Subjects

Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum has a strong focus on the core academic subjects of English, Mathematics and Science as well as Languages and Humanities.

An aligned timetable for Key Stage 4 courses allows for a wider curriculum offer for students, covering a whole range of GCSE subjects. Curriculum time is organised to benefit students by reducing the number of simultaneous subjects and assessments, extending pupil/teacher contact time and providing opportunities for support, learning reinforcement and challenge.

Further details of our GCSE courses can be found below.

Art

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Entry Requirements: To be successful in GCSE Fine Art we recommend that students have achieved at least a band 4 in KS3 Art or are recommended by their art teacher.

Students should enjoy exploring new ideas and working independently to improve their skills and understanding of different art materials.

Course Description

The GCSE Fine Art Course is worth one GCSE. The new syllabus and school structure allows for more flexibility and focus in developing quality skills as opposed to a quantity of work. All students will attend at least one visit to an art gallery as part of their course requirement.

This course will allow you to develop critical and analytical skills looking at artists of the world and how they relate to you. A wide variety of Art Skills are taught with the intention that the student will decide which media that would like to master in each unit.

 Some of the skills and media taught are:

  • Acrylic Painting
  • Pastels - Oil, Chalk
  • Charcoal
  • Inks
  • Mixed media
  • Coloured Pencil Rendering
  • Printing

Course Content

The course is divided into two units, both completed under the supervision and/or instruction of the teacher. In addition to the two assessable units of work, students will also have the opportunity to practise and learn new skills in term 1 of the course in an unassessed unit of work.

Unit 1
60% of the course is for students developing a body of work that is called a ‘portfolio’.

  • Students will submit 40 hours of controlled assessment of practical and analytical work in mid-late January
  • Students will have directed lessons helping them develop skills followed by set tasks that are sat in controlled assessment conditions. Most of this work is achieved in class time with homework that supports and imbeds skills.

Unit 2
40% is an external assignment that students spend 20 hours preparing for.

  • A 10 hour (two day) practical exam is sat at the end of the preparation time, where students produce a final piece. Most students believe this to be the best exam they sit.

Progression Routes

Achieving a 6+ in GCSE Art means you are equipped to take A Level Fine Art, which is a very comprehensive course that has many pathways for study at University and Art College to lead you in a career as:

  • Art Critic
  • Art Teacher
  • Art Therapist
  • Art Director
  • Art Historian
  • Art Restorer
  • Medical artist
  • Artist
  • Photographer
  • Fashion designer
  • Architect
  • Animator
  • Film
  • Set Designer
  • Architect
  • Drafter
  • Footwear designer
  • Logo designer
  • Publishing
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic Artist

Business & Economics

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Entry Requirements: Successful Business & Economics students have good Maths and English skills. For any students choosing to study GCSE Business & Economics, it is vital you achieve at least a Level 6 or above in Maths and English.

Course Description

GCSE Business & Economics students begin by understanding how to start a business. This includes knowing the legal requirements and appreciating the enterprise skills that are needed for a budding entrepreneur.

Students then investigate a small local business. This investigation involves evaluating the business’ current performance and recommending improvements. The final output is a report that is assessed by your teacher and submitted to the exam board.

Finally, students analyse the UK and international economies through studying current economic issues, policies and institutions (such as the E.U., Governments and Central Banks) that affect everyday life.

Course Content

Edxecel GCSE Business & Economics  is a Two Year Course, made up of three units:

Unit 1: Introduction to Small Business

This unit investigates the economic, marketing, financial, human and operational issues that are faced when starting a business. Students will research and develop the skills that are important for entrepreneurs.  

Unit 2: Investigating Small Business

Students undertake a project to investigate a real small business. Students will interview entrepreneurs and write a report outlining their findings.

Unit 3: Economic Understanding

Students will investigate the key issues facing an economy and understand the policies governments use. Areas covered include: unemployment, monopoly power, economic growth, economic equality and international trade.

Progression Routes

Students can progress to study a range of A Level subjects including: Economics, Business, Politics, Sociology and law. Many economics students from Greenford are now progressing to take degrees in Economics and Business. Economics is especially favoured by employers in areas of Finance, Business, Accounting, Law, The Civil Service and Politics.

Business Studies

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Entry Requirements: To be successful in GCSE Business, students need to demonstrate a good standard of Maths and English. As a guide, students should be progressing through level 5 in Maths and English to be considered.

Course content

Students studying GCSE Business Studies cover the following topics:

  • How to set up a small business
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Investment Appraisal
  • The Economy
  • Enterprise skills

Course assessment

GCSE Business Studies is a two-year course. There are two exams, both taken at the end of the second year:

Theme 1: Investigating Small Business
Worth 50% of final GCSE mark

Theme 2: Building a Business
Worth 50% of final GCSE mark

Both papers consist of calculations, multiple-choice, short-answer and extended-writing questions

Resources

The following resources are provided or recommended:

  • Textbooks that can be used at school and borrowed to take home
  • Exercise books and files to store all their hand outs, assessments and homework

Progression Routes

Students can progress to study a range of A Level subjects including, Business, Economics, Politics, Sociology and Law. Many Business students from Greenford continue to study the subject at university and have gone on to develop successful business careers. Business Studies is especially favoured by employers in areas of Finance, Business and Accounting.

Citizenship Studies

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Content

Students can choose GCSE Citizenship Studies as one of their options subjects.

The topics covered are:

  • Living Together in the UK
  • Democracy at work in the UK
  • Law and Justice
  • Power and Influence
  • Taking Citizenship Action

There will be two exams – both 1 hour 45 minutes (Paper 1 covers themes A-C, paper 2 covers themes D and E).

computer Science

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Entry Requirements: Good Mathematics grades at Key Stage 3 and GCSE.

Course Description

GCSE Computing is taught at years 9, 10 and 11. It gives learners a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. It provides excellent preparation higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science and develops critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming.

Course Content

The course has 3 units: Computer Systems and Programming, Practical Investigation and Programming Project.

Principles of Computer Science (40% of the qualification)

Written Paper (1hr 40mins): Candidates answer all questions. Question paper includes a mixture of multiple choice, short and extended open response questions, some of which will require candidates to write program code.

Application of Computational Thinking (40% of the qualification)

Written Paper(2 hours): Candidates answer all questions. Examination based on a scenario. Candidates will answer a mixture of short and open response questions.

Computer Science Project (20% of the qualification)

Controlled Assessment (Approximately 20 hours): Candidates will design, test a refine a program and produce a written report. The project will be marked based on a mark scheme over four stages of development.

Progression Routes

Information technologies continue to have a growing importance. This means there will be a bigger demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. If learners want to go on to higher study and employment in the field of Computer Science, they will find that this course provides a superb stepping stone. Learners who have taken a Computing GCSE and who then progress to study the subject at A Level or university will have a sound underpinning knowledge of this subject area.

Design and Technology

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Entry Requirements: Students will be required to achieve a minimum National Curriculum level of a 3+ at Key Stage 3 by the end of Year 8.

Course Description

The GCSE in Design and Technology enables students to understand and apply iterative design processes through which they explore, create and evaluate a range of outcomes. The qualification enables students to use creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes (together with evidence of modelling to develop and prove product concept and function) that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. It also gives students opportunities to apply knowledge from other disciplines, including mathematics, science, art and design, computing and the humanities.

Course Content

Component 1 (*Paper code: 1DT0/1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F)

Written Examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes

  • 50% of the qualification
  • 100 marks

Content Overview:

  • 1 – Core content and any one from the following material categories:
  • 2 – Metals
  • 3 – Papers and boards
  • 4 – Polymers
  • 5 – Systems
  • 6 – Textiles
  • 7 – Timbers

Assessment Overview:

The paper consist of two sections. Section A is assessed on the core content and Section B is assessed on the material category students have chosen.

1DT0/1A – Metals, 1DT0/1B – Papers and boards, 1DT0/1C – Polymers, 1DT0/1D – Systems, 1DT0/1E – Textiles, 1DT0/1F – Timbers

Section A: Core

This section is 40 marks and contains a mixture of different question styles, including open-response, graphical, calculations and extended-open-response questions. There will be 10 marks of calculation questions in Section A.

Section B: Material categories

This section is 60 marks and contains a mixture of different question styles, including open-response, graphical, calculations and extended-open-response questions. There will be 5 marks of calculation questions in Section B.

Component 2 (Paper code: 1DT0/02)

Non-examined Assessment:

  • 50% of the qualification
  • 100 marks

Content Overview

There are four parts to the assessment:

  1. Investigate: This includes investigation of needs and research and a product specification
  2. Design: This includes producing different design ideas, review of initial ideas, development of design ideas into a chosen design, communication of design ideas and review of the chosen design
  3. Make: This includes manufacture and quality and accuracy
  4. Evaluate: This includes testing and evaluation.

Assessment Overview

  • Students will undertake a project based on a contextual challenge released by us a year before certification.
  • This will be released on 1st June and will be available on our website.
  • The project will test students’ skills in investigating, designing, making and evaluating a prototype of a product.
  • Task will be internally assessed and externally moderated.
  • The marks are awarded for each part are as follows:
    • 1 – Investigate (16 marks)
    • 2 – Design (42 marks)
    • 3 – Make (36 marks)
    • 4 – Evaluate (6 marks).

Progression Routes

Students can progress to study A Level Product Design which include Resistant Materials, Graphics, Systems and Control and Textiles. 

Drama

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Description

Drama is about: Acting, Improvisation, Mime, Comedy, Ritual, Voice, Physical Theatre, Accent, Verbatim Theatre, Masks, Forum Theatre, Emotion, Design, Movement, Character, Directing, Make-up, Dance, Costume, Tragedy, Lighting, Film, Conflict, Energy, Life and... YOU!

Course Content

Unit 1: 30% of the GCSE

Exploration of creative aspects of Drama. You will create your own pieces of theatre using different forms of stimuli and a range of explorative strategies.

This is will be assessed through a Controlled Assessment marked by your teacher and moderated by an external assessor.

Unit 2: 30% of the GCSE

You will study a published play in detail focusing on exploration of character, interpretation and design implications. A visit to live theatre performances is necessary for completion of the coursework. Regular Theatre Trips are organised to support this.

This is will be assessed through a Controlled Assessment marked by your teacher and moderated by an external assessor.

Unit 3: 40% of the GCSE

This unit is the Performance Exam. You will rehearse a play, either devised by yourselves or from a play script.

This is an externally assessed performance.

Progression Routes

  • What do you want to be? Actor? Director? Writer? TV? Film? Journalist? Business? Sales? Doctor? Lawyer? Then you’ll need great communication skills. Drama GCSE is the course for you
  • All students that do GCSE Drama use the skills they have developed in this subject for the rest of their lives as confident communicators. Some study the subject through the BTEC or A Level routes and study at University or College
  • Some talented students go on to Drama School
  • Drama will help with A Level English as all of the coursework is based on drama texts
  • Drama will help in Business as you develop the skills to think outside of the box, to be a confident speaker and to present things clearly and imaginatively
  • Drama can lead to work in the creative industries on stage and back stage, in front of the camera and behind
  • Drama shows universities that you are someone who is bright, confident and creative. A Drama GCSE shows that you are a well-rounded student

English Language & Literature

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course description

All students take English Language and English Literature at GHS. Currently, the government require students to achieve a Grade 5 in either English Language or English Literature. However, many A Level courses at GHS require Grade 6 in English Language.

Course outline

AQA GCSE English Language (8700)

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

  • 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • You answer four reading questions on one text
  • You undertake one creative writing piece
  • 50% of total marks.

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

  • 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • You answer four reading questions on two texts
  • You undertake one non-fiction writing piece
  • 50% of total marks.

Non-examination Assessment:

Spoken Language

  • Presenting
  • Responding to questions and feedback
  • Use of standard English
  • Assessed by teacher
  • 0% of total marks but required by National Curriculum

The biggest help you can give your child is by ensuring they read widely, including non-fiction newspaper articles every day.

AQA GCSE English Literature (8702)

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

  • 1 hour 45minute examination
  • 1 essay question on a Shakespeare text
  • 1 essay question on a 19th century novel
  • 40% of the total marks

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry

  • 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • 1 essay question on a modern text
  • 1 essay comparing two poems we have studied
  • 1 shortessay analysing an unseen poem
  • 1 short essay comparing two unseen poems
  • 60% of the total marks

The texts we study at GHS are:

  • “Romeo and Juliet” or “Macbeth”
  • “Jekyll and Hyde”, “Frankenstein” or “Sign of Four”
  • “Animal Farm” or “An Inspector Calls”
  • We study the Power and Conflict cluster from the AQA poetry anthology

There are a lot of resources available online and in the form of revision books for the poems and texts your child will be studying.

French

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

Pupils studying GCSE French will have the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions on a variety of topics, learning to describe past experiences and explain future plans. In addition to learning to communicate effectively in French, students will learn about life in French-speaking countries and have the opportunity to communicate with young people in France through links with partner schools.

Course Content

AQA GCSE French comprises 4 units worth 25% each. All assessments are by examination at the end of the course:

  • Unit 1: Listening
  • Unit 2: Speaking
  • Unit 3: Reading
  • Unit 4: Writing

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

  • Theme 1: Identity and culture
  • Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

Progression Routes

Students who do well at GCSE French are encouraged to go on to study either the pre-AS French course in Year 11 or to begin the full A Level course. GCSE French provides a solid foundation for these courses.

Links

AQA French Specification 

Food Preparation and Nutrition

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

This new GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition is an exciting and creative course which focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials. At its heart, this qualification focuses on nurturing students' practical cookery skills to give them a strong understanding of nutrition.

Course Content

Food preparation skills are integrated into five core topics:

  • Food, Nutrition and Health
  • Food Science
  • Food Safety
  • Food Choice
  • Food Provenance

Aims and learning outcomes

Courses based on this specification should enable students to:

  • Demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking using a variety of food commodities, cooking techniques and equipment
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical processes as well as the nutritional content of food and drinks
  • Understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health, including the physiological and psychological effects of poor diet and health
  • Understand the economic, environmental, ethical, and socio-cultural influences on food availability, production processes, and diet and health choices
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of functional and nutritional properties, sensory qualities and microbiological food safety considerations when preparing, processing, storing, cooking and serving food
  • Understand and explore a range of ingredients and processes from different culinary traditions (traditional British and international), to inspire new ideas or modify existing recipes.

Assessment objectives

The exam and non-exam assessment (NEA) will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of nutrition, food, cooking and preparation. 20%
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of nutrition, food, cooking and preparation.- 30%
  • AO3: Plan, prepare, cook and present dishes, combining appropriate techniques.- 30%
  • AO4: Analyse and evaluate different aspects of nutrition, food, cooking and preparation including food made by themselves and others. 20%

Progression Routes

College apprenticeships in catering.

Geography

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Description

GCSE Geography gives students the opportunity to understand more about the world, the challenges it faces and their place within it. This course will deepen understanding of geographical processes, illuminate the impact of change and of complex people-environment interaction, highlight the dynamic links and interrelationships between places and environments at different scales, and develop students’ competence in using a range of geographical investigative skills and approaches. Geography enables young people to become globally and environmentally informed and thoughtful, enquiring citizens.

Course Content

The GCSE will be assessed through three externally examined papers, each of which is 1 hour and 30 minutes in duration. The content of each exams is outlined below:

Component 1: The Physical Landscape (37.5% of GCSE)

  • Topic 1 The Changing Landscapes of the UK
    • Coastal Landscapes and Processes
    • River landscapes and Processes
  • Topic 2 Weather Hazards and Climate Change
  • Topic 3 Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Management

Component 2: The Human Environment (37.5% of GCSE)

  • Topic 4 Changing Cities
  • Topic 5 Global Development
  • Topic 6 Resource management
    • Water Resource management

Component 3: Geographical Investigations (25% of GCSE)

  • Topic 7 Fieldwork
  • Topic 8 UK Challenges

Progression Routes

This course lays an appropriate foundation for further study of geography or related subjects. In addition, it provides a worthwhile course for candidates of various ages and from diverse backgrounds in terms of general education and lifelong learning.

German

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

Pupils studying GCSE German will have the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions on a variety of topics, learning to describe past experiences and explain future plans. In addition to learning to communicate effectively in German, students will learn about life in German-speaking countries and have the opportunity to communicate with young German speakers through links with partner schools.

Course Content

AQA GCSE German comprises 4 units worth 25% each. All assessments are by examination at the end of the course:

  • Unit 1: Listening
  • Unit 2: Speaking
  • Unit 3: Reading
  • Unit 4: Writing

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

  • Theme 1: Identity and Culture
  • Theme 2: Local, National, International and Global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and Future Study and Employment

Progression Routes

Students who do well at GCSE German are encouraged to go on to study either the pre-AS German course in Year 11 or to begin the full AS course. GCSE German provides a solid foundation for these courses.

History

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Description

History at GCSE aims to enable students to develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British, and wider world history; and of the wide diversity of human experience. It challenges them to engage in historical enquiry to develop as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers, develop the ability to ask relevant questions about the past, and to investigate issues critically and to make valid historical claims by using a range of sources in their historical context. 

History is a challenging, essay-based subject that regularly requires students to argue, analyse and deliberate. It is a demanding programme, and pupils will be expected to develop their knowledge and understanding of key topics and events through regular independent revision. Knowledge tests will be a staple part of lessons, and homework is set regularly to hone and develop exam skills.

Course Content

Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment (Paper codes: 1HI0/10–12) 
Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present 
Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city
Written examination: 1 hour and 15 minutes 30% of the qualification
52 marks (16 for the historic environment, 36 for the thematic study)

Paper 2: Period study and British depth study (Paper codes: 1HI0/20–29) 
Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–40, 
Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91
Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes 40% of the qualification 64 marks (32 for the period study and 32 for the British depth study)

Paper 3: Modern depth study (Paper codes: 1HI0/30–33) 
Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39
Written examination: 1 hour and 20 minutes 30% of the qualification 52 marks 

Resources available

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–1540 Student Book
ISBN: 9781292127255

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Crime and punishment through time, c1000–present Student Book
ISBN: 9781292127361

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91 Student Book 
ISBN: 9781292127279

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–1939 Student Book
ISBN: 9781292127347

Progression Routes

Students who achieve a grade 6 or higher can go on to the A Level History course.

Japanese

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Description

Pupils studying GCSE Japanese will have the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions on a variety of topics, learning to describe past experiences and explain future plans. In addition to learning to communicate effectively in Japanese, students will learn about life in Japan and have the opportunity to communicate with young Japanese people through links with partner schools.

Course Content

GCSE Japanese consists of four units:

  1. Listening and understanding in Japanese (23%)
  2. Speaking in Japanese (27%)
  3. Reading and understanding in Japanese (23%)
  4. Writing in Japanese (27%)

At GHS we prepare for these units by studying the following topics:

  • Appointments
  • House
  • School
  • Seasons
  • Shopping
  • Describing people
  • Eating out
  • School rules
  • Directions in town
  • An interview
  • Jobs
  • Media

Progression Routes

Students who do well at GCSE Japanese are encouraged to go on to study pre-AS languages courses in Year 11 or to begin a full AS course. GCSE Japanese provides a solid foundation for these courses.

Mathematics

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Description

GCSE Mathematics is a course designed to be accessible to all students. Grades offered are 9-4 for Higher Tier and 5-1 for Foundation Tier.

Course Content

Students will continue to follow our spiral curriculum for Mathematics until after the mock examination in December of the year of examination.

Following this, we will decide which tier of entry (Foundation or Higher) is appropriate for each student. They will then enter an intensive revision programme culminating in the linear Edexcel summer examination.

There are two examinations for each tier: non-calculator and calculator. There is no coursework or controlled assessment for Mathematics.

Progression Routes

GCSE Mathematics is a necessary qualification for many careers and level 3 courses, including A Level Mathematics, Science and Computing.

Media Studies

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

The media is a hugely important influence in society: we all interact with TV, news, the internet, movies and games on a daily basis. Media Studies at GCSE offers students the tools to deconstruct the messages that bombard us and make sense of the world we live in.

Media Studies also provides students with genuine skills they can take into the workplace: project management, team working, creative design and communication. Production work requires discipline, commitment and creativity – attributes that every employer will value.

Course Content

The brand-new GCSE Media Studies launching in September 2017 will cover the following topics:

  • Media Language, Genre and Narrative structures/theories: how to analyse media texts
  • Media Industries: the companies and decision makers that produce and regulate media texts
  • Media Audiences: profiling, targeting and audience theory
  • Media Representations: analysing stereotypes of people, places and groups
  • The social and historical contexts and importance of media texts
  • How to use industry standard software such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro
  • How to produce media texts with a professional finish

GCSE Media Studies is Assessed as Follows:

Controlled Assessment (coursework) is 30% of the final grade. All production work is completed in school (research and preparatory work may be completed at home). One assignment – released by the exam board at the end of the first year of the course and completed during the second year. Students need to produce:

  • A statement of intent
  • A media product for an intended audience

Two end-of-course exams make up the rest of the GCSE grade. The exams are:

Media One

90 minute written exam worth 35% of the GCSE. All four key concepts (Language, Representation, Industries, Audience) are tested using unseen material and a range of short and extended response questions.

Media Two

90 minute written exam worth 35% of the GCSE. Section A is based on a screening from one of the close-study products students will have studied during the course. Section B focuses on newspapers, online media or videogames.

Close-Study Products

The course is taught through a wide selection of close-study products specified by the exam board. These are media texts from nine different types of media (e.g. TV, newspapers, online) and spanning a wide variety of time periods, audiences and contexts.

Progression Routes

A GCSE in Media Studies will lead naturally to A Level Media Studies and other arts-based A Levels such as English Literature or Humanities subjects.

Music

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Entry Requirements: Being an instrumentalist or a vocalist is essential as performance accounts for 30% of the course. Music lessons will be provided for the duration of the course. You should have received at least one term’s tuition prior to starting the course.

Course Description

This is a highly creative course where students are encouraged to explore their own musical identity. Students will perform, compose and analyse music through a range of exciting practical activities. Being an instrumentalist or a vocalist is essential as performance accounts for 30% of the course. Music lessons will be provided for the duration of the course. The music department boasts state of the art equipment and facilities where students can work in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

Course Content

Unit 1: Performing Music (30% of GCSE)

  • Students perform for at least four minutes’ combined duration
  • Solo performance: this must be of at least one minute in duration, and may comprise one or more pieces
  • Ensemble performance: this must be of at least one minute in duration, and may comprise one or more pieces

Unit 2: Composing Music (30% of GCSE)

  • Developing musical ideas
  • Compositional techniques and strategies
  • Ensuring technical control and coherence
  • Methods of notating composition scores
  • Students compose two compositions, of at least three minutes’ combined duration
  • One composition to a brief set by Pearson, of at least one minute in duration.
  • One free composition set by the student, of at least one minute in duration.
  • Each composition will be out of 30 marks.
  • Internally marked and externally moderated.

Unit 3: Appraising (40% of GCSE)

Musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. Areas of study:

  • Instrumental Music 1700–1820
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions

The paper is made up of two sections and is out of a total of 80 marks. Section A – Areas of study, dictation, and unfamiliar pieces (68 marks)

  • Six questions related to six of the eight set works.
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.
  • One question on an unfamiliar piece (skeleton score provided) with questions on its musical elements, musical contexts and musical language.

Section B – Extended response comparison between a set work and one unfamiliar piece (12 marks)

  • A CD with the music extracts will be played
  • One question that asks students to compare and/or evaluate the musical elements, musical contexts and musical language of one set work with one unfamiliar piece of music.

Progression Routes

The course gives students the ability to perform, compose and analyse music. Students can go on to study Music or Music Technology at GCE AS/A2 level depending on which specific skills they wish to develop further.

Photography

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Entry Requirements: To be successful in GCSE Photography we recommend that students have achieved at least a level 4 in Key Stage 3 Art and English or are recommended by their art teacher.

Students should like exploring new ideas and working independently to improve their skills and understanding of different photographers.

Course Description

GCSE Photography is worth one GCSE. The new syllabus and school structure allows for more flexibility and focus in developing quality skills opposed to a quantity of work. All students will attend at least one visit to an art gallery as part of their course requirement.

This course will allow students to develop critical and analytical skills looking at artists and photographers of the world and how they relate to them. A wide variety of photography skills are taught with the intention that the student will decide which genre that would like to master in each unit.

Some of the skills taught are:

  • Photoshop
  • Studio Photography
  • Genre Photography
  • Composition theory
  • Lighting effects

Course Content

The GCSE course is divided into two units both completed under the supervision and/or instruction of the teacher. Students will also have the chance to practise and learn skills with an introduction unit in the first term of the course, this unit will not be graded for the GCSE.

Unit 1

60% of the course is for students developing a body of work that is called a ‘portfolio’.

  • Students will submit 40 hours of controlled assessment of practical and analytical work in early January 2012.
  • Students will have directed lessons helping them develop skills followed by set tasks that are sat in controlled assessment conditions. Most of this work is achieved in class time with homework that supports and imbeds skills.

Unit 2

  • 40% is an external assignment that students spend 20 hours preparing for.
  • A 10 hour (2 day) practical exam is sat at the end of the preparation time, where students produce a final piece.

Progression Routes

Achieving B-A* Art in GCSE Photography means you are equipped to take A Level Photography or Fine Art, which is a very comprehensive course that has many pathways for study at University and Art College to lead you in a career such as:

  • Art Director
  • Press Photographer
  • Photo Retoucher
  • Photo Editor
  • Fine Art Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Cinematographer
  • Medical artist
  • Artist
  • Animator
  • Film
  • Set Designer
  • Architect
  • Publishing
  • Graphic Artist

The critical, analytical and creative skills that students acquire in a GCSE and A Level Photography course give students the broad background that the majority of creative courses require in further education. Always research courses that you are potentially going to study at high school to ensure that you choose the right GCSE and A Level to suit your future education.

Physical Education

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: Edexcel

Course Content

Course Breakdown

  • 60% Theory
  • 30% Practical
  • 10% Personal Exercise Programme

Theory

Two written exams; content split into following topics:

  • Applied anatomy and physiology
  • Movement analysis
  • Physical training
  • Health, fitness and well-being
  • Sport psychology
  • Socio-cultural influences
  • Use of data

Practical

The assessment consists of students completing three physical activities from a set list. One must be a team activity. One must be an individual activity. The final activity can be a free choice

Half-term assessments

Students will be graded on their practical, theory and homework within every half term.

Resources provided to students

  • Textbooks that can be used at school and borrowed to take home
  • Subject folders and files to store all their hand outs, assessments and homework

Psychology

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: OCR

Course Description

Psychology is the study of the mind and people's behaviour. Psychology will provide you with a greater understanding of human behaviour. You will have the opportunity to explore your own ideas as well as the ideas of others and gain an understanding of how psychological theory impacts everyday life.

It will spur on your creative and critical thinking skills and will prompt you to ask questions about the issues that impact on our lives. There will be some opportunities to carry out your own psychological research.

GCSE Psychology is an interesting and challenging course. You will cover the course material through a variety of activities including practical experiments, group work, discussions, and presentations.

The course involves studying a wide range of psychological areas that cover the main issues facing psychologists today.

Course Content

Paper 1: 55% of Qualification (98 Marks)

  • Topic 1: Developmental Psychology
  • Topic 2: Memory
  • Topic 3: Social Psychology
  • Topic 4: The Brain and Neuropsychology
  • Topic 5: Psychological problems

Paper 2: 45% of Qualification (78 Marks)

  • Topic 6: Crime
  • Topic 7: Self

Progression Routes

Psychology is an excellent subject choice because you will be developing a number of different skills that can be used in a wide range of subjects. These include:

  • Evaluation Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Debating/discussion Skills
  • Researching Skills

The course material and skills you develop when studying GCSE Psychology will prepare you for the A Level Psychology course.

There are so many jobs you can go into with a psychology degree, including:

  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Psychiatrist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Occupational Psychologist
  • Teacher
  • Social Worker
  • Child Psychologist
  • Sport Psychologist

Religious Education

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

All students in Year 9 undertake the R.E. GCSE.

Students study the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Buddhism. Students also learn about modern ethical issues and how Christians, Buddhists and non-religious people respond to these issues.

Course Content

Students study the AQA Religious Studies A exam specification.

Areas of Study Include:

  • Christianity: beliefs, teachings and practices
  • Buddhism: beliefs, teachings and practices
  • Relationships and familes
  • Religion, peace and conflict
  • Religion, crime and punishment
  • Religion, human rights and social justice

Progression Routes

Students will be examined by two papers – 1 hour 45 minutes each – both sat at the end of the year of study. Each paper is worth 50% of the final grade.

Science

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

All students sit a GCSE Science qualification.

Students study for either Combined Science (a double award GCSE) or separate GCSEs in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The course studied is determined by assessments in years 9 and 10.

The Combined Science course is AQA Trilogy.

Course Content

Combined Science covers the following.

Biology: Cell biology, organisation (hierarchy of structure and organ systems), infection and response, bioenergetics (respiration and photosynthesis), homeostasis and response (including the nervous and endocrine systems), inheritance, variation and evolution, ecology.

Chemistry: Atomic structure and the periodic table, bonding, structure and the properties of matter, quantitative chemistry, chemical changes, energy changes, the rate and extent of chemical change, organic chemistry, chemical analysis, chemistry of the atmosphere, using resources, key ideas.

Physics: Energy, electricity, particle model of matter, atomic structure, forces, waves, magnetism and electromagnetism, key ideas.

Separate science students study the same topics in more depth. They also study a 'key ideas' topic extra in Biology, and a Space Physics topic in Physics.

Progression Routes

GCSE Science is important for future career choices. As one of the most respected subjects, the standard that everyone is aiming for is two good GCSEs in Science.

Progress on to A level sciences, or medicine at university, or any further study, is not restricted by whether a student takes combined science or the separate science GCSEs. It is getting the best grades that counts.

Sociology

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

GCSE Sociology is a fascinating subject. It allows students the opportunity to choose a new and exciting course which is directly relevant to their everyday lives. It gives them the chance to better understand human behaviour, political, social and philosophical issues, and to ask challenging questions about the world they live in.

Course Content

The GCSE Sociology course is entirely exam based, with students sitting two exams at the end of the course which are each worth 50% of their total grade.

  • The Unit 1 examination will allow students to explore introductory Sociology and Social Research Methods (Studying Society), and they will also have the opportunity to study the Sociology of the Family and the Sociology of Education.
  • The Unit 2 examination will allow students the opportunity to study the Sociology of Crime and Deviance, the Sociology of the Media and Social Inequality.

Progression Routes

Students who have studied GCSE Sociology could then go on to study the subject at A Level.

It is also closely linked to other Social Science and Humanities subjects such as Psychology, History, Geography, Government and Politics and Philosophy, as well as developing the communication skills required for subjects such as English.

Students of Sociology have been known to pursue a huge range of careers but common paths include law, politics, teaching, journalism, the media, business, international relations, social work and academia.

Spanish

Level: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA

Course Description

Pupils studying GCSE Spanish will have the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions on a variety of topics, learning to describe past experiences and explain future plans. In addition to learning to communicate effectively in Spanish, students will learn about the Spanish-speaking world and have the opportunity to communicate with young people in Spanish-speaking countries through links with partner schools abroad.

Course Content

AQA GCSE Spanish comprises 4 units worth 25% each. Assessment is by exam at the end of the course:

  • Unit 1: Listening
  • Unit 2: Speaking
  • Unit 3: Reading
  • Unit 4: Writing

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

  • Theme 1: Identity and Culture
  • Theme 2: Local, National, International and Global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

Progression Routes

Students who do well at GCSE Spanish are encouraged to go on to study either the pre-A level Spanish course in Year 11 or to begin the full A level course. GCSE Spanish provides a solid foundation for these courses.