S4-National 4 & National 5

National Qualifications are designed with flexibility to suit the needs of individual students. As such, the English Department offers both National 4 and 5 qualifications from S4 onwards.

National 4 Course

The National 4 course is internally assessed and consists of two units – Creation and Production (Writing and Talking) and Analysis and Evaluation (Reading and Listening.) The course covers the four Literacy outcomes which build the necessary skills for life, learning and work. A mandatory Added Value Unit involves the students undertaking an independent project which combines the four key skills of Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening to provide an end product which must be passed in order to achieve an overall National Four Course Pass.

National 5 Course

The National 5 course also includes Creation and Production (Writing and Talking) and Analysis and Evaluation (Reading and Listening) Units at National 5 level. There is also an external exam, consisting of a Reading for Understanding, Analysis, Evaluation (Close Reading) Paper, and a Scottish Set Text and Critical Essay Paper. Pupils must additionally submit an externally assessed Writing Folio, consisting of a Discursive Piece and either an Imaginative or Personal/Reflective Piece.

Please note that pupil progress is tracked through the Units and National 5 Prelim and any movement between the two levels is dependent upon progress.

The course builds upon the Talking and Listening skills from S1-3 and allows pupils to further their skills by critical study of these key areas.
Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation (UAE) is an important aspect of the exam, and pupils will work steadily on these skills throughout the year. As mentioned earlier, the exam requires that students write a critical essay on a text, and undertake a Scottish Text analysis, which are demanding tasks.

Pupils experience a variety of writing tasks for their folio: imaginative writing, personal/reflective writing and discursive essay writing. The final folio is submitted to the SQA. It is essential that students meet the deadlines set by the school. Study skills and target setting will continue throughout March and April in the run up to the National 5 exam.


Four unit outcomes of Listening, Talking, Reading and Writing require to be overtaken to gain the National 5 qualification.  If on re-assessment pupils are not successful, it is possible that they will change level to National 4.  Maximum opportunity and support is given to aid individual success.


In the National 5 exam pupils analyse an extract from the Scottish Text they have studied worth 20 %. This is followed by a critical essay on another text studied worth 20%. The Reading for UAE assessment is worth 30%. At National 5 pupils produce a folio of two pieces of writing – creative and discursive - to be externally assessed, which also covers the writing unit outcome. (30%)

For SQA Specimen papers on the new qualifications please visit: www.sqa.org.uk