Course Choice

Welcome to Elgin Academy’s course choice website. This website is intended to help students and parents in the process of making curricular choices.

Course choice option forms can be completed on the website or a paper copy can be collected from Mrs Grant. There is an opportunity for every student to meet with their respective Guidance teacher to go through their choices. They will also provide advice re career paths and discuss any concerns students may have.

Senior Phase

‘Every young person is entitled to experience a senior phase where he or she can continue to develop the four capacities and also achieve qualifications.’

The ‘Senior Phase’ is the term associated with the stage of the student’s education up to the age of 18 when they have the opportunity to build up a portfolio of qualifications. It follows on from the Broad General Education (S1-S3) where students have experienced a wide range of subjects across eight curricular areas. The Broad General Education has provided strong building blocks for moving to the Senior Phase.

Number of Subjects Studied

S4 students will study six subjects. These will include English and Mathematics plus four other subjects at National 3, 4,or 5 and, in exceptional circumstances, there may be the opportunity to study a subject at Higher. There will also be core provision comprising of Physical Education and PSE/UPS.

The qualifications build on the students’ learning and ensure progression from one level to another.

During the Senior Phase, students will develop more advanced and increasingly ‘independent study skills’. They are encouraged to take responsibility for the organisation of their work and, in particular, their private study. The Senior Phase also allows students to gain a wider experience other than national Courses. There is a continued emphasis on Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Well Being and there will be opportunities within the Senior Phase for students to experience the world of work and personal achievement.

Assessments taken by students will match the subject and level of the Course being studied. These may include a combination of practical work, case studies, question papers/tests and projects.

Students studying Courses at National 3 and 4 will have internal assessments that are assessed and marked throughout the year by class teachers, and will be assessed as a pass or a fail. There will be no external examination.

Courses at National will be assessed by the means of an external examination or ‘Course Assessment’ which will be externally marked by the SQA.

These Courses will be graded A-D or as a ‘No Award’. A student must pass all the external assessments to be awarded the overall Course award.

In S5, each student will embark on 5 subjects of their choice at the appropriate level (Higher, National 5, 4 or 3) with 5 periods allocated to each. There will also be an opportunity for students to embark on ‘wider achievement’ courses. Core provision will comprise of 2 periods of Physical Education, 1 period of PSE and 1 period of Universal Pupil Support.

In S6, students will embark on either 3 Advanced Higher Courses or, 4 Courses at a variety of levels with core provision the same as S5.

A message from Developing the Young Workforce Team

A message from the Moray College UHI team - Senior Phase Course Choice and A message from the Moray College UHI Foundation Apprenticeship Team.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)

The SCQF is a way of comparing and describing Scottish Qualifications. It covers the qualifications students will achieve at school, college, university and in the workplace. It does this by giving each qualification a level and credit points.

The level of qualification shows how difficult the learning is. The credit points show how much time it takes you to achieve that qualification e.g. one person may study a course at national 4 (SCQF Level 4) and another at Higher (SCQF Level 6). Both qualifications have 24 SCQF credit points but have different levels of difficulty.

Current and Old qualifications- how do they relate?

Further information regarding the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework can be found using the link below.


Making the Choices

In making choices, students should consider the following.

• “Planning over 3 years” – for S4 students, it is important to view the Senior Phase as a three year period of study. Subjects selected in 4th year will probably be studied at a higher stage in 5th or 6th year. There is the option of broadening education by studying subjects not previously undertaken since S2 or S3. This should be fully discussed with your Guidance teacher.

• Try to select subjects that you are good at, find interesting and that are appropriate to your chosen career should you have one.

• Students in S5 should plan their Courses over a two year period. Although every effort is made to meet student choices, there can be no guarantee that they will be met over one year.

NB – It is also important to note that although a wide range of Courses are offered, whether or not a Course runs is dependent on pupil demand and constraints which staffing or logistics impose.

Useful websites –

National Parent Forum for Scotland

Education Scotland


Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

Skills Development Scotland is a service which assists people of all ages and stages of life in developing and realising their career potential. SDS works with individuals and partner organisations to enable and encourage people to plan their career effectively and to make well informed and realistic decisions about their future.

The SDS Adviser and Senior Adviser linked to Elgin Academy, work alongside the school to offer careers advice and information to pupils on, for example: how to career plan and make decisions, learning and employment opportunities and requirements, general trends in the labour market, sources of careers information. We help pupils to look at themselves as individuals – their skills, qualities, qualifications, experiences, aspirations and motivation – and to consider how these will influence options and choices.

SDS offer support to individuals who need more ongoing and in-depth help, to overcome barriers to access opportunities and achieve goals. As a service we also assist schools and colleges to develop career and enterprise education programmes, and have links to the wider business and learning community.

Your link advisers, Gayna England and Jayne Porter, can be contacted at:

Skills Development Scotland

Careers Guidance Service

232 High Street


IV30 1BA

0800 917 8000

Open – 9.00a.m.-1.00p.m. and 2.00p.m.-5.00p.m.

The careers information resources listed below include guidelines on making choices, examples of subject-job links, as well as general careers information on different occupations, on college and university and modern apprenticeships / skill seekers.

Plan It Plus


My World of Work