Balwearie High School
Welcome to Balwearie High School. I am proud and privileged to lead a truly comprehensive secondary school that welcomes around 1600 young people and over 190 staff every day to our mainstream and Department of Additional Support (DAS) settings. Our school motto, ‘to strive, to seek’, encompasses our spirit, determination and ambition to be the best we can be.
We are pleased to serve our local community as well as the surrounding areas of Auchtertool, Burntisland and Kinghorn.
Our school aims to create a culture that reflects our school values;
We work hard to offer high quality learning and teaching experiences for all our young people, underpinned by our Balwearie Skills Framework, our Learning Framework and our Wellbeing Indicators. In so doing, we encourage all young people, staff and partners to reach their full potential and contribute fully to an innovative, exciting and inclusive community.
We show care, kindness and compassion to others and prioritise wellbeing and equality. In addition, we value the views of others and always seek to improve our practice through self-evaluation and reflection activities, ensuring we capture the voice of young people, staff, parents/carers and partners. We believe this is how we will continue to improve and best prepare young people for life during and beyond school.
Our curriculum reflects our aspiration to provide a well-balanced, challenging and varied offering both in and out of school to meet the needs of all learners. As we continue to develop our vision and purpose, we will adapt our curriculum to broaden the offering for all young people. This helps us ensure an appropriate suite of qualifications, achievements and wider opportunities are available and accessible to all, allowing young people to move into a positive and sustained destination of their choice when they leave us.
We understand the importance of providing learning experiences in a range of contexts and endeavour to create an environment where young people can explore their own beliefs, aspirations and ambitions. As such, we benefit from diverse partnerships within our local and international communities that enriches our experience and understanding of the wider world and our role within it, allowing us to positively contribute to and understand global issues.
We have high expectations of our young people and of ourselves and are grateful for the ongoing support of parents/carers as we work in partnership to deliver a unique and meaningful learning experience for our learners.
Ms Alison Mitchell
At Balwearie we offer a broad and varied curriculum. The tiles below give you a small taster of what we have to offer across our curriculum. There is more detailed information available in the school life section of the website under curriculum.
- Art & Design
Art & Design
In Art and Design, pupils will engage in challenging and creative learning experiences. Topics are always pupil centred, using meaningful, relevant contexts drawn from the world around them. Our courses aim to develop creative skills in drawing, painting and sculpture, alongside a progressive development of design aspects, such as, problem solving, divergent thinking and construction skills. Skills development in the junior years, serve the pupils well in the senior phase and beyond, as part of their future lives. All Art and Design topics are driven by the working practices of artists and designers and raise awareness of how Art and Design, and its emphasis on visual communication, fits into our increasingly global world. All our courses encourage creative thinking and an appreciation of aesthetic beauty, acting as a channel to express ideas and feelings through a variety of media and techniques. whilst promoting personal expression and growth.
The Business Education Department offers students the opportunity to study a range of subjects, collecting an array of skills for learning, life and work in the process. Personalisation and choice is at the heart of our S1-S3 BGE courses with emphasis on providing exciting projects that enhance learners? creativity, enterprise and leadership qualities. As well as enterprise, S1 ICT introduces pupils to modern-day technology, providing pupils with the ICT skills beneficial throughout their school career and beyond.
Certificated subjects include Accounting, Administration & IT and Business Management, all offered to Higher level, with Business Management also presented at Advanced Higher. Learning about the dynamic and challenging world of business is both interesting and useful irrespective of the career path a pupil eventually decides to follow. All three subjects offer students the opportunity to develop the skills needed for the contemporary workplace.
We aim to provide learners with skills and understanding relevant to the digital world. The fostering of transferrable problem solving skills and independent inquiring minds prepares learners for the world of work.
We achieve this by maintaining a positive ethos in the department, having high expectations of learners and encouraging engagement with the learning process.
Courses taught are: S1 ICT (with Business Education), S2 CfE Computing Science and Electives in Web Design, Programming, Computer Games and Digital Media, S3/4 N4/5 Computing Science and National Progression Awards in Computer Games Design,S5/6 N4/5, Higher & Advanced Higher Computing Science
Learners are encouraged to push the boundaries of the courses and of themselves, within the class and at lunchtime access sessions, in order to realise their full potential.
The Department of Additional Support is a positive learning environment which caters for learning needs of pupils who for many different reasons are unable to access learning in a mainstream environment.
The Department aims to provide a welcoming, enjoyable, stimulating and purposeful environment in which learning and teaching and personal development can take place. This environment should be one of equal opportunity.
The curriculum reflects that offered in mainstream, but it is elaborated and adapted to individual needs.
- Design + Technology
Design + Technology
"Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere" Albert Einstein
Design + Technology offers a diverse range of contextualised courses and learning experiences that aim to inspire the young people of Balwearie into the next generation of successful designers, engineers, craftsmen, architects.... We are passionate about our wide range of subjects and opportunities we can offer pupils. We are dedicated to providing a creative and positive experience to each and every pupil in Balwearie regardless of ability or skillset.
Throughout the Broad General Education, S1-3 pupils study contemporary and contextualised projects that cover the broad range of sujects on offer in the department making use of traditional skills and also cutting edge laser cutting and 3D Printing technology. In the senior school we offer a wide range of subjects from National 4 - Advanced Higher and also offer a new Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering.
- Religious Education
The Religious Moral Education department is a vibrant and stimulating place where young people can learn to develop their personal views and beliefs in today?s changing society. Pupils will study topics ranging from Kindness, Peace and Gender through to analysing and investigating contemporary moral issues such as the Death Penalty and Organ Donation. Young people are encouraged to value and assess the impact that both Faith and Reason have in society.
RME is a diverse place of learning where we regularly implement active learning practices, we believe that co-operative learning is ideal for our subject and pupils gain vital skills which they can use throughout the school and beyond. Our overall aim is to engage our young people in the business of tolerance, compassion and maintaining an open mind, resulting in independent thoughtful critical thinkers. We offer a range of courses from National 4 - Higher RMPS in the senior school and an S1-3 Broad General Education experience for all pupils.
The Drama Department offers a diverse range of opportunities for pupils to develop skills in all aspects of performance and theatre production roles. We encourage our pupils to experience live theatrical productions to broaden their understanding of all that theatre has to offer. From our CfE courses in S1 & S2 all the way up to Advanced Higher Drama in S6, we encourage pupils to develop their creativity in a positive learning environment. We also provide opportunities for pupils to get involved in extra-curricular projects through building skills in acting, directing, stage management and multiple production roles.
The English Department offers a Broad General Education from S1-3 and courses for our senior pupils at all levels up to Advanced Higher, where the uptake and pass rates are significantly above national averages. We offer opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities, particularly creative writing, where we have had various winners of a prestigious national competition, the Pushkin Prize, over the past decade. In addition, we have had success in regional and national debating competitions in previous years. We offer a range of electives in Creative Writing, Debating and Film Studies. We also offer courses in Media Studies up to Higher level. Pupils can expect to participate in a diverse range of talking, listening, reading and writing activities, with an emphasis on collaborative and active learning at all levels and in the different year groups.
The aim of the Home Economics department is is to equip pupils with useful life skills - organisation, management of time, money and resources. Health and Wellbeing are recognised as having a direct relation to food intake. Through investigation and practical work pupils are taught the essentials of healthy eating for healthy living. Critical evaluation and selection are taught to encourage pupils to make reasoned choices. Developing confidence in practical and organisational skills can contribute to an increasing sense of self-reliance. A full range of courses is offered from S1-S6 including Hospitality, Food Wizardry, Cake Craft, Textile Technology, Health & Food Technology and Early Education & Childcare.
"Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country."
The Mathematics Department aim to ensure that support, challenge and enjoyment are available to every pupil throughout their mathematical experience at Balwearie. We endeavour to provide every pupil with the opportunity to achieve their potential in Mathematics.
There is no such thing as a "Maths Gene", everyone has the ability to develop their numerical and mathematical skills. There is no such thing as born being good at Maths, you become good at Maths through doing it.
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." (John Wooden, Basketball Coach)
In French, Spanish and German, the students are not only given the opportunity to learn a new language but also to develop a set of skills that are necessary beyond life at school. Indeed, a strong emphasis is put on improving skills such as team work, communication, resourcefulness, preparation and resilience to name just a few. While actively learning a foreign language, including new vocabulary and grammar structures, the students are also exposed to new cultural elements via the media of texts, songs or movies which give them the chance to reflect on their own culture. The learners are also expected to make use of new technology with a view to developing their own knowledge by undertaking online research. Learning a language is challenging but rewarding. We are convinced that you will enjoy your journey with us.
In Social Studies young people will gain a deeper understanding of the place where they live and the heritage of their family and community. They will also develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values, in different times, places and circumstances, and how those people have shaped their environment. They will learn about human achievements and be able to make sense of complex matters such as societal change, the nature of conflict and environmental issues. With such a deeper understanding young people will be in a stronger position to influence events in their own lives by exercising informed and responsible citizenship.
Social Studies enables young people to broaden their understanding of their own community and the lives of people elsewhere in the world. It will help them develop the capacity for critical thinking, form their own view of the world and develop their understanding of different values, beliefs and cultures. Finally, it will establish firm foundations for lifelong learning, for further study and, potentially, for many careers.
Balwearie has a thriving music department with many opportunities for students through courses in both Music and Music Technology. As well as students learning to play a wide range of classroom based instruments, the school has a variety of visiting instructors covering different string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments as well as the piano, guitar, bagpipes and pipe band drumming. There are many extra-curricular groups in the department run by Music teachers and visiting instrumental instructors where pupils are able to take part in both the Christmas and Spring concerts, the Fife Festival of Music and numerous other performing opportunities throughout the year.
The Department of Physical Education takes a holistic approach to Health and Wellbeing, where all pupils have the opportunity to develop the four overarching capacities contained in the Curriculum for Excellence. Learners are provided with inclusive pathways for progression through the Broad General Education in S1 to S3 and the Senior Phase in S4 to S6. A range of activities are offered across team games, individual activities and aesthetics, which allows access and support for physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
Pupils can elect to study the subject through certificate Physical Education and further SQA qualifications. The pupil experience is supported by partnership working with Active Schools and PEPAS, with an extra-curricular programme encouraging wider participation in sport and physical activity.
The primary responsibility of the Pupil Support Department is to ensure that the needs of all young people with Additional Support Needs at BHS are being met. This include those with behaviour, social, emotional and learning challenges. The Pupil Support department work closely with young people who face such challenges, through 1-1 with pupils, sharing strategies with all classroom teachers, working closely with departments, working closely with our cluster Primaries, Parents and our partner agencies to ensure all needs of those with ASN are met effectively and successfully.
Biology is an enormously diverse subject in which we uncover the mysteries of life processes, structure and function of plants and animals, how living things interact and the origin of life and its history. Through these studies, the Biology department aims to develop a learner's abilities to think analytically, creatively and independently, and to be able to make reasoned evaluations as they investigate the living world in an engaging and enjoyable way.
As well as offering courses in Science in S1 and Chemistry in S2-3 we offer a full range of courses in the senior school from National 3 to Advanced Higher and our results in general are well above the national averages. Each course is designed to be as practical and active as possible, using experimental work to help pupils understand the world around them. The department also offers supported study sessions outwith class time. We provide a range of extra summary and revision materials to students online. This can allow parents to be involved in and assist with their child's learning.
Our Physics curriculum is challenging and rewarding, with the opportunity for both theoretical and experimental learning to enhance your understanding of the world around us. Your learning will take you on a journey through the universe, exploring the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles while developing your critical thinking and problem solving skills in the process. By investigating the philosophies shared by the likes of Newton, Einstein and Ohm, your studies will help you make sense of the term? as the crow flies? understand what your phone and the sea have in common and discover how much radiation really is contained in your banana.