In Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4), all pupils will study for their GCSEs. All pupils will follow a compulsory core of subjects, including English Language; English Literature; Mathematics; Combined Science or three separate sciences; a Modern Foreign Language (French, German or Spanish) or Latin; an humanity, either Geography, History, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation. Pupils then have a free choice of an additional two subjects.
Non-examination subjects include: PACE; Religious Studies; and PE.
All pupils are still offered a large choice of activities in the extended curriculum and encouraged to continue to participate in at least one.
At Key Stage Four we aim to offer exciting, stimulating and creative opportunities for our highly-motivated pupils. We offer four separate disciplines: Fine Art, Graphics, Photography and Textiles. In Year 10 pupils, work on a theme set by their specialist teacher encouraging independent research, creative problem solving and refining key skills learned at Key Stage 3. We aim to achieve a smooth transition from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4 by delivering coherently planned and sequenced lessons, integrating existing and new knowledge into larger concepts.
In Year 11, we aim to develop intuitive, accomplished and independent pupils within a curriculum that is ambitious for all. We deliver the curriculum with a mixture of practical teacher-led demonstrations and regular one-to-one tutorials, stretching and challenging pupils to achieve their very best in their chosen discipline.
We follow Edexcel’s examination board for the four endorsed disciplines at GCSE and have an exceptional record of results, with external moderators highly commending the work of our pupils, commenting that work at the “top end of the marking scale was of an exceptional standard” (2019).
In Key Stage 4, the emphasis shifts onto preparing pupils for making their post-16 choices, and for the world of work, into which they may shortly be entering. They will learn about A-level subjects and what they involve, but will also be informed about all other possible options available to them after their GCSEs. To prepare them for employment, pupils will focus more on CV and Interview skills, and will learn about their rights and responsibilities, budgeting and payslips. They are encouraged to investigate potential career paths further, and will use this information, together with advice and research, to help inform their decisions.
Classics at Key Stage 4 follows the OCR specification and offers a broad study of the ancient world, covering a wide range of disciplines from art and archaeology to ancient literature. It allows pupils to develop skills in analysis, evaluation, interpretation of sources, and encourages them to make moral and ethical judgements on ancient societies and literature. Pupils gain a deep understanding of a range of cultures and time periods, from Bronze-Age Mycenae to Imperial Rome, and are well prepared for their GCSE examinations and for further study in various subjects. The sequence of topics allows pupils to discover the ancient world and its beliefs, practices, and literary and material culture in an accessible and enjoyable way, and allows for revision of prior knowledge across the two years. GCSE Classical Civilisation aims to develop students into critical thinkers with a rich knowledge and understanding of these fascinating and influential ancient cultures.
We follow the AQA GCSE syllabus and the skills are split into computational theory knowledge and applying practical coding skills to a range of problems. Students build on their coding knowledge acquired at Key Stage 3 and start applying that understanding to solve increasingly complex and challenging tasks. By the end of the course, our intent is to have pupils code with confidence and independence and understand how software works and why.
- Design & Technology
Pupils have the opportunity to continue their design education by opting for the AQA D&T GCSE.
Pupils will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology, including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Pupils will have the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and will apply technical and practical expertise. The course will allow pupils to study core technical, specialist technical, and designing and making principles.
In Year 10, pupils will complete four mini-projects and use theory focusing on new materials and technologies, mechanical devices, electronic systems and cultural influences to help prepare them for the final assessment in Year 11.
All pupils who opt to take Drama GCSE follow the AQA specification, which develops students through the study and performance of dramatic texts, live theatre, and original devised work, with practical work comprising 40% of the GCSE. The course encourages students to be reflective learners and proactive in the development of their own craft, developing an awareness as to how an actor can apply a wide range of physical and vocal skills in order to communicate deeper meaning to their audience.
Students also have the opportunity to develop their vision and leadership skills as a director, and their knowledge of technical theatre through the investigation of theatrical design.
All pupils in Years 10 and 11 follow the AQA English Language and English Literature GCSE specifications. Pupils are encouraged to make connections between the different units, helping them to develop strong analytical skills. Lively class, group and paired discussions foster enjoyment of the subject, enabling pupils to engage with writers’ big ideas, also supporting descriptive, persuasive and analytic writing.
Our curriculum is ambitious; all pupils are taught in mixed ability groups with teachers supporting pupils’ aspirations to achieve the highest grades. An emphasis is placed on the accurate use of subject terminology, helping pupils to produce critical and analytic writing which is clear and precise. Texts and topics are re-visited and explored in greater detail in Year 11 and this approach enables pupils to flourish and obtain exceptionally strong results in the English Language and English Literature examinations.
Key Stage 4 builds on the knowledge and understanding developed during Key Stage 3. Key Stage 4 develops a wider range of complex skills ranging from data analysis and presentation to GIS (Geographic Information System). We focus on the development of a wide range of examples and case studies at different scales. Lessons are academically rigorous, ambitious, inclusive of all and exciting in their content and delivery. There is a significant focus on enquiry-led learning that looks at many of the challenges facing the world in which we are living. There is a strong emphasis on fieldwork that aims to develop our pupils’ leadership abilities and their ability to work collaboratively in settings that contrast with their normal environment. We aim to inspire future geographers, to develop a love of the subject and to get our pupils to appreciate that Geography can be messy.
During GCSE, the skills students have acquired at Key Stage 3 are developed further. Students will be able to provide sustained and supported analysis on a range of controversial topics. By the end of the course, students will be able to make developed use of their own knowledge and a range of historical sources to construct sophisticated judgements on a range of events. We follow the AQA History syllabus in which the students take two exam papers. Our lessons cover topics that are relevant to current British, European and worldwide political issues in order that the students are able to make extensive links between their studies and what is going on in the world around them. Students will develop historical skills, such as being able to explain complex links and sequences and analyse change over time across different periods.
Latin is a popular language choice at GCSE, and follows the OCR specification. Pupils continue their study of Latin grammar, vocabulary and syntax, building on their prior learning and gradually encountering more complex syntactical forms and more challenging passages of Latin. Pupils continue to practice and develop their skills in translation, comprehension and composition. In addition, pupils study two set texts of Latin literature and through this develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for ancient culture and language. Pupils engage with the texts on a deep level, analysing stylistic choices made by the author, and making moral and ethical judgements on the issues presented within. Pupils are well-prepared for further study in Latin and in a wide range of other subjects, as they learn transferrable skills of logic, problem solving, analysis and justification of ideas, in addition to developing an appreciation for different cultures.
In Years 7 – 11, our intent is to foster a love of the subject through enthusiastic and well-informed teaching that inspires the students’ interest and curiosity. On entering the school, we build on the knowledge and skills covered in primary school. Opportunities are provided for all learners to develop confidence as well as being challenged with new and interesting concepts. We highly value the opportunity for our students to solve problems and provide many opportunities for this to happen, including competitions, group work and real-life contexts. Students will make use of technology in a way that is relevant to modern life. In order to facilitate the most supportive and effective delivery of the curriculum, we teach our students in groups determined by the outcome of carefully-devised in-house assessments. As students move through Key Stage 3 and 4 they are able to see the connections between different aspects of mathematics and make links to other subjects in the school curriculum. This is a skill that they will be able to employ in their future studies and careers.
Through our teaching and extracurricular activities, we engage, inspire and stimulate in a way that encourages many of our students to continue to study the subject beyond GCSE.
- Modern Languages
Students continue in the manner established during Key Stage 3, but their studies are broadened to encompass the requirements of the GCSE course. Lessons also develop the exam skills required to pass GCSE MFL exams. We also aim to develop students who wish to take their language studies further, post GCSE.
GCSE Music follows the Edexcel specification and continues to develop practical skills in performance and composition, with regular solos during the course to build pupils’ confidence, and weekly composition lessons exploring a range of styles and techniques. Listening and analysis skills are another major focus, studying set works from the classical world and beyond. Pupils learn to identify how and why musical elements have been used and exploited by composers. This helps to prepare for the listening exam, but also helps to inform their own creative writing.
Through continued participation in a range of activities, pupils will deepen their understanding and develop an awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyle choices beyond school. Pupils will have the opportunity to develop their leadership and teamwork skills in a range of physical education activities. Alongside this, a focus on developing the PE core values and skills will support students to transition into their working environment and daily life.
GCSE PE is an optional subject at Key Stage 4, where we follow the AQA specification. Students will develop a deep understanding of physiological aspects of the body and how these impact the world of sport. They will have opportunities to explore current affairs and sociological factors impacting participation in sport as well as ethical issues. Students will learn how to analyse sport with a focus on their own performance in a selected sport. The course also involves assessment in three practical activities, where their ability to perform specific skills and techniques in drills is assessed. Students are also assessed on their ability to perform in the full context of each sport through a fully competitive game or competition.
- Religious Studies
The religious studies course at GCSE follows the AQA A Specification. The course explores two religions in depth and covers a number of contemporary themes such as Human Rights and Social Justice. The course develops pupils’ critical thinking skills, allowing them to debate current affairs in today’s society. Pupils are challenged with questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth, enabling them to develop their own attitudes towards religious issues.
Alongside the optional GCSE course, all pupils study core RS. The aims of core RS are to explore major moral and ethical issues within today’s society such as animal rights and medical ethics. This important element of religious studies allows our pupils to explore topics outside the GCSE specification that are thought provoking whilst also building on knowledge required for the GCSE. This course intends to allow students to engage in learning about a wider range of world views, such as vegetarianism and humanism.
The Science curriculum at Key Stage 4 is an academically rigorous one, with a dual focus. It enables large numbers of pupils to build solid foundations for study at A Level and beyond, while also equipping those that do not take their scientific studies any further with the skills and knowledge to achieve to a very high standard and retain a high level of understanding and interest in scientific issues.
Pupils in Year 9 study a bespoke Science course built around the Combined Science GCSE syllabus with clear links to the Key Stage 3 course. Beyond Year 9, pupils have the opportunity to study Triple Science if this is most appropriate for the individual. Making links is a central feature of the GCSE curriculum, either to prior learning, to future topics or to careers and real life examples and applications.