National 5 English
The National 5 English Course enables learners to develop their literacy skills and to understand, analyse and evaluate a range of texts (including Scottish texts) in the contexts of literature, language and media. The Course also enables learners to create and produce texts and to apply their knowledge and understanding of language.
Updates and announcements
- October 2015 subject update (200 KB)
- August 2015 subject update (National 3 - Higher) (93 KB)
- May 2015 subject update (159 KB)
- January 2015 subject update (Advanced Higher) (239 KB)
- September 2014 subject update (330 KB)
- Special Edition Update June 2014 (152 KB)
- September 2013 update letter (177 KB)
New template required for National 5 and Higher English portfolios
From 2015-16 onwards, National 5 and Higher English portfolios will be e-marked. To facilitate the e-marking process and ensure accuracy, we have created a new template which candidates must now use to produce their portfolios for submission. Candidates can type directly onto the template, paste their work into it from another file, or print it off and handwrite onto it.
The new template is available to download from the 'Submitting coursework' tab below, where you will also find instructions for submitting the portfolio. Please ensure that all candidates use this new template to create their National 5 and Higher English portfolios; including candidates who are undertaking these Courses in the current session. Each portfolio must also be accompanied by an A3 flyleaf ‘folder’ which will be provided to centres in February 2016.
Qualification content and delivery tools
The documents on this page are for teachers and lecturers.
Learners studying this qualification may also find the documents useful.
The 'Related information' panel on this page contains information that applies to all new National Qualifications in this subject.
This explains the overall structure of the Course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed.
Course Assessment Specification
This explains the structure of the Course assessment; including the type and method of assessment. It also includes information on Course coverage.
These provide an outline of what each Unit will cover within the Course and detail the Outcomes and Assessment Standards.
- English Analysis and Evaluation (National 5) Unit Specification
- English Creation and Production (National 5) Unit Specification
Advice and guidance
Course and Unit Support Notes
These provide advice and guidance for teachers/lecturers on learning, teaching and assessment within the Course and its Units.
The following document contains the Course Support Notes and the Unit Support Notes for this Course. They can be printed together or separately.
Past Papers and Marking Instructions
Specimen and Exemplar Question Papers and Marking Instructions
These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.
- English: Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation Specimen Question Paper National 5
- English: Critical Reading Specimen Question Paper National 5
- Scottish text list
Part 1 of the English: Critical Reading specimen question paper includes sample questions for all texts on the set Scottish text list.
Previously, we published some sample questions using texts that are not currently on the set list. We have used these sample questions to create an additional resource that helps further illustrate the approach and structure of extract-based questions:
National Parent Forum Scotland have also produced their Revision in a Nutshell series to help learners to prepare for new National 5 examinations.
General assessment information provides instructions for the conduct of coursework, an overview of the assessment task, evidence to be gathered and general marking instructions.
Coursework assessment tasks provide the live assessment task, including marking instructions and instructions for candidates. Teachers/lecturers can access these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
For information on the production and submission of SQA-assessed coursework for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher, please refer to the document below:
National 5 Portfolio Templates
Unit Assessment Support
These documents contain details of Unit assessment task(s), show approaches to gathering evidence and how the evidence can be judged against the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Teachers/lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
Understanding Standards materials
We are publishing examples of candidate evidence with commentaries as part of our Understanding Standards programme. These materials are for teachers and lecturers to help them develop their understanding of the standards required for assessment. As these materials become available, they are being published in the following locations:
- Available from our secure website Materials relating to Unit assessment, internally assessed components of Course assessment, and externally assessed components of Course assessment which are subject to visiting assessment. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these materials through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- Available from our Understanding Standards website Materials relating to externally assessed components of Course assessment, with the exception of those subject to visiting assessment.
More information on our Understanding Standards programme, can be found on our Understanding Standards page.