English & Media

Vision & values

See our Wikispaces site for fullest info.

Language is at the heart of learning and the English department.

Through literature-based and thematic units, English enables pupils to explore ideas and issues relevant to the world we live in today. Increasingly, English offers pupils the opportunity to engage with media texts, which are so much part of modern society. As they study a variety of literary and media texts, so they increase their understanding and appreciation of the writer's or film-maker's craft.

In addition, the study of literature and media texts allows pupils to access the experiences and ideas of others, engaging imaginatively with characters, societies and times that go beyond their own experience. Literature and film can also help promote awareness and understanding of other cultures, developing students' sensibilities as global citizens, as well as encouraging independent, critical thinking, thus widening their understanding and contributing to their own intellectual, emotional, social and personal development.

Finally, English is a skills-based subject, which has a special role in developing our pupils' Literacy skills in Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening.

English also aims to increase interdisciplinary links with other subject areas, including Numeracy and Health & Wellbeing.


  • To enable pupils to engage with literary and media texts
  • To encourage pupils to think, reflect and explore
  • To develop pupils' communication and literacy skills
  • To develop pupils' critical skills of analysis and evaluation
  • To encourage pupils' intellectual, social and personal growth
  • To give pupils appropriate levels of challenge and support
  • To encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own learning
  • To develop each individual pupil's potential


CfE and English

By its very nature English is well placed to cater for the four CfE capacities:

  • Successful Learners
  • Confident individuals
  • Effective Contributors
  • Responsible Citizens

All pupils engage with relevant themes and ideas of importance through reading, discussing and viewing, as well as creating their own texts. Pupils also have opportunities to develop interpersonal skills by working co-operatively in groups, creating texts in a variety of media.

S1 CfE course

The S1 CfE course will cover the Es and Os for English and Literacy, continuing to focus on the four modes of Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening. There will be an increased emphasis on active learning and media texts, as well as traditional literary texts.

S2 5-14 course

Pupils currently in S2 will complete their 2 year course. From 2011 onwards S2 and S3 courses will follow the CfE timeline for implementation, so that the S1 cohort of 2010 will continue with an S2 CfE course, and so on, as they move forward in English.

Standard Grade English (S3 & S4)

This very successful course, allowing all pupils to reach their potential, continues for current S2-S4 classes. The variety of texts studied now includes film, so pupils experience drama, prose, poetry and media texts during their two year course. S Grade continues to develop the skills of Reading (both Close Reading and Critical Responses to texts); Writing (producing texts in a variety of genre); and Talking (Individual Talk and Group Discussion).

NQ English (S5 & S6)

English offers Intermediate and Higher in S5 with Advanced Higher in S6.

The Intermediate and Higher courses comprise two units: Language and Literature. The Language Unit develops pupils' Close Reading skills of understanding, analysis and evaluation; pupils' Writing skills are also developed to a higher level. In the Literature Unit pupils engage with fiction and non-fiction texts of increased complexity. Critical thinking skills – the ability to analyse and evaluate texts – also mature.

AH has 2 mandatory units, Specialist Study and Literary Study, plus one optional unit, either Creative Writing or Textual Analysis. These units continue to build on pupils' prior learning.

NQ Media Studies
Media Studies is offered as a discrete discipline in the senior school at Intermediate 2 and Higher. The course is based on Film. A week to week breakdown of the course including all notes, powerpoints and some clips can be found at https://film-course.wikispaces.com/
Students will analyse the still image and film posters before studying fiction and non fiction films. This develops pupils' understanding and appreciation of the film-maker's craft as well as allowing them to apply their knowledge by creating their own collaborative short films. Past examples of students’ short films can be seen on http://www.youtube.com/user/mth0rnt0n (If you have difficulties, please copy and paste this link into the address bar of your browser).


The English department at PHS is a large department with accommodation in the Millennium Wing. As well as ten standard classrooms, all fitted with digital projectors, there is an Advanced Higher tutorial room and a small Media Studies editing suite.

ICT is central in modern English teaching: to facilitate the study of film and drama; to enable pupils to carry out research, to support the creation of different kinds of texts; for interactive learning; to support the redrafting process, and so on.

Several teachers also have their own English and Media wiki spaces, which allow online posting of homework tasks, support materials and links to useful websites.

As GLOW develops further it will provide additional opportunities.

Extended learning opportunities

A wide range of extra curricular opportunities is offered to enrich pupils' learning experience:


  • theatre visits
  • visiting writers
  • public speaking
  • creative writing workshops
  • drama workshops
  • film-making workshops
  • film education days at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Shakespeare trip to Stratford-upon-Avon