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N4 and N5 Advice/Help?

Discussion in 'Scotland - curriculum' started by barbiedoll59, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Think that depends which authority you teach in. Officially S3 should be level 4 but some authorities are continuing with subject choice as normal at the end of S2 so one would presume that the child may study Nat 4 in S3/4 and Nat 5 in S5. Then again bi-level classes seem to be the proposed norm so child may be in Access 3/Nat 4 class or Nat 4/5 class in S3/4 but to offer progression all of these will need to be offered again in S5.
    I think we are all confused by this at the moment.
  2. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Absolutely barbie, it's all such a mess which is going to take years to sort out (imho). We will go down whichever route our ambitious SMT think is best cos' they've been told by QIOs, who've been told by someone else..................it may work out but sure as hell if it doesn''t us ordinary teachers will get the blame for it failing.
    We have a lovely "experienced" teacher on our staff who has seen a few changes and he says to keep calm - teaching will remain teaching, but I think it's gone too far this time. The people I really feel sorry for are our teenagers and their little siblings - all these changes will have such an effect on their lives. However, if parents realise in time maybe something can be salvaged.
    (sorry to have gone off on one again!) [​IMG]
  3. I too am totally confused by this. I teach in Glasgow and our school seems to be following a 2 plus 2 plus 2 model but from what reading Larry Flanagan's bit in TESS a couple of weeks ago it seems some other Glasgow schools are doing 3 plus 3 - so there's not even an authority wide position on this. Our S2 pupils picked their options at Christmas and we have been starting to prepare for them doing National 4 at the end of S3 - hampered massively by the fact that the rough course support materials for my subject only came out 2 weeks ago and we don't yet have a list of topics that we will be teaching and just have to guess that the usual ones will probably come up.
    However, it seems the more we research what is to happen next year, the more problems we encounter, and there seems to be no-one in Glasgow giving answers or even available to listen - hence my presence on these boards.
    Here are my main problems so far - I wonder if any of you have answers to them:
    1) Only 2 periods a week allocated for my subject for the current S2s/next year's S3. If we were to start the National 4 course in August as planned, we would only therefore have about 65 periods with which to complete the course. There are 4 topics to be included. While I cannot see any suggested time outline for National 4, I do not see how this can be possible. For the current S2 therefore we'd need to start the course just now in order to complete it, but we cannot do this as we don't yet have the firm course outlines (as well as all the other obvious educational reasons)
    2) No topics yet outlined for study in National 4 in my subject. This means that we cannot yet start developing course materials
    3) No assessments yet outlined for National 4 in my subject. Again, this creates problems in developing course materials
    4) If S3 are to do National 4, then what do the less clever ones who will not pass National 5 do in S4? And if the answer to that question is that they should do Access in S3 then National 4 in S4, then doesn't that still leave a problem as to what they will do in S5? We have plenty kids at my school who get 4s in their SG but cannot pass Int2 and end up doing Int1 - effectively the same level as the SG they already have but at least it gives them something to do in S5. What will these kids (and there are more of them coming back every year) do in S5 now?

    Given all this chat from Bill Maxwell about the 'broad general education' up to S3, is his intended model that the current S2 should actually just be following some random course of study up until the end of S3 then picking a smaller set of subjects and doing either National 4 or National 5 depending on ability? Or should they be doing National 4 or National 5 over S3-4? And, if one of these models or something else entirely, when the *** is someone going to tell my school so that I and the other teachers, most of whom genuinely care about getting this right for the S2s sitting in front of us, can start getting materials together and planning for next year?
  4. OK the original proposed model for secondary was 3 + 3 but many schools/authorities recognised that this would mean kids having less qualifications and parent power backs this (Remember CfE is supposed to be about choice) they have therefore decided to follow the 2 + 2 + 2 model which is pretty much what we have already this allows for 8 subjects to be followed in S3-S4 as we have at the moment then further choice at the end of S4 this time for 5 subjects.
    As to timing, as these courses are supposed to sit in the qualification phase (S4-S6) this means that they should be given the same amount of time as you get for Higher.
    As to teaching Nat4 and Nat 5 in the one class the nice lady from SQA refused to enter any discussion on that saying that this was coming from schools not SQA - make of that what you will.
    As to less able kids they will be following an Access3/Nat 4 course which means that if they don't get Nat 4 in S4 they can do it again in S5 and if they do they can progress to Nat 5 which in my subject will have them running for the hills.
    If you are following the 3 + 3 model S1-S3 covers levels 3 and 4 then S4-S6 is the qualifications phase.
    You don't say what your subject is but draft documents are being posted on SQA site and their arguement would be that we have another whole year to develop the initial qualification phase.
    All you can do is keep checking and hope something is posted soon - good luck
  5. Sorry Barbiedoll but I still don't get this. Our S2 have already picked their S3 subjects and the intention of our school seems to be that they will be doing 8 National 4s next year (May 2013), meaning that we need to start teaching to the new qualifications now. They are then to pick options again at the end of S3 (5 this time), doing their 5 National 5s(or National 4s for the less able) at the end of S4 and then progressing to Highers (or repeats as will be the case with most of them).

    If you are saying that we should be teaching National 4 over 2 years (or starting after S3), with this first cohort getting National 4 in May 2014 then someone really needs to enlighten my school as this is not what they're planning for. What a mess - and woe betide any S2 who has to change school over the next couple of years..
  6. lookinglost

    lookinglost New commenter

    From what I understood after a my last conversation from HMIE the National 4 documents will be formally published April this year. You are not expected to put pupils forward for N4 certification until the N4 is rolled out in 13/14 session. I suppose you could gather evidence but they would not gain the qualification until the next year. The 12/13 session is the last year any pupil will be entered for Standard Grade. 13/14 you will still be able to do your Ints and old Higher, as East Ren are.
    You are expected to have pupils working at Level 4 by S3 though.
    The dates of the official release give us just over a year to finalise our course in S4 and I realise for some departments thats not a lot of time. We are basically using the drafts as the final product and using them in auditing our current S1 - S3 course ensuring we've covered everything. Not really that fun.
    I think the assessments outlines in draft form were released in November for all subjects and official documents release dates are in April as I mentioned before. I think this is the case for all subjects. N4 example questions will be up on the NAR soon as well, not sure the dates on that one.
    I believe CfE is supposed to be on more the lines of stage rather than age. I have also heard that the SQA will only allow early presentation in special circumstances - whatever they are. So pupils at the end of S4 will be expected to be sitting N4s or N5s.
    It's late and I have re-read my post and I think I have answered some questions but certainly not all. I rather not try at the moment but will try and come back and give it a go. If you have any specific questions just pm me and I'll see if I can answer them.

  7. I, too, find myself in this situation. My son is in the latter stages of primary and I also fear for his future. However, I teach in the primary sector and have done for quite a long time. I have worked through various educational initiatives, some better than others. Despairingly, this is the worst of the lot!
    I agree with a previous poster that if you dare to speak out against this hogwash then you are deemed 'an enemy of the state'! Frankly, I have been around too long and will not 'put up' and 'shut up'.
    I want my son to have all the opportunities available to him - he deserves it. He doesn't deserve to have the dumbed-down, second-rate education offered by the Scottish Govt. I know there are many secondary colleagues who work damned hard and who are just as concerned as I am. I am still trying to understand the ramifications of all of the changes at secondary level and the implications for my son. Secondary teachers should never have been put in this awful position and neither should we.
    At our feeder secondary, the parent body have got together to fight the LA on their proposal to cut the subject choice at S3 to 5. The LA can't seem to understand what the fuss is about but unfortunately for the LA mandarins, some of the parents are talking about taking legal action to fight their case. Watch this space!
  8. I understand your concerns regarding the narrowing of the curriculum in S3 in your LA and agree with them. However, my son is being forced to embark on 8 subjects at N5 level without having experioenced any level 4 or N4 outcomes. This means that he will have to cove a significant part of the N4 course as well as the entire N5 course over 2 sessions with a time allocation of 3 periods per week. The courses are each designed to take 6 periods a week over 1 session. There is absolutely no way that I can see my son being able to complete N4 or N5 within this timescale. The outcomes in my subject are such that the N5 course has a very significant chunk of higher level work which s5 currently experience difficulty with. I know many of my colleagues in other subject areas say the same thing is happening there. The one thing I can say in favour of your LA is at least the kids will have the appropriate time allocation to complete the courses and more of a chance of succeeding.
    I too have seen through many new initiatives in my 18 years as a Principal Teacher and agree with you that this is the worst ever. No one knows how to cope with this. I find myself in a situation where those in authority fail to criticise any of this. Let's say I'm not too popular as I'm not in the habit of keeping my opinions to myself. Myself andsome of my colleagueshave expressed to our Line manager that we need the support the Mr Russell keeps saying he will give if he's asked for it! We are not being taken seriously. I am extremely worried for my own childrens' futures and those of the kids I teach.

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