Our recent HMIe report praised the school for “encouraging pupils to engage enthusiastically in their learning” and went on to say that our children and young people are “keen to do well”.  From the youngest children in our Nursery to the young adults in the Upper School, each individual’s future, whatever they choose that to be, is absolutely their choice.  

Recognition of each child or young person as an individual with unique talents begins in our Nursery with a Froebel learning approach.  This recognition continues as young people transition into Junior then Senior School on their own personalised educational journey.

J1-S2 Curriculum
We follow Curriculum for Excellence throughout our Junior School and this continues into Senior School, with the broad general education followed until the end of S2.

S3 & S4 Curriculum

At this stage pupils choose 8 Nationals (either at N4 or N5, with the majority gaining N5) and also complete an additional N4 in Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies during timetabled RE classes.  Pupils study these N4/N5 subjects over S3 and S4, and sit the external SQA assessments at the end of S4.

  • 8 or 9 N5s over 2 years
    Our traditional, broad subject choice does not narrow options too early in a pupil’s school career.  Pupils have breadth until they are mature enough to make choices to specialise based on their preferred path for life after Hamilton College.
  • Straight to Nat 5
    Our S3 pupils begin with N5 study which allows for greater depth of learning.  This helps to bridge the gap between N5 and Higher making the transition less challenging. 
  • Mock exams in S3
    This extra level of preparation for N5 exams maximises attainment opportunities for each pupil.  The mock exams in S3 provide additional exposure to exam preparation, studying and exam conditions even before prelim exams.

  • Supported revision S3 & S4
    Every pupil has access to extra, specialist support for their revision throughout S3 and S4.
  • Small class sizes
    Our smaller class sizes mean that more targeted support is available to pupils at N5 level.  Small classes allow teachers to better identify the type and level of support each pupil needs.  This bespoke support gives each pupil the opportunity to maximise their own unique potential.

S5 & S6 (Upper School) Curriculum

In S5 pupils can study 5 subjects within the timetable, with the majority of pupils working towards 5 Highers. Courses chosen in S5 are studied over 1 year, with SQA assessments sat in May and June. Some pupils may opt for a mix of N5 and Higher courses instead. Scottish Highers remain the gold standard for entry to university north of the border. S6 is often seen as a year for further personal development and rounding.

In S6 pupils can opt for a mix of N5, Higher and Advanced Higher subjects, with the most able expected to complete 3 Advanced Highers, particularly if they are seeking entry to competitive courses at top universities. Again all of these are studied over the course of 1 year, with external SQA assessments taking place in May and June.  Within the Scottish qualifications framework (SCQF) Advanced Highers are Level 7, Highers are Level 6 and National 5 is Level 5. (  

The recent launch of the unique Hamilton College Diploma helps to provides S6 pupils a more distinctive experience in the final phase of school life.  As well as giving more recognition to some of the wider curricular aspects of life at Hamilton College, the Diploma will promote independent thinking, enhance UCAS applications, help prepare pupils for post-school life and provide leadership opportunities.