Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 2021

DYW – Interesting Practice: SCOTS programme at Forth Valley College

What is this?

​The Schools College Opportunities to Succeed (SCOTS) programme provides S4 students with an opportunity to explore progression pathways at college. The course offers a structured three-week taster experience in eight different vocational subjects over the academic year.

This exemplar is part of the ‘Developing the Young Workforce (DYW)  – Interesting Practice’ series which aims to provide ideas, inspiration and connections around the implementation of DYW.

Who is this for?

​This exemplar will be useful for practitioners involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the Developing the Young Workforce agenda.

It supports professional reflections around the Career Education and Work Placements Standards as well as School / Employer Partnerships.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice

This is an exemplar of interesting practice. It aims to inspire reflective thinking on the provision of career education for learners in the senior phase with a focus on school/college partnership programmes. It outlines how curriculum can be planned for learners at risk of not progressing to a positive, sustained destination on leaving school. This exemplar is solution focused and outlines practical ideas on how to provide learners with alternative progression pathways in the senior phase. It highlights the benefits of effective school/ college partnerships as well as those with the wider community and employers.

The videos provide an overview of the project from a practitioner and learner perspective including planning, core components, outcomes and next steps.

You are invited to use this exemplar to reflect on the following questions:

  • How effectively do you plan for progression pathways and outcomes for learners in the senior phase?
  • In what ways do you ensure that you meet the needs of all individuals in the senior phase?
  • In what ways does the curriculum provision and timetabling in your establishment incorporate career education for all learners?
  • To what extend are colleges, employers, local authority etc. involved in delivering meaningful, work related experiences for learners, the delivery of skills and qualifications as well as prospective career opportunities?

For further consideration please refer to the key DYW related resources released by Education Scotland so far.

What was done?

The SCOTS programme has been planned and delivered jointly by a team of school and college staff. The college provides a structured three-week taster course across eight vocational subjects over the academic year. Teachers in schools work with their SCOTS pupils towards SQA units, which form part of the SCQF Falkirk Employability Award.

Learners who stay on the course and have a good attendance and performance record are guaranteed a place on a Skills for Work course at the college.

For more details on the programme watch the following videos:

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The SCOTS programme was set up in order to provide an alternative, career focused curriculum for learners at risk of disengaging from completing courses and examinations in the senior phase (as above videos)

What was the impact?

The SCOTS course has had a marked positive impact on many of the young participants, including improvements in school attendance, attitude to school work and performance. All of the participating schools are confident that learners remaining on the SCOTS course will have achieved their three SQA employability units (Responsibilities of Employment; Preparing for Employment – First Steps; Building Own Employability Skills) by the end of the academic year.

It has also supported learners to explore and plan their initial career pathways, enabling them to develop employability skills and increase in confidence to move from school into employment or training at the end of S4 or to move into a FA or HNC courses.


"The SCOTS programme is all about allowing people to make informed choices"
Rob McDermott Development Officer, Forth Valley College.

"It's an important stepping stone to where I want to be in life"
Jade Hammill, Balfron High School.

"By the time that the young people leave school the SCOTS will have shown them the programme that is best for them"
Fiona Brown, Associate Principal, Teaching and Learning, Forth Valley College.


Word file: Skills summary: SCOTS programme (219 KB)