Glenrothes High School

Glenrothes High School

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Modern Studies

Welcome to the Modern Studies Department!

 The last few years has seen huge political change in Scotland, the UK and Europe.

 In 2014, Scotland was deeply divided after a passionate debate regarding independence, of which 55% of the population voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. In the recent Scottish election (2016), the SNP retained their position of power, but with only a minority government. Whilst an uncharacteristic surge of support for the Scottish Conservative Party under Ruth Davidson, meant that they formed Scotland’s 2nd biggest party. The UK has had its own referendum regarding the continued membership with the European Union. This ultimately led to David Cameron’s resignation, and the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister of Great Britain.

 Yet recent years saw even more change, with the US presidential elections, Brexit negotiations and the possibly of a second independence referendum for Scotland!

Such events have captivated the nation’s interest in politics, millions have tuned into to live debates, and surfed the internet for information to inform their vote. This has made Modern Studies even more exciting, accesible and relevant to pupils in S1-S6.

SQA Information

Link to SQA site for Nat 4, Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Studies past papers and guidelines Web icon

Link to SQA site for Higher Politics past papers and guidelines Web icon

What is Modern Studies?

Modern Studies is the study of how people live across the world, in present day. In Modern Studies, we look at the social and economic problems which people face in Fife, Scotland, the UK and Wider World. The subject investigates ways in which governing authorities and independent organisations attempt to tackle these problems.

Skills in Modern Studies

The purpose of all courses in Modern Studies is to develop learners’ abilities to understand the world in which they live. Pupils develop invaluable skills which they can and will use in the workplace and in the wider world.

Literacy and numeracy skills are embedded in all courses – from the analysis of election results to justifying a point of view -  whilst debating international terrorism; from writing a report on racism to using a variety of sources to recognising bias in an MSP’s point of view.

ICT skills are developed by learners carrying out research and making presentations.

Finally pupils build their confidence and social skills by participating in a wide variety of group activities and classroom debates on a whole manner of topics and issues.

What careers can Modern Studies lead to?

Due to the variety of skills which are developed in Modern Studies, the certificates obtained at national and higher level can lead to a long list of disciplines. In fact almost any career path would benefit from the critical skills and general understanding of the way the world works which Modern Studies provides.

That said, below are a list of careers which directly link to Modern Studies:

  • Social Work
  • Law
  • Police
  • Journalism
  • Local Government
  • Politics
  • Business


Courses on offer:

S1: Democracy/Introduction to Politics

      Crime and the Law

S2: Human Rights
       USA Gun Laws/ China Ideologies
       UK Inequalities (Racism, Sexism)
       Economic Issues

S3: The United States of America

  • - The global influence of the US
  • - Immigration
  • - Social/Economic issues (Health, Education, Crime)
  • - Presidential Elections 2016


National: Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom

                Social Issues in the United Kingdom 

                International Issues

Higher:  Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom

              Social Issues in the United Kingdom
              International Issues