Sixth Form in Scotland
Following on from our recent guide to British Sixth Form study, we thought it might be helpful to zero in on the options available at boarding schools in Scotland.
Some of the Scottish schools we work with offer A Levels and/or the IB, but others follow the curriculum set by The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which works with schools, colleges, universities and training organisations to develop and deliver a wide range of internationally recognised qualifications.
“Highers” are their standard qualifications for people who are planning to apply to university and are designed as one year courses. Students in Scottish schools take their Highers at the end of S5, which is equivalent to the English Year 12 or Lower Sixth Form. Most students take five different Highers and, assuming they achieve a good pass, may move on to “Advanced Highers” the following year in two or three of the subjects they are particularly good at, interested in, or which are key to the university course they are aiming for.
It is not mandatory to continue into S6 after taking Highers in S5, even for those wanting to apply to university, but most students do, as it improves their chances of getting on their desired course. If they choose not to take Advanced Highers, students have the option to upgrade or re-take Highers, in which they didn’t get the required grade. Most Scottish students will undertake a combination of Advanced Highers and Highers in S6, perhaps picking up on subjects they didn’t take in S5 or ‘crashing’ new subjects in order to broaden their experience for university. They may also choose to spend that year getting other skills and experience – for example, by volunteering.
Once Higher examination results are known, it is normal for Scottish students to consult the universities they are interested in in order to clarify the best combination of subjects in S6 to gain university entry.
If you are considering one or two years in a Scottish Sixth Form for your son or daughter, why not contact us to discuss the options?