Hamilton Grammar School


Welcome to S4

Mr Anderson - S4 Year Head

Welcome to the S4 webpage!

Here you will find information about the curriculum in fourth year and important links, whether you are pupil, parent, staff member or part of our wider community.

S4 presents a new challenge for pupils as they enter the Senior Phase of their education. This phase begins the process of a young person building a portfolio of qualifications, whilst continuing to develop their knowledge, skills, attributes and capabilities.

Curriculum & pathways

In Hamilton Grammar, S4 pupils work towards qualifications in 7 subjects, including English and Maths or Applications of Maths, following the options process in S3.

They make their remaining 5 choices from a wide range of subjects within a column structure. The most recent S3 into S4 Options booklet, explaining the content of the various courses is available here.

There is a broad range of options allowing progression through S4 and beyond. These options lead to qualifications known as National Qualifications, which will be available at up to five levels. Only the first 3 levels listed below are offered in S4.

The levels are: 

  • National 3 (for a limited number of pupils)
  • National 4 (for those with a National 3 Award)
  • National 5 (for those with a National 4 Award)
  • Higher (for those with a good National 5 Award)
  • Advanced Higher (for those in S6 with a Higher Award)
  • Scottish Baccalaureate (For S6 pupils only)

Each level is designed to encourage progress on to the next, helping pupils get the most out of their education and achieve their potential.


During S4, pupils make new subject choices, selecting 5 subjects, which they will pursue in S5. Their choices should be based on their S4 options, expected qualifications achieved and their desired career path.

As indicated above, the natural progression is for pupils in S5 to select Higher subjects they have completed at National 5 level in S4, or National 5 qualifications, where they have achieved National 4 in S4. 

In addition to National Qualifications, pupils also choose from our Wider Achievement bundles.

The options booklets available to pupils progressing from S4 to S5 are available to view on the Learner Pathways page.

S4 into S5 Learner Pathways documents

The courses available each year will depend on the numbers opting for the subject and school staffing levels. The range of courses and levels on offer will be clearly described in the senior option form.


There are also several vocational options that can be taken in conjunction with National Qualifications.

For example, in S4 and beyond pupils can choose the Gradu8 college option. This offers a vocational qualification equivalent to National 5. Click here to see further information about vocational courses.

When choosing subjects for S4 and beyond the advice that pupils receive, particularly from Pupil Support Staff and SDS (Skills Development Scotland) advisers is important in making sure that each pupil chooses what is most suited to their abilities and aspirations.

Pupil Support

Pupil Support staff are also important in helping pupils to deal with the challenge of SQA assessments and the pressures that these can bring.

All courses have assessment requirements throughout the year and National 5 courses have a final assessment during the exam the diet in April and May. As well as delivering guidance about study skills and managing exam stress through PSE lessons, our Pupil Support staff can also offer targeted support for pupils who require it.

Pupil Support staff details for S4 are shown below. Please contact your son or daughter’s Pupil Support Principal Teacher if you have an enquiry about their education or welfare.

Registration Class/House Pupil Support Teacher Contact
4A1 - Avon Mrs G Buchanan gw17buchanangayle@glow.sch.uk
4A2 - Avon Mrs G Buchanan gw17buchanangayle@glow.sch.uk
4B1 - Brandon Mrs SJ Sanderson gw10sandersonsarah@glow.sch.uk
4C1 - Cadzow  Miss M McGregor gw22mcgregormari@glow.sch.uk
4D1 - Douglas Miss E Higgins gw13higginselizabeth@glow.sch.uk

4D2 - Douglas

Miss E Higgins gw13higginselizabeth@glow.sch.uk
4D3 - Douglas Mrs C Walker gw11walkercaroline@glow.sch.uk
4F1 - Forsyth Mrs D Costello gw10costellodonna@glow.sch.uk
4W1 - Wilson Miss M Morton gw07mortonmoira@glow.sch.uk
4W2 - Wilson Mrs T Arrenberg gw07arrenbergtracy@glow.sch.uk

Important Information

  • We hosted an S4 Information Event for parents on October 10th. Following on from the event, the content of the presentation can be viewed in the document below.

S4 Information Event - 10/10/22


All of our S4 specific news can be found below.