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Social Subjects

At Berwickshire High School, the Social Subjects faculty offers pupils a high quality learning and teaching experience where pupils develop an understanding of Scottish, British and world events to create well rounded and informed citizens.   Courses are designed to deepen pupils’ knowledge of world history, our environment and current UK and international issues. We are also committed to providing a high quality religious and philosophical education. 

We have a dedicated team of subject specialists, many of whom are qualified in multiple disciplines.  The structure of the curriculum within the faculty allows us to see pupils for a minimum of four days a week; this allows us to forge strong relationships with pupils.  This both furthers pupils’ learning and promotes and maintains the high expectations in the faculty.

Our aim is to create well informed citizens who have a passion for social subjects and create a desire for pupils to continue their learning and love of the disciplines out with the context of school.


In S1 and S2 pupils will experience three periods of combined Social Subjects and one additional period of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education.

S1 Social Subjects
  • Climate
  • Dark Ages
  • Democracy
  • Earth Forces
  • Building a Nation
  • Child Soldiers
  • Philosophy for Children
  • Winter Festivals
  • Ultimate Questions
  • Sacred Spaces
S2 Social Subjects
  • Nepal
  • Atlantic Slave Trade
  • The USA
  • Map Skills
  • Ancient Greece
  • Globalisation
  • Religion and Food
  • Life after death
  • Worship
  • Animal rights


As pupils enter S3 they will be allowed to specialise within the faculty.  They will be allowed to pick up to two Social Subjects, and for each chosen subject they will receive 3 periods a week taught by a subject specialist.  Alongside their chosen ‘discreet’ subject(s) they will also receive one period a week of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education.

The topics covered in S3 are designed to deepen pupils’ knowledge of their chosen discipline and prepare them for the transition to National by developing their skills.  However, the philosophy of the Social Subjects Faculty is to never close off pupils’ progression pathways.  If a pupil has not taken a discreet subject in S3, that does not mean that they cannot take it as a National subject in the Senior Phase.

S3 Geography
  • Population
  • Geography of Crime
  • Atlas Skills
  • World Issues
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Geography in the Media
S3 History
  • The Great War
  • Free at Last
  • The Cold War
S3 Modern Studies
  • China
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Conflict and Terrorism
  • Pressure Groups
  • Developing World
  • Scotland’s Story
  • Racism and Prejudice
  • Religion and Justice
  • Evil and Suffering

S4-6 Geography


The course consists of three units: The Physical Environment, Human Environments and Global Issues. The course also includes an additional ‘Assignment’. Each unit will look at different case studies from across the globe and provide the students with a wide range of skills and knowledge which will prepare them for the wider world, higher education and work. Topics delivered at this level include:

  • Global Issues (Health)
  • Human Environments (Weather and Climate)
  • Physical Environments (Coasts and Glaciation)
Higher Geography

Learners will develop and apply geographic skills and knowledge and understanding of physical and human environments and develop an understanding of global issues over three units.  The course also includes an additional ‘Assignment’.  The topics studied within these three units include:

  • Physical
  • Human (Rural, Population and Urban)
  • Global (Health and Climate)
Advanced Higher Geography

This Course provides students with opportunities to continue to acquire and develop the attributes they have learnt in Higher Geography, as well as skills for life and skills for work. The purpose of Advanced Higher Geography is to further develop the students’ understanding of our changing world and its human and physical processes. Opportunities for practical activities including fieldwork will be an essential part of this Course.  Topics include:

  • Map interpretation
  • Gathering and processing techniques
  • Geographical data handling

S4-6 History

National History

The course consists of three units; Scotland, Britain and European and the World.  The course also includes an additional ‘Assignment’. Each unit will provide the students with a wide range of skills and knowledge which are transferrable across many social subjects as well as preparing them for their next steps.  Topics delivered at this level include:

  • Migration and Empire 1830-1939
  • Making of Modern Britain 1880-1950
  • Red Flag: Russian Revolution 1894–1921
Higher History

This course consists of three units; Scotland, Britain and European and the World.  The course also includes an additional ‘Assignment’. Each unit will provide the students with a wide range of skills and knowledge which will prepare them for the wider world of higher education and work.  Topics studied within these units include:

  • The Great War
  • Free at Last
  • The Cold War
Advanced Higher History

This is a study of Germany’s social and political development between 1918 and 1939. It traces the effects of defeat in World War One, the creation of the new German Democratic Republic and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The Nazi State is covered in depth. This includes Nazi views on race and the manipulation of the masses. The course ends with the steps that led Germany to war with Britain and her allies in 1939.

The course requires students to read widely and to be able to work independently. This is an excellent course that acts as a transition from school to further and higher education.  The topic delivered at this level includes:

  • Germany: from Democracy to Dictatorship (1918-1939)

S4-6 Modern Studies

National Modern Studies

The course consists of three units; Social Issues, International Issues, and Scottish and British Politics. The course also includes an additional ‘Assignment’.  Topics delivered at this level include:

  • International Issue: Terrorism
  • Politics:  UK Government
  • Social Issues: Crime and Punishment

S4-6 Religious, Moral & Philosophical Studies

National 5 / Higher RMPS

This course consists of three units: World Religion, Morality and Belief, and Religious and Philosophical Questions.  This is a combined Higher and National 5 course.   Topics delivered at this level include:

  • World Religion – Buddhism
  • Morality and Belief - Euthanasia and the treatment of embryos
  • Religious and Philosophical Questions – Origins of the Universe and Life

S4-6 Travel & Tourism

National 4-5 Travel and Tourism

The Travel and Tourism ‘Skills for Work’ course is designed to provide a detailed introductory qualification into the travel and tourism industry and the SCQF Customer Service Qualification.  Learners will develop skills to become effective job seekers and employees.  They will also look at tourism in and around the UK and Worldwide along with customer care in travel and tourism. National 5 Travel and Tourism will also focus on more advanced skills in relation to seeking employment and customer care.  This course also has a mandatory work experience placement requirement.  Topics include:

  • Scotland’s Tourist Industry
  • UK and Worldwide Tourist Industry
  • Customer Service

Prince's Trust

Level 4 or 5 Prince's Trust

The Prince’s Trust Achieve Programme in Scotland supports 13 -16 year olds to develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their goals through relevant, engaging and informal learning. The qualification recognises a breadth of personal skills, qualities and attitudes valued by employers across a range of sectors.

Through this course, pupils will experience a nurturing and safe environment that enables them to engage in learning that is relevant to them.   The aim is to prepare pupils for progression into further education programmes, apprenticeships or other work-based learning.

Pupils are expected to complete 5 units in order to achieve the SCQF level 4 or 5 Personal Development & Employability skills. These include:

  • Personal & Social Development – developing communication and social skills including teamwork, sport and interpersonal skills.
  • Life Skills – engaging with relevant life situations including money management, preparing for a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Active Citizenship – engaging with wider community issues including planning to support others.
  • Preparation for work – Identifying strengths & interests and core employability skills including career planning & presentation skills.

S6 Citizenship

The faculty have put together a programme of topics which will cover a wide range of issues that will help pupils develop awareness of the world around them as well as covering the prescribed outcomes for Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education.   These topics have been chosen firstly to inform, but secondly to encourage and facilitate discussion and debate.   

The topics will, in the most part, have religious, philosophical perspectives.   However, some topics will be more informative in nature.  Pupils will also be expected as a class to pick a topic that interests them.  This gives them an element of personalisation and choice throughout. 

There is no formal assessment for this course.  A small selection of the topics covered include:

  • Why do we do the things we do?
  • The Left to Rights of British Politics
  • The True Cost of Christmas        
  • Euthanasia
  • Abortion
  • Islamophobia