internet thing.” It’s considered too jaunty/ cheery/ childish…something like that. But I will continue to use it. It seems strange to say that you have a “favourite” font, but it is mine.

Pupils writing essays to submit to the SQA on the other hand should use Times New Roman, font size 12.The essays should also be copied and pasted on to the official SQA template which is available via this link Scroll down to the section on “Submitting Coursework”, click on it and you will find the templates; one for PDF, one for Word. I would prefer the Word document template to be used. Thank you! ( It is the same template for both N5 and Higher.)


Back to school tomorrow and to the beginning of a very busy term. I read yesterday that the Education Minister (British rather than Scottish Government) thinks that teachers spend too long marking and writing detailed comments on pupils’ work, and that what they should be doing is putting a simple grade. This is why we are all complaining about having too much work to do apparently. Anyway, having spent upwards of ten hours during these holidays writing detailed comments on my Nat 5 and Higher pupils’ first drafts of their portfolio writing pieces, maybe I should have just saved myself time by putting only a grade on them. And what then would my pupils have learned? Absolutely nothing! They would not know what they had done well; they would not know what they needed to improve. So thank you Mr Politician who is not a teacher- I have no wish to turn the clock back forty or fifty years.

Anyway- rant over. I am happy to see that my site had had thirty views in the last two weeks- hopefully  Higher pupils looking for notes to help them with their critical essays on “The Cone Gatherers”!



Higher English-Homework for Thursday 25th August 2016

  • Finish copying and analysing quotations from Chapter Two of CG if not already completed.
  • Write a detailed description and evaluation of the character of Duror as presented to us in Chapters One and Two. Use, and analyse, quotations from the novel as evidence for points made. Include a personal response to the character evaluating how deserving Duror is of the reader’s sympathy- again, give evidence.

Also- by Monday 22nd August, you must be able to give me an idea of the topic for/ title of your discursive/ persuasive essay, and a brief outline of ideas/ arguments.