The ‘For Parents’ section of the Blog has now been updated with refreshed information on Course Outlines and Timelines. This is particularly important for National 5 as there are changes to the course which come into force for the first time this academic year.
Whilst the school as a whole has managed to maintain very high standards in terms of examination results, the English Department itself has had an exceptional year:
in Advanced Higher we have had our highest ever number of A grades (56% of candidates presented);
at Higher, too, we have had our best ever number of A grades (47% of candidates presented);
and at National 5 our proportion of A grades has risen to its highest ever level (56% of the S4 cohort).
Well done to all of our successful candidates from the 2016/17 Senior Phase.
Right, here is my list of books read this summer – what were yours?
Particular favourites were The Long Drop (a gripping recreation of a real murder case from 1950s Glasgow), A Man in Love (where professional miseryguts Karl Ove Knausgaard continues to write beautifully about his only occasionally beautiful life) and The Power (which is not quite the new Handmaid’s Tale, as some suggest, but is clever, funny and hard to put down).
As our new S5 and S6 pupils get ready to return to school following Study Leave, the English Department says ‘Welcome Back’; but also ‘Get Ready’.
It may be June and the sun may be shining (I said ‘may’!) but, whichever English course you are about to start, there is significant work to be done before the end of term. Whether it’s preparing for an Advanced Higher Dissertation or researching for a Higher or National 5 Folio essay, work done now will directly impact on your final award next year. Let’s see you get stuck in for the next three weeks!
Good luck to all of our candidates sitting the English Higher or Advanced Higher examination tomorrow and to National 5 candidates who have their examination on Friday. No fancy pep talks at this stage, just the wise words of Nelson Mandela: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’
All senior English classes are now working to finalise Folio pieces for submission to the SQA. Each pupil must have two pieces of the appropriate genre submitted to their English teacher by the following deadline:
National 5 – Friday 17th March
Higher – Friday 24th March
Advanced Higher – Friday 28th April
Folios will be despatched to the SQA shortly after each of these dates.
As pupils who have already studied her short story, ‘Una and Coll are Not Friends,’ her unique methods of creative writing brought a new perspective to most Advanced Higher English pupils. Her knowledge and history of magical-realism helped us develop ideas which we will later use for creative pieces. According to one pupil she, “brought new ideas to the challenging topic of creative writing.”
Her main technique was to take an object or abstract idea and picture a world where there was either an abundance of this said item, or a lack of it. From there, we wrote short stories or introductions about worlds where this happened, which resulted in obscure and interesting ideas.
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience which most pupils benefited from. Many thanks to Mr Corbett and the rest of the English Department for arranging this creative writing workshop.
Lara Loh, Advanced Higher English
On National Poetry Day this year, 2D undertook some activities in relation to the Scottish Poetry Library’s poem postcards.
Below is a poem written by Elena, in which she imagines what it would feel like to be a pillar-box, filling up with all sorts of different messages (this year’s NPD theme) only to be emptied at the end of the day.
Elena’s fantastic poem is a response to Meg Bateman’s poem ‘The Pillar-box’ which you can read by clicking here.
The Pillar Box – by Elena T
They drop one by one.
Letter by letter,
Word by word,
Day by day they come.
I hoard them all,
In my red painted frame.
I keep them dry,
I hold them safe,
Ready for reclaim.
First come the love letters,
Packed with words of love and longing.
They were written at dawn,
At the start of the day,
For then it can seem less daunting.
The business letters:
Bills and complaints and queries.
On bright white paper,
With stark black font,
The first, perhaps, of a long and tedious series.
Postcards of holidays,
From far away places.
They tell of fun,
And of games,
Of night time walks and sunny beach races.
And, of course,
For every happy there must come a sad.
The letters that didn’t make it,
The letters been sent back,
‘Return to Sender’ stamped by the young post lad.
Commiserations are the worst,
They make me want to groan.
It is hard,
It always is,
To say goodbye to one whom we have known.
Each letter that comes,
I will read and I will think.
Some are happy,
Some are sad,
But in each journey I am just a link.
The postman arrives,
At 4 O’clock each day.
He takes the letters,
In his bright red van,
To each destination, far away.
And thus I am left empty,
To wave goodbye to the sun’s last ray.
I will wait,
Before I hold the letters of another day.
Today all the library Book Groups, encompassing pupils from S1 to S6, enjoyed a trip to the Empire cinema at Clydebank for an exclusive showing of the new film adaptation of ‘Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children’. The adaptation of the novel by Ransom Riggs is directed by Tim Burton, and stars some big names including Eva Green, Judi Dench and Samuel L Jackson.
There was unanimous enjoyment of having a whole cinema to ourselves! Many thanks to Mrs Gilchrist for organising the special showing. Reaction to the film itself was generally positive, though there was some spirited debate about the changes that have been made in adapting from the page to the screen. Here are a few vox pop pupil reactions…
“I really enjoyed reading the book, and the movie was good too.”
“We were surprised by the changes made to the plot, but overall it was an enjoyable experience”
“The film was very different from the book, but still great!”
“There were a lot of loop holes. It’s worth just waiting ’til it’s on Netflix instead – but still worth a watch!”
“The CGI was great!”