Curriculum for Excellence

The Universities Scotland paper Beyond the Senior Phase – ‘University Engagement with Curriculum for Excellence’ states clearly that all universities across Scotland are committed to ensure there will be no disadvantage to those pupils undertaking the new curriculum in Scotland.

University leaders affirm that they continue to be committed to fair admissions policies and that these will allow for the equal consideration of candidates who possess the necessary knowledge and skills base irrespective of what routes they may have taken through the Senior Phase (S4 to S6) of Curriculum for Excellence.

To implement this, university principals commit themselves to a review of admissions policy and practice within each of their institutions, to ensure that they will be able to give fair and equal consideration to candidates who have followed diverse routes to qualification through the Senior Phase.

Therefore, the University of St Andrews, after consulting with many of our colleagues in the secondary school sector which culminated in our Teachers Together Conference in June 2012, has set out  the following 10 points to be used as the guidelines for our way forward when considering the changes that will come about due to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Changes to the University of St Andrews’ admissions policy and practice

  • The University will remove the need for a second language at level 5 from the Faculty of Arts entry qualifications, making clear that this is desirable but not a requirement.
  • Subjects that are required at level 5 for Faculty entrance, if not taken at level 5, must be taken at level 6 both for applications after S5, and for any unconditional offers based on S5 results.
  • Even where Academic School entry grades have been achieved, offers may still be conditional and based on applicants’ S6 course of studies in order for an applicant to meet Faculty entrance requirements. These conditions can be set at National 5 or Higher where appropriate.
  • The University will accept 5/4 Highers studied for over 2 years (S4 and S5) and taken in a single diet of exams as meeting entry requirements.
  • The University will require evidence of academic rigour, preferably in the form of a suitable diet of exams at the end of S5. The combination of the diet is entirely dependent on the context of the school curriculum: this could be 5/4 Highers or a mixture of Highers and Advanced Highers.
  • The University will expect to see academic progression and those applicants achieving a Higher in a subject should progress to Advanced Higher where possible and when appropriate to the subject area to which they have applied.
  • Although most decisions are based on results achieved in S5 the University reserves the right to base any offer of a place on examinations taken in the senior phase (S4-S6) and may place conditions on the academic programme taken in S6.
  • The University will require certain combinations of subjects that will prepare the student for their academic studies and decline applicants with subject combinations that are unsuitable for our degree programmes.
  • The University will require school profiles from all Scottish Schools that are following the Curriculum for Excellence in order for Admissions Officers to contextualise applicant’s academic attainment.
  • The University of St Andrews will endeavour not to disadvantage any applicant due to the school’s curriculum.

These are principles and actions that should be followed by all Academic Schools. However, where there are specific variances in Academic Schools these will be clearly shown in the prospectus and the Academic School’s web pages.

In accordance with good practice in Admissions all relevant information supporting the above principles and actions, such as combination of subjects and faculty requirements, should be published either via the prospectus or the University website.

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