Hamilton Grammar School

English and Media

Welcome to the Faculty of English & Media

At Hamilton Grammar School we understand the importance of language and focus on developing the skills of our young people in reading, writing, talking and listening, which are supported at all levels.

Our Staff

Mrs M. May (Faculty Head) Mr L. Fullarton (DHT)
Mr A. Adam Mr E. Hamilton
Miss A. Bain Mr S. MacLean
Ms J. Byrne Mr C. Martin
Miss H. Douglas Mrs M. Massuci
Ms J. Faulkiner (DHT) Mr C. Rocks

Vision and Values

Our department staff aim to:

  • Foster a love of English and Media in all our pupils, through a variety of teaching approaches, strategies and experiences
  • Support and challenge pupils to achieve their potential in class work, homework and in SQA Exams, on their route to a sustainable destination
  • Nurture a positive and welcoming ethos within the classroom where every pupil is included
  • Encourage pupils to develop an enquiring mind set, empathy for others and a critical awareness of the wider world
  • Maximise opportunities to develop, reinforce and extend learning in areas which are the responsibility of all: Health and Wellbeing, Literacy, Numeracy
  • Enrich the learning experience for our pupils by offering extra-curricular opportunities and by participating in whole school initiatives and Interdisciplinary Learning activities, as appropriate.

English in the BGE

  • From S1-S3, pupils will complete a variety of work, including: writing in different genres, reading a range of texts and writing about these, engaging in group and class discussions and delivering individual talks.
  • Each year group completes work around the following broad topics:

S1 – My World; Traditions; Myths and Legends; The Great Outdoors

S2 – Distant Horizons; The Environment; Scotland; Wellbeing; Genre Carousel

S3 – The Media; The Future; Different Voices; World of Work; Transitions

  • Pupils are assessed on a targeted selection of the work they produce and progress and feedback is recorded on an electronic profile that pupils and parents/carers can also access at home.

English in the Senior Phase

From S4-6, pupils have the opportunity to access the following courses, based on the appropriate level of study:

  • English National 4
  • English National 5
  • English Higher
  • English Advanced Higher
  • Media Senior Phase


The Department of English and Media recognises the vital part that homework plays in a number of very important ways.  Departmental staff will set homework which aims to:

  • Support the learning and development of pupils
  • Reinforce areas of work and particular skills that have been focused on in class
  • Prepare pupils for work that is due to take place in the classroom
  • Develop self-discipline and study habits
  • Involve parents in the educational process

English is a skills-based subject and so it is important that pupils practise at home the skills which they are developing in class.

Homework varies in type, frequency and amount from S1 to S6.  Below is a summary of typical homework given:

English S1 & S2

  • Work on their own novel. In S1 this is called ‘My Wild Week’ and pupils are given around a month to write each chapter; in S2 the novel is a murder mystery and pupils are given 3-4 weeks to write each chapter.  These projects allow pupils to practise writing in lots of different formats and gives them the opportunity to write at greater length, in preparation for the Senior Phase.
  • Engage in regular reading - at least one book every month - and complete Accelerated Reader quizzes for each book read. The importance of reading for pleasure and for information cannot be underestimated.  This will expose pupils more to the craft of writing itself, develop their vocabulary and enhance their own writing skills.  Fifteen minutes per night should be the minimum time pupils are encouraged to spend reading.
  • Prepare and practise their individual presentations. Delivering their talk in front of a small, supportive audience at home can help boost confidence and allow glitches to be ironed out before delivering the talk in class.
  • Complete tasks which have been started in class.

English S3

S3 is an important year in which pupils will consolidate their skills from the BGE and begin to focus on preparation for the Senior Phase.  Among other tasks pupils will be expected to:

  • Engage in a programme of analysing quality newspaper articles, as directed by their class teacher.
  • Continue to read more challenging texts and be prepared to discuss these in class.

English National 4

  • Research information for their Added Value Unit and written pieces.
  • Prepare talks – both individual and group presentations.

English National 5 & Higher

  • Be encouraged to read quality journalism on a very regular basis as a means of improving their skills in processing the type of writing which they will encounter in their Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation exam. Analyse some or all of the articles, using the available analysis template.
  • Research and redraft both folio essays – one discursive and one creative.
  • Learn quotations and analysis for the texts studied in class.
  • Pupils will also be encouraged to make use of the relevant revision materials posted on their Google Classroom.

English Advanced Higher

  • Pupils will engage in a wide variety of reading, including texts and critical analysis.
  • They will be expected to write drafts of their Folio pieces and their Dissertation at home.
  • Pupils will also be encouraged to make use of the relevant revision materials posted on their Google Classroom.

Media senior phase

Pupils complete the majority of work within school where they have access to the relevant resources.  However they may, at times, be asked to:

  • Plan and write some of their course assignments.

 Parents/Carers and Homework

Studies frequently show that the more a parent/carer is involved in the homework process, the more successful the pupil is.  We would encourage parents/carers to contribute to homework in some or all of the following ways:

  • Regularly discuss homework with your child.
  • Offer support by looking over completed homework.
  • Provide a suitable place where homework can be undertaken.
  • Encourage your child to seek help at school if they do not understand a particular homework task.
  • Be the audience for your child to practise their solo talk on.
  • Ask your child questions about what they have been reading e.g. who their favourite character was in a novel was and why, whether they thought the novel’s ending could have been different/better. Or if your child has been practising reading quality journalism you could ask him/her to summarise in 3 points what they have read.
  • Test your child on quotations that they have learned for timed tests and exams.

Supporting Literacy at Home

The Department is aware of the extremely important role which it plays in the development of the literacy skills of all pupils who study within it.  The following suggestions, while by no means exhaustive, are things that parents/carers can do at home in order to reinforce the work done in class.

Strategies to Support Literacy at Home

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