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The School follows the Scottish examination system.
However, at a time when the opportunity for pupils and parents to make subject choices within the state sector is being diminished, High School of Dundee pupils continue to be able to make decisions about their future based on their interests, talents and ambitions.
For instance, instead of selecting five or six subjects, our Form 3 (S3) pupils continue to choose eight subjects. We like to open up options, instead of closing them off. As an example, pupils can choose to take all three sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) concurrently from N5 through to Advanced Higher level.
It's an approach which has served our pupils well; they consistently score in the top ten of all Scottish schools in SQA exams and have regularly scored the top marks in the land in a variety of subjects. Find out more about our exam results.
Our focus is on enabling every pupil to reach their full potential. Our Integrated Curriculum therefore brings together the academic, the co-curricular and pupil health and wellbeing to provide a coordinated, genuine all-round education with the pupil at the heart.
Forms 1 and 2 (S1&S2)
In Forms 1 and 2, pupils study English, Mathematics, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computing Science, Geography, History, Health and Food Technology, Music, Drama, Physics and Technology, together with a module in Classical Studies. In F1 and F2, all pupils study French plus one other language from a choice of Spanish, German, Mandarin, Latin. Pupils also study Personal and Social Education, and Physical Education and Games, throughout their time in the Senior Years, with Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies taken until F4.
Forms 3 and 4 (S3&S4)
From Form 3 onwards, we ask pupils to choose their subjects and we construct the timetable round these, not the other way round. Form 3 therefore sees pupils begin the process of specialisation. However, they continue to choose eight subjects from their studies in Form 1 (with the additional options of Economics and Modern Studies) to take through to the end of Form 4 when they will sit exams for the National 5 qualification. As a consequence the course remains as broad as possible, and to encourage this, pupils must choose at least one language and one science, along with English and Maths.
Form 5 normally consists of a diet of four or five Highers, with additional subjects such as Philosophy and Business management taking the total number offered to 26. Subjects at National 5 level may also be available, depending on the pupil's ability.
In total, 26 subjects are available at Higher level and 21 are available at Advanced Higher level.
The Higher maintains its status as a highly valued entry qualification for university, and it is therefore possible for pupils following the Scottish system to leave at the end of Form 5 and enter university straight away. However, at the High School of Dundee it is much more common for pupils to remain at school for a final year.
In Form 6, pupils normally sit Advanced Highers - broadly equivalent to an A-level - but have the option to study a mixture of Highers, Advanced Highers and other qualifications as well. In all, 21 subjects are available at Advanced Higher level. For some university degrees, an Advanced Higher may be required for entry.
A pupil’s final year at the High School is an opportunity to grow in maturity and self-awareness and consolidate their personnel and academic development. Form 6 is designed to provide a smooth link between school and university on the one hand, and the opportunity to develop responsibility and leadership on the other.
The academic curriculum moves on to a higher level but there is increased flexibility, personal choice and autonomy.
This allows pupils to pursue an individual course of those academic studies which will be of greatest benefit in their chosen path. This year is also an opportunity to develop personally, through co-curricular activities, a structured programme of enrichment activities, and voluntary and charitable work. A programme of service to the School is also in operation, including activities such as paired reading with younger pupils, helping with games coaching and assisting with the Junior Years. Form 6 pupils also have the opportunity to develop responsibility and teamwork by adopting roles as prefects or house officials.
Co-curriculum and trips
Sitting alongside the academic curriculum is our extensive co-curriculum, offering our pupils the chance to pursue their current interests and talents and find and explore new ones too.
An engaging part of the learning process, trips play an important role in the Senior Years. Pupils have the chance to take part in trips to local, national and international attractions and destinations both as part of their curricular studies, and as part of their co-curricular activities.
Post Exam Programme
At the High School of Dundee, our pupils don’t wind down towards the end of the summer term. When the SQA exams finish, a truly inspiring event begins!
Every year, our unique Post Exam Programme gives pupils in F4-F6 the chance to embrace new ideas and broaden their horizons as they hear from experts on a range of diverse subjects as part of a special lecture series, and take part in a number specially arranged, stimulating activities.