Senior School Classes


S1 and S2

As with the upper Senior school, in S1 and 2 we strive to give pupils a real flavour for languages including covering the four language skills of speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Pupils will cover the Modern Languages experiences and outcomes, developing their confidence, knowledge and skills. Pupils build up a strong vocabulary and a good grammatical base with which they can take forward into their National 4 or 5 courses in S3. They will achieve this through cross-curricular events, trips to French speaking schools/places and interactive classroom activities as well as working through textbooks.

For French, the S1 and 2 sets are split based on previous knowledge of the language and this continues through both years, with one set taking things at a steadier pace, covering more basic vocabulary but with the aim of being of a similar level when it comes to S3.


S3 and S4: National 4 and 5


Pupils start the National 5 course in S3. This because the topics are the same for both the National 4 and National 5 qualifications. This gives us more time to expand the pupils knowledge of the topics and prepare them with the adequate vocabulary and grammatical knowledge needed for the exams. At present there is no National 4 exam. They pupils must pass an Internally marked Added Value Unit based on topics they have studied over the two years.

The Understanding Language Unit focuses on the receptive skills of reading and listening across the four contexts of Society, Learning, Employability and Culture. The Using Language Unit focuses on the productive skills of Talking and Writing across these same contexts. The ability to apply grammatical knowledge is a skill which underpins both units. A wide variety of resources are made using of including textbooks, presentations, and podcasts.

The National 5 course has seen some recent changes including the removal of the Unit Assessments. Teachers can still use these at their discretion to track progress, but they are no longer necessary for a pass. Instead, the SQA are introducing a writing portfolio which will be externally marked. The exam structure remains the same in S4.

Paper 1: Reading and Directed Writing

Paper 2: Listening

Performance: Talking (Presentation and Conversation).

S5 and S6: Higher

Aim: to enhance their enjoyment and their understanding of their own and other cultures.

Course content and Skills:

The course is divided into 4 concepts, each of which includes a number of topics. These are:

  • Society – Family and Friends, Lifestyle, Media, Global Languages, Citizenship.
  • Learning – Learning in Context and Education
  • Employability – Jobs, Work and CVs
  • Culture – Planning a Trip, Other Countries, Celebrating a Special Event, Literature of Another Country and Film and Television

Within these 4 concepts, the pupils will be working to develop and perfect their skills in the 4 skills of Listening, Reading, Writing and Talking and Use of Grammar.

The course is divided into six periods a week and will be structured so the students cover at least 3 of the 4 skills in every lesson. They will be given the chance to build their confidence in the spoken language and to learn about the culture and lifestyles of France through the mediums of books, videos, music and the spoken word.


The final exam at the end of the year consists of two papers and a talking assessment which is usually completed in/or around March of the following year:

  • Component 1 –             Question Paper 1 – Reading and Directed Writing                                                                                                                                                                                             40 marks

Question Paper 2 – Listening and Writing                              30 marks

  • Component 2 –              performance – Talking                                                   30 marks                                                                                                                              Total:     100 marks

These assessments are all externally marked by the SQA

During the course of the year, there will also be Unit Assessments which are undertaken and marked on an internal basis. The pupils will have to complete one assessment for each of the following skills; Reading, Listening, Writing and Talking. The assessment will be based on the topic they are studying at that time.


S6: Advanced Higher

Aim: to develop further levels of independent use and communicative competency.

Course content and Skills:

The course is divided into 4 contexts of Society, Learning, Employability and Culture. Within these contexts, the pupils could cover all/a selection of the following areas:

  • New family structure/ marriage/partnership/gender equality
  • Social influences and pressures
  • Understanding self as a learner, eg learning styles/importance of language learning in education
  • Preparing for a job interview/importance of language in global contexts, job opportunities
  • Open borders for workers
  • Living in a multicultural society/stereotypes
  • Social issues, eg effects of unemployment, gambling, alcohol and drugs, welfare state
  • Environmental issues
  • Human rights
  • Advantages/disadvantages of higher or further education, choosing a university/college, lifelong learning
  • Immigration/prejudice/racism
  • Impact of the digital age
  • Minority languages and their importance/association with culture, cross-cultural influences, global issues
  • Social influences on/importance of traditions, customs and beliefs in another country
  • Searching for a job, planning for future jobs/higher education, taking a gap year, career path, equality in the workplace, voluntary and charitable work
  • Democracy/political engagement

Within these concepts the pupils will be working to perfect their skills in Listening, Reading, Writing and Talking and Use of Grammar.

The course is divided into four periods a week, and will be structured so the students cover at least 3 of the 4 skills in every lesson. There will be a further two private study periods. They will be expected to be able to communicate fluently and spontaneously in relation to the aforementioned topic areas.


Internal Assessment

During the course of the year, the pupil will be expected to undertake an internally marked assessment in each of the 4 skills – Reading, Listening, Writing and Talking.

External Assessment

Oral Assessment – Speaking – 20 minutes (50 marks – 25% of total mark) – The Candidates will undertake a conversation in the target language with an external SQA assessor.

Folio – 30 marks (15% of total mark)This portfolio will give learners an opportunity to demonstrate the skills of knowledge and understanding and analysing literature or media. Learners will produce one piece of writing in English of 1,200–1,500 words

Paper 1 – Reading and Translation – 1h and 30 mins (50 marks – 25% of total mark)

Paper 2 – Listening and Discursive Writing – 1h and 20 mins (70 marks – 35% of total mark)

Total: 200 marks