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Senior Curriculum

At The High School of Glasgow the curriculum and the various approaches of delivery embrace the most appropriate aspects of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) as described in the national guidance.

Curriculum

From our Junior School in Bearsden into the early stages of the Senior School at Anniesland, pupils are offered a broad general education based on the core expectations defined in the five levels of experiences and outcomes (Es & Os).

Curriculum Levels

The ages by which most pupils are expected to be ‘secure’ at these levels are shown below.

Level

National

HSOG

Early

Pre-5 to end

of P1

 

First

End of P4

some by end of Junior 3

Second

End of P7

some by end of Junior 6

Third

To end of S3

some by end of S1

Fourth

some by end of S2

It is important to remember that children do not always conform to the expectations of curriculum design no matter how carefully this is crafted. However, within The High School of Glasgow we expect that almost all of our pupils will advance at a faster rate than the national levels indicated above. Our curriculum is designed to ensure a coherent approach with well-planned, motivating and challenging experiences across all areas. We also provide opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and for appropriate personalisation and choice.

Broad General Education (Junior 6 to S2)

Due to our structure as an all-through school, aspects of the broad general education phase which might normally appear on transition to Secondary are delivered in Junior 6 at the Junior School and Transitus at the Senior School. As a result of this the ‘dip in performance’ reported nationally at transition from primary to secondary is not evident; indeed we have found the opposite to be true.

For those joining us in Transitus and S1 from schools other than our own Junior School, we carefully review their learning prior to entry and during the year make appropriate adjustments so that they are ready to access the same range of opportunities beyond our broad general education phase.

Our curriculum structure in Transitus to S2 reflects these prior experiences, together with our knowledge of pupil progress and attainment from Junior 6 through to S2 and the actual pathways of pupils through the senior phase and beyond school.

Curriculum Information

Transitus, S1 and S2 Curriculum

Our curriculum in Transitus, S1 and S2 is designed to equip our pupils with the skills that will enable them to access learning, process information and make connections in their understanding of the world throughout their lives. There is an emphasis throughout these three years on teachers explicitly teaching Learning Skills through their subject content. All pupils will have the opportunity to make connections through Interdisciplinary Learning and there will be opportunities for pupils to increase their awareness and understanding of the world around them. The Tr-S2 curriculum provides a coherent and balanced programme of study encompassing: core subjects (English and Mathematics), languages, science and technology, social subjects, expressive subjects, rotational subjects, and personal, social and moral development.

Pupils are broadly banded into classes by ability in Mathematics (from Transitus), Languages (from S1) and English (from S2), enabling them to make progress at their own pace. They are taught in form classes in some subjects but in many they will be in House, practical or rotational sets. The mix of pupils in these groupings, outwith the form structure, allows them to develop inter-personal skills and get to know most of their peer group.

Transitus Curriculum

6 periods

6 periods

3 periods

4 periods

6 periods

3 periods

10 periods

2 periods

   

Languages

Science & Technology

Social Subjects

Rotational Subjects

Expressive Subjects

Personal, Social & Moral Education

English

Mathematics

French (3)

 

Science (3)

Computing (1)

 

Geography (3)

History (3)

 

Current Affairs (1)

OR

Library (1)

Drama (2)

OR

Health & Food (2)

Art & Design (2)

Music (2)

PE (2)

Swimming (2)

Games (2)

PSE (1)

Religion & Philosophy (1)

 

S1 Curriculum

5 periods

6 periods

6 periods

5 periods

6 periods

2 periods

8 periods

2 periods

   

Languages

Science & Technology

Social Subjects

Rotational Subjects

Expressive Subjects

Personal, Social & Moral Education

English

Mathematics

French (4)

Latin (2)

Science (4)

Computing (1)

 

Geography (3)

History (3)

Hi-Tech (1)

AND

Drama (1)

OR

Health & Food (2)

Art & Design (2)

Music (2)

PE (2)

Games (2)

PSE (1)

Religion & Philosophy (1)

 

S2 Curriculum

4 periods

5 periods

8 periods

8 periods

4 periods

2 periods

7 periods

2 periods

   

Languages

Science & Technology

Social Subjects

Rotational Subjects

Expressive Subjects

Personal, Social & Moral Education

English

Mathematics

French (4)

German (2)

OR

Spanish (2)

Latin (2)

Science (6)

Computing (2)

 

Geography (2)

History (2)

Drama/ Library (2)

OR

Health & Food (2)

Art & Design (2)

Music (2)

PE (1)

Games (2)

PSE (1)

Religion & Philosophy (1) 

At present, our pupils continue to undertake course choice in S2 prior to entry to S3. As a school we have not identified any potential benefits for our young people by delaying course choice or altering the number or level of subjects which pupils can access in S4 and beyond.

We depart from the guidance given by the Scottish Government in this respect. In February of S2 we begin an extensive programme of subject choice advice. By providing details of courses offered, a parents’ subject choice information evening and the S2 parents' evening we seek to ensure that, at this important decision-making stage, all involved are informed and in agreement with the programme of study.

Once a pupil has made their choices they have a personal interview with the relevant Deputy Rector to ensure each pupil’s subject choices are sufficiently structured to provide a satisfactory breadth of study for S3 and S4.

S3 and S4 Curriculum

In S3 and S4 all pupils will choose eight subjects to study towards National 4 or National 5 qualifications and there is a wide variety of subject permutations available, thus enabling a degree of specialisation in areas of strength whilst keeping future options open. All pupils must choose English, Mathematics, a Science and a Language. We also encourage our pupils to take a Social Subject. In addition, all pupils in S3 have periods of non-examinable subjects which includes Personal and Social Education, Physical Education and Religion and Philosophy. In S4, all pupils have periods of General Studies (Learning Skills, Personal and Social Education and Careers Advice), Physical Education and Religion and Philosophy.

National 4 and National 5 are the qualifications, based on the Curriculum for Excellence, which were introduced this year by the SQA to replace Standard Grade and Intermediate 1 and 2 qualifications.

The diagram below gives a rough comparison between the different types of qualification.

Course

 

 

 

 

 


One of the main differences between the previous qualifications and National 4 is that they were assessed externally at the end of S4 by public examination and pupils received a grade; National 4 is assessed internally by the subject department, moderated by the SQA, and pupils are awarded a Pass or Fail.

The National 5 qualification is assessed externally and pupils will receive a grade A-D for this. All pupils will be presented for examinations in their chosen eight National 5 subjects.

Certain departments may group pupils dependent upon their ability, so that the pace and content are appropriate to the individual's level. Such setting allows inclusion of some Higher Grade topics or concepts in S4 for pupils with particular ability in a subject.

Pupils could follow any one of the following pathways depending on their rate of progress to the end of S2 and how well they cope with their S3 programmes

  • Complete National 4 and/or National 5 Units and the National 4 Value-added Unit to gain the National 4 course award
  • Complete National 5 Units and the National 5 external assessment to gain the National 5 course award

We aim to develop a shared understanding of how well each pupil is coping with the demands of their chosen programme of study so that detailed guidance can be offered as to which of these pathways will lead to success in S4 and then to worthwhile progression in S5.

The High School of Glasgow does not present candidates early for National 4 and National 5 awards (S3) or present for Higher in S4 or by-pass National 5 to progress straight to Higher Grade except in exceptional circumstances. The main reasons for this are:

  • One of the key aims of Curriculum for Excellence is to reduce the overall burden of assessment on pupils to allow more time to be spent on learning and teaching so that ultimately higher levels of understanding and skills can be developed.
  • As a school we need to develop a detailed understanding of how pupils with different profiles in Transitus - S3 perform at National 4 and National 5. Only then can we offer fully reliable advice on presentation levels and progression to S5.

Early in S4, pupils start to consider their future choices by participating in the ISCO Futurewise tests for interest, ability and aptitude, and they all receive individual follow-up interviews following these tests. A programme of information and discussion meetings takes place in the Spring Term, to allow the pupils to make an informed choice of courses for S5 and S6. This involves parents and pupils, Departments, Year Heads and the Careers Department.

S5 and S6 Curriculum (Senior Phase)

Pupils at The High School of Glasgow are encouraged to regard S5 and S6 as a coherent programme of academic study and progression. All pupils study five main subjects in S5 with English being compulsory. It is possible to take up certain new subjects at an appropriate level. Currently, we offer a range of 22 different Highers to pupils in S5 and S6, in a wide variety of combinations.

The overall aim of our senior phase (S4-S6) is that young people, whatever their individual interests and needs have:

  • A curriculum which is coherent
  • The opportunity to obtain qualifications as well as to continue to develop the attributes and:

Capabilities of the four capacities

  • Opportunities to develop skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work
  • A continuing focus on literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing
  • Personal support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities provided
  • Support in moving to a positive and sustained destination beyond school.

Progress is reviewed in November and parents alerted to any problems emerging. Full-scale preliminary examinations in January provide an indication of likely success levels in the SQA examinations in May/June.

By February of S5 following Prelim exams, pupils, with the help of the Careers Department and House staff, begin to make provisional S6 subject choices. These can be from the unrivalled range of Advanced Highers on offer, or include Higher or National courses. There is also a variety of non-certificate modular and short courses available to S6, intended to encourage intellectual exploration and to broaden interests.

In S6 we aim to develop pupils academically not just to enable them to achieve entry to higher education but so that they do well when they reach the next stage of their education. We see the S6 as a systematic preparation for independent studying and the different styles of teaching met in higher education. We also seek to provide good advice and information regarding choices of courses in university or college. Such academic training and help is, however, only one part of the equation.

Equally important is our attempt to make Sixth Year a time of self-appraisal and self-development for all our pupils. Much of the validity of the Sixth Year revolves around this maturing process. In particular, the Personal and Social Education Liberal Studies Course attempts to give pupils support in preparing for interviews, developing inter-personal and leadership skills as well as developing advance study skills. In a world of global markets and competition one’s personal qualities and skills are important for future success. Thus encouraging personal reflection, recognising one’s strengths and being able to work collaboratively are important ingredients for future personal development.

Timetables are deliberately designed to allow maximum choice - this creates timetable issues when unusual combinations of subjects are chosen, but dealing with such difficulties is in itself part of the process of learning about priorities. Pupils have an increased amount of "free" time and how they use it is a useful yardstick of how mature they are.

Another important facet of the 6th Year is the structure of the form system. Our House staff act as tutors and foster adult relationships with pupils. Sixth Year also have further individual assistance within the Sixth Year Advisers scheme from members of staff who are on hand to support them individually.

Most of our S6 pupils take up an opportunity to do some form of service, either in the local Glasgow community or in the School itself. The latter can include helping in the Junior School, assisting with coaching of Junior sport teams, with the Support for Learning Department, as Office Bearers or in particular teaching departments.

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