Studying English at Perth Grammar School
Welcome to the English Department at Perth Grammar School.
The English staff are six dedicated and knowledgeable teachers, who provide fun, engaging ways to explore the English curriculum. Learn more about our teachers by clicking link belowMeet the Teachers
English is a central part of life at Perth Grammar School for every pupil. Most pupils at Perth Grammar Study English from s1 to s5, and most returning s6 pupils decide to continue with English. In session 2020-2021 our pupils gained 296 awards at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels. We are proud to facilitate the award of hundreds of qualifications in English every year.
English staff at PGS are passionate about ensuring that the needs of all our pupils are met, offering qualifications in English, Literacy, Scottish Studies and Creative writing at all levels. In the BGE phase from S1 to S3, we offer an extremely varied programme where every pupil studies a huge range of literature and writing in several genres, alongside talking, reading and listening skills.
PGS pupils enjoying a school trip.
English staff are highly engaged in teaching Wider Achievement courses, leading Tutor Time, and co-ordinating our popular Mentors in Violence Prevention programme. We are also a hub for extra-curricular activities, with staff running a Climate Action Group, Video Bulletin Club and Lego Challenge Club as well as author visits, theatre trips, and Comic Con trips.
S1 to S3: Broad General Education (BGE)
Mr Dudgeon’s class studying Bugsy Malone!
The department work together to provide a Broad General Education (BGE) programme that offers students a wide variety of learning experiences and engagement with texts. English lessons are designed to be relevant to our young people’s everyday lives and to encourage them to share their Pupil Voice. All BGE pupils receive a ‘yellow jotter’ to assist in tracking their achievements and to show how they are progressing through the BGE curricular levels. They use this jotter to maintain awareness of what curricular level they are working towards, and what they need to do to achieve this level. We are lucky to utilise lots of areas of interest in the department – Mrs Moir is our resident expert in Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation, Mr Venter enjoys sharing expertise in the genre of poetry, Mrs Wishart loves sharing her skill in Advanced English and classic literature, Mr Craigon and Mr Dudgeon are our film studies experts, and Dr McAvoy enjoys sharing her expertise in Creative Writing. Recent BGE learning and teaching in the department includes:
- Priscilla and the Wimps: Studying a short story about Bullying.
- Mary Moon and the Stars: A moving short story about childhood, friendship and neglect.
- Dulce Decorum Est: Studying a war poem.
- Fresh Start: A reading and writing programme for young people who need support to read and write.
- Create your Own Theme Park: An introduction to persuasive technique in writing.
- Horror Writing: Introduction to creative writing in the horror genre.
- Coraline: Studying a horror novel for young people.
- Film studies units: including Maze Runner and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
- Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation: learning and teaching activities to develop skills including explaining information in your own words, quoting, summarising and analysing texts.
- The Outsiders: A dramatic novel and film about the challenges faced by a group of young people.
- Plays including Bugsy Malone, Our Day Out, Room 13, Fast and An Inspector Calls.
- My Dream School: A creative writing project which enables young people to have a voice in showing the kind of school they want to attend.
A piece of functional writing – a flyer on workers’ strikes, written in response to the drama text ‘An Inspector Calls’.
We update our BGE curriculum every year, and encourage young people to contribute their ideas and talents to our BGE programme.
Senior Phase – S4 to S6
In Senior phase, pupils study qualifications which match their level. We offer a huge range of qualifications to raise attainment and support learner pathways. This includes National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher. The teaching and learning at this level focuses on the following:
- National 5 English – most of our pupils gain this qualification before leaving school. It consists of a folio of writing, an examined essay, a Scottish text exam, and work on reading skills.
- National 2, 3 and 4 English and Literacy – For these qualifications, pupils must complete in-class assessments on Listening, Reading, Talking and Listening. These qualifications are highly valued by apprenticeship schemes and colleges.
- National 4 Added Value Unit: pupils compare two texts of their own choosing, producing a talk or a piece of writing.
- National 3, 4 and 5 Scottish Studies – pupils study and write about Scottish texts.
- Higher English – pupils produce a writing folio, study a Scottish Set text, study a set text, and produce an essay under exam conditions. Highly valued by universities, and a Higher in English is a minimum requirement for the majority of degree courses.
- Advanced Higher English – Advanced Higher gives our pupils the opportunity to study books of their own choice for their Dissertation, and showcases the very best talents of our English learners. Highly valued by universities across a range of fields, from History to Medicine.
- Author visits – Perth Grammar School offers author visits facilitated by Scottish Book Trust to instil confidence and skill in our learners.
- Creative Writing qualifications – pupils produce two pieces of Creative Writing, showing understanding of genre and creative techniques to gain this award.
Library and reading for pleasure
English teachers work in close partnership with our two specialist school librarians – Ms Steer and Ms Donaldson – who run one of the best-equipped, most up-to-date school libraries in Scotland. We love Mrs Donaldson’s mantra: ‘If you think you don’t enjoy reading, you just haven’t found the right book yet!’ Every term pupils request new books and add to the library’s collection. The library runs several extra-curricular clubs, including BookTok and Harry Potter club. The library also supports reading periods, apps, ebooks and digital resources.
MVP – Mentors in Violence Prevention
Mr Dudgeon is the lead on our Mentors in Violence Prevention programme, which enables senior pupils to gain valuable leadership experience. MVP pupil mentors undertake a two-day training course where they discuss subjects such as harmful gender stereotyping, respectful and abusive relationships and the important role of a bystander in tackling serious problems in our society. They use their knowledge to lead classes and to positively influence the culture and ethos of our school.
Climate Action Group
PGS Climate Action Group with Sir David Attenborough
Mrs Wishart is our lead on Climate Action, where she has led a team of young people from across all year groups to success! In February 2020, Perth Grammar’s Climate Action Group won a competition to meet Sir David Attenborough and attend a black-tie event in Edinburgh where their video on Climate Change was shown to an audience of celebrities, politicians and business owners. This demonstrated the role that our young people have in influencing and changing the world. They have since produced further videos, led inset-day activities for their teachers, and maintained their central role in the extra-curricular life of the school.
All of our English teachers are trained in Fresh Start, which supports pupils with a reading age of lower than 9 to achieve their next steps in reading and writing. This programme has been offered since 2019 and has been successful for several learners, who are now able to fully access the curriculum at BGE level as a result of their participation in this course.
More information about English at Perth Grammar can be found on the departmental Twitter page. Why not follow us @EnglishPGS2 - Twitter