Modern Studies

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Welcome to the Modern Studies and Politics Department! 

Modern Studies is a subject unique to the Scottish school curriculum. The focus of Modern Studies is to develop learner’s knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish, UK and international contexts. 

We aim to inspire and motivate learners to understand more about values, conflicts of ideas and how they can influence events by exercising democracy and citizenship. 

From S1 through to S6, the department give learners the opportunity to progress from BGE through to Higher Modern Studies. Furthermore, the department offer Higher Politics to pupils in S6 who obtain a Higher in Modern Studies. 

Modern Studies and Politics Members of Staff: 

  • Mr Bell (Faculty Head) 
  • Mrs Lindsay
  • Mr Louden (Principal Teacher of Pupil Support) 
  • Ms Toal
  • Miss Ryan 

Modern Studies Topics 

Our Board General Education is delivered by each subject in the Humanities department. Every learner in S1 and S2 gets 1 period a week of Modern Studies, alongside 1 period of Geography, History and RME. 

Here are the topics that are studied in S1-S2:


  • Introduction to Modern Studies
  • Rich World Poor World (IDL)
  • The Media


  • The USA
  • The Great War (IDL)
  • Terrorism

In S3, pupils get the opportunity to pick which subjects they want to study. In S3, as part of the BGE and in preparation for the National course in S4 pupils study a range of issues from the Crime and Law topic. Pupils who picked Modern Studies will study the following:

  • Crime and the Law
  • Enquiry Skills
  • Added Value Unit

The senior phase of Modern Studies and Politics focuses on the National curriculum. As well as preparing and researching for the Assignment and/or Added Value Unit. Here are the courses that are studied as part of the National curriculum: 

National 4/5: 

  • Democracy in Scotland
  • Crime and the Law
  • The USA


  • Democracy in the UK
  • Social Inequality
  • Development in Africa


Calderside Academy offer Higher Politics as an S6 course for pupils who have obtained a Higher in Modern Studies. As well as an Assignment here are the units studied as part of the Higher Politics course: 


  • Political Theory
  • Political Parties and Elections
  • Political Systems

Supported Study 

Supported Study is offered to those pupils seeking additional help or even to reinforce their learning in preparation for exams. 


The department collaboratively works alongside its fellow Humanities subjects and other departments in delivering and developing Inter-Disciplinary Learning. 

In S1 pupils will study ‘Rich World Poor World’ across the Humanities department. In Modern Studies we focus on looking at:

  • Problems in Developing Countries
  • Child Labour
  • Street Child in Brazil
  • The American Dream

At the end of this unit, pupils complete a group activity that ties together all of their learning across the Humanities department.