School subject choice blasted

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QUESTIONS have been raised over the differences in the choice of subjects on offer in secondary schools in Dumfries and Galloway.

Langholm Academy offers 17 subjects, while 23 are available at Lockerbie Academy. Oliver Mundell, Dumfriesshire MSP, says this points to a postcode lottery.

Even where schools are a matter of miles from each other, there are significant differences.

Mr Mundell said: "With Dumfriesshire being such a vast area, there are always going to be differences between schools on the number of subjects being offered.

"However, it is clear that, despite the best efforts of teachers, there is growing pressure on schools and this is adversely affecting pupils.

"There is no doubt that the more choices pupils have, the more opportunities they will have in work, college or university.

"We need to question why there appears to be a postcode lottery in rural areas. In Langholm there are only 17 subjects but at Lockerbie Academy we have the highest in the area at 23 subjects.

"There are even big differences in Dumfries itself where at St Joseph's College 23 subjects are on offer, yet at Maxwelltown High School a mere 15 are able to be chosen from."

"There is a problem in attracting enough teachers to work in our schools so the SNP government must take another look at this issue to ensure our young people have the best opportunities at school to prepare them for further education and employment."

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Council's children, young people and lifelong learning committee, said: "The curriculum a school offers is shaped to take account of the needs and aspirations of its pupils and their school community.

"This information refers to only one level of qualification and schools in Dumfries and Galloway offer a whole range of levels of qualifications to meet the individual learner's needs in the senior phase from S4 to S6.

"In all schools pupils have access to a wide range of subjects and level of qualifications relevant to their needs and individual flexible pathways offered within our schools allow young people to progress to relevant qualifications in both subject and level.

"Schools and learning partners work together to share resources and maximise opportunities for pupils to access all curricular areas and appropriate progression pathways.

"This approach is actively encouraged. In session 2017/18 in Dumfries schools there are, for example, currently 90 pupils accessing the senior phase curriculum in the four secondary schools.

"Similar arrangements exist in schools in Annandale and Eskdale."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 11:30AM
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