Secondary school

​The secondary school curriculum

The secondary school curriculum has two distinct phases: the broad general education (S1-S3) and the senior phase.

The broad general education, (S1-S3) is designed around planned experiences that build on the skills and knowledge developed during earlier stages of your child's education.

See curriculum levels for a general guide to children's progression through the broad general education. However, it is important to remember that your child will progress at their own pace - the curriculum is designed to be flexible to permit careful planning for those with additional support needs, including those who have a learning difficulty and those who are particularly able or talented.

At the end of the broad general education, your child will be supported in planning a course of study through what is commonly called the senior phase. The senior phase provides scope for more specialised study and gaining qualifications.

Your child will also have opportunities, at all stages, to gain recognition for learning and achievements that take place outside the classroom. For more specific and individualised information about your child’s learning, contact their school.

Supporting your child's learning

By working closely with your child's school, you play an important role in helping your child achieve their potential.
Find ideas and suggestions on how you can support your child's learning at home, including preparing for exams.

Preparing for changes

Transitions are what schools call the changes that your child experiences as they move from stage to stage or between schools.

Most children will also change school at some point, typically between primary and secondary school.

When a child moves from primary to secondary school, both schools should work closely together. Your child's school will also work closely with you and your child to ensure that any transitions go smoothly.

However, please speak to your local school if you have any particular questions or concerns.

Find information and advice on:

A searchable directory of all schools in Scotland (including independent schools) is available to help you find a school.

Additional support needs

All children and young people need support to help them learn and reach their potential. Some children require support that is in addition to, or different from, children or young people of the same age to ensure they benefit from the educational opportunities on offer.

If your child has an additional support need, the school will plan together with you, and any other appropriate agencies (for example health, social work), to meet your child's learning and support needs. Planning is particularly important at the different transition points, for example when preparing to move from primary to secondary school. It is important that schools and local authorities start planning for these transitions early.

Further information

From the Parenting across Scotland website

Advice for parents of children starting high school.

General information for parents who have a teenager.

Tips to help parents talk to their teenager about sex and relationships.