TRINITY ACADEMY T: 0131 478 5050 | Absence Line: 0131 478 5050 (Option 1)
TRINITY ACADEMY T: 0131 478 5050 | Absence Line: 0131 478 5050 (Option 1)

Course Choice Centre

Welcome to the Trinity Academy Course Choice Centre. This section of the website will provide you with all relevant information about the courses we have on offer for each year group. You will also see there are a series of links to the online course choice system, known as TOOLS. At the bottom of the page we have also included useful links which may help you with your preparation and planning.

Course Choice Information Evening

Ordinarily a course choice information evening would have been held in December but due to the ongoing difficulties with Covid-19 we have instead created a narrated presentation. This will guide you through the curriculum structure, course options process and pathways through the senior phase.

***Please do not be concerned about any of the images used in the presentation. These are exemplars to raise awareness of content and layout. Subjects offered change year upon year and your childs sheet will contain the most up to date courses being offered.***

Timetabling almost 800 pupils course choices is a complicated process but at Trinity Academy we have been operating with an electronic course choice and timetabling system since 2018.

Using a suite of software to support the coursing process we have been able to deliver a varied curriculum with a high level personalisation choice. This has created a dynamic and flexible curriculum offer which year on year is delivering over a 95% satisfaction rating for learners while providing progression pathways which offer depth, breadth and also provide inclusive options for all.

Unfortunately, a timetable can do anything but not everything all at once and for those learner who are not able to get every course they initially selected we also have a fully integrated reserve system which provides pupils and staff with clear alternatives when things don’t work out as first planned.

Prior to making any course choices there are is a fully resourced and supported series of planning lessons delivered by Pupil Support Leaders during PSE classes. Course choice planning sheets will be issued at this time which are personalised for each learner and include recommended levels of study for the next session. Pupils, parents/carers and Pupil Support Leaders must triangulate and approve the planning before pupils are given access to the TOOLS website to enter their course choices.

Ordinarily, all pupils will complete their course choices between the end of January and early March. Specific dates are included on this webpage (Course Choice Centre) and on the course choice planning sheets which are issued during the coursing process.

With the current school closure we will likely ask for this process to be completed by pupils at home. We will share further information on this in due course but all resources and supports will still be available.

Course Choice Resource Files

We have developed a COURSE CHOICE GUIDE for each year group, which explains the process in three stages: pre-coursing, course choices and post-coursing. Each guide is for a specific year group and will explain some of the nuances of the course choices process in an easy to understand format.

This will give you an overview of the course choice process and is useful for both pupils and parents.

Course Choice Sheet Deadline

Please ensure all course choice sheets are submitted to your Pupil Support Leader AFTER you have entered your choices on the TOOLS website.

  • S2 > S3 – Planning Starts: 07/ 03/ 22 (Deadline: 18/ 03/ 22)
  • S3 > S4 – Planning Starts: 17/ 01/ 22 (Deadline: 28/ 01/ 22)
  • S4 > S5 – Planning Starts: 31/ 01/ 22 (Deadline: 11/ 02/ 22)
  • S5 > S6 – Planning Starts: 21/ 02/ 22 (Deadline: 04/ 03/ 22)

All course choices MUST be completely finalised by Friday 18th March 2022 to allow timetabling to begin. If you have been absent or needed extra time, please contact your PSL or Mr Todd befre the deadline.

Useful Links

Useful Website Links Description
My World of Work Career suggestions tailored to you
Nationals in a Nutshell Advice and tools for getting a job, apprenticeships and applying to universities and colleges
The Complete University Guide Everything you need to know about all universities in the UK
UCAS University applications
Leaps Advice, encouragement and support for applying for higher education
Edinburgh College Edinburgh College
ELRAH Alternative pathways help/info for applying for higher education
Nationals in a Nutshell Helpful resource for parents which explains the National qualifications.
Parent suggestion from Information/Q&A Event Feb 2022

FAQ

This FAQ has been transcribed from the live Q&A event on 16 Feb 2021. We had over 100 parents attend our information evening and in 1 hour we had around 35 questions which have been distilled down to a list of 28 key questions. We hope you find this a useful resource.

When will course choices be available and when do they need to be completed by?

These will be sent out to families in the coming days and deadlines for completing them are on the course choice part of the website although generally it will be around the 2nd week of March depending on what year you are in. Please remember the planning and discussion around choices is key. The process of actually entering your course choices will be relatively quick in comparison.

Will re-sits be possible?

It would be looked at on a case by case basis, looking at what led to the fail. There would be a conversation between the teacher, pupil, parent and pupil support leader to decide on the best course of action regarding a resit. It is possible for a pupil to do a resit, however there are some cases where a resit would not be worth the time and allowing it would be letting the pupil down.

How are JET options facilitated? Are options self found by students or does school offer these?

Pupils should indicate on their course choice forms that they are interested in JET and they will the be issued with a proforma showing ten potential sectors they can choose from. JET staff will try and match their preferred sector to college and work experience. Students have JET time on Fridays which takes them off timetable but usually miss core PE or RE. They will also complete a NAT 4 level qualification in Employability as part of the JET experience.

For pupils with additional support needs, how will any reasonable adjustments that school might have considered based on classroom learning be reflected in conversations about course choices for next year?

School will try to identify any gaps in learning after lockdown and assess what in-house supports will need to be put in place. At the moment, the picture on this is unclear. Students should continue to make course choices based on subjects they enjoy and are engaged with. School will do all they can to address any potential obstacles students may face in choosing them.

Can course choice forms be received and completed in paper form?

The individual course choice sheets will be sent to students by post. However, entering choices will be done electronically. Students normally complete the entrances during PSE classes but this year we ask that students discuss and plan carefully with parents and carers before the relatively quick process of entering choices electronically. Full instructions on how to do this will be sent with the course choice form.

Moving from S2 to S3, are the core subjects included in the number of subject choices?

No, subject choices are over and above the three core subjects, meaning students choose five other subjects.

Could S3 students’ projected attainment levels drop during lockdown and how will parents be advised of this?

November’s tracking report had a recommended level for each subject and students will soon receive a personal course choice form which will show a student’s current courses and the recommended level of study. If these have changed since the November report, you can discuss this with the subject teacher to see how recent assignments and classwork have affected the level. Please note that Trinity Academy along with all schools, recognise the potential impact of lockdown on attainment and will seek to minimise the effect of this on students wherever possible.

Is it possible to pick up a subject in S4 if you had dropped it for S3?

These are classed as Social Sciences, but individual Universities would be able to advise if they could be considered as a science subject as an entry requirement, depending on the chosen University course.

How can S5 students find out which subjects are needed for entry to University?

Please check University prospectuses or call the University admissions office whose staff can give advice on specific entry requirements.

Moving from Highers to Advanced Highers (AH), how many courses should a student take to optimise their chance of a University acceptance whilst maintaining a practical work load?

Students should bear in mind that most Universities prioritise  Higher qualifications rather than specifically seeking AH results. However, students should check the University prospectuses and research the entry requirements for courses they are interested in. PSLs and University admissions offices can also provide further advice.

Who can advise on which subjects are needed for a chosen career path?

PSLs can advise as can potential employers in your chosen sector. It can be useful to contact them directly. Skills Development Scotland (Lynn Munro at Trinity) and the My World of Work website also  offer lots of information about career pathways. Please speak to your PSL if you wish to be in contact with Lynn Munro.

Can S6 students take up to four AH subjects?

This is not recommended. Students should think carefully about the increased workload involved with AH study and how much of this has to be managed in students’ own time. Trinity Academy recommends a maximum of three AHs.

Can a student gain entry to University after S6 with only Highers or are AHs needed?

AH qualifications are not usually an entry requirement for University. They usually prefer to see a suit of good Higher results along with strong extra curriculur activities. Please check University prospectuses for specific course entry requirements.

When will S3 pupils know if they are being out forward for Nat 4 or Nat 5 level study which could have implications for course choices?

As S3 marks the end of the BGE with a move to National level study, students are not normally restricted at this point in their choices. The personal course choice sheet to be sent out soon will list the recommendations for your child, however students are encouraged to choose subjects they enjoy and feel engaged in. Teachers may also be able to advise on course suitability.

In S6 can you choose subjects whose points total is 15?

We ask students to aim for a minimum of 16 points. Whilst non-contact study time can be beneficial it has also proven to be difficult time to fill and motivation can drop.

Will Philosophy and Psychology courses be offered to students going in to S4?

These are considered “stretch and breadth” subjects within the faculty and RMPS along with Social Sciences remain the choices at general level. Some students enjoy these literacy-based subjects at a higher level but there a no plans to introduce them below where they currently sit within the curriculum.

What is the school view on taking Nat 5 and Higher exams over two years?

The headteacher’s view is that student should attempt wherever possible to have achieved Nat 4 or 5 by the end of 4th year. Similarly, students should aim to have some Higher qualifications by the end of S5 where possible. This limits the chances of students potentially leaving school without the qualifications they need to move on and is better for long term prospects.

Are French and Spanish considered separate subjects in S3?

In S2, modern languages are compulsory and are divided in two distinct subjects – French and Spanish. In S3, the two languages continue to be studied but under the one subject heading of Modern Languages. Thus, students have three core subjects, English, Maths and Modern Languages and make their own additional choices.

In S4 is Modern Languages still a compulsory subject?

Only Maths and English remain compulsory.

Is there an option for bilingual students to study a language that is not offered by the school and what support would the school provide for this?

Should timetabling allow and there is capacity to make this happen, Trinity Academy will do all it can to accommodate this but at the moment, there is no definitive answer.

Are Geography and Psychology considered science subjects for S5?

These are classed as Social Sciences, but individual Universities would be able to advise if they could be considered as a science subject as an entry requirement, depending on the chosen University course.

If a student is interested in taking Psychology at Higher level, should they take RMPS in S4 or would a Modern Studies background be ok?

Psychology is a literary based subject so routes into it would be any of the Social subjects and English to Nat 5 minimum.

Is it a good idea to take Musical Theatre as a subject and is it rated as highly by further education establishments as Music?

Trinity offer Musical Theatre as a NPA so its framework is different to National qualifications. However, a pass in this subject can be equivalent to a C grade at Nat 5. Please check with individual Universities and Colleges as to how this NPA could be used as an entry qualification. Please bear in mind that students who are gifted at music and capable of achieving a good qualification in Music should prioritise this over a NPA which can always be taken up at a later stage as a “stretch and breadth” subject.

What are the tariff points used for?

Primarily these are used by school to measure performance in attainment of the student body and helps school to develop ways to get the best outcomes for students. More information on tariff points can be obtained from Depute HT Bryan Campbell.

Is there a chance of distinction in a NPA?

No, it is marked as a Pass or Fail.

Will Dance qualifications be introduced in future?

With the investment in our new sports facilities at Bangholm, dance should feature as a qualification in future and is included to National 5 in the course sheet form this year.

What is the difference between Maths and Application of Maths?

Trinity Academy currently offers National 5 in both subjects although next year we will also offer Application of Maths to Higher level. Maths is “pure” maths and more about the mathematical concepts whereas Application of Maths is more about how maths can be used in a practical way.

Is the website information up to date?

Most files have a date to show when it was last updated. Mr Todd is currently updating the files as the course choice sheets are handed out to pupils. 

I feel the website lacks details (summary info), is there more that can be added?

Sorry, this is not possible at this time as we have no capacity to do more than we already do. But this is helpful feedback, we will take it on board for next year.

Students doing a mix of Higher & N5 in S5: how many of each should they take?

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It depends entirely on the pupil, their progression route and the choices they want to take. They will take 5 subjects but the mix depends on the individual. This would be discussed during the 1-to-1 meeting between your child and their pupil support leader, looking at their previous attainment and the courses they are interested in. If pupils do have a mix, alongside any N5 courses they also do Wider Opportunities for Achievement classes, which gives a chance for a different achievement.  

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Why are some S3 courses not running in S4?

As a rule, we can never guarantee progression from one year to the next, due to various reasons including staffing changes and curriculum review. We have just completed a curriculum review which necessitated changes to S1/2 curriculum, which has an impact on staffing, which means we can’t offer as much range to the Senior Phase. The few courses we have had to remove are not part of our Core Offer, and never have been.

If a subject doesn’t run there may be options to continue with it through College in S4/5/6, through the Schools College Partnership. This requires an applications and Pupil Support Leaders can help with this.

In S2>3, what is an elective?

Wider Opportunity for Achievement is only for S5s who are doing N5s, due to timetable structure.
Electives are just the choices for S3. For example, PE – as pupils will always do core PE, often the choice to do PE is called an elective.

Business Education is shown under Social Sciences on the S2>3 Course Choice sheet, but in the guide it is shown as a Technology subject. Is this a mistake?

Business Education in the BGE phase is both a Social Science and a Technology subject, as it offers outcomes equally in both. It falls right in the middle in terms of experiences and outcomes. We have chosen to list Business Education as a Social Science because the Technology column is so busy with so many options, this allows for more flexibility for our pupils and their course options, particularly if they don’t want to take a literacy-heavy Social Science.

If a pupil is interested in a Schools College Partnership course (SCP), will this limit their school subject choices?

No, SCP is offered within a timetable column and doesn’t impact on other subject choices. It should be noted that pupils leave school to attend college on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and this can have a small impact on class time if pupils have to leave school to arrive on time at college.

What are the subjects you would miss if you took College on a Tuesday/Thursday afternoon?

It depends on the results of the Course Choice process. We as a school allow pupil choice to determine the placement of columns within the timetable, rather than having pre-stated columns. So there is no way of knowing in advance which column will fall on Tuesday & Thursday afternoons. Once the process is complete, pupils will be able to choose between the subject that has fallen on a Tuesday/Thursday and College.

Will the pupil support leader help pupils to apply for college, for either part time or full time courses?

Yes! Either pupil support leaders or Lynn Munro, our Skills Development Scotland link, will be able to help. Lynn is the master of College applications and pupil support leaders can connect pupils to Lynn for that help. Many of our senior pupils are very confident when it comes to applications, but if you feel your child needs help, contact their pupil support leader and they will be able to help.

Do pupils need to achieve a certain grade at N5 to go on to do Higher in that subject?

There is no hard and fast rule here, it depends on a number of factors: partly the subject itself, partly the journey of the pupil to that point, for example if they were isolating for a period of time, has been unwell or absent to visit their home country, we would look at data we previously have and we may be able to see they have proven they would probably be able to move on to Higher even if they received a C or D in the N5.

On aggregate we are looking for pupils to achieve As or Bs at N5 before moving on to Highers. We don’t want to set them up to fail but we also want to balance that against being aspirational and ambitious for them as they move into S5.

My child is currently isolating, what do I do about Course Choices?

Contact your child’s Pupil Support Leader directly, either via email or by phoning the main school office. If you don’t then hear back within 5-7 days, contact Mr Burge.

Can you please explain more about WOAs (Wider Opportunity for Achievement), I’ve never heard about this before?

As N5 classes are only 4 periods a week there is extra time on the timetable so the SQA released a suite of wider achievement qualifications covering things like Mental Health, Health & Wellbeing, etc. If a pupil is doing, for example, 2 Highers and 3 N5s, they will also be doing 3 Wider Opportunities for Achievement (WOA). Through the outcomes of these 3 classes, they will build up other qualifications – SQA awards 4/5/6 (equivalent to N4/N5/Highers) or things like saltire awards – for their involvement in the class, depending on the course and how the teacher delivers it. It is supplementing their S5 qualifications with other SQA qualifications which might be the difference and help them stand out for College or Uni applications or job applications, just showing that bit of extra work.

If Physics is chosen in S3 from the Technologies column, can another Technologies subject be picked up in later years?

Ultimately, yes, subjects can be picked up later, depending on the pupil and subject. If it is important to your child to take 2 or 3 sciences, then they should do this in S3. And with this route in particular, accessing a Graphics or Tech course later shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. But of course it is again taken on a case by case basis, and dependant on that conversation with your child’s pupil support leader.

When are Course Choices entered on to the website: during the 1-1 meeting or at home?

All Course Choices will be entered in school, for quality assurance and also to ensure the correct support is given to pupils during the process. These will be entered during pupil’s 1-to-1 meetings. This is also why the Course Choice sheet asks for parent/carer email addresses, so you receive a copy of the choices that have been entered and are kept in the loop.

At what point is it decided whether a pupil will be recommended for N4 or N5? Does the class teacher make these decisions?

There’s always a balance to be reached here, between challenging our pupils and having high aspirations for them, and being realistic.

The recommended levels are decided by the class teacher. However, parents and carers are welcome to challenge these, particularly where you are not aware of any concerns in the class or when a parents evening has alluded to your child doing well in said class. Just because the recommended level decision has been made, does not mean it cannot be changed. If you feel you have evidence to contradict the recommendation made for your child, please do contact us and we can certainly have a conversation around that. We always want to be aspirational for our pupils but we also need to be realistic about what can be achieved in the time frame available.

For S2 going into S3, will the meeting with the pupil support leader be during class time or during PSE?

It will be during class time across the entire week, as there is not enough time to do them all during PSE classes. There was a lot of discussion around how long the meeting would need to be. Some meetings will be very straight forward where there has been a lot of discussion and input from home and engagement from the pupil, with a very clear route ahead, these will take just a couple of minutes. For others it is much more complicated and can take around 15 minutes. There are 150-odd pupils in the year group, so multiply that by 4-5 minutes each and you can see how much time is required. PSE is when the tee-up and prep work is happening, introducing the pupils to Course Choices and sharing more general information.