S3 Options

A Senior Phase Handbook 2015

Welcome to the Third Year Information Handbook


Please also check, in the short term, this Glow link

Dear Student

This handbook is for you and your parents.  It includes a range of topics which will help you in some of the important decisions you will require to make for your future in Peebles High School and beyond.

Your handbook is not just about making subject choices but helping you to consider the consequences of whatever decisions you make.  When you have to make decisions, do not just do what you would like to do, but also consider what is likely to have the best or, at least, good consequences for you.

You should set yourself challenging targets in the senior school and can only expect to achieve them by working hard.  You are and will be in competition with many talented students across Scotland.  We believe that you can be up there with the best of them.

I hope you have a successful year.

Yours sincerely

Paul Fagan
Rector (Interim)



What is the most important factor which will determine if you will have a successful year at school?  I hope you have come up with the correct answer; the most important factor is you!

Being intelligent is only a small part of being successful.  Have you got a good “graft factor”?  How high is your self-esteem?  Are you motivated?  Are you willing to work with others?

Often someone who does not do well at school will nonetheless have success later in life.  Even so, in almost all cases, they wish they had worked harder at school. If you do not keep up or are too easy on yourself, others will move ahead of you.

Using the handbook

The contents have been thought out carefully to support you.
You should refer to the handbook from time to time for advice.
Please consult with your Guidance teacher if you require clarification on any point.
Some students have helped with the contents.  Now it is over to you; use it.

Pearls of wisdom

What we think of ourselves and what others think of us are not always the same.  To know yourself well is a lot harder than you may think
Your parents, Guidance staff and your subject teachers can help give you a fair picture of yourself, even if their picture is not always the one you have of yourself.


Finding out more about courses:
Before selecting a course you must carry out research to ensure that you understand fully what you are going to study, how hard it will be and how you will be assessed.  You also need to know why you are taking the course.  Is it because it is an essential entry requirement for further study or employment, because you enjoy the area of study and/or because you feel you have talents in this field?  It might even be all three!

There are two important ways to gain information about courses:

Subject teachers

Subject teachers are experts about the courses available in their departments and they will speak to you about what is on offer.  You should speak with the teachers that know best within each department, about which courses would be best for you.  When entering the Senior Phase it is normally the case that you would take courses which lead to more advanced study later on, for instance take National 4/5 Chemistry if you want to study Higher Chemistry in fifth year.  We would advise you to take courses that you had studied as an elective as you will have more knowledge and skills in these subjects. However, you can take a subject in S4 that you have not studied as an elective.

Course outlines

For each National Qualifications course available in school, your teachers have produced a course outline which contains information on the following:

What you need to do it.
What you will learn.
What you will do.
How you will be assessed.
How much homework you will get.
What advanced courses the subject leads to.
Costs involved in the course

Support Programme
  • 23rd January S3 Options and Choices Evening (6.00-6.45 pm). This evening will give you an overview of the curriculum on offer. (Please note that this is different from the original date published on the calendar on the website).
  • 22nd January S3 pastoral interviews begin.
  • 30th January  S3 reports are issued.
  • 19th February final day of pastoral interviews and options completion deadline.

Financial constraints have had an effect on the options and choices available to our students.  There is now greater demand for places on every course and as such, some subjects can be over-subscribed.  This situation is made even more difficult when students begin courses in June, then change their minds. Re-coursing students has proved difficult and it has therefore been necessary to offer guidelines to all students, parents and carers on re-coursing procedures.

In June, you will be allocated to classes based on teachers’ recommendations.  Such recommendations will take any additional needs you may have into account.

If you do not meet the recommended entry requirements but still wish to study a particular course you have the right to do so provided there is a space in such a course.  Students who do meet the recommended entry requirements will be given priority.
You will be expected to complete chosen courses.  No student will be permitted to ‘drop’ a subject unless the class teacher is convinced that it would be inappropriate for the pupil to continue with the subject. This would normally be as a result of a pupil repeatedly failing end of unit assessments. If a student does ‘drop’ a course they would be expected to attend class but study towards their other subjects.

If it is necessary to change your presentation level at anytime, this will be communicated to your parents in writing by the Principal Teacher Curriculum, with a copy of any letter passed to your Pastoral.

Any student who withdraws from a course after the SQA presentation lists are submitted in March may be asked to pay the presentation fee.


Everyone will study Maths and English but you also have to make four choices and rank them in your order of preference. Remember to also make a reserve choice and mark that with an R.

Work your way through the department folders taking time to read and discuss the information you find there.

Remember, you are not alone in this. There are lots of people who are there to help you.

Now, get cracking! (simply download and read the relevant pdfs you will need)



Mathematics N345

English N345



Admin & IT N45

Art and Design N345

Biology N4

Biology N5

Business Management N45

Business & ICT N23

Chemistry N45

Construction Crafts N4

Computing Science N45

Creative Arts N2

Design & Manufacture N45
National 5 Higher Fashion descriptors 2020

Drama N45

Employability Skills N3/4/5

Fashion & Textiles N45

Food, Health and Wellbeing & PE N2/3
National 5 Practical Cookery 2020

French N45

Geography N45

German N45

Graphic Communication N45

Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy N4

Health and Food Technology N45

History N45

Hospitality N45

Italian N45

Modern Languages N23

Travel and Tourism N34

Modern Studies N45

Music N45

People and Society N34

Philosophy N5

Physical Education N45
Course specifications for new PE Higher 2020

Physics N45

Practical Craft Skills N3/4

Practical Woodworking N4/5


Science N3/4

Science in the Environment N2

Spanish N4/5

Borders College Options