Senior Phase (S4-6) Course Information 2017/18 Oban High School Vision and Values

Progressing into the Senior Phase (S4-S6)

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Progressing into the Senior Phase (S4-S6)

The Senior Phase at Oban High School consists of learners in their fourth, fifth and sixth year of learning. Having completed a ‘Broad General Education’ in the Junior Phase (S1-S3), progression into the Senior Phase facilitates increased depth of learning, personalisation and choice. The Senior Phase for each learner must adequately prepare learners for the next transition into a positive and sustained destination eg employment, college or university.

Opportunities within the Senior Phase at Oban High School include:

  • Attaining SQA national qualifications

  • Achieving accreditation for personal achievements

  • Developing personal leadership skills eg Senior Pupil Leadership Team, Committees and Pupil Working Groups

If you intend to progress through the Senior Phase at Oban High School then we have high expectations of you. You need to be sure that you can deliver! You are now a senior pupil within the school, a role model for younger pupils, and we expect high standards of:

  • Effort

  • Respect for the whole school community

  • Full compliance with the school dress code

  • Attendance (90% as a minimum) and punctuality

You are responsible for your future. The school will provide you with a lot of support to help you make the right choices, but ultimately it is up to you.

SQA National Qualifications: Course Levels

The learning journey for each pupil is specific to their learning needs and their curriculum will be customised accordingly eg learners with additional support needs (as per the Additional Support for Learning Scotland Acts 2004 and 2009), learners who require additional work experience opportunities, learners who require accredited hours of volunteering, etc.

The SQA National Qualifications available within the Senior Phase at Oban High School on the ‘Course Choice Option Form’ are:

  • National Level 1,2,3,4 and 5 Qualifications

  • National Level 6 Qualifications (Higher)

  • National Level 7 Qualifications (Advanced Higher)

SQA National Qualifications: Progression Routes

National 5

National 4

CfE Level 4

(consolidating or secure)

National / Access 3
CfE Level 4



CfE Level 3

(consolidating or secure)


National 5

National 4

Advanced Higher


National 5

Advanced Higher


Advanced Higher

It should be noted that at any stage a learner may also progress laterally/horizontally, and not only vertically eg a learner who has worked hard to achieve qualifications at a particular level may be best suited to selecting new courses at the same level the following year to allow further consolidation of particular skills. Principal Teachers of Guidance and Principal Teachers of Subjects are best placed to provide appropriate advice to individual learners.

Course Structure and Assessment

National Qualifications (N1-N7) require 160 hours of study.

National Qualifications are divided into course units and outcomes. Pupils must pass the units and outcomes to achieve an overall award. The units are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

At National Level 1-4 schools will carry out all the assessment required including the ‘Value Added Unit’.

At National Level 5-7 a pass in an external exam is also required in addition to passing the unit assessments in order to achieve an overall award. The ‘Value Added Unit’ also involves an externally marked course assessment.

Further details on specific courses and assessments methods can be examined on the following websites: and

For your Child to have the Greatest Chance of Success in:

  • Higher courses - pupils should have a National 5 level pass in that subject

  • National 5 courses – pupils should have a National 4 level pass in that subject

  • National 4 level – pupils should have National 3 level pass or be CFE level 3 consolidating/secure or level 4 developing in that subject

  • For pupils in S3 going into S4 we recommend that you study at National 4 or National 5 level. Some pupils may be best suited to National 3 and some may consider Higher. Your Principal Teacher of Guidance will discuss these options with you.

  • Crash Highers – many pupils are perfectly capable of succeeding in Higher subjects where they have attained an A or B in a similar subject. Please discuss this with your Principal Teacher of Guidance.

Before Making your Choices – Do your Research!

As you enter the Senior Phase you must ensure that you are choosing the courses which are most likely to enjoy, be successful in and which may be required for your next learning destination after school. At this stage it is absolutely essential that you do some research with your parents and think carefully about your learning journey and where it is leading eg into employment, college or university.

We strongly recommend that you explore all the possibilities by having a look on the following websites:

This website provides information on every university course in Britain and the Entry Profile (EP) will give you the most up to date Scottish Qualifications which are required for entry to each course.

This website provides information about our courses.

Even if you are unsure of your future post-school at this stage, you will know which courses you enjoy the most and are making progress in. Whatever you want to do, Skills Development Scotland offers careers advice for pupils of all ages and stages of their education.

Making Your Choices!

Step 1: Do your research with your parents and make sure the information you have about future careers and college/university courses is accurate - make sure you check the UCAS, and/or the Skills Development Scotland websites. You may make an appointment to meet with your Principal Teacher of Guidance to discuss your options.

Step 2: If you know what your next learning destination will be after Oban High School then find out:

  • Which SQA national qualifications you need and whether or not you need them all in ‘one-sitting’?

  • The specific skills which you may require?

  • Whether you need accredited hours of volunteering in order to apply?

  • If it is essential that you have relevant work experience?

Step 3: Examine the ‘Course Choice Option Form’ and consider which choices are best for you. If you need more information ask the Principal Teacher of that subject.

Step 4: Complete the Course Choice Option Form by writing your preference and level you have chosen.

All Senior Phase pupils will receive an interview from their Principal Teacher of Guidance who will ensure that the courses selected are appropriate for the learner based on progress made to date.

Administration and IT National 4, 5 and Higher

The national 4 and 5 courses will build on the broad general education offered in S1-S3 and will progress to Higher level.

Administration is a growing sector which cuts across the entire economy and offers wide-ranging employment opportunities. Moreover, administrative and IT skills have extensive application not only in employment but also in other walks of life.

Aims of the course


he main aim of this Course is to develop administrative and IT skills and, ultimately, to enable pupils to contribute to the effective functioning of organisations in administrative positions.

There will be a significant practical component in this course, which involves experiential learning, encouraging the integration of skills, knowledge and understanding through practical activities. Its use of real-life contexts makes it relevant to the world of work and its uniqueness lies in enabling learners to work towards industry standard in IT in an administration-related context. Pupils will develop a range of skills;, including the ability to use the following IT applications: word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations and desktop publishing; the ability to use technology, including the internet, for electronic communication and investigation; and the ability to organise, manage and communicate information.

They will also develop the skills required to organise and support events.
At each level, National 4 and National 5 there are three mandatory units and then a course assessment. The units cover the same areas for both levels, but the course assessments differ significantly between National 4 and National 5.

The mandatory units are:

dministrative Practices

This Unit will give pupils a broad introduction to administration in the workplace. They will develop an understanding of key legislation affecting both organisations and employees, the benefits to organisations of good customer care and the skills, qualities and attributes required of administrators. They will be able to apply this understanding in carrying out a range of administrative tasks required for organising and supporting events.

IT Solutions for Administrators

This unit will develop skills in IT, problem solving and organising and managing information in largely familiar administration-related contexts. Pupils will select the following IT applications — word processing, spreadsheets, databases — and use them to create and edit business documents. The Unit will allow emerging technologies to be incorporated so as to ensure that its content remains current and relevant.


ommunication in Administration

This unit will prepare pupils to use IT for gathering and sharing information with others in largely familiar administration-related contexts. They will develop an understanding of what constitutes a reliable source of information and an ability to identify and use the most appropriate methods for gathering information. They will also be able to communicate information in ways appropriate to its context, audience and purpose. The Unit will allow emerging technologies to be incorporated so as to ensure that its content remains current and relevant.

Course assessment
National 4 – Added value unit

National 5 – Practical Assignment

Higher – Practical Assignment and Question Paper (Exam)
The course will be delivered in an integrated way. Students will cover a range of small, topic based projects that cover aspects of all units. The units will be delivered in familiar contexts. There will be opportunities to develop practical skills as well as developing knowledge and understanding.

Art and Design

National 3

This course forms a natural buffer between the broad general junior experience and the more structured senior courses. It gives students an opportunity to apply prior knowledge, skills and techniques to folios over which they have more choice and control. Whilst structure and delivery is very similar to National 4 & 5, National 3 courses are not graded but units are assessed on a pass/fail basis. This often takes the form of peer and teacher review. Homework tasks are set to encourage personal reflection or recording and are an invaluable research aid. Personal sketchbooks are encouraged. The broad generic skills developed in this course include: Personal learning and the thinking skills of understanding, applying and creating. National 3 forms a natural springboard for further study in Art & Design.

National 4 and 5

Progression to National 4/5 courses in the Senior school phase builds on this prior knowledge and gives participants an opportunity to work in a creative environment which encompasses the CfE principles. Broad generic skills are also built into the course drawn from

  • Literacy Health & Wellbeing and Thinking Skills.

The combined elements of this course are designed to extend the student’s ability to full potential.

Depending on experience, knowledge and ability, pupils will be presented at an appropriate level. The content of our new National courses closely resembles existing courses with increased emphasis on art and design practice and analysis of social and cultural influences. The delivery is tailored by staff, dependent on the individual needs and interests of each candidate.

It takes the form of practical Expressive and Design Folios with associated Art & Design Studies relating to each unit.

  • Each folio is based around research and investigation of a particular artist, designer or art movement or style. This knowledge then influences and informs the candidate’s subsequent practical folio which is monitored internally and subsequently sent for external assessment.

  • Knowledge and understanding of the working practise and cultural and historical influence of artists and designers is examined in a 1 hour written paper.

The course is a natural development from the National 5 level and is available to pupils who have proved they can cope with the analytical aspects of the subject, as well as the practical. A considerable amount of individual study is required. The course encompasses the CfE principles and is designed to extend the student’s ability to full potential. Higher consists of three distinct units of approximately 40 hours duration:

  • Design Folio ~ 40 hours

  • Expressive Folio ~ 40 hours

  • Art & Design Studies ~ 2 blocks of 20 hours.

Higher courses culminate with a written exam (Art & Design Studies) and the external assessment of both practical folios.

Advanced Higher
This is a natural extension to the Higher course for students wishing to extend their Art & Design studies. The course has two distinct units taken over 120 hours. Its content and style is dictated by the student which demands a high level of Creativity, Commitment &Curiosity.

Pupils can choose to specialise in Design or Expressive for their course.

  • Design or Expressive Studies ~ 80 hours

  • Design or Expressive Enquiry ~ 40 hours.

The course is assessed entirely by an externally-marked Portfolio. In the portfolio, learners will further develop selected examples of their previous work and will use these, and their in-depth understanding of artists and art practice, to influence and inform the development of their expressive ideas and art work. The portfolio will focus on both the process and products of learning.

Careers Information
Though the best reason for studying Art & Design is for your own fulfilment and enjoyment, certain professions and areas of employment prefer evidence of your proficiency in the subject, for example: Artists (freelance), Architect, Millinery, Dressmaking & Costume Designer, Make-up Artist Cinematographer, Photographer, Jeweller, Graphic Designer, Product Designer, Town Planning, Environmental Artist, Landscape Architect, Interior Designer, Advertising, Web Designer, Textile Designer, Art Technician, Window Display, Florist, Renovation & Bookbinding, Project Curator, Model Maker, Primary Teacher. The historical knowledge gained from Art & Design studies can also enhance study in the fields of History, Geography, Literature and social subjects.


National 4 and National 5

Life on Earth

All of the plants and animals on the planet depend on each other for survival. In this unit we will look at these relationships and the factors which influence where specific plants and animals live by sampling organisms in the local environment. We will also look at the roles these organisms play in these areas and how they have adapted to do so

We will look at how energy gets into the food chain through the process of photosynthesis and how this energy moves is passed between organisms. We will also look at how food is produced on a global scale and the nutrients required for its growth.

Animals and plants have all adapted to live in certain environments. You will learn about the interactions between these organisms and how humans have managed a range of environments. In addition you will discover ways in which you can monitor a specific environment.

We will also look at how animal behaviour has developed to allow them to live in a wide variety of ecosystems.

Multicellular Organisms

Different organisms reproduce in different ways. In this topic you will learn about the benefits of each type of reproduction. You will also learn about how genetic information is passed between generations and how this affects our features such eye and hair colour.

All living things are made up of cells. You will learn about the many different types of cells and how they are perfectly suited to do specific jobs in your body. You will also learn the tissues and organs which allow us to stay alive.

As part of this unit you will learn more about the human body and how all of the parts work together to ensure that we can survive. You will also look at how your body copes with changes in the environment but manages to keep things like your temperature the same regardless of the external conditions.

Cell Biology

This topic will look at the wide variety of cells and using microscopes and other practical activities you will look at the internal structure of cells. You will also learn more about how cells can be used to treat some medical conditions.

For cells to survive they must allow certain substances such as water and oxygen to pass in and out. This topic will look at the processes which allow this to take place.

You will also look at the structure of DNA and how it carries genetic information from generation to generation. You will learn about genetic medical conditions and how modern genetics is used in a wide variety of medical applications.

Assessment National 4

The National 4 the course will be internally assessed through the assessment of each unit. You will also be assessed on an added value unit where you will carry out a project and will be given a test at the end. Through this added value unit you will be able to demonstrate the breadth of knowledge and skills you have acquired from across all the other units.

Assessment National 5

At National 5 the course will be externally assessed. The units completed as part of the course will also be assessed to check your level of understanding of each unit.

If you are successful at achieving a National 4 qualification in Biology you can progress to any of the sciences at National 5 level.

Those successful in achieving a National 5 qualification in Biology can progress to Higher Biology.


Biology qualifications can be used in a wide variety of careers such as:

Medicine Dentistry Animal Care Physiotherapy Nursing

Research Agriculture Biotechnology Conservation Ecology

Genetics Veterinary Aquaculture and many more!


Course Description

The course provides a broad based study of biological topics which builds on the concepts developed in National 5. The three units are: DNA and the Genome, Metabolism and Survival, and Sustainability and Interdependence. Opportunities are provided to gain knowledge of biological facts and ideas as well as to develop problem solving and practical skills. The relevance of recent advances in genetics, environmental biology, etc is examined and students are encouraged to develop an open-minded approach. As with National 5, language skills are important both for the completion of practical reports and for the short essay questions which are part of the course assessments.

Advanced Higher

Course Description:

The course consists of two 40-hour units - Cell & Molecular Biology and Environmental Biology, and one 20-hour unit - Animal Behaviour. Each of these is assessed by an end of topic NAB and the external exam.


A further 25 hours is allocated to devising and carrying out a short individual investigation. This helps to develop planning and research skills which will be of use in any future university or college course.










Careers Information

Biology is either essential or recommended for most of the health professions such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, etc, and also veterinary medicine. Professional biologists may be employed in areas such as forensic science, medical research, genetics, agriculture, fish farming, bacteriology, sports science and environmental health. Biotechnology is now a rapidly expanding career area for biologists with several Scottish companies at the forefront of research in this field.


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