All rights reserved © Bell Baxter High School, Carslogie Road, Cupar, Fife KY15 4HY

Bell Baxter High School


Ad Vitam Paror

S3 Curriculum

A Broad General Education

The Junior Phase of the curriculum covers the first three years of secondary education.  In the first two years at Bell Baxter High School all pupils have been following a core curriculum across 8 learning areas. In S2 an opportunity was provided for learners to personalise their curriculum through an enrichment programme, tailored to each individual pupil’s interests.  In Third Year learners have the opportunity for increased specialisation in preparation for beginning the Senior Phase in S4.  Learners are asked to select subjects that they wish to continue to study in greater depth whilst continuing to develop knowledge, skills and attributes which equip them for learning, life and work. This degree of personalisation and choice is structured within the curricular areas to maintain the principles of the Broad General Education.

Learners will continue to study English, Maths and their current Modern Language (French, German or Spanish). They will also choose one subject from each of four other curricular areas: Expressive Arts, Science, Social Studies and Technologies. There are a further two choices to be made from a range of learning areas. All learners will also follow a “Core” curriculum consisting of: Physical Education, R.M.P.S. and Social Education.   

Learners will continue to develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in all curriculum areas.

Progression - Moving onto the Senior Phase

When learners move into S4 they will make further choices.  These choices will lead to the subjects, qualifications and wider achievements that learners will work towards in S4 and beyond. Pupils must study English and Mathematics in S4 but they may choose any four of the other subject areas that they have been studying in S3.    

Our S4-S6 Senior Phase Pathway Course information is available on the school website.  This outlines the National Qualification learners can access in the Senior Phase.

S3 Option Choices

It is now time to finalise choices for S3:

S3 Curricular Options

All courses delivered in S3 are based on the Experiences and Outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence at 3rd and 4th levels and lay the foundation for further study in S4 at an appropriate level (National 4 or National 5).  Appropriate elements of National 4 and National 5 units/courses are also covered to prepare learners for the Senior Phase, however, it is important to emphasise learners do not start their National Qualifications until S4.

In many subjects the pathway learners take through S4 will be determined by how well they cope with the demands of courses studied in S3.  When making choices for S3 learners are encouraged to think about their future pathway.   

Curriculum Area

Through learning in these areas children will be able to:

Expressive Arts

- Be creative and express themselves in different ways.

- Experience and contribute to performance and presentation.

- Appreciate aesthetic and cultural values, identities and ideas.

Health and Well Being

- Develop and make informed decisions to improve mental,   emotional,   social and physical wellbeing.

- Experience positive aspects of health, living and activity.

- Establish health and wellbeing choices.

Languages (comprising English and Modern Languages)

- Develop their ability to communicate thoughts and feelings and   respond to those of others.

- Develop the high level of skills in listening, talking, reading and   writing essential for learning, work and life.

- Enhance their enjoyment and understanding of their own and other   cultures.


- Develop an understanding of Maths concepts, principles and   processes and their application.

- Engage with abstract concepts and new kinds of thinking.

- Interpret numerical information, draw conclusions, assess risk,   problem-solve and make informed decisions.


- Recognise religion as an expression of the human experience.

- Learn about and from the beliefs, values and practices of   Christianity and other world religions.

- Develop respect for others.


- Demonstrate secure knowledge and understanding of scientific   concepts.

- Develop enquiry, investigative skills and practical abilities.

- Express opinions on social, moral and ethical issues in Science.

Social Studies & Citizenship

- Develop knowledge and understanding of people, past events and   societies.

- Develop knowledge and understanding of people, places,   environment and society.

- Explore and evaluate various types of sources and evidence.


- Develop an understanding of the role and impact of technologies in   changing and influencing societies.

- Gain the skills and confidence to embrace new technologies.

- Be capable of making reasoned choices relating to sustainable   development and ethical issues.

Week beginning 13th February 2017

Assembly led by Depute Rector

Week beginning 20th February 2017

- Faculty Curriculum Information Fortnight

- Issue of Curriculum Booklet

- Discussion in Social Education and issue of S3   Option Form

Friday 3rd March 2017

Deadline: return Option Form to Pupil Reception

Tuesday 6th June 2017

New 2017/2018 Timetable begins


The S3 English course continues the Broad General Education, in which learners have been working through the Experiences and Outcomes for Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening. Learners will continue to develop these skills in both familiar and new contexts, by studying and analysing a variety of texts, including fiction, non-fiction, print and non-print media; writing in a variety of genres; participating in talk activities; and continuing to enrich vocabulary and general knowledge, through personal reading.  

Home Learning tasks will involve personal reading, research, Close Reading, planning, and drafting writing. All learners will undertake an independent Assignment, as well as completing common core assessments throughout the year. Progression from Broad General Education in English will be to an appropriate S4 NQ course in English at National 3, 4 or 5 (which will also incorporate Literacy at National 3, 4 or 5).



This course will allow pupils to explore the full range of skills needed to be effective as an actor, director and designer. They will have the opportunity to experiment with creating pieces for performance using both scripts and devised ideas. They will present these for a range of audiences and venues and develop design and technical skills for making the pieces as dramatically effective as possible. These performances, as well as professional productions, will be discussed and pupils will learn skills of critical appreciation. Drama helps build confidence, communication and social skills which are essential throughout life.


This course will allow you to further develop your performing skills on two instruments or one instrument and voice in a range of styles, e.g. pop, musicals.  You will have the opportunity to perform in both solo and group situations, compose your own music and listen to a variety of different styles/genres, both in class and through professional performances/workshops. Music Technology will be introduced and used to record and enhance performance and composition. Music promotes a positive, social culture and supports confidence, responsibility and self-discipline.

Music Technology

Have you ever wanted to be a sound engineer? You will have the opportunity to record and mix live music using the latest technology and sound engineering equipment such as ProTools, build soundtracks and sound effects for film and games, learn how to use DJ equipment and create your own episode of a radio show. If you would like to learn new skills and experience the life of a sound engineer, this is the choice for you!

Art and Design

Pupils will develop their skills in using visual elements and concepts creatively to generate original ideas in expressive and design work. They will choose visual themes and develop these ideas, thoughts and feelings into 2D and 3D pieces experimenting with a range of media and technologies. By working through a design process in response to a design brief, they will develop and communicate imaginative and original design solutions. They will also analyse Art and Design techniques, processes and concepts, make informed judgements and express considered opinions on their own and others’ work. These skills are all highly transferable.


Pupils will explore the methods, effects, implications and social context of the modern mass media. This course will have a basic analytical base where pupils examine how media products are constructed and the associated reasons. There will also be a practical element to the course where pupils will make various types of media product including print, radio and film to demonstrate their understanding of how to manipulate an audience’s understanding. As a guide for you; if you are strong in English, you are likely to enjoy and succeed in Media.


Health and Hospitality

Learners will further develop their skills and knowledge gained from S1 and S2, through both practical and theory lessons, within the following contexts:

  • The importance of a making healthy food choices.
  • Food product development.
  • Understanding and using ingredients in a variety of recipes.
  • The organisational skills required for practical cookery.
  • The different cookery techniques and processes.

There is a pupil contribution of £25 a year for this course; this can be paid weekly, in instalments or as a lump sum.

Physical Education

Pupils will be given the opportunity to develop both their practical performance and theoretical understanding of a range of activities. Sample activities are listed below:

  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Rugby
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Badminton
  • Handball

Pupils will develop the following aspects of their performance:

  • Skills and techniques
  • Physical fitness
  • Tactical understanding and game play
  • Mental fitness
  • Emotional factors impacting on performance
  • Social factors impacting on performance

Whilst there will be a greater emphasis on some of the more theoretical aspects of the activities covered, lessons will be predominantly practical in nature.


Pupils will be given the opportunity to further develop their dance skills gained through core P.E. experiences in S1 and S2 or through Enrichment courses. Pupils will gain a greater understanding of different dance genres and will be allowed the opportunity to choreograph and analyse their own dance performance. Pupils will be given the opportunity to work both independently or as part of a group in order to design and perform these dances. Pupils will learn dances in jazz, contemporary and Highland dance. Pupils will develop confidence and resilience through performing in front of their peers.


Mathematics is important in everyday life. It equips young people with the skills needed to interpret and analyse information, simplify and solve problems assess risk and make informed decisions.

Mathematics courses in S3 are based on the Experiences and Outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence and lay the foundation for further study in S4.

Mathematics courses are divided into these broad areas of study:

  • Number, Money and Measure.
  • Shape, Position and Movement.
  • Information Handling.

Pupils will progress from 3rd and 4th Level Outcomes into National 3/4 Lifeskills, National 4 or National 5 (all incorporating Numeracy) depending upon progress made.


With the advent of a truly global community, it has become increasingly important to be able to converse in a Modern Language.  Many business reports and government studies highlight to what extent English alone is not enough and underline the competitive advantage that modern language skills create in the workplace.  

In S3 learners will continue to develop their skills in talking, writing, listening and reading not to mention the development of cognitive, organisational and communication skills which go hand in hand with language learning.

Modern Languages for Life and Work Award

Our Modern Languages for Life and Work Award develops learners’ language and employability skills, through studying one or two Modern Languages in practical and relevant contexts for life and work at a basic level. This option is an additional subject for pupils who enjoy languages and want to increase their communication skills in a more career-focused way.



Our S3 Biology course, building on study in S1 and S2, covers major areas of biological knowledge including cellular, whole organism and ecosystems. The key ideas of biodiversity, interdependence, body systems and cells and inheritance are developed.

Inquiry and investigative skills will be developed through practical work in a variety of biological contexts. Learners will further improve scientific analytical skills. An understanding of the role of Biology in current scientific issues will be developed. Emphasis is placed on developing the skills and attributes of scientifically literate citizens - increasingly important in today’s society.


The S3 Chemistry course will build on study in S1 and S2, continuing to develop and apply knowledge and understanding of Chemistry in a number of different contexts including Chemical changes and structure, Chemistry in nature and Chemistry in society.

Inquiry and investigative skills and scientific analytical skills will be developed through practical work in a variety of chemical contexts.

An understanding of Chemistry’s role in current scientific issues will be developed. Relevant applications of Chemistry in society and the environment and the impact of these applications will be considered.


Physics in S3, building on study in S1 and S2, continues to develop understanding of Physics concepts and the ability to describe and interpret physical phenomena using mathematical skills. Key areas of Physics studied include Dynamics and space, Electricity and energy, Waves and radiation. The ability to solve problems and establish relationships in Physics will be developed by acquiring a broad knowledge base while developing inquiry and investigative skills and scientific analytical skills in a variety of Physics contexts.

Consideration will be given to the applications of Physics in contemporary society and the current and potential impact of these applications.



Geography helps you to make sense of the world around you. It is hands on, it is relevant and it is fun. Our S3 course is a mix of topics such as urban issues, world development, rivers and flooding. The course will give you the chance to get to grips with some of the big questions which affect our world and understand the forces and processes which shape and change our world.

You will learn new skills such as modern computer based mapping (called GIS), map skills, transferable skills such as team work and problem solving, role play, debating techniques and research skills.


Why should we study History?  History helps you discover how your world evolved.  The pursuit of historical events and people is fun – a form of time travel.  History helps you make sense of most other subjects and produces students who are rounded individuals who develop an understanding of both past and present.

Our S3 courses look at The Jacobites, Causes of the First World War and the 1960s. History will make you appreciate that in the past, people were not just “good” and “bad” but motivated in complex and inconsistent ways just like us.

Modern Studies

Modern Studies provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the ever changing world we live in today.

Pupils will explore modern society in this hard hitting subject where we delve into the world of Social Issues, Political Issues and International Issues, all while exploring their own position within society and how they can influence change.

S3 pupils will explore social inequality within the UK, where we will gain an insight into how the UK looks after its most vulnerable people.

Explore worldwide terrorism where we dissect the terrifying issue of terrorism and its implications worldwide, from 9/11 to Je Suis Charlie.


Religion has always been with us. Throughout history, it has expressed the deepest questions humans can ask, and it has taken a place in the lives of all civilizations and cultures. From the beginning of time, we find religion everywhere.

Religion remains everywhere, on television, film and popular music. We discover religion at the centre of global issues and cultural conflict. We see religion in the lives of people. R.M.P.S. includes, morality, science, and traditions, which allows us insight into our rapidly changing world.

For everyone who wants to be informed about the world around them—religion calls for better understanding.


Design & Manufacture

The S3 Design & Manufacture course provides an introduction to design, materials and manufacturing. The pupils will design and manufacture solutions to real life problems. The course encourages pupils to work creatively, enhance their practical skills and develop an understanding of the role of a designer.

The content of the course is broadly 2/3 design and 1/3 practical.  The pupils will be expected to communicate their ideas through sketching modelling and colouring. The course allows learners to consider the factors that impact on a product’s design.

Progression from Broad General Education in Design & Manufacture will be to an appropriate S4 course in Design & Manufacture at National 4 or 5.

Graphic Communication

The S3 Graphic Communication course develops design skills and encourages pupils to be creative in the production of leaflets, posters, packaging and other graphic items.

Pupils will have the opportunity to use the latest desktop publishing and 3D computer modelling software throughout the course. They will also be expected to communicate their ideas by sketching and colouring.

Pupils will be able to apply these skills to real problems in order to produce professional standard graphics. Progression from Broad General Education in Graphic Communication will be to an appropriate S4 course in Graphic Communication at National 4 or 5.

Practical Craft Skills

The S3 Practical Craft Skills course is practical in nature and based entirely in the workshop. Pupils will manufacture a range of wood and metal products with a focus on quality, accuracy and safe working practices.

While manufacturing the products, pupils will experience a range of hand tools, as well as exciting machinery including lathes, mortise machines and forges.

Progression from Broad General Education in Practical Craft Skills will be to an appropriate S4 course in Practical Woodwork or Practical Metalwork at National 4 or 5.

Computing Science

The S3 Computing Science course allows learners to broaden their understanding of computer programming and experience different languages, which will enable learners to strengthen their programming and problem solving abilities.  Learners will gain experience planning, designing and creating Information Systems including use of web authoring software to create webpages, and an introduction to database management.


Pupils will develop their skills by engaging with practical projects using a range of different software applications.  Progression from Broad General Education in Computing Science will be to an appropriate S4 course in Computing Science at National 4 or 5.

Administration & IT

The S3 Administration & IT course enables learners to understand the nature of administration and the use of IT in the work place. It contains a significant practical component with an element of accounting.


Real life contexts make the course relevant to the world of work, learners will work towards industry standard in IT and administrative practice.


Learners will develop administration and IT skills, enabling them to contribute to the effective functioning of an organisation. Progression from Broad General Education will be to an appropriate S4 course in Accounting at National 5 or Administration & IT at National 4 or 5.

Business & Finance

The course introduces learners to the dynamic and competitive world of industry. It develops skills in communicating business-related information, in a variety of formats, to stakeholders of an organisation.  The course covers key components of business finance and generation of financial information.

Learners will develop skills and knowledge in business, finance and the use of IT.   The development of skills explicit to the course will enable learners to succeed in life with determination and the ability to think logically.

Progression from Broad General Education will be to an S4 course in Accounting at National 5 or Business Management at National 4 or 5.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a prestigious and nationally recognised qualification.  Pupils will work towards the Bronze level award and will be expected to show a commitment to completing the four key elements of this level – volunteering, physical, skills and an expedition.

Pupils will develop the skills required to complete all of the sections and specifically outdoor skills, e.g. camp craft skills, map reading.  Pupils must be committed to developing their leadership and team working skills.

Each DofE pupil will be required to commit time beyond the classroom.  As a more specialised course choice there will be some costs involved in participating in the Award.

Please look at the information on the DofE website for further information about the Award.

Downloadable Version S3 Option Form