Modern Studies seeks to develop the knowledge and understanding of students of contemporary social and political issues. Students are given the opportunity to study these within Scottish, British and international contexts.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela

As well as developing knowledge of these areas, pupils are taught skills which enable them to evaluate the different types of evidence that are used by social scientists. Pupils will learn:

  • how to detect and evaluate bias and exaggeration
  • how to evaluate complex data and resources
  • how to use evidence to support arguments
  • how to write reports and essays which are balanced and based on fact, not just opinions

In S1 and S2 pupils are presented with a challenging subject involving the causes and effects of change. Pupils are encouraged to consider contemporary issues in an objective, tolerant way. Modern Studies also seeks to contribute to pupils’ understanding of cultures other than their own, the role of the media in influencing public opinion and the impact of new technology on society.

In S3 and S4 pupils study National 5 Modern Studies with three taught units:

  • Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom: Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the main democratic processes, institutions and organisations which make up political life in Scotland.
  • Social Issues in the United Kingdom: Learners gain a knowledge and understanding of significant social issues drawn from a study of social inequality.
  • International Issues: Learners will focus on the study of a significant international issue.

The course also develops skills in detecting and explaining accuracy, bias or exaggeration in the context of democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom and develop the skills of reaching and justifying conclusions in the context of contemporary international issues.

At Higher level the courses studied are:

  • Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom: In this unit students will study topics such as the role of the UK Parliament and devolved bodies, the impact of UK membership of the European Union, voting systems and factors which affect voting behaviour.
  • Social Issues in the United Kingdom: Learners gain a knowledge and understanding of significant social issues drawn from a study of crime and the Law.
  • International Issues: Learners will focus on the study of a major international power, focusing on its political system, socio-economic issues and its role in international relations.