S5 Subject Choices

Dear Parent/Carer

Next session we are looking to implement some changes to the sixth year curriculum to provide a greater range of opportunities that prepare our young people for life beyond school. S6 is an opportunity for young people to obtain more qualifications but also to develop their skills in preparation for further education, employment or training. A large number of young people return for a 6th year at Duncanrig and we have always encouraged them to make the most of their S6 experience. This session we will offer a wider range of curriculum options along with leadership opportunities and college options to broaden our current curriculum offer. Our young people will be applying for places in further education, employment and training where competition has never been as strong, and it is our priority to ensure that all of our young people are as prepared for that challenge as they can be.

Next session it is our expectation that all S6 pupils will take four subject options (with the exception of pupils taking three Advanced Highers) and a skills-based option. Whilst there will still be flexibility around their curriculum we are keen to support young people to spend their time wisely, developing the skills and knowledge they will require for their future. Young people will work with Pastoral Support staff over the coming weeks to begin to plan their S6 experience and look at their own personal learning plan that ensures they will leave school in April 2019 prepared to make a successful post-school transition. Some of the improvements we have made include –

Subject Choices

Advanced Higher
We are very much encouraging the uptake of Advanced Highers in S6, particularly for young people who are considering University post-school. Whilst they may not require Advanced Higher for entry to a course, the skills young people develop in independent learning, research and self-management can be vital in supporting the transition to the very different learning experienced at university. Young people who have undertaken an Advanced Higher at school report that their transition to university was easier because of the Advanced Higher experience.

Highers/National 5
Whilst some young people may have secured access to post-school courses during S5, it is our expectation that young people will continue to undertake Highers and Nationals in S6. We will be encouraging young people to take subjects that will add breadth to their current qualifications. For example, a young person who is thinking about primary teaching may be advised to take a language at N5 if they haven’t already studied one previously. Young people thinking about a career in hospitality may be encouraged to take cake craft to enhance their current portfolio of qualifications. We will be asking young people to look at their current skills and interests and to build on them beyond what they may require for entry to university and college.

College Courses
Within the subject options available we have included the opportunity for young people to attend a college placement as part of their school week. There are some exciting opportunities for young people to study part of the week in school and part in college undertaking courses such as engineering, childcare and construction. Your child’s pastoral support teacher can support them in looking at options in S6 that will plan a pathway into a chosen career area.

Personal Achievement
Next session we will improve the range of personal achievement options available to young people. We are offering a range of leadership opportunities, where young people would work on developing their leadership skills, leading initiatives across the school through a timetabled programme of activities. In the previous years, young people have undertaken the Sports Leader award, peer mentoring and citizenship all of which have allowed them to develop their leadership skills and improve their confidence and team working skills during S6. Many of our young people will be completing personal statements and application forms over the coming year and their experiences of leading and engaging with this type of initiative in S6 will support them in ensuring they stand out within a very competitive climate.

Open University
Next session we will also offer a range of Open University courses (YASS). These courses are delivered through independent study, often at the level of first year university learning in a range of interesting subjects such as astronomy, law and Italian. A young person undertaking one of these options in an area they intend to study post-school would find this of great benefit when they start University

Work Experience
For many young people, the opportunity to undertake a long-term work experience placement could be of considerable value within S6. We are offering young people the chance to undertake work experience within the school week in an area they intend to follow in further study or employment. For example, a young person interested in a career in healthcare may be able to secure a placement in a local hospital two afternoons a week. Whilst gaining considerable experience to add to applications they would also be building their skills in their chosen field over the year. Pastoral Support staff will be able to support your child in discussing possible areas and links to employers.

Over the next few weeks we will work with pupils to look at their S6 plan. We are encouraging young people to aim high and be aspirational in their approach. S6 can be one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in a young person’s school career, and at Duncanrig we are committed to ensuring that we provide our young people with the opportunities to make the very best of their S6 experience, ensuring they leave us ready to take their place in the world. I very much hope we can work together over next session to ensure that the S6 experience is a worthwhile and inspiring year for all our young people. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the school should you require further information.

Yours faithfully

Lyndsay McRoberts
Head Teacher

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