Revised – JUNE 2009 – Reviewed February 2012
The management and teaching staff at Balfron High School are committed to ensuring that all young people have a challenging and enjoyable learning experience, regardless of ability, subject or level. Our aims are for all pupils to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
In the earlier years (S1-S4) the focus is upon social development, developing academic skills and encouraging participation in non-academic achievements such as lunchtime clubs, sports and music. In S5 the focus shifts towards the challenges of academic attainment in National Examinations, while still recognising and encouraging non-academic achievements. In S6, there is still a strong focus on academic challenge and attainment in National Examinations but S6 is also a transition year and opportunities are offered for additional personal, social and vocational development.
Our highest priority for the academic attainment of S5-S6 is ensuring that all pupils undertaking courses at Balfron High School complete the course they start, and complete it successfully. Additionally, through effective learning and teaching, we would wish pupils to achieve a level of success that is equal to, or even greater than, our estimate of their potential. For many, entry to tertiary education is critically dependent upon such success.
Choosing Subjects and Levels
Ensuring successful completion of National Courses starts with the Option Choice Procedure in February/March of each year. We ask all (then) S4 & S5 candidates to select the subjects which they wish to pursue the following session, based on:
- Subjects that they enjoy,
- Subjects that they are confident in,
- Subjects that they may need for their future career.
In most cases it is appropriate to consider S5 & S6 as a two year course and to make their choices with both years in mind. However some pupils may need to undertake a very demanding S5 to gain entrance to particular university courses.
Once the pupil has chosen their subjects, the level of the course (Intermediate 1 or 2, Higher or Advanced Higher) is then determined by teaching staff based upon a number of factors:
- The candidate’s own results from the previous session in that subject,
- The candidate’s own results from the previous session across all their other subjects,
- Subject success statistics from previous year’s cohorts of Balfron High School,
- Subject success statistics from previous year’s cohorts across Scotland.
The over-riding decision however, is that the pupil should be placed on the highest level of course possible, while ensuring that the chances of successfully completing that course are realistic and likely.
Subject and Level Changes
The decision on the level of study is made before the pupil commences the course at the start of June. However, the choice of subjects and the level of study are open to negotiation upon receipt of SQA results in August. The results can particularly affect the new S6. By September 1st all S5/S6 pupils must have finalised their timetables. After this date, course changes are not allowed other than in exceptional circumstances.
Monitoring and Tracking
Class teachers monitor pupil performance on a daily basis, through classwork, homework, formal and informal assessments. Marks, comments and other relevant information can all be logged centrally on ‘Click and Go’ (Pupil Performance Management System).
Principal Teachers have full access to ‘Click and Go’ and are therefore able to monitor and track progress throughout the session. ‘Click and Go’ information could include positive comments about the high quality of work presented as well as noting homework not done, or lack of effort in class for example.
Pupil Support staff and Deputes also utilise ‘Click and Go’ to monitor and track pupil progress, identifying and highlighting trends across subjects (such as homework regularly not done), or difficulties unique to one subject. Such issues are raised and discussed at House Meetings as part of an early and staged intervention strategy to support all pupils.
Our reporting strategy has been developed around the principle of early intervention. It is our aim to inform parents as quickly as possible about difficulties or issues arising that may prevent a pupil from achieving their potential. To help us achieve this we have an early intervention reporting system called “Cause for Concern”, which allows class teachers to notify their Principal Teachers and parents about concerns formally, and at an early stage when a remedy is still possible. Further information can be found in the Assessment & Reporting Policy.
Presentation Policy for S5 and S6
It is our duty to provide a full time educational experience for all pupils. It is school policy to present all pupils successfully for a full quota of courses:
- 5 courses leading to a National Qualification for all 5th Year pupils
- 4 (or more) courses leading to a National Qualification for all 6th Year pupils.
Many pupils receive Education Maintenance Allowance and other financial support, based on being in full time education. Similarly school places are funded on the basis of a full-time commitment. It is essential therefore that all pupils in S5/S6 study at Balfron High School on a full-time basis. For S5 pupils full-time is defined as 5 courses, for S6 pupils full-time is defined as 5 courses or 4 courses, 2 periods of peer support and membership of a Sixth Year Leadership Team.
No pupil is allowed to withdraw from their chosen course of study at any time, other than exceptional circumstances. Where such circumstances do exist, withdrawal from a course must be authorised by the House Depute. Even at that point, for those pupils whom withdrawal is appropriate, they will remain in the same class undertaking private study in their remaining subjects. Leaving the classroom itself is not an option unless an alternative has been agreed by the House Depute.
Our aim is for all pupils to continue with each of their subjects, complete the course and sit the SQA Exam.