Larkhall Academy

Modern Studies

Modern Studies is part of the Social Subjects Faculty at Larkhall Academy along with History, Geography and RMPS. Modern Studies is a subject unique to the Scottish Secondary school curriculum. In Modern Studies students study local, national and international issues from a social, political and economic perspective. Due to the nature of our subject and the ever changing world we are able to adapt the broad topics we cover to fit in with what is happening right now in the world today.  Students study Modern Studies at S1 and S2 then they can pick the subject at National 4, 5, Higher and Advanced Higher at Larkhall Academy. The school also offers Higher Politics at Senior Phase.

Faculty Head/Principal Teacher Social Subjects: Mrs Downie

Department/Subject staff: Mr Hannah, Miss O’Donnell and Miss Birrell

Broad General Education

In Modern Studies from S1-S3 students studying a variety of topics that are relevant to what is happening in the world today. In S1 students attend Modern Studies once a week studying Democracy looking at what is democracy, how elections work, Scottish Parliament, U.K. Parliament, Human Rights and the USA.

In S2 pupils again attend Modern Studies once a week and study a variety of topics such as The Interdependent World, Fairtrade, Conflict and Terrorism and Brazil.

In S3, as part of the Broad General Education Curriculum we study a number of topics.

This includes Democracy in Scotland and or U.K., Crime and the Law and the USA.

The main aim of the course is for pupils to build upon the skills that they will use for their National 4/5 Qualifications and in later life when they leave school.

Senior Phase

National 4/5 Modern Studies

The course uses a multidisciplinary approach to develop candidates’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish, United Kingdom and international contexts. Candidates develop the skills to interpret and participate in the social and political processes they will encounter in their lives.

In National 4/5 students study 4 units:

  1. Democracy in Scotland and or the U.K.
  2. Social Issues in the United Kingdom. For example Social Inequality or Crime and the Law.
  3. A World Power or a World Issue. For example they can studying the USA or Terrorism.
  4. Added Value/Assignment

Unit 1- Democracy in Scotland and or the U.K. looks at:

  • Representative democracy in Scotland and/or the United Kingdom.
  • The United Kingdom constitutional arrangement including the role of Local Councils, Scottish Parliament and U.K. Parliament.
  • The impact of voting systems and the range of factors which affect voting behaviour on Scotland and/or the United Kingdom.
  • The ways in which citizens are informed about, participate in, and influence the political process in Scotland and/or the United Kingdom
  • The Scottish independence referendum causes and consequences to Scotland and the U.K.

Unit 2- Social Issues in the United Kingdom e.g. Social Inequality or Crime and the Law.

  • Evidence of social inequality with health and wealth in the United Kingdom.
  • Attempts to tackle inequalities and evaluation of their effectiveness- government policy.
  • Theories and causes of crime.
  • The impact of crime on specific groups in society.
  • The role of the Police in Scotland and the UK.
  • Traditional prisons vs non-custodial sentences in reducing reoffending rates.
  • The courts in Scotland and the UK.

Unit 3- International Issues e.g. World Powers or World Issues.

  • The role of the USA in international relations- politically, economically, socially, culturally and military operations.
  • Recent socio-economic issues in the USA.
  • Structure of the USA government, including the constitution, divisions of power, powers of the President.
  • Voting System in the USA- The Electoral College.
  • Pressure on the USA government- Interest/ pressure groups in the USA.
  • The difference between federal/state laws

Unit 4- Added Value/Assignment

Candidates have an open choice of a Modern Studies topic or issue. Their choice should refer to a contemporary political, social or international issue and should not be constrained by the content of the question paper.

Higher Modern Studies

Modern Studies makes a distinctive contribution to the curriculum by drawing on the social sciences of politics, sociology and economics and where appropriate, of associated ideas drawn from other social subjects. Purpose and aims of the Course Modern Studies opens up the world of contemporary society for learners. The purpose of Modern Studies is to develop the learner’s knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish, United Kingdom and international contexts. In these contexts, learners will develop an awareness of the social and political issues they will meet in their lives. This purpose will be achieved through successful study of the four Units:

 Unit 1: Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom (Higher)

  • In this Unit, learners will use a range of written, numerical and graphical sources of information in order to detect and explain the degree of objectivity in contemporary Scottish and UK political contexts.
  • Learners will draw on knowledge and understanding of democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom.
  • Learners will study topics such as: the United Kingdom constitutional arrangement including the role of the Scottish Parliament and other devolved bodies and the impact of UK membership of the European Union; the study of representative democracy; voting systems and their impact; the impact of a range of factors which affect voting behaviour; and the ways in which citizens are informed about, participate in, and influence the political process.

 

Unit 2: Social Issues in the United Kingdom e.g. Social Inequality or Crime and the Law (Higher)

 

  • In this Unit, learners will use a range of written, numerical and graphical sources of information in order to make and justify decisions about social issues.
  • Learners will draw on knowledge and understanding of social issues within the United Kingdom and Scotland. Learners will focus on either social inequality or crime and the law.
  • In the social inequality context, learners will focus on a contemporary aspect of social inequality in the UK and the impact on a group in society.
  • They will focus on topics such as the nature of social inequality; theories and causes of inequality; the impact of inequality; and the attempts to tackle inequality and their effectiveness.
  • In the crime and the law context, learners will focus on topics such as the role of law in society; theories and causes of crime; the impact of crime; and methods of tackling crime and their effectiveness.

Unit 3: International Issues e.g. World Powers or World Issues (Higher)

  • In this Unit, learners will use a range of written, numerical and graphical sources of information in order to draw and support conclusions in international contexts.
  • Learners will draw on knowledge and understanding of international issues.
  • Learners have a choice of international issue: contexts for study will focus on either a political and socio-economic study of a major world power or the study of a significant contemporary world issue.
  • The study of a world power will focus on a study of its political system and processes, recent socio-economic issues, effectiveness of the government in tackling a socio-economic issue and its role in international relations.
  • The study of a world issue will focus on a significant recent issue or conflict which has a regional or global impact.
  • The study of the issue will focus on causes of the issue, the consequences of the issue on those areas directly involved as well as its global impact, the role of international organisations in attempts to resolve the issue and the effectiveness of international organisations in their attempts to resolve the issue.

The main aims of Higher Modern Studies are to enable learners to develop:

♦ A range of research, analytical and evaluating skills

♦ Understanding of the democratic process and complex political issues

♦ Understanding of complex social and economic issues at local, Scottish, national and international levels and ways of addressing needs and inequalities.

♦ Understanding of different views about the extent of state involvement in society.

♦ Understanding of the nature and processes of conflict resolution.

♦ Understanding of the importance of human and legal rights and responsibilities and their application in different societies.

Unit 4 — Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate challenge and application by demonstrating skills, knowledge and understanding within the context of a contemporary issue. This assignment will give learners an opportunity to demonstrate the following higher order cognitive skills, knowledge and understanding:

¨ Identify a Modern Studies issue about which there are alternative views

¨ Research a Modern Studies issue, using a range of sources of information

¨ Synthesise and analyse information from a range of sources

¨ Evaluate the usefulness and reliability of a range of sources of information

¨ Reach a decision on the issue studied

¨ Show detailed knowledge and understanding of the issue to support the decision reached

¨ Show an awareness of alternatives to the decision

¨ Communicate information using the conventions of a report.

Advanced Higher Modern Studies:

The purpose of this Course is to develop learners’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish/United Kingdom and international contexts.

  • In these contexts, learners will develop an awareness of the political and social issues they will encounter in their lives.
  • This purpose will be achieved through successful study of the Course Units which focus on in-depth study of either political issues or social issues and which adopt an international comparative approach and develop a wide range of skills.
  • This Course makes a distinctive contribution to the curriculum by drawing on the social sciences of politics, sociology and economics and, where appropriate, of associated ideas drawn from other social subjects.
  • The Course will help create informed and active citizens by helping learners to develop a greater understanding of democratic political and social institutions and processes in Scotland/UK and international contexts.
  • Learners will develop skills which are transferable to other areas of study and which they will use in everyday life.
  • At Advanced Higher level, learners will experience depth and challenge in the level of skills, knowledge and understanding required.
  • Undertaking this Course will develop the skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
  • Learners will also demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the scope and main areas of the specific context studied.
  • Development of research skills, alongside the ability to draw on a range of sources in making judgements or decisions are addressed at this level.
  • All of this aims to support learners’ independence of learning and their ability to work on their own initiative with supervision as appropriate.
  • This Course will enable learners to demonstrate autonomy in their learning through researching and analysing, extended writing, demonstrating independent study skills and applying critical thinking.
  • They will also have the opportunity to develop skills in debate and discussion.

The main aims of this Course are to enable learners to:

¨ Analyse the complex political and social processes that lead to an understanding of contemporary society

¨ Understand and analyse complex political or social issues in the United Kingdom and adopt an international comparative approach

¨ Develop a range of independent practical research skills leading to carrying out research into a contemporary issue

¨ Present complex ideas in a range of ways

¨ Analysing, evaluating, and synthesising a range of sources relating to complex issues

¨ Develop a knowledge and understanding of social science research methods

¨ Apply a multidisciplinary approach drawing on analysis from a range of social.

Course structure This Course has two mandatory Units for Advanced Higher Modern Studies.

The Units are: Modern Studies: Contemporary Issues (Advanced Higher)

 

  • In this Unit, learners will develop an in depth knowledge and understanding of contemporary political/social issues in the United Kingdom and adopt an international comparative approach to their study.
  • Learners will develop skills to critically evaluate a range of sources of information and social science research methods. 

Modern Studies: Researching Contemporary Issues (Advanced Higher)

  • In this Unit, learners will develop skills of: justifying appropriate research issues; planning a programme of research; researching, collecting and recording information; explaining approaches to organising, presenting and referencing findings; and using an appropriate referencing system.

Progression

This Course or its Units may provide progression to:

¨ Degree courses in social subjects and social sciences or related areas

¨ A diverse range of careers.

Useful Websites for Revision BBC Bitesize and the SQA for Past papers.