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Modern Studies
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The world in the 21st century has thrown up many new challenges against a kaleidoscope of global change and development. Modern Studies is the study of social, political and economic issues at local, national and international levels and enables pupils to understand the processes and institutions that play an important part in contemporary society. Pupils are exposed to a wide range of topical and challenging issues and are encouraged to read widely to further their interest in these. For example:

  • What will be the impact of Brexit on Scotland and the devolution settlement?
  • Does prison work?
  • Should Americans have the right to bear arms?
  • Where do British political parties stand on key issues?
  • How far does the media influence voting behaviour?

All courses seek to encourage the formation of open, respectful and tolerant attitudes. Students will also develop skills in critical-thinking, research, analysis and communication, which will allow them to participate in society as truly confident and responsible global citizens.

In Modern Studies we aim to provide an open and friendly atmosphere, a well-resourced teaching environment, and up-to-date, stimulating courses. It is offered as a subject choice in S3-S6.

In recent years , the Modern Studies department has organised exchange visits with our partner school Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in Trinidad & Tobago. We also organise visits to the Scottish Parliament and sometimes to the House of Commons.

Modern Studies is taught in the BGE as part of the Social Studies course and in the Senior Phase at National 3/4/5 and Higher level.



International issues –Terrorism

Pupils will study terrorism from 9/11 to the present day.  They will study the cause of terrorism from nationalism and religious viewpoints.  They will also look at the impact it has had on people and the world.  Finally they will study government and international responses to terrorism and will assess if it has been effective.  Examples will include the impact of the war in Syria, ISIS, Manchester and Nice.

Social Issues – Crime and the law

Pupils will study what crime is and why it happens.  Pupils will also look at how crime is tackled through the Police and government policy.  This will allow case studies on key areas such as knives, alcohol and drugs.  Finally, pupils will study the legal system and how crime is dealt with in Scottish courts.

Democracy in Scotland and the UK

Pupils will study the nature of democracy in Scotland and the UK.  How do people participate in our political system and can they make a difference.  Pupils will also look at the relationship between the UK and Scottish parliaments including the recent independence debate.  Pupils will investigate voting systems and why people vote, or don’t.  This topic also looks at citizen participation focusing on the media, trade unions and pressure groups.


National Modern Studies involves a final assessment worth 80%  The remaining  marks are gained through an Added Value Unit/Assignment which allows pupils to study a relevant topic of their choice analysing the key issues and also developing research skills.

Recent examples include: child soldiers, gun control USA, legalisation of marijuana.

Internal unit assessments will assess pupil progress



International issues – World Issue/Politics of Development/Global Security OR World Powers USA/China

Pupils will study either, a world issue such as developing nations, conflict or terrorism and how organisations like UNITED NATIONS, NATO and the African Union tackle it.  Alternatively, pupils may study a world power such as the USA or China.  This involves looking at the political system, social and economic issues facing the people and how governments attempt to solve the issue.  Pupils will also look at how the world power uses its influence in the world, for example, how the USA attempts to tackle terrorism or keep peace in the Middle East. Pupils have most recently been studying the Syrian conflict.

Social Issues – Inequality in the UK/Crime and the law

Pupils will study one of the above issues.  Inequality in the UK explores how the richest in our society dominate the best houses, jobs, lifestyles and enjoy better health than the majority of the population.  This includes a close look at Glasgow and Scotland.  We also focus on government attempts to reduce health and wealth inequality such as laws on smoking, employment and gender equality.

Alternatively, we will focus on crime and the law with a more in depth analysis of theories behind the causes of crime.  This leads into detailed study of the impact of crime and how police, government and the courts attempt to tackle the issue.

Democracy in Scotland and the UK

A continuation of the National course going into further detail of our political system and how we can participate in it.  This includes comparison of the Scottish and UK political systems and how laws are created.  Evaluating of Brexit’s implications will also be undertaken. Again, voting systems and the social, economic and historical factors involved in voting are studied.  Elements such as media, trade unions and pressure groups will also be analysed.


Higher Modern Studies has a final assessment worth 73%.  The remainder of the mark is an assignment where the student chooses a relevant topic of their choice and advises the government on the best course of action to address the issue.

Recent examples include: The Syrian conflict, obesity, child poverty.

Internal assessments will assess pupil progress.

Careers where a Modern Studies qualification is useful include;

Law, teaching, journalism and any media, social work, psychology, advertising, police, counselling, market research, politics, civil service, marketing, youth work, human resources, research work, communications, charity/non-governmental service sector, international development support.