CfE: Senior Phase (S4-6)

In the senior phase S4 – S6, pupils can study all their subjects across a range of levels including HIGHER, NATIONAL 5, NATIONAL 4, NATIONAL 3 and National Progression Awards (NPAs)

In S6, there will be an opportunity to study some subjects at ADVANCED HIGHER level but this is dependent on the viability of running a class and staff availability – although we do transport pupils to another school if they have a space in an AH subject we are not running.


Additionally, the senior phase gives pupils an opportunity to study new or different subjects and explore alternative routes. These can include:


Photography                Spanish           Hospitality        Politics

Music Technology       Care                Psychology     Engineering Science


WEST COLLEGE SCOTLAND provide a range of vocational courses that pupils can embark on in S5/6. These may include:


Hairdressing                Beauty                                     Car Mechanics

Construction                Interior Architecture                Dance

Computer Gaming        Childcare                                 Sociology


It is our aim to provide pupils with a wide range of curricular opportunities which are tailored to the individual and suit their requirements


Assessment and reporting


Schools, in consultation with pupils and parents usually decide which exams/levels pupils sit. If no agreement is reached, the school will respect the parent’s wishes and respond accordingly.

How to understand new national qualifications

The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) is the main national body examining body. National qualifications are offered in a wide range of subjects and at different levels designed to progress learning. Most learners start their journey towards formal qualifications in S4 with National 4 and/or National 5 courses progressing from the Level 3 and 4 Experiences and Outcomes in the Broad General Education.

From August 2015, Johnstone High School has offered new qualifications at Higher and Advanced Higher levels.

Assessment is how learners, parents, schools and the SQA know that pupils have demonstrated the required knowledge and skills to gain National Qualifications. Methods of assessment used include:

Unit Assessment

Unit Assessments are required for all National Qualifications. The number of

units will vary depending on subject/level. These units assess the learning within each subject during the course of the year. Units are assessed as pass or fail by the school, following SQA quality assurance to meet national standards.

They ensure that required skills, knowledge and understanding have been achieved.

Added Value Unit Assessment

Added Value Unit Assessments are required for National 4 qualifications (together with Unit Assessments), and assess the application of learning across the course.

Units are assessed as pass or fail by the school, also following SQA quality assurance to meet national standards.

Course Assessment

Many courses have an assignment and an exam which are marked by the SQA. A few subjects are entirely assessed by schools in accordance with SQA guidelines and requirements. There is currently a national review of all National 5 qualifications.

The National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS) has produced two new publications for parents on assessment that you may find helpful. One provides a summary of assessment in the broad general education phase (early years to S3), and the other provides information about assessment in the Senior Phase (S4 to S6). Both leaflets provide a concise overview of what parents can expect, gives examples of how progress is assessed and shared, suggest some questions for parents and pupils to ask, and contain links to further information:

Assessing and Sharing Progress in the Broad General Education

Assessment in a Nutshell: National Qualifications


National certificates and results are sent out by post by the SQA in early August. Learners can also sign up to receive their results by text and/or email through MySQA ( Certificates show both courses and units that have

been passed. Units passed by the learner will appear on certificates, even if the overall course is not passed. National 1, 2, 3 & 4 courses will be recorded as Pass on the certificate; National 5 courses will be graded A to D. Grades A to C are a Pass; D recognises achievement. Details of courses taken but not passed are given in the covering letter that accompanies the certificate.

 Absence during SQA exams

If your child is in S4-6 and an absence from school means that they will be missing an SQA examination, it is vitally important that you inform the school on the day of the examination. This is in order to ensure that the school can access the Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service which supports pupils who have been unable to attend an examination for Personal Circumstances e.g. illness.


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