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The rationale which underpins our curriculum can be summed-up as follows:

  • We want our students to leave school with the knowledge they need to understand the world around them
  • We want our students to leave school with the skills they need to continue to learn and contribute to society
  • We want our students to leave school with attributes which reflect our school values
  • We want our students to leave school with a portfolio of qualifications which open the doors they need them to and which reflects their very best
  • We want our students to love learning for the sake of learning, viewing it as interesting, exciting and empowering

Knowledge-based; skills-orientated

The Berwickshire High School curriculum is knowledge-based, skills-orientated. By teaching students a broad and deep body of knowledge, we lay the foundations for them to develop a wide range of specific skills, some of which will be transferable across subject disciplines.

As well as teaching students knowledge and skills, we teach them attributes. By doing so, we aim to develop their character.

For the most part, our curriculum is taught in specific subjects, grouped as faculties. You can find out more about these by clicking on the faculty links at the right-hand side of this page.

S1-3: the Broad General Education (BGE)

The S1-3 curriculum is often referred to as the Broad General Education. It is informed by the national guidelines produced by Education Scotland, but the specific content is unique to Berwickshire High School.

The BGE spans primary school and the early stages of secondary school. Students work through different levels in each subject, with the national expectation for most student as follows:

  • Early Level - achieved by the end of P1
  • First Level - achieved by the end of P4
  • Second Level - achieved by the end of P7
  • Third Level - achieved by the end of S3

S4-6: the Senior Phase (SP)

Once they move into S4, students begin their Senior Phase. The courses they study are national courses, common to different schools across the country. The different types of course on offer in Berwickshire High School include:

  • Nationals (National 1, National 2, National 3, National 4 and National 5)
  • Highers
  • National Progression Awards (NPAs)
  • National Certificates (NCs)
  • Advanced Highers

In addition, senior students have the opportunity to learn in work placements and Foundation Apprenticeships.

Some of the courses we offer in the Senior Phase are delivered by partner agencies, including Community Learning and Development, Borders College and Queen Margaret University.

'In A Nutshell' series

The National Parent Forum have created a very useful suite of 'In A Nutshell' documents designed to help students and parents understand National and Higher courses for each subject:


In S4, students typically study six National courses, each timetabled for five periods per week. They are also taught Physical Education (PE), Personal and Social Education (PSE) and Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education (RMPS).

In S5, students from a range of Nationals, Highers, National Progression Awards, National Certificates, work placements and Foundation Apprentices. They are taught Personal and Social Education (PSE) and Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education (RMPS), and can make a choice to be taught Physical Education (PE) or Practical Cookery. Many S5 students will also have independent Study Periods.

In S6, students can choose from the same range of courses as S5 students, but can also study Advanced Highers. They are taught Personal and Social Education (PSE) and Citizenship. As a general rule, S6 students are expected to follow a curriculum which has a minimum of 28 timetabled periods (although this can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis). As part of their curriculum, S6 students are expected to make an enhanced contribution to the school or local community, for example, through volunteering.

Wider learning opportunities

The curriculum in our school extends beyond that which is formally taught in subjects. It includes:

  • Assemblies
  • Clubs
  • Committees
  • Sports
  • Shows
  • Trips
  • Work experience
  • Volunteering