Delay in introducing new Highers in Borders schools

Borders high school students sitting their Highers next year will be taking the new Highers exam in most, but not all, subjects.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 31st July 2014, 9:00 am
Berwickshire High School, Duns
Berwickshire High School, Duns

During the 2014-15 session old and new Highers will be available but by 2015-16 all schools will have to switch to the new qualification.

Ettrick Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is concerned that Borders pupils will be missing out on the new qualifications because not all schools in the area are implementing the new Highers this coming year.

Scottish Borders Council, however, feels there is no cause for concern.

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Mr Lamont said: ““Geography, physics and biology are of particular importance in the modern world so the sooner these reforms are introduced the better.

“Parents have already expressed deep concerns about a lack of a level playing field when it comes to the number of subjects pupils can choose.

“The transition from National 5s to Highers has been fraught with problems and now pupils face fewer options when it comes to picking subjects for examination.”

Scottish Borders Council say all high schools are presenting most students for new Highers but some subjects, such as geography (in six schools in the region) will be taken in the existing Higher next year..

In Berwickshire High School business management, computing and French will be taken in existing Highers format. At Eyemouth High School old style chemistry and history Highers will be taken next year.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “The majority of students will study the new Higher from August 2014 with students in all subjects making this move in session 2015-16. Both versions of the Higher qualification have the same status and currency with employers and universities and no student will be disadvantaged.

“It is part of a national implementation plan within major change to the curriculum and is in place to ensure all young people have the best chance of success in their exams. Across Scotland education authorities have been working closely on implementation plans with Education Scotland and the Borders approach is in line with other authorities.

“The needs of the young people in the Borders have been paramount in school-level decision making and all decisions have been made based on the best possible learning experience for young people and the best chance of high achievement in their exams next session.”