Course Outlines & Timelines
Tips & Advice for Parents
Suggestions to help you support your child with their English work:
1) Encouraging reading.
- The single most valuable activity your child can undertake to improve their performance in English is reading. As well as reading the texts studied in class, pupils are expected to have a personal reading book on the go at all times.
- Pupils in S1-S2 should be reading at least 1-2 hours per week. All pupils have access to the school library and enjoy 10 mins of personal reading time at the start of most English periods. The school library runs lunchtime bookgroups for boys and girls from all year groups. New members are always welcome: just ask the librarian for more info.
- Pupils in S3/4 should be reading at least 2-3 hours per week. This should include both their fiction personal reading book and articles from quality broadsheet newspapers, in preparation for S4 exams.
- Pupils in S5/6 should be reading quality broadsheet journalism at every opportunity in preparation for their close reading exam: one article per day is recommended. Maintaining the habit of reading fiction will also help with the writing folio.
- Encourage your child to read by visiting a bookshop or library together, discussing areas of interest and favourite genres, and by reading together or sharing books. Many parents have had success in encouraging their child to read more by reading the same book alongside them, as it fosters discussion (and sometimes competition!)
2) Checking Homework Diaries
- All pupils are issued with a homework diary at the start of each year in which homework can be logged. In English, pupils may have regular homework due on a particular day, or occasional deadlines set at intervals throughout the year. Teachers will ask pupils to log homework in their planners at the time it is issued.
- Encouraging your child to keep their homework planner up to date and checking it with them every weekend can help them meet all their homework deadlines.
3) Encouraging independent revision.
- When pupils do not have homework for English, encourage them to brush up on their spelling, grammar, punctuation or reading by using the many quizzes, games and websites available online. Check out the links on this blog’s homepage for some suggestions.
4) Getting the best from tutors
Some parents may choose to employ a tutor to work with their child in their senior years. The following tips will ensure such work is productive:
- Pupils should revise only the texts they have studied in class with tutors. Pupils should not study brand new texts with tutors.
- While tutors can give useful advice on how to write folio pieces, they cannot write the essay for the pupil. The SQA guidelines on coursework are clear and punishments for plagiarism are severe.
- Your child will be given regular feedback and advice in class, including specific targets for development. Encourage your child to discuss these with tutors before beginning work.
- Your child’s class teacher may teach a particular structure, style or approach to essay writing. Ensuring tutors are familiar with the work your child has undertaken in class will limit confusion and avoid contradicting established ways of working.