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SQA News 21 March 2024

Consultation on the Scottish set text list

We’re gathering feedback from teachers, lecturers and learners on the current Scottish set text list for National 5 and Higher English courses. We plan to update the list for use in session 2025-26 onwards, so that it more fully reflects life in Scotland. This is part of our ongoing review and maintenance of National Courses.

Through an online survey for practitioners and an online survey for learners, we’re asking for views on which texts we should keep and which we should replace. You can also tell us about any texts you’d like to see added to the list.

Complete our online survey for practitioners.

Inviting learners to share their views

This is the first time we’ve asked learners for their views on the content of the Scottish set text list. We’re seeking views from learners across a range of age groups – including learners in S1 to S3, those in the senior phase (S4 to S6), recent school leavers attending college and university, and those in the workplace.

Please share the online survey for learners with learners in your centre.

You can access both surveys from our NQ English webpages.


The surveys will stay open until Monday 6 May 2024. We’ll then organise focus groups with teachers, lecturers and learners in August / September to explore the survey feedback in more detail.

We’ll publish the revised Scottish set text list in November this year, for implementing in session 2025-26. The 2026 exams will be the first to feature content from the revised list.

How we’ll use your feedback

We’ll review and consider the feedback from the surveys along with the views of the focus groups. This will inform our decisions about the content of the revised list.

We’ll also consider things like:

Where we keep poets or short story writers on the list, our aim is to replace at least two poems or two short stories.

About the Scottish set text list

Scottish texts are a key part of National 5 and Higher English courses. Learners study Scottish texts in addition to other texts that are chosen by schools and colleges. Through studying the works of Scottish writers, learners develop an appreciation of Scotland’s own literary heritage.

The Scottish set text list offers a range of prescribed texts across the genres of drama, prose (fiction) and poetry by writers such as Robin Jenkins, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, and Robert Burns. It is the only prescribed text list in English courses.

View a PDF of the current Scottish set text list.

From the outset, it has been our intention to review and update the list periodically. Our last consultation took place in 2016. Based on the findings of that consultation, we published the current Scottish set text list for implementing in session 2018-2019. We planned to carry out a further review in 2020, however we had to cancel this due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We can now resume our review activity and it’s important that teachers, lecturers and learners have their say.

View our online news release on the Scottish set text consultation.