Personalisation and Choice Within The Curriculum
There are 7 principles of curriculum design which schools must consider when developing the curriculum. These are:-
Challenge & Enjoyment
Personalisation & Choice
In S1 to S3 young people follow a broad general education (BGE) before entering what is described as the Senior Phase which encompasses S4 to S6.
Within the BGE Curriculum is organised into 8 Curriculum Areas:
Languages (English & Modern Language)
Religious and Moral Education (RME) - Core
Health & Wellbeing (PE & PSE) - Core
Young people must follow a curriculum which allows them to experience each of these curricular areas.
As young people progress through the BGE and into the Senior Phase there are opportunities to personalise the curriculum to allow deeper learning and specialisation. In Stirling High, the opportunities for a young person to refine their curriculum arise at the end of S2, S3, S4 and S5.
In S1 and S2 young people study as many as 18 subjects. At the end of S2 they can select 8 subjects, one from each of the curricular areas, to study in depth, along with the core areas of Physical Education (PE), Religious and Moral Education (RME) and Personal and Social Education (PSE). At the end of S3, 7 areas of study are selected to take forward into the Senior Phase. In S4 young people will be presented for National Qualifications in these 7 subjects.
Young people in Stirling High School will have an entitlement to a senior phase of education which:
Provides specialisation, depth and rigour
Prepares them well for achieving qualifications to the highest level of which they are capable
Promotes literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing
Continues to develop skills for learning, life and work
Provide support for young people to move on to sustained positive destinations.
As young people continue through the senior phase and into S5, they study 5 subjects, one of which, should be English at an appropriate level. Those who progress to S6 refine choices further to study 3, 4 or 5 subjects. The number of subjects studied in S6 is dependent on the degree of difficulty, specialisation and bespoke learning package in place for each young person.
At choice points, when pupils refine their curriculum, we recommend young people undertake a realistic assessment of their progress to date within a subject, in doing so they should to consider their overall performance to date, particularly, if the young person has had experience studying National 5 or National 4 courses. Advice on entry requirements to SQA Higher courses are detailed in the Course Choice Information Booklet.
Young people should also realistically consider future aspirations/plans and ensure they have sufficient breadth of curriculum to support their aspirations. We strongly advise young people to play to their strengths and to take forward their best subjects and subjects which they enjoy.
Support is available to assist young people in this process. Course Choice Information Booklets are prepared, detailing course outlines and providing suggested pre-entry National 5 qualification requirements for young people who wish to continue their studies in a subject and undertake SQA Higher courses. These Information Booklets are accessible to young people and parents on our school website. Subject teachers and Principal Teachers of subjects will also advise on appropriate progression pathways and subject choice.
In addition to advice from subject specialists, young people are advised by the pastoral team servicing the House in which each child is placed. This advice is given by their Form Teacher in PSE. Each young person is also interviewed by their Principal Teacher of Pupil Support or the Depute Headteacher who is Head of House.
Parent information evenings are scheduled to provide information on the process of course choice. A Careers Adviser from Skills Development Scotland attends these information evenings and is also available for young people to access in school by appointment. There is also representation from Forth Valley College and the University sectors at the senior phase parent information evening.
Unfortunately, whilst we aim to maximise possibilities for all pupils, course choice is not infinite and it may not be possible for all young people to have all their choices met. The reasons for this may be due to oversubscribed courses, courses may not be viable due to small numbers of pupils wanting to take the subject, the combination of courses a young person wants to study may not fit the timetable and subjects may clash with each other.
We will however, endeavour to meet the needs of as many young people as possible. To allow us to do this, we ask young people provide a weighting to each subject selected. A weighting of 1 indicates the subject is very important to them, a weighting of 2 indicates that the subject is desirable to take forward as part of their studies, finally a weighting of 3 indicates this subject may not be as important to them and if we cannot meet their choices they would be willing to select another to replace this subject.
If we cannot meet a young person’s choices and have to re-course a young person, previous attainment, as an indicator of the appropriateness of course choice, and the weightings a young person has attached to each subject will be considered. Pupils who have given weighting 1 to a subject will get priority over those who have weighted 2; similarly, those who have weighted it 2 get priority over those who have weighted it 3. Pupils who have given a subject a weighting of 3 will get priority over pupils who have chosen the subject but given it no weighting. It is therefore very important that all subjects are given a weighting.
It may also affect course choice if forms are handed in late. To ensure this does not affect a young person’s opportunities forms should be completed promptly and in full.
Finally, re-coursing may have to be considered following information on attainment in SQA exams. It is worthy of note that in finalising classes on receipt of SQA National results in August, changes may have to be made to sections and class teachers allocated.
At Stirling High we are committed to helping our young people to be “Prepared for their time”, selecting courses to personalise their curriculum and create a be-spoke learning package is key to this. Parents can play an invaluable role in this process. Parents can help by discussing choices with young people, by helping young people to consider future career aspirations, by helping young people to research possible careers / college or university entry requirements and by contacting the school promptly if more information is required.
Working in partnership we can achieve this aim and ensure our young people achieve their potential and leave Stirling High to sustain a positive destination in the world of work or further education.