Social Subjects

Social Subjects are recognised as important and high achieving subjects in St Andrew’s. The faculty comprises three departments Geography, History and Modern Studies. The study of the past, the present and how our world was formed gives young people a deeper understanding of fundamental issues today. The three discrete departments each form crucial parts of the broad general education young people receive in St Andrew’s from S1-S3.


The study of Geography, allows our young people to gain an appreciation of the world they live in and are made more aware of significant global issues including how mankind has shaped his environment and may be damaging it through climate change.

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In S1 – S3 Geography our young people learn about a range of topics:

  • S1 – People & Places, Threats to Our Planet
  • S2 – South America, Asia, Africa & the Cold Lands
  • S3 - Climate change, Scotland, Environmental hazards
  • S3 - Health

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At National level, pupils can specialise in up to two social subjects.

National 4 and 5 Geography

Course Content

 The topics covered and methods of assessment are listed below:

  • Physical Environments
  • Human Environments
  • Global Issues


At National 5 level, pupils must pass three end of unit assessments, complete an assignment based on field work during the year which accounts for 20% of their grade. They then sit a final exam worth 80% of grade. Pupils get an October assessment in N5 Geography. 

At National 4 level, pupils complete an assignment based on field work and three unit assessments in order to pass. There is no final exam.

Further Information

S5 & S6 Geography

The faculty offers higher qualifications in all three discrete subjects and pupils are encouraged to select as many as they wish, details of higher geography are listed below:

Higher Geography

Course Content

  • Physical Environments
  • Human Environments
  • Global Issues


At Higher level, pupils complete an assignment of their choice during the year which accounts for one third of their grade. Pupils sit a final exam worth two thirds of their grade.

Pupils get an October assessment in Higher Geography.

Further Information

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S5/S6 N5 Travel & Tourism: Skills for Work

Course Content

  • Travel & Tourism Employability
  • Travel & Tourism Customer Service
  • Travel & Tourism UK & Worldwide
  • Travel & Tourism Scotland


Pupils complete four unit assessments in order to pass. There is no final exam.

Further Information

SQA Travel and Tourism

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What Skills are Developed in Social Subjects?

Learners will develop transferable skills such as problem solving and teamwork when collaborating with others. In addition, the Social Subjects faculty uses cooperative learning and Making Thinking Visible learning techniques which encourages the development of both academic and social skills.

Pupils will be able to:

  • Work cooperatively with others
  • Develop social skills
  • Improve literacy and numeracy skills
  • Develop ICT skills
  • Develop skills of problem solving
  • Gain an understanding of key social subjects concepts
  • Explore issues such as health and well being.

How is the Social Subjects BGE framework structured?

  • Social Subjects BGE is divided into level 3 and level 4 experiences and outcomes.
  • Level 4 outcomes will prepare pupils for SQA National 4 and National 5 qualifications and beyond.

What are the features of effective learning and teaching in Social Subjects?

  • Personalisation and choice in the nature of classroom tasks to support skills development. All tasks encourage creativity and imagination alongside higher order thinking skills.
  • A combination of independent, differentiated learning and collaboration among pupils to complete larger tasks.

How do we build on prior learning?

  • Increasing challenging contexts develop learners’ practical skills and depth of understanding.
  • Course content connects with learners’ experiences and interests in the real world and builds upon their existing knowledge.

What are the broad features of assessment in Social Subjects?

  • Assessment will focus on cooperative work and on creative tasks
  • Other assessments will include short summative (written) approaches.
  • Peer and self-assessment also play a significant part when progressing through the course.
  • Formative assessment (oral and written feedback) by teacher.

Connections with other areas of the curriculum

  • The development of problem solving skills provides links to Maths, Science and Technical subjects.
  • The development literacy skills including extended writing is closely tied to English
  • Creative tasks have links to art and design.
  • Activities to support development of skills in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing are embedded in activities throughout the course.
  • Use of digital technology to enhance learning through of iPads
  • Skills for work are built into our courses links with world of work.
  • Nurture principles are incorporated into in our courses. 

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