Over half of Scottish school pupils unable to study first choice of subjects

Written by Gemma Fraser on 30 April 2019 in News

Some pupils have complained of having to study subjects they “hate” because of restrictions in their schools

Image credit: Dods

More than half of Scottish pupils are being denied the chance to study the subjects they want to because of teacher shortages and school restrictions.

A new survey found that 56 per cent of youngsters said they have been unable to study certain subjects from National 4 level onwards.

These include social subjects, languages, expressive arts and sciences.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) findings are due to be presented to MSPs at Wednesday’s Scottish Parliament Education Committee as they examine the issue of narrowing subject choice in Scotland.

It has previously emerged that pupils in S4 are commonly only getting a range of five or six different subjects instead of the traditional eight.

Out of the subjects pupils said they weren’t getting a chance to study, modern studies came out on top.

The SPICe document also reveals that among the other subjects frequently denied were French, history, drama, human biology and politics.

Some pupils claimed to have been forced to take subjects they “hated”.

One survey respondent said: “I wasn’t allowed to take modern studies and another social subject so I had to take art instead, which I hated.”

Another added: “I was forced to take Spanish (a course I have no interest in) and miss a class I really enjoy.”

And one pupil said they were “unable to study all the subjects I wished to due to my school only offering six choices over one year instead of eight, leaving me worse off in my future”.

One youngster warned: “I think it’s going to really impact my future study as I might not be able to take the subjects I need to get to university.”

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: “No-one would expect every single pupil to be able to take every single subject they wanted.

“But this survey shows more than half of pupils are denied this opportunity.

“That speaks volumes about the narrowing choice of subjects being offered to Scotland’s pupils under this SNP government.

“Scotland used to be world-renowned for the breadth of education on offer in school.

“Now it’s more likely than not that our children will be denied the opportunities for learning they both need and deserve.”

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