How to use the senior-phase options form


Depute Head, Mr Macluskey

Some parents have been in touch to say that they’re not sure how to use the senior-phase options form. The parent council spoke to Mr Macluskey (Depute Head School Improvement) and asked him to take us through the form.

What do the initials ‘AH, ‘H’ and ‘Nat 3-5 & WA’ stand for?

  • ‘AH’ stands for Advanced Higher — the old CSYS.
  • ‘H’ simply stands for Higher.
  • ‘Nat 3-5’ are the pre-Higher ‘National’ 3, 4 and 5 qualifications.
  • ‘WA’ stands for wider achievement.

How many subjects should children choose?

  • Pupils in S3 going into S4 will study seven subjects, including mandatory Maths and English (not on the form). They should choose a subject from each column.
  • Pupils in S4 going into S5 should also choose five options
  • Pupils in S5 going into S6 should choose four options, UNLESS they are studying three Advanced Highers. In that case they should choose three subjects.

 Can my child choose any subject he or she likes? 

Not quite. Here’s a guide:

  • S4 — normally an S3 pupil going into S4 wouldn’t choose any Highers. He or she would choose five optional subjects from this form. The bit that’s most unfamiliar to parents is probably column 5, from which the pupils choose either a ‘Wider Achievement’ award or a 7th National 5 option (as long as they meet the criteria set out on the form).
  • S5 – pupils going into S5 no longer need to take mandatory Maths and English. They can choose from any National qualification or Higher, but not usually Advanced Higher.
  • S6 – can choose from any of the subjects.

Don’t worry about choosing the right level (3, 4 or 5) for the National qualifications. You just need to choose the subject. The school will know, based on your child’s performance so far, at which level they should take any given subject.

What happens if my child doesn’t get into one of their first choices?

If that happens, we do what we call a ‘re-coursing’ interview with your child. We’ll sit down with him or her, talk through the available options, look at how the reserve course fits in with their other options and with their plans for the future, and help them build a plan for their senior phase that fits their needs.

Why does the last column on the right look different to the others?

The bottom cell in this column contains two different types of qualifications:

  • The ‘wider achievement’ options. These are modules that give pupils the chance to develop a range of applied skills.
  • Full National 4 and National 5 courses.

So what do the characters in brackets after each option mean?

After most of the options in the last cell, right-hand column, there are some characters in brackets. These mean the following:

  • (S5/6) — these courses are only open to S5/6 pupils, not S4 pupils. Because they no longer take mandatory Maths and English, S5/6 pupils have enough time to study optional subjects, whereas S4 pupils don’t.
  • (N4/N5) — these are full national level qualifications at the level indicated.
  • (L6) — these courses are pitched at Higher level (also called level 6), but aren’t a full higher course.

What if my child really needs a subject, but didn’t get into it this year?

We’ll do our best to make sure he or she gets to take it next year.

Any parents who have questions about the options form are welcome to contact Mr Macluskey directly at

In case you missed the link above, you can find a PDF of the senior-phase options form on the school website:

Next meeting — Thursday 26 February, 6:30pm

The next meeting of Breadalbane Academy Parent Council is on Thursday 26 February at 6:30pm, at the Breadalbane Community Campus. If you ask at the main reception, they’ll tell you which room the meeting is in. The meeting is scheduled to last for two hours.

The draft agenda is as follows:

1. Introductions and apologies
2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
3. Update on the selection process for a new headteacher. Includes a Q&A with Peter McAvoy, Head of Education Services (Secondary) at PKC.
4. Promoting science and technology in schools. A short presentation by Professor Andrew Rae on promoting science and technology subjects and careers in school—and the crucial role played by headteachers.
5. Fundraising sub-committee – brief presentation from Emma Burtles and call for ideas and volunteers.
6. A communications strategy for the parent council. Dr Ashcroft will present the parent council’s communication plan and seek parent feedback.
7. An open evening on university admissions, for senior-years parents. Do parents want one?
9. Date and time of next meeting

Something else you think should go on the agenda? Please get in touch and let us know. Email

You can also download the draft agenda as a PDF.

When should we meet next?

If we stick to the planned schedule, we’ll have two meetings in February. This has happened because the meeting originally scheduled for 26 January had to be postponed until 4 February, due to heavy snow. Should we meet as planned on the 26 of February or should wait until the next date, March 31?

Two meetings in a single month is more of a demand than we would normally presume to make on people’s busy schedules. But it would give everyone a chance to meet again before the interviews for the new headteacher. So if you have strong feelings on how the replacement should be chosen, a meeting on February 26 would be the time to tell us.

Let us know what you think.

Choosing a new headteacher for Breadalbane Academy

We had a fantastic turnout for the last Parent Council, on Wednesday 4 February. The debate was robust and parents raised some important issues, some of which we’ll be returning to. So watch this space.

But by far the most important issue, is the job of choosing a new headteacher. Linda Swan, Breadalbane Academy’s current head, will be retiring at the end of this school year. I’m sure everyone will join the parent council in thanking her for her hard work and wishing her well for the future.

Interviews for a new headteacher for Breadalbane Academy take place in March. Two parent council members will be on the interview panel. This is a very important time for the school community. Headteachers can stay in the post for a decade or longer; so this could be our only chance during our children’s time at school to influence who we have doing this job.

Is there something you, as a parent or carer, think we should prioritise when looking at the candidates? This is your chance to tell us.

Let us know, either by leaving a comment below or sending an email to

Free, expert, face-to-face advice on child safety

Child safety seminars for parents and carers

When: Thursday 6th March 2014
Where: Perth Playhouse Cinema
What time: choose from seminars starting at 9:30am, 1pm and 5:30pm

Presentations from experts in their field will include:

  • Application danger: how your kids are at risk from some apps.
  • Online bullying: its impact and what you can do about it.
  • Bullying, sexting, domestic abuse: it’s all about relationships.
  • Online risks: current online risks to children and young people.

Each seminar lasts for two hours. Places will be limited, so please contact Catriona Laing on 01738 477861, or email, to reserve your place or for further information.

Don’t miss out, book your place today!

Download the flier here.



Agenda for March 2013 Pitlochry meeting

Don’t forget, the next Breadalbane Academy Parent Council meeting is in Pitlochry on Tuesday 26th March, 7pm in staff room at Pitlochry High School. All welcome!

We’re still working on the agenda. At the moment it looks like this:

  1. Welcome and apologies
  2. No 23 bus update
  3. Fund raising update 
  4. Update on the recruitment of a Gaelic Medium teacher
  5. Avon and the BPC 
  6. Parent Council questionnaire. 
  7. Evidence2Success update
  8. Pitlochry parents: a chance to raise any Pitlochry specific issues. 
  9. Head teacher’s report
  10. Any other business

If there’s something else you’d like to discuss, let us know on Or just turn up on the day and raise it under “any other business”.

PKC Evidence2Success survey: what do you think?

Jason O’Flynn, the Perth & Kinross representative at the Scottish National Parent Forum has asked every Parent Council in the region to find out what you, the parents, think of the Evidence2Success survey recently carried out by Perth and Kinross Council and NHS Tayside.

In February, all children in Perth and Kinross from primary 5 upwards took part in the Council’s Evidence2Success survey. PKC describes this as “engaging communities to increase the involvement local people have in decision making and other actions”.

However, some parents have expressed reservations about the survey. Their concerns include:

  • Not enough effort was made to gain the parent’s consent: some parents say they didn’t receive the letter the council sent out. And the survey was opt-out, rather than opt-in.
  • That consent wasn’t informed: had they seen the kind of questions in advance, some parents say they would not have given consent for the children to take part.
  • Questions were inappropriate to the children’s age: with 9-year-olds being asked if they took specific, named drugs; if they or their friends carried knives to school and so on.
  • Some questions were intrusive: with children asked to comment on who lives in their home with them; their relationship with their parents; their weight; their sex lives and so on.
  • The data can be linked back to each child: parents were told the survey was confidential, but each child was asked to enter their date of birth and their Scottish Candidate Number.

Some parents have even complained to the Scottish Information Commissioner; claiming that the survey breaches the Data Protection Act 1998.

Perth and Kinross strongly refutes this claim and stands by the survey. A PKC spokesperson said:

“The aim of the project is to help us work with communities to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families in Perth and Kinross. The approach involves members of the Community Planning Partnership … working with the social research unit at Dartington to refine existing and develop new approaches to service provision. “

See the full quote in The Courier.

What do you think about the survey?

  • Do you support Evidence2Success?
  • Do you have any concerns or questions?
  • Would you have liked greater consultation before hand?

Tell us what you think! Either post on this item or mail us at

If you haven’t seen the surveys yet, you can see them here:

February minutes now online

The February minutes are now available. Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Breadalbane kids quiz astronauts over a radio link to the International Space Station.
  • Parent Council offers financial help with the cost of transport to school activities.
  • Breadalbane chemistry pupils win regional trophy for prestigious Top of the Bench quiz. Next stop: the national finals in Luftborough!
  • Parent Council discusses the council’s controversial Evidence2Success survey.
  • HMIe are coming to inspect the school on 18 March 2013. They will be asking the views of Parent Council.

The last item is particularly important. As a parent, you have a right to be heard. If you have anything you want the Parent Council to raise with the HMIe inspects, tell us now!

For a complete run-down of what was discussed, see the full minutes online.