Curriculum for Excellence – senior phase options

The Curriculum for Excellence senior phase. The Senior Phase can be characterised as that which takes place in the final stages of compulsory education and beyond, normally around age 15 to 18.

The following options have been generated in East Lothian for consideration by senior managers, staff, students, parents, elected members, and other interested parties such as universities, employers and colleges of further education.

Over the next few months we will be consulting with the above groups to help us develop a policy document which will set out the broad direction of travel we intend to take in relation to the senior phase.

We would be interested in people’s top ten selection from the following 41 options.

I’ll be exploring some of these options in more depth over the next few weeks.



Option 1. Students must be involved in the design of the senior phase curriculum/programme of studies.

Option 2. Evening lessons or distance learning must be available for some subjects

Option 3. All East Lothian students must have access to the Scottish Baccalaureate.

Option 4. All students in a school’s senior phase should be regarded as a single group and timetabled accordingly.

Option 5. students should be able to integrate day-time employment, work experience, internships, etc, with their studies.

Option 6. East Lothian students should be able to access Advanced Higher courses on offer at any East Lothian school.

Option 7. Students should be exposed to some large lecture group presentations – to reflect what they will experience in HE.

Option 8. Students need only be present for classes – reflecting HE and FE practice

Option 9. Local employers must be invited to be involved in the design of the senior phase curriculum/programme of studies.

Option 10. Students should have a free choice of subjects from the full range, with no subject column restrictions.

Option 11. Students should have the opportunity to spend at least one day a week at FE or Queen Margaret University.

Option 12. Schools should publish the individual SQCF points total of the top 30% of each year group in the senior phase

Option 13. Every student in the senior phase should have an annual 30 minute appointment with a health counsellor.

Option 14. All teaching should take place in 2 hour sessions.

Option 15. Some students should be sponsored by local companies – particularly looked after or accommodated.

Option 16. Register classes or year group tutor groups should be replaced by intergenerational groupings in the senior phase

Option 17. Peer group assessment system should be introduced to complement reporting and assessment . see

Option 18. All students should have opportunity to take part in an annual outdoor expedition

Option 19. The 13th year of school should be treated as a transition year to employment, further, or higher education.

Option 20. Parenting classes and active engagement with early years groups should be compulsory for all students.

Option 21. Students should have access to previous achievement data for each course of study, prior to subject choice.

Option 22. Some teachers should be ascribed to solely teach the senior phase in any one year.

Option 23. 10% of the courses offered by a school should be drawn from the HN qualifications catalogue

Option 24. Senior Students (S4 – S6) will be “matriculated” into the EL Learning Campus including all schools, FE + QMU

Option 25. All students will be assisted to set up their own bank account with regular sessions on financial management.

Option 26. Schools should be able to present information on the delivery/running costs for each senior phase subject.

Option 27. Every class to have a “mentor link” – a person from the community who has/had related employment in that area.

Option 28. All students to experience one day in an old people’s home; an early years class, and a complex needs

Option 29. Establish a micro investment fund for student application – something like this –

Option 30. Organise EL student conferences for subject interest groups to encourage networking and intellectual curiosity.

Option 31. EL should enable up to 10 students per school to study abroad for their final year on an international exchange.

Option 32. Some teachers in East Lothian to be dedicated to working with senior phase students across a number of schools

Option 33. East Lothian to establish strategic senior phase partnerships with education districts in other countries

Option 34. Support students to set up a Facebook page for every senior phase course of study. Tie up with twitter accounts.

Option 35. Support/encourage students to create on-line tutorials for fellow students across all schools.

Option 36. Replace paper textbooks with downloadable textbooks –

Option 37. No parent/teacher meetings in senior phase – replace with student/teacher review meetings – parents can shadow.

Option 38. Additional support for parents/carers of looked after children about home learning, next steps, and leaving home.

Option 39. Students to be made aware of the delivery costs for each of their courses of study, and total sum for entire year

Option 40. Wednesday afternoons given over to sporting, cultural, recreational, interest activities for staff and students.

Option 41. Students to rate each course of study on completion e.g. on-line support, teaching, learner involvement, interest

7 thoughts on “Curriculum for Excellence – senior phase options

  1. I wish I was a student again. Any ten of the above would offer a more rounded education experience offering skills for learning, life & work and befitting of the 21st century.

    Could students select direct of the above list?

  2. Interesting to read this. We’ve had difficulty trying to get 3 Advanced Highers timetabled for our youngest as there are so few students wanting to do AHs. It was sorted in the end but only after putitng heavy pressure on the school, which I’m sure they didn’t want, and looking at alternative schools. I’m now trying to organise some regular voluntary work experience but it will have to be Friday afternoons which often clashes with other stuff such as music. There are a lot of free periods scattered through the week and it would be good to have a defined/timetabled work experience slot, maybe for everyone, along the lines of the Wednesday afternoon sports/no lectures that some schools & Universities do.

    With very small numbers at the top end of each school in the different streams of interest, there must be scope for something more collegiate.

  3. guineapigmum

    Thanks for the comment. I’m very keen to hear from other parents and students about how they would like the senior phase to shape up. We might not be able to put some of these options into place immediately but if there is sufficient demand we can at least move in that direction.


  4. Don
    I am struggling to get them down to 10.

    Some general comments at the moment.

    1. How do you manage and guide the involvement of pupils in designing the senior stage? In my experience, and very generally speaking, pupils (and NQT’s who have only ever been in education) are not good at seeing how schools could be changed. It would take a lot of work to get them to a stage that they are able to see beyond ‘that’s the way school is’.
    I am not saying that they shouldn’t just that will need a lot of scaffolding to allow it to be effective.

    2. Used Young Applicants in Secondary Schools (YASS) from the OU for specific courses. Work well but very expensive. Gives the pupil a sense of what its like to be independant learners.

    3. We have had S3-6 as a single chort for several years now. The pupils choose 10 subjects at the end of S2. 5 for S3 and a hoped for 5 in S4. All courses last for 1 year and then, if still appropriate, they move onto the next 5. All courses are 5 periods a week . All courses are of equal value, at the same level, in the curriculum be that Int 2 Maths or Int 2 Construction Skills.
    This means that Senior classes are multiage. A class can have any age pupil in it from S3 to S6. Pupils can take different appropriate level classes in different sugbjects ie a Sixth Year pupil can be Studying Higher Physics, Int 2 PE, Int 2 Construction Skills, Int 1 Art (As they didn’t do it in any of theit younger years) and then have a non taught class delivered online/study notes.

    4. The only classes that are age specific are PSE and Tutor. We felt that PSE has age specific topics.
    The tutor periods are aimed at reflecting on learning and setting goals t support individual learning.

    Have so much to write but I think I have to process the long list for myself first.

    – Positives;

  5. Ian

    Thanks for the comment/s.

    I’ll work my way through them one by one.

    Option 1, involving students in designing the senior phase.

    I’d agree with you that students can often the most conservative/reactionary group when considering how schools might change. That’s not to say that they can’t imagine something different but that they have been conditioned to accept what we give them. in my experience this conservatism is often manipulated/stirred up by individual teachers who are against any change to the status quo – regardless of how it might benefit the student body.

    I think a good starting point would be to engage students in an exercise similar to the one which I set set up in this post. Perhaps not asking them to choose their top ten, but seeing which of the options gain the most collective support. From there I’d promote discussion around why these options have proved attractive and then start to look think about how they could be implemented.

    The reality is that the only senior phase curriculum consultation exercise we have at the moment is where we allow students to choose subjects from a list of predetermined groupings/columns of study!

    If good classroom practice is supposed to involve students in co-designing the learning process then we need to model that involvement at a whole school level.



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