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To be surprised that, apparently, no local schools are offering Advanced Higher Geography?

(29 Posts)
SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 05-Mar-14 11:36:03

We are currently thinking about ds3's subject choices for his final year at school - we live in Scotland, and the Advanced Higher is the highest qualification available in schools (as far as I know). Broadly, I believe it equates to an A level, in the English system, though in some subjects it also goes onto some first year degree level material.

Ds3 wants to read Geography at University. He's taking Higher Geography this year, and would like to do the Advanced Higher next year - but not only is his school not offering it but, as far as he can find out, none of the local state schools will be offering this subject next year.

I am somewhat aghast at this - Geography is hardly an exotic or niche subject, so AIBU to think that it ought to be possible for a pupil who wants to study it, to be able to find a local school that will offer it? We wouldn't object if he had to travel to another local school to do this subject, but it boggles my mind that something that I consider to be a core subject, isn't available anywhere nearby!

Annunziata Wed 05-Mar-14 11:39:23

My SIL says they can't get a geography teacher in her school for love nor money! She is a History teacher and has to cover for Modern Studies and Geography for S1-4. I don't think they even run the Higher- isn't that terrible?

Hadmeathello Wed 05-Mar-14 11:41:58

Would a local college perhaps offer it?

VampireGeek Wed 05-Mar-14 11:42:15


Have you thought at looking at local colleges? When I was in 6th Year 13 years ago some of my classmates got to go to the local college to do subjects that were offered there and not at the school.

Don't know why they aren't offering Advanced Higher Geography though, seems a bit odd!

Quoteunquote Wed 05-Mar-14 11:43:53

Is there an evening class nearby covering it, my eldest had to do two subjects as evening classes as none of the schools, or collages offered them at the time.

squoosh Wed 05-Mar-14 11:44:50

Wow, I'm so surprised to hear this, as you say it's hardly a niche subject. What subjects are available in his school at Advanced Higher level?

Hadmeathello Wed 05-Mar-14 11:45:49

Is it not possible that if there is enough demand one of the schools locally will run it?

At DD's school (she will also be going into 6th year) they haven't even discussed options yet let alone know what's available. Your school may be better organised though.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 05-Mar-14 11:48:21

I will check local colleges, and evening classes - that is a good idea.

I have emailed the school, and asked if they could reconsider offering this subject (and pointed out that if no other local schools are offering it, they might be able to offer it to their pupils too, and boost numbers).

TeacakeEater Wed 05-Mar-14 11:52:21

YANBU and Annunziatashock!

LaurieFairyCake Wed 05-Mar-14 11:56:22

Is that the same as the CSYS?

When I was at school in Scotland after Highers we did Certificates in Sixth Year Studies in a range of subjects.

Hadmeathello Wed 05-Mar-14 12:00:26

Yep, SYS was replaced with Advanced Highers.

WilsonFrickett Wed 05-Mar-14 12:05:08

I'm surprised too! Is there a large intake into fifth year locally because if not, that usually restricts the number of subjects available. I also find it a bit odd they know now that they won't offer a subject in two years' time. But then, I suppose that means there's time for them to sort things out if enough DCs are interested?

LessMissAbs Wed 05-Mar-14 12:05:29

YANBU. This happened to me with Higher History. Not Advanced Higher History, just the normal Higher. It wasn't available at my school, it wasn't available at the two other nearby schools who were supposed to step into the breach. They wouldn't let me study it on my own in the library, even though I had got an "A" in the O Grade. My mother went up to the school for an appointment with the Headmaster, who told her "We don't expect any pupils from this school to go on to university".

Next day my parents told me I wasn't going back and I started at a private school the following Monday.

If it will affect your daughter's chances of getting into the course she wants to at university, then you cannot accept this! It really is dreadful.

BlueberryWoods Wed 05-Mar-14 12:16:02

I would speak to the local authority/council and ask where it is being offered.
I would also get in touch with some of the universities being considered and ask if Advanced Higher is needed (and if AH is not able to be done can they can suggest alternatives).
Would the school let him do a distance learning course(if there is one suitable).
There must be a way around this type of situation.

TeacakeEater Wed 05-Mar-14 12:22:46

LesMissAbsshock. I'm overusing these emoticons today!

mymiraclebubba Wed 05-Mar-14 12:29:21

Unfortunately they can only offer it if they have a teacher qualified to teach it and enough interest from pupils to make it worthwhile from a funding perspective.

Yanbu to be aghast at none of the local schools offering it but tertiary colleges ought to or perhaps an adult education centre. The school may be able to advise where he could study it so might be worth a callback the humanities department head.

Hope he gets sorted

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 05-Mar-14 12:30:36

LessMiss - I wish moving ds3 to one of the local private schools was an option, but it is taking every spare penny to pay university maintenance for ds1 and ds2. And ds3 loves the school, has great friends there, and really doesn't want to move.

As far as ds3 is aware, at least some of the Scottish universities will accept you onto a Geography degree with Higher Geography, but the Advanced Higher is a real benefit - plus, if he gets a conditional offer, I believe he would get more points for an Advanced Higher than a Higher, and it would make more sense for him to do an Advanced Higher in a relevant subject, than just any random one, just for the points (if that makes sense).

Your school's attitude toward its pupils was horrific - well done to you and your parents for getting you out of there!

fay144 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:31:18

My school didn't do any SYS subjects, so I went to uni straight from 5th year with my Highers. Would that be an option?

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 05-Mar-14 12:34:23

Financially, I don't think so, fay - we are currently supporting two sons at University, and couldn't manage three. Plus I think he would benefit from the extra year at school - he has grown up and matured a lot in the past couple of years, but I think he needs a bit more, before he heads off to university.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 05-Mar-14 12:35:42

He'll be able to get in to a geography degree with higher geography. Actually, you can get in to geography without higher geography. For example, Glasgow's website says that you get an unconditional offer for AAAA or AAABB including two science subjects for a BSc and the same grades including English and a humanities subject or language for an MA.

Edinburgh say 'preferably including geography' at higher. They only insist on advanced higher geography if you want direct entry to second year (which isn't a brilliant idea, tbh).

HuglessDouglas Wed 05-Mar-14 12:41:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 05-Mar-14 12:42:13

That is very reassuring - thank you Calamitously and Hugless.

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 05-Mar-14 12:43:53

Could you ask the school whether they would enter him into the exams if he teaches himself possibly with a tutor?

Failing that, a tertiary college would also be good as a different educational experience.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 05-Mar-14 12:44:44

Tbh, many of the English universities ask for higher geography rather than advanced higher too. Somewhere like Durham or Bristol may specify advanced higher, but possibly not if there's no possibility of an applicant taking it. They'd be able to advise on alternatives.

Megrim Wed 05-Mar-14 12:44:57

Advanced higher geography would only be necessary if your son was looking at an English university (assuming given the difference in fees, he'll be staying in Scotland!).

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