National 4 English

Why study English?

Language and literacy are of personal, social and economic importance. Your ability to use language lies at the centre of the development and expression of your emotions, thinking, learning and sense of personal identity.

This course gives you the opportunity to develop skills in listening, talking, reading and writing, which are essential for learning, life and work. You will develop your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings and respond to those of other people.

The skills that you develop in English are useful in a wide range of careers; these include teaching, editorial, journalism, administration, legal work or in the arts.

Career Pathways

To see what career areas this subject could lead to and the routes to get there, download and view these career pathways:

Arts, Social Sciences and Languages

Communications and Media

Information, Culture and Heritage


Teaching and Classroom Support

What do I need to get in?

Entry is at the discretion of the school or college but you would normally have achieved:

What will I study?

This course helps you understand how language works, and how to use it to communicate ideas and information in English. You will get to use creative and critical thinking to produce ideas and arguments, and to develop critical literacy skills as well as personal, interpersonal and team working skills. You will also develop an appreciation of Scotland’s literary and linguistic heritage.

The course has three compulsory units plus an added value unit that assesses your practical skills.

English: Analysis and Evaluation (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • develop listening and reading skills in the contexts of literature, language and media
  • develop the skills needed to understand, analyse and evaluate straightforward texts.

English: Creation and Production (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • develop talking and writing skills in familiar contexts
  • develop the skills needed to create and produce straightforward texts in both written and spoken forms.

Literacy (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • develop reading, writing, listening and talking skills in a variety of forms relevant for learning, life and work
  • develop the ability to understand straightforward ideas and information presented in speech and writing
  • develop the ability to communicate written and spoken ideas and information with technical accuracy.

Added Value Unit: English Assignment (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • investigate and report on a chosen topic, in speech or writing, and respond to questions on the topic.

How will I be assessed?

Your work will be assessed by your teacher or tutor on an ongoing basis throughout the course. Items of work might include:

  •  practical work – reading, speaking or listening to texts
  •  written work – producing straightforward texts or reports.

You must pass all units plus the added value unit to gain the course qualification.

What can I go on to next?

If you complete the course successfully, it may lead to:

Further study, training or employment in:

Which jobs are related to this subject?

Where can my parents find out more?

Your school will give your parents an Options or Choices information booklet, which has detailed information on the curriculum and the individual subjects or courses you can study. It will also invite them along to a Parents’ Information Evening.

They can also read the information leaflet(s):

Nationals in a Nutshell – English (National 4)