Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 14:01 UK

Scots pupils offered new awards

Exam hall
The new qualifications will be offered from 2010

Pupils in fifth and sixth year are to be offered a new qualification.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced the introduction of science and languages Baccalaureates.

She said the aim of the new awards was to encourage more young people to study the subjects in the later stages of school.

They have also been designed to help with the transition to employment or university. The new exams will be first awarded in August 2010.

The Science Baccalaureate will consist of a maths Higher, two science Highers, one science at advanced Higher, and an "interdisciplinary" project to be taken at the Advanced Higher level.

The Language Baccalaureate will consist of English or Gaelic at Higher level, two modern or classical language courses at Higher, one modern or classical language course at Advanced Higher, and an interdisciplinary course at Advanced Higher level.

'Greater responsibility'

Ms Hyslop told a conference at Stirling University: "The new Baccalaureates are designed to stretch our most able young people.

"They will contribute to the government's principal purpose of creating a more successful Scotland with opportunities for all to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth."

The move was welcomed by Professor Jack Jackson, visiting professor of curricular studies at the University of Strathclyde.

He said: "The interdisciplinary project which will form part of the Science Baccalaureate should give S6 pupils an opportunity to further develop independent learning skills and to take greater responsibility for aspects of their work."

But the Conservatives accused Ms Hyslop of "muddying the waters" of an awards system which was already over-complicated.

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