TRINITY ACADEMY T: 0131 478 5050
TRINITY ACADEMY T: 0131 478 5050

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.

Timetabling over 600 pupils in S3-S6 with individual 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 of 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 breadth, depth, 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 work together during the planning stages to ensure pupils are coursed into appropriate subjects which provide suitable pathways through school.

Ordinarily, all pupils will complete their course choices between January and early March. Specific dates are also included on this webpage and on the course choice planning sheets which are issued during the coursing process.

Towards the bottom of this page you will see a series of links to the course choice guides and course choice planning sheets. We have also included an FAQ (generated from the 2021 and 2022 virtual information evenings), deadline dates and a series of useful links, which may help you with your preparation and planning.

Course Choice Information Evening

A course choice information evening will be held in January 2024 to support families with the coursing process. In advance of any event, we have created a narrated presentation which covers key information that is shared each session. 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 child’s sheet will contain the most up to date courses being offered.*

Course Choice Resource Files

We have developed a Course Choice Guide for each year group, which explains the process in three stages:

  • pre-coursing planning
  • making course choices
  • post-coursing information

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/carers.

You are also able to download blank course choice planning sheets here.

*Please note the date of upload for files in this section.

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 w/b: 15/ 01/ 24   |   Deadline: 26/ 01/ 24

  • S3 > S4: Planning w/b: 29/ 01/ 24   |   Deadline: 02/ 02/ 24
  • S4 > S5: Planning w/b: 19/ 02/ 24   |   Deadline: 23/ 02/ 24

  • S5 > S6: Planning w/b: 04/ 03/ 24   |   Deadline: 08/ 03/ 24

All course choices MUST be completely finalised by Friday 15th March 2024 to allow timetabling to begin. If you have been absent or needed extra time, please contact your PSL or Mr Todd before this 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


This FAQ has been transcribed from the live Q&A events held over the last 3 years. We had over 100 parents attend each of our information evenings and we have distilled common questions down to a list of key FAQs. We hope you find this a useful resource.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact Mr Todd.

Course Choice Process Questions

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.

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.

My child is not currently attending, 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.

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.

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.

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.

When will pupils know as this 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 long does the 1:1 interview last with a pupil?

It can take as long as it needs to. The schedule is set up for 2 pupils every 15 minutes, and for some of those pupils it’s as simple as checking over the sheet and entering their choices which will only take a few minutes. For others, it might take longer, and if this is the case, the Pupil Support Leader with rearrange more time with that pupil to continue the conversation, possibly after conversations with home or with Curriculum Leaders.

Will all S3 subjects be offered at Nat 4/5 the following year?

Yes. There are a few subjects that may not use the National course system, they may move into national progression awards (NPA) as it may be a better pathway – it’s an alternative qualification but essentially equivalent: NPA 5 is equivalent to Nat 5. There is still that progression through the levels too, onto Higher and Advanced Higher after NPA 5.

However, it should also be stated that if there is low demand for a subject from pupils moving into S4 then some courses may not be able to run. If this happens we would resort to the reserves and discuss this with your child.

Can I meet the Pupil Support Leader with my child?

That’s a conversation to have with the Pupil Support Leader over the phone to begin with. Obviously we can’t make that a universal offer as the logistics around it would be massive but we do offer the 1:1s with pupils. If you do feel there’s a need for this, first step is to contact your child’s Pupil Support Leader by calling the office.

Which subjects are streamed in S3? Assuming by streaming it means setting.

We have a lot of classes in S4 that are bi-level (Nat 4/5) for subjects that sit well together, so it depends on the course. You will see on the course choice sheet it clearly labels all the subjects and at the end- it will have N4 or N5/4 etc – if it is bi-level it will say N5/4.

Are the first choice subjects more or less likely to be guaranteed in S2>S3 choices? We’re trying to ensure the free choice option is not wasted.

We can’t absolutely guarantee it but historically and based on the number of pupils, the curriculum strands and the smaller number of subjects offered it is very likely that pupils will get their first choices.

When will my child find out if their choices have been accepted?

When will my child find out if their choices have been accepted?

Between now and Easter, Mr Todd is gathering all the choices from all year groups. It tends to be around 2 weeks before the change of timetable that we are able to issue a timetable which gives pupils a chance to see how their choices have worked out. However if a pupil doesn’t hear anything from Mr Todd in this time, that’s good news! If there is an issue with their first choices, Mr Todd will come to speak to the pupil about backup choices. It is quite a slow process, unfortunately.

For kids considering university, who are they best to speak to on subject choice, SfL or careers advisor?

It would be the Pupil Support Leader. 60-70% of our S6 pupils go to university every year and those references are compiled by PSLs. They have a lot of experience around university applications. Your child is always welcome to speak to Lynn Munro, our careers advisor, also based in Pupil Support. You can also speak to SfL but they are not generally involved in university conversations, they might be involved in conversations about journeys but not specifically about university. Pupil Support Leaders would be the best first port of call.

Some pupils who have strong links with SfL (or Wellbeing Hub, ESB) will be given an interview with the lead teacher of those departments but they will liaise with Pupil Support if they need guidance as PSLs are the most experienced and have the depth of knowledge needed.

Subject Specific Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can we arrange a discussion about sitting Nat 5 Spanish at the end of S3 for bilingual pupils and then going on to Higher in S5?

Highers are normally sat in S5, if the course is running, so not entirely sure what you mean. Recent challenges we’ve had here is that there isn’t the uptake in Modern Languages. Last year just 4 pupils chose Higher French, and with those numbers we just can’t run the course. We then look to consortia, which is working with other schools to offer courses collaboratively either online or in person in another school.

As far as the S3 question, and sitting Nationals before the end of S4, or in the case of S4 sitting Higher, these are conversations we probably need to start having. The routes we currently have allow progression and they have never been a barrier to allowing our best and brightest to go on to be successful. But there is a conversation to be had around a young person who is particularly gifted in a subject – although this is a very unique situation – sitting Nationals in S3 and Higher in S4. We need to talk as a school around what that would mean for us, and schools are generally not doing this. It is not the norm, and we would need to tread carefully before looking at it as a whole offer.

Are you still streaming pupils in Maths based on S2 assessment, into either 1- or 2-year route to achieving Nat 4? If so, are you planning to tell parents at the start of S3 what pathway their child is on?

Maths tends to set based on ongoing assessment and they will determine levels and pathways from this. Mrs Ward is working on communicating where pupils are in S3 and what the BGE progress is and how that translates to Nat 4 or Nat 5. Yes, the pathway through S3 will be communicated so you can see where it will lead through S4. Often for pupils doing Nat 4 in S4, they will also gain a Nat 5 Numeracy unit at the same time, to set them up for taking Nat 5 in S5.

If your child chooses Modern Studies in S3, does that mean they can’t take History/Geography in S4 at a higher level?

There are very few certainties in this process! The intention is that when you make a choice for S3 you would then continue in that choice in S4. When choosing subjects for S4, ideally pupils will only drop one subject. Sometimes things change so we do remain open-minded – if your child is studious and has shown they are able, it is definitely possible to pick up a subject in a similar area of study. It is certainly not the preferred option though as they do spend a lot of time in S3 learning fundamentals of the courses and preparing to move into Nat 5.
Similarly but less restrictive, talking about moving from Nat 5 to Higher, it’s the same idea although there are a small number of courses where pupils really do learn from scratch instead of building on previous years’ learning. Ultimately, in either situation, it’s about having a conversation with the Pupil Support Leader and is very much case by case.

My daughter wants to take Geography in S4, how can she catch up with material from S3?

Again it depends on the subject and it may not be possible, and changing at that point may limit the pupil to Nat 4 instead of Nat 5 in S4. Take Physics, for example, it’s quite a complex and challenging subject and they have found that pupils who attempt Nat 5 in S4 without sitting the subject in S3 find it extremely difficult to cope. Pupils may just need to take the 3-year approach: Nat 4 in S4, Nat 5 in S5 and Higher in S6. This is why getting it right as early as possible is really important.

Alternative Curriculum Pathways/Opportunities

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.

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.

Alternative Curriculum Pathways/Opportunities Is there provision for pupils to attend a course in another school if Trinity doesn’t provide it?

Yes, in part with Consortia. Currently we have 7 pupils doing Advanced Higher Business through Digital Consortia, this is being led by a teacher from Leith Academy on Teams, with around 20 pupils across the whole city. Pupils get a Teams lesson once a week after school and the resources are all on Teams. There are a number of Advanced Highers for which this process is very well suited as the courses are focused on more self-learning. We also have a pupil doing Mandarin. The hope is that the digital offer will be even bigger this next year.
We also have the Local Consortia – schools within a certain radius with not too long a journey that offer courses different to ours. Under this scheme we also have pupils coming to us for courses, we have 2 pupils sitting Nat 5 chemistry from Leith Academy and also a few pupils doing Higher Politics with us. In these cases there is ongoing communication between the schools to try to get pupils access to courses elsewhere.

How are YASS courses recognised by Universities and other bodies?

The YASS (Open University – Young Applicants Scotland Scheme) are not Advanced Higher courses, but they are level 7 equivalent courses. Essentially the merit of them is that when pupils are applying for University they will have a little bit more in-depth knowledge of the subject at a higher level. It’s less about the qualification and more about taking part and showing you are working independently, much like a university student would. It shows the character of the learner and their academic ability so it would be part of the personal statement rather than the requirements for entry.

Is online school offering Mandarin available at S3?

No, this is not part of our curriculum offer. If it was available in the community we’d be very happy to promote it and if we could support with IT to access it we would be happy to have a conversation around that.

Can my child access Mandarin in S6?

Yes, through the Digital Consortia, there is a teacher teaching it to around 15 pupils across the city. They are doing Advanced Higher level in that course, virtually and we expect this to continue being offered.

Is my daughter correct in telling me that the situation in French has recently changed and they do now have the numbers necessary to run a joint Nat 5/Higher class? She’s going into S5 and very keen to do Higher but has been told previously that it wouldn’t run.

We don’t have the information yet as we haven’t captured the data. We do really want Modern Languages to run again, as healthily as it has in the past, but it depends on the numbers. If we do have the numbers, we will do everything we can do make sure that happens. And where it can’t happen, we will do our best to support our pupils to see if they can do it through Consortia.

Might there be a joint Nat 5/Higher French class and how does that work in practice?

For some subjects it works in complete harmony, there’s a lot of crossover and the difference between the levels is more around the standard of the work from pupils. But sometimes it is a lot more complicated than that. N5/H is not the common standard for us, it can happen although it’s unlikely.

Questions about S3 moving into S4

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.

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.

In S4 is Modern Languages still a compulsory subject?

Only Maths and English remain compulsory.

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.

Would a pupil be able to change a subject going into S4?

While we do encourage progression from S3 to S4, pupils can change subjects, if they have a solid rationale for doing so – for example if they have changed their mind on what they wish to go on to do at college or university. If these conversations need to take place, they would begin with Pupil Support again, to verify this and make sure the pupil is suited to move into this new curriculum area.

Is it only Maths and English that are mandatory in S4?

Yes, every S4 pupil does Maths and English, and then the other 5 choices on top. Modern Languages are not compulsory but an option (French, Spanish or both).

Is it possible for my S3 child to take Higher Maths in S4?

To be really clear, we have one pupil who is doing Higher Maths in S4 who has come from another country mid-session and they have already been taking the Higher Maths curriculum in their home country. So, this is a very unique situation and not something we are opening up. What we are doing here is finding the right path for this particular young person as it would not be appropriate for them to drop down to Nat 5 after half a year of studying Higher Maths. This may be something we would offer more widely in the future but not just now.

Questions about S4 moving into S5

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.

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.

On the S4>S5 sheet do they need to choose within columns?

No, it is free choice. Columns are created after choices are made, based on what subjects pupils have chosen. We aim to have as high a satisfaction rate as possible.
It becomes fixed in columns in the re-coursing sheets issued around August, and they are then restrained to those columns. This may be needed if a pupil doesn’t achieve as highly as they wished and need to recourse.

Questions about S5 moving into S6

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.

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.

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.

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

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.  

You encourage progression but what will happen if some subjects are no longer relevant (my child has had a change of focus) and how do we address that?

We understand plans change but the curriculum is designed around progression – this is true across all schools in Scotland. We will be measured (by HMI) around a progressive curriculum that starts from P7 transition and goes through-out the school career.

Can my child change his subjects mid-session in S5 if this happens after the start of the year?

Mid-session changes: If it’s not long after summer break, you’re looking at having missed 3-4 quite meaningful weeks of learning but if it’s really important and you have the capacity to make up that work, that’s certainly possible and it does happen. There would need to be evidence in other subject areas that you would be able to catch up. Bear in mind the school year is really only 7 or 8 months long for an S4/5/6 pupil due to study leave and exams.
If it’s Oct/Nov/Dec and you’re looking to make changes, that’s almost certainly too late to change courses unless in very special circumstances. It is too late to be able to catch up with the missed work – the later in the year, the more challenging it is to catch up.

Different situation around crashing subjects in S5: would be looking at similar subjects with similar levels of literacy or numeracy to see if the pupil would be able to cope with the requirements when asking to crash a course. Again this would involve a conversation with various people, including but not limited to the subject’s Curriculum Leader, the Pupil Support Leader and maybe the head of year.

Are Maths, English and Modern Languages compulsory for S5?

In S5 there are core subjects: PSE & PE only – not qualification subjects but part ensuring pupils have access to an hour of health and wellbeing per week, plus PSE supports applications for post-school destinations and coursing for the next year. Maths and English are not mandatory. Almost all pupils take English and many take Maths. But you can be in S5 and not do either.

Additional Support Need Questions

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.

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.

Is the SfL (Support for Learning) class one of the S3>S4 options that are dropped?

The SfL class sits out with the curriculum structure. It is a support based on who is in the year at the time and what the specific support needs are. It’s not an “option” as such. It is there to support access into every curriculum area, whether developing a pupil’s literacy or numeracy or just developing strategies for them to be able to access the curriculum. If your child has time in SfL in S3, it really depends on their need as to what that support will look like in S4. We are about preparing and supporting your child to access all areas of the curriculum, through any SfL intervention.

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