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Academic Study

St Mary’s Music School provides an excellent general education, broadly based in the early years, and, for older pupils, often more flexible and individually tailored than is generally possible in larger schools.

Our pupils follow Scottish Government Guidelines on the Curriculum in line with the Curriculum for Excellence.

Primary pupils are taught mainly by the Primary Staff and pupils in Senior 1 and above by subject specialists. At Senior 3, pupils begin studying towards certified courses in six or seven subjects as part of their curriculum.

At National 5/4 level they must take English and Mathematics, and are advised to take a Modern Language, Social Subject and a Science.

All pupils study Academic Music, and will be presented for the Cambridge iGCSE exam in Senior 4, SQA Advanced Higher in Senior 5 and Cambridge Pre-U in Senior 6.

Pupils specialise further for SQA National Qualifications in Senior 5. Pupils are required to take Music, English and up to three other subjects from the list provided. Advanced Highers are the Scottish equivalent of A Levels, but are one year courses. Pupils may take further Advanced Highers, Highers and National 5 examinations as required and as their ability, intentions and timetables permit.  Flexible timetabling and a structured points system take account of individual needs and may permit pupils to follow interest courses.

Physical Education and Personal and Social Education (PSE) are taught throughout the school, and Religious and Moral Education up to S4.  PSE lessons include careers advice, health education and talks by visiting speakers on politics and topical issues.

All pupils leaving St Mary’s Music School from S6 should have a minimum of five National 5/4 passes, four or five Highers and post-Higher qualifications. Most pupils will have further National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications.  In S5 several pupils opt for five Higher/post-Higher qualifications and supplement practice time outwith the school day. Examination results are consistently very good.

Although most of our pupils proceed to Higher Education, studying Music, we are careful to ensure that pupils wishing to pursue other options have the necessary qualifications (see Leavers’ Destinations sheet). A number of pupils apply to Oxford or Cambridge with a high degree of success whilst others regularly gain scholarships to conservatoires.