The Senior Phase (S4 TO S6)


In session 15-16 the Senior Phase Curriculum at Kyle Academy will change.  From June 2015 there will be two main changes in the shape of the curriculum:


Young people will now choose a maximum of six subjects in fourth, fifth and sixth year instead of the traditional model of seven or eight subjects in fourth year and five in fifth and sixth year.


This will give us the opportunity to timetable young people in fourth, fifth and sixth year together as one group. In the past S4 was timetabled separately and S5 and S6 were timetabled together.


Why will young people take only six subjects in fourth year?


Each of the new National qualifications currently take 160 hours to complete. In previous years pupils took seven or eight subjects in S4. However, having delivered the new National qualifications for one year, pupils expressed that they experienced additional pressure taking seven qualifications. A move to six National qualifications will reduce that pressure.


A reduction in the number of courses in S4 will have other advantages. By studying fewer subjects in S4, and having more time to study each subject in depth, young people are likely to develop a deeper understanding of that subject and so achieve better grades. They will also have time to move beyond the knowledge and skills required to pass National 5 for example, and begin to progressively develop the skills required for Higher while in S4. Young people will be better prepared for Higher or National 4 or National 5 in fifth year.


What value will a sixth subject in fifth and sixth year have for young people?


Employers, colleges and universities increasingly value well rounded young people who not only have a range of good academic qualifications, but who also have wider skills for learning, life and work necessary to succeed in the twenty first century. It is no longer enough just to have academic qualifications.


As a result we have to start thinking about the Senior Phase differently. In the past young people planned their course choices in S4, S5 and S6 one year at a time but almost all now stay on to S5 and S6. We now need to make sure that we plan learning pathways for young people over three years in the Senior Phase and beyond to include qualifications and opportunities for wider personal achievements which will ensure that they develop skills for life, learning and work.


This new curriculum model will allow young people to personalise their own curriculum to meet their individual needs. For example, a few academically gifted young people may opt to take a sixth Higher in fifth year, although we envisage that very few young people will take up that option. There will also be an increasing number of college courses for pupils in the Senior Phase next session. Many young people may choose to return to a subject that they enjoyed in the Broad General Education (S1 – S3) but had to drop because of their chosen learning and career path.


Young people may also wish to have a more vocational slant to their learning in the Senior Phase by undertaking a wider range of vocational courses at college in S4, S5 and S6. Others may find it useful to undertake work experience during school time in preparation for the world of work or further study.


Many young people will want to develop wider skills for life, learning and work. Some already take part in learning activities outside the classroom, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, or other activities in their own community. Others may wish to develop their leadership skills by taking Higher Leadership or the Platinum Youth Achievement Award in sixth year. There are increasing opportunities for young people to gain a range of awards in the Senior Phase in our schools.


These additional subject options will increasingly allow young people to personalise their curriculum to meet their individual needs and develop a portfolio of academic and other qualifications and experiences over the Senior Phase to give them a competitive edge in their chosen career path.