Introduction

Our GCSE Options system is set by the pupils’ choices. The compulsory subjects equip pupils with essential skills and the option subjects play to their interests and strengths. Pupils studying subjects of their choice will be happier, more confident, better engaged and ultimately more successful.

In Year 8, pupils are asked to compile a list showing their choices in order of preference. We use this information to organize the Options ‘Blocks according to the pupils’ needs. Once completed, the pupils check that their choices fit. The next stage is our Year 8 Options’ Evening, where staff discuss each subjects’ specification and expectations. At this stage, changes can be made to the Option Blocks. The final decisions are then collated.

We also recognise that some pupils may have talents that lie outside of school. Whether this be a sporting talent such as football or tennis or a desire to become a musician, we will seek to accommodate and support pupils. This may include (with parental consent) a reduction in the number of option subjects taken.

We also consider reducing option subjects for those with Special Needs and disabilities. For example, a child with severe dyslexia may find foreign language study more difficult. Gifted & talented children in some circumstances may be offered the opportunity for extension subjects, sometimes by extending the school day for an individual or group.

GCSE Options Online Submission (click)

The following has been prepared to assist you, as a Year 8 pupil, in planning your options’ choices for the start of Year 9 in September 2020.

You may find it daunting but rest assured, you will find advice on how and when to make your choices and an overview of each GCSE and how they are assessed. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to ask questions and discuss your choices to help you make the right decisions. This is a crucial stage in your education, and it is very important that you take every opportunity to discuss this with your parents and take advice from your teachers and career advisors.

But remember, you should choose what is right for YOU!

What should you consider?

  • Where do my strengths lie and what are my natural abilities?
  • Where am I achieving consistently high marks?
  • What really interests me and what do I really enjoy?
  • What ideas or goals do I have regarding my further education and the career path I want to follow?
  • Is a subject required to meet entrance criteria for a course or career I am interested in?

These are important decisions and you should consider all these things to help you to be successful and happy as you continue your journey with us. It will ensure that we can support you and guide you down the path that is right for you. Try to achieve a balance between sciences, humanities and creative subjects as this will provide you with flexibility and will mean more options are open to you if your further education or career aspirations change over the next few years.

Where you can go for help

It is important at this stage to find out as much information as you can about subjects and career pathways. There are many places you can go to find help and support.

  1. Options Evening – Tuesday 3rd March, Jubilee Hall – this is an opportunity for you to discuss the courses with your subject teachers and career advisers.
  2. Subject teachers –will give an honest and objective assessment of your potential.
  3. Careers Officers and Teachers –will give you independent and unbiased advice.
  4. Employers – all professions have training organizations with advice on employment needs, opportunities and qualifications on their web sites (information on web addresses can be found in the Careers Library).
  5. Your parents – it is vital that you discuss your decisions with your parents. They can help you if you have any concerns about choosing or not choosing a particular subject or if you are struggling with your choices.
  6. AQA and Edexcel websites – you can find full details of the courses on offer at these websites.

While many pupils will have an idea about their intentions, some will not. Fortunately, the children have access to Morrisby. Pupils are in the process of taking a pre-aptitude test which pupils/parents can view on www.Morrisby.com and towards the end of Year 10, all pupils complete the Morrisby psychometric questionnaire. The results of this are presented in an extensive and in-depth report for each pupil, which forms the basis for a one-to-one interview regarding their early career aspirations. These interviews take place either at the end of Year 10 or early in Year 11.

Morrisby provide ‘follow-up’ on the report and interview. This process is intended to provide a framework for informed choice of subjects for their application to sixth form college. As part of this process, pupils are given access to careers’ advice from Morrisby for life! A representative of Morrisby will be present at the Options’ Evening who can be consulted regarding all aspects of the implications of subject choice on career pathways.

Option Blocks – NOW SUBJECT TO A RE-RUN 

We have devised an option block system taking the pupils’ initial thoughts and choices into consideration and in such a way as to make practicable use of staff time and accommodation. For this reason, we are only able to run those subjects that have a minimum of 8 pupils. All efforts will be made to accommodate all the pupils’ choices. However, the final decision must rest with the school.

There are 5 blocks and you need to select 1 subject from each block. There is time to consider this carefully and discuss with teachers at Options’ Evening on Tuesday, 3rd March.

Once you have finalised your choices, please go to (….) and submit them. The online form also requires a parental / guardian signature. The last day for submission will be Tuesday, 10th March. Please note that you can make as many submissions as you like; we will always take the latest submission as final.

Lists of provisional allocations will be published to pupils before the lists are sent home. Pupils will be asked to draw our attention to any errors. The final confirmation of your choices will be sent home as soon as the timetable is completed.

Studying English Language equips pupils with essential skills for life. It enables you to develop a range of writing skills communicate effectively and develops creative minds and stretches the imagination. The skills you develop will benefit you throughout your education, in your chosen career and everyday life.

During the course, you will read prose and literature from the 19th and 20th centuries and study various methods of communication to develop your creative and persuasive writing, perfect grammar and develop advanced comprehension skills.

How Will I be Assessed?

Examination Board: AQA Specification: 8700 (9-1 Qualification).

GCSE in English Language is 100% external examination.

Paper 1:  Fiction and Imaginative Writing       50% of total GCSE

Section A – Reading 

Analysis of language and structure and evaluation of writer’s method’s in an unseen text, which will have been written in the 20th or 21st Century.

Section B – Writing  

A choice of two creative writing tasks, one description and one story based. The tasks are thematically linked to the reading extract.

Paper 2: Non-fiction and Transactional Writing             50% of total GCSE

Section A – Reading

Questions on two thematically linked unseen non-fiction extracts.

Section B – Writing

A non-fiction writing task, such as a speech, letter or article, thematically linked to the reading texts.

Spoken Language

The Spoken Language component of the course is taken in Year 10. Pupils will be awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction. This grade is given alongside the GCSE results.

What does this course offer me?

Studying English Literature not only fosters a life-long love of reading but also builds comprehension and analytical skills.

The chance to choose from a wide range of novels and plays and exposure to different genres and styles of writing, including classical literature and poetry, helps to develop creativity and imagination.

How Will I be Assessed?

Examination Board: Pearson Edexcel

Specification: 1ETO Level 1/2 (9-1 Qualification).

GCSE in English Literature is 100% external examination.
Comprises of two papers –100% external assessment
(Closed book exams – texts not allowed in exams)

Paper 1: – Shakespeare and post 1914 Literature – 50% of total GCSE
Texts: Macbeth by William Shakespeare and An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley.

Paper 2: – Nineteenth Century novel and Poetry since 1789 – 50% of total GCSE
Texts: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Edexcel Poetry Anthology: – Poets studied: Blake, Byron, Wordsworth, Hardy, Rossetti, Owen, Auden, Agard, Clarke, Carson, Casey, Weir and Zephaniah.

How Will I be Assessed?

Examination Board: AQA  /  Specification: 8300

Assessment at the end of the course means that pupils have time to develop a mature understanding of the subject before being assessed and will be familiar with all areas of the curriculum before advancing to further study in the subject. This provides excellent preparation for GCE Advanced level mathematics.

GCSE Mathematics has 2 tiers, Foundation (grades 1–5) and a Higher (grades 4-9).

Pupils must take three question papers at the same tier, at the same sitting, each counting for 33⅓% of the assessment. Content from any part of the course specification may be assessed on each paper. Assessment comprises three exams:

• Paper 1: Non-Calculator – 1hr 30mins, 80 marks
• Paper 2: Calculator – 1hr 30mins, 80 marks
• Paper 3: Calculator – 1 hr 30mins, 80 marks

Questions will be a mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a pupil progresses through the paper

How Will I be Assessed?

Examination Board: AQA Specification: 8062

ssessment is through two examinations at the end of Year 11.

Year 9: Two ethical topics

1) Religion and Crime and Punishment 2) Religion and Life

Christianity

Christianity will be covered as a first religion and areas of study will be: Beliefs and teachings and practices.

Year 10: Mark’s Gospel

Units include: The background of the Gospel, including when and where Mark wrote, and who his intended audience were, the main events and turning points in Jesus’ life, Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, the identity of Jesus, Jesus’ relationship with others, the roles of the disciples and how the events and themes covered in Mark’s Gospel can help modern day Christians.

Year 11: Judaism

Judaism will be covered as a second religion and areas of study will be: Beliefs and teachings and practices.

Why Art & Design?

Some of the most successful people in the world are creative and artistic!  Art students are increasingly sought after by business employers due to their creativity, imagination, discipline, attention to detail, willingness to take risks and openness to criticism.

Studying art is exceptionally rewarding and allows pupils to express themselves freely and embrace independent learning.

“The greatest scientists are artists as well.” – Albert Einstein

What will I study? 

The course will allow pupils to actively engage in the creative processes involved in art, craft and design and develop knowledge and understanding of both historical and contemporary contexts and influence on culture and society.  The course will develop creative, imaginative and intuitive capabilities and pupils will and develop confidence in experimenting with ideas.

The course will cover four assessment objectives:

  • Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.
  • Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.
  • Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.

Is this GCSE for me? 

Studying Art & Design will not only enable you to express your creativity and independence, it will also help you develop skills that are important both across other subjects and in life.  You develop great attention to detail and learn patience as your projects come to life over time, along with developing creative ways to communicate – traits that are important in many further education and career paths.

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board:  AQA   |  Specification:  8202/C 8202/X Fine Art

Assessment:   Component 1 Portfolio 60% of GCSE  |  Component 2 Externally set assignment 40% of GCSE

Component 1: Portfolio

A portfolio that in total shows explicit coverage of the four assessment objectives. It must include a sustained project evidencing the journey from initial engagement to the realisation of intentions and a selection of further work undertaken during the pupil’s course of study.

How is it assessed?

  • No time limits
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of GCSE
  • Non-exam assessment (NEA) set and marked in school, moderated by AQA during a visit normally in June

Component 2: Externally set assignment

Pupils respond to their chosen starting point from an externally set assignment paper relating to their subject title, evidencing coverage of all four assessment objectives.

How is it assessed?

  • Preparatory period followed by 10 hours of supervised time
  • 96 marks
  • 40% of GCSE
  • Non-exam assessment (NEA) set and marked in school, moderated by AQA during a visit normally in June

What will I study?

The GCSE Biology course follows the new AQA Biology syllabus – The 7 units are:

  • Cell biology
  • Organization
  • Infection and response
  • Bioenergetics
  • Homeostasis and response
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution
  • Ecology

Practical skills are integrated into the teaching, including 8 experiments required by the examining board. These skills include how to plan and carry out experiments, and how to present, analyse and evaluate results.

Pupils are helped to develop an understanding of scientific terminology and are coached in the skills of writing logically and with scientific language. An emphasis is put on developing skills of independent learning and pupils are encouraged to embrace this and undertake self-study.

Biology is a core subject of STEM, (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education. It will help you develop skills in analytics, research, evaluation, organisation and problem solving. During practical sessions, you will work with others developing your teamwork and communication skills, vital for any career! Studying biology opens doors to a long list of careers from medicine, psychology and dentistry, to zoology, geology to research roles and teaching.

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board: AQA Specification: 8461

Progress is regularly assessed, and pupils are given model answers to enable evaluation and improvement.

There is no coursework assessment component; all assessment takes place in two 1h 45m exams of 100 marks each in the final term of year 11 (2020)

The course includes 8 experiments required by the examining board.

Paper 1: 1hr 45mins, 50% of final mark | Paper 2: 1 hr 45 mins, 50% of final mark

Chemistry is a fascinating subject where you can discover more about the patterns in nature which produced everyday effects that we often take for granted. We learn the theory about how particles interact to produce those effects and we explore these through experiments. We study how chemicals work under different conditions and explore questions like “What will happen if…?” We develop experimental techniques and awareness of safe handling of chemicals.

Chemistry links together the aspects of applied sciences like biology with physical sciences like maths and physics, allowing you to challenge ideas and theories and investigate everything from the largest elements down to the smallest particle.

What will I study?

The GCSE Chemistry course follows AQA Chemistry Specification which is made up of the 10 units listed below.

  • Atomic structure and the periodic table
  • Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
  • Quantitative chemistry
  • 4 Chemical changes
  • Energy changes
  • The rate and extent of chemical change
  • Organic chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Using resources

The chemistry course is demanding but rewarding for those who work at it. It involves not only learning new ideas but also understanding how to apply these to real life situations. There is a significant amount of mathematics, both in calculations and in analysing graphs.

Pupils studying chemistry develop a deeper understanding of concepts in chemistry that they have already met in Year 8. They further develop the skills of using scientific terminology, and how to explain their thinking clearly and logically. They learn how to apply their understanding of chemistry to solve problems in everyday examples of chemistry.

Practical skills are integrated into the teaching through experiments, including 8 “required practicals”. Pupils will learn how to plan and carry out experiments in a valid a safe way, and how to present, analyse and evaluate their results.

During the course an increasing emphasis is put on developing the skills of independent learning and organisation of their study. Pupils should therefore be ready to complement lessons with their own self-initiated study at home in order to achieve their potential.

Is this GCSE for me?

Chemistry is one of the core subjects of STEM, (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education.  It will help you develop skills in numeracy, analytics, research, evaluation, organisation and problem solving and will help you to learn vital communication and teamwork skills through the practical sessions.  Chemistry is an important subject if your aspirations lie in medicine, engineering, pharmaceuticals, software development and even space exploration!

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board:  AQA  |  Specification: 8462

Progress in skills and knowledge is regularly assessed in tests, following which pupils are presented with model answers and can see and discuss where and how they need to improve.

8 practical experiments are required by the examination board, to be carried out as part of the course but there is no longer any practical coursework assessment.  All the assessment takes place in two 1hour 45min exams in the final term.

Paper 1: 1hr 45mins, 50% of total GCSE mark.

Atomic structure and the periodic table | Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter Quantitative chemistry | Chemical changes | Energy changes

Paper 2: 1hr 45mins, 50% of total GCSE mark.

The rate and extent of chemical change | Organic chemistry | Chemical analysis Chemistry of the atmosphere | Using resources

Why Computer Science?

Take a look at the world around you. How close to a computer are you? When was the last time you used one? Life without computers is almost unimaginable. The power of computers is utilised in all areas of life, from medicine to space exploration. Computer Science goes way beyond just writing code. Steve Jobs (Apple Co-Founder) once remarked…

“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think”. Steve Jobs (Apple Co-founder)

By studying this highly valued English Baccalaureate subject, you will develop the skills and knowledge to give you that competitive advantage in any future career. You will develop computational thinking skills such as analysis, decomposition, logic and algorithmic thinking.

“Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone by the middle of the 21st Century. Just like reading, writing and arithmetic”. Wing (2011)

What will I study?

Over the course you will cover the following:

  • Computational thinking: the process of thinking through a complex problem, taking time to understand what the problem is and developing potential solutions for evaluation. These are then presented in a way that a computer, a human, or both, can understand.
  • Theoretical content: understanding the fundamentals of data representation and computer networks. You will learn about the computer systems that you will create and use and also delve into the world of cyber security and ethical legal and environmental impacts of digital technology.
  • Aspects of software development: understand how to implement and test a design to make sure it works effectively. Learn how to complete an overall evaluation to help refine the end product.

Subject Content

3.1 Fundamentals of algorithms | 3.2 Programming | 3.3 Fundamentals of data representation | 3.4 Computer Systems | 3.5 Computer Networks | 3.6 Cyber Security | 3.7 Relational databases and structured query language (SQL) | 3.8 Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy.

Is this GCSE for me?

Computer Science is at the centre of a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education. Studying this subject will give you a real advantage in today’s technology driven world. You will make the leap from using other people’s software to being able to design and create your own. Maybe you could invent the next Facebook or Snap Chat? GCSE Computer Science will give you the skills to become a Technology Entrepreneur…but even more than this, it will give you the skills you need for any career because Computer Science teaches you how to think.

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board: AQA | Specification: 8525

Paper Paper 1: Computational Thinking & Problem Solving Paper 2: Written
What’s assessed Computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code. Content from 3.1 to 3.2 Theoretical knowledge from subject content 3.3 – 3.8.
How it’s assessed Written exam:

  • 2 hours
  • 90 marks
  • 50% GCSE
Written exam:

  • 2 hours
  • 90 marks
  • 50% GCSE
Questions / Task A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing programming, practical problem-solving and computational thinking skills. A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing SQL programming skills and theoretical knowledge.

Why Geography?

Michael Palin once said:

“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.”

Studying geography, will help you develop a sense of environmental responsibility through discussion about large scale problems such as pollution, poverty and global warming. You will gain an understanding and appreciation of cultures and backgrounds of people from all over the world, learn how our man-made and natural worlds compete and what challenges we may face in the future.

Geography opens the door to a number of career options and the skills you develop will be invaluable in any future education and career choices. Not only will you learn skills such as map reading and cartography, you will develop a wide range of other skills such as research, data collection, evaluation, report writing and problem solving.

What will I study? 

The emphasis is on the understanding of physical, human and environmental geography and the relationships between humans and the environment.

Topics include:

  • Physical landscapes of the UK
  • Living World
  • Environmental hazards
  • Urban issues and challenges
  • Economic changes
  • Resource management challenges

Is this GCSE for me?

Geography is part of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education and uses techniques that span across the core subjects of English and Maths as well as the traditional sciences and Computer Science.  It will enable you to investigate the wonders of our world from the classroom. It will provide you with skills crucial for your future higher education and career aspirations which are looked upon as essential by many employers.    

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board: AQA | Specification: 8035

Subject content will be examined at the end of the course through 3 papers

Paper 1 Living with the physical environment (35%)

This paper will assess knowledge of:

The challenge of Natural Hazards, Tectonic Hazards (earthquakes and volcanoes), Physical landscapes in the UK, The living world (ecosystems, rainforests, deserts and cold areas) and geographical skills (map work and fieldwork skills).

Paper 2 Challenges of the human environment (35%)

This paper will assess knowledge of:

Urban issues and challenges, the changing economic world, the challenges of resource management and geographical skills.

Paper 3 Geographical applications (30%)

This paper will assess knowledge of:

Issues in Geography, fieldwork techniques and geographical skills.

There will be multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions on each of the three papers.

It will be compulsory to undertake 2 fieldwork enquiries during the course and the skills covered in these will be assessed in Paper 3. There is now no controlled assessment folder to complete.

Why History?

History is a fascinating and highly regarded subject.  It will help you to understand and appreciate how events have shaped and changed the world we live in and may even make you look at how we live today in a different way.  It may even help you predict the future! By looking at what has happened in the past, we can learn about the consequences of our actions and what we must do or change to create the best possible future for us and generations to come.

Studying history will develop skills in research, investigation and evaluation and excellent communication and writing skills.  This will open many doors in terms of higher education and career options.

What will I study? 

You will study a variety of topics throughout history based on a specific historical period through to a wider world study looking at how events in time have changed society.  The topics to be covered are: 

  • The USA from 1920 -1973 including: the economic boom of the 1920s; wealth and poverty; changes in women’s lives; Prohibition of alcohol and organised crime; the impact of immigration; the Ku Klux Klan; the 1930’s Depression; Civil Rights in the 1950s and ‘60s; changes in the economy and society up to 1973.
  • Causes of World War II including: the peace treaty after World War I; the League of Nations; the rise of Hitler; the actions and decisions of Neville Chamberlain.
  • Health and the British people through time This will enable pupils to gain an understanding of how medicine and public health developed in Britain over a long period of time. They will study the importance of factors like war. Superstition, religion, government, communication, science and technology, and the role of individuals).
  • Elizabethan England, 1558-1603 including: Elizabeth’s relations with Parliament; the question of Elizabeth’s marriage; rebellions against her rule; wealth and poverty; English exploration of the world; religion and conflict; Mary Queen of Scots; Spain and the Armada.

Year 9 may also include lessons on: Britain 1750-1900; the Suffragettes; World War I. These topics will not count towards the final grade but will be used to develop pupils’ examination skills.

Is this GCSE for me? 

History develops skills that complement the study of many other subjects.  Consider how a career in archaeology or medicine would benefit from you studying history together with geography and science.  History will help you to understand how the world has evolved in these areas and help you to understand why and how we can move forward as a society.  History and English, for example, may help you on the road to a career in journalism or law.  Whatever your career aspirations, history will help you develop critical skills for whatever path you decide to take.  

How will I be assessed?

EXAMINATION BOARD: AQA SPECIFICATION: 8145

This is a linear course which means that students will sit their exams at the end of the course.

Paper 1: 2hrs

  • USA 1920- 1973
  • Causes of World War II

Paper 2: 2hrs

  • Health and the British people through time
  • Elizabethan England, 1558-1603

This course has been altered in line with new government guidelines to ensure that a greater variety of time periods are studied.

Some examination questions will require pupils’ knowledge only. Others will ask pupils to analyse sources and consider different ways in which the past has been represented.   Both examinations will be taken at the end of Year 11.

Why Physical Education?

P.E. is not just about sports; it is about the study of health, wellbeing and movement.  Not only does it cover a broad range of activities, it incorporates areas of science such as anatomy and physiology. Pupils who study P.E. become excellent team players and communicators along with being physically fit.

What will I study?

Pupils will study related areas of science including applied anatomy and physiology, movement analysis, physical training, health, fitness and wellbeing, sport psychology and socio-cultural influences, as well as undertaking practical performance. Pupils will learn to evaluate related data and build team working, leadership and communication skills.

Pupils will develop social and communication skills which are crucial for any career, but P.E. also opens doors to its own career path, in areas like sports science, teaching, diet and fitness, sports coaching along with many others.

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board: Pearson Edexcel – Specification: 1PE0

This is a 3 year course and assessments are completed throughout, in theory and practical components . Pupils will sit two exams at the end of Year 11.

  • Two papers – scientific and social 60% exam
  • Practical Performance 30%
  • Performance Analysis 10%

Four Components

Component 1: Fitness and Body Systems (*Component code: 1PE0/01) = 36%
Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes

  • Topic 1: Applied anatomy and physiology
  • Topic 2: Movement analysis
  • Topic 3: Physical training
  • Topic 4: Use of data

Component 2: Health and Performance (*Component code: 1PE0/02) =24%
Written examination: 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • Topic 1: Health, fitness and well-being
  • Topic 2: Sport psychology
  • Topic 3: Socio-cultural influences
  • Topic 4: Use of data

Component 3: Practical Performance (*Component code: 1PE0/03) = 30%
Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated

  • 3 Practical activates, each scored out of 35 marks. Total of 115 marks available.
  • Skills during individual and team activities
  • General performance skills

The assessment consists of students completing 3 physical activities from a set list. Each activity can last up to 12 hours. These will be assessed by the teacher and moderated by Pearson.

  • One must be a team activity
  • One must be an individual activity
  • The final activity can be a free choice.

Pupils will be assessed against set assessment criteria found in the Pearson Edexcel Level1/Level 2 GCSE (9–1) in Physical Education practical performance assessment criteria document on the website.

Pupils will need to provide evidence of the Club/Team/Coach/Facility they attend outside of school in their chosen SPORT/S before being considered for this course.

Component 4: Personal Exercise Programme (PEP) = 10%

Non-examined assessment: internally marked, externally moderated by Pearson. 1500 words

  • Aim and planning analysis
  • Carrying out and monitoring the PEP
  • Evaluation of the PEP

Assessment overview

The assessment consists of each pupil producing a Personal Exercise Programme (PEP) and will require students to analyse and evaluate their performance.

Why Physics?

Studying physics means you get to travel through the stars and galaxies to the far-flung corners of the universe, from the comfort of your classroom!  You will learn about how forces of nature work, what the universe is made of and begin to understand and appreciate where EVERYTHING has come from.

Physicists ask the BIG questions; How big is the Universe? What is time?  What is on the other side of a Black Hole? They are true explorers and discoverers.

“One of the great joys of science is to understand something for the first time..” Professor Brian Cox

What will I study?

The new course is more demanding and now includes more mathematical content (up to 30% of the exam), a few concepts borrowed from the A level specification and a greater emphasis on applying knowledge. Pupils are also required to memorise the vast majority of the mathematical formulae required as the data sheets contain only the most complex equations. The content will be as follows: 

  • Energy
  • Electricity
  • Particle model of matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Forces
  • Waves
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Space physics

Is this GCSE for me?

If you have a great sense of curiosity, physics is for you! It is one of the core subjects of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education and most pupils who study physics also study other sciences.  Physics will help you further develop your mathematical skills and you will also develop skills in research, evaluation, organisation and problem solving.  Many career doors are opened with physics from astronomy, space exploration and robotics, to engineering, computer game design and sports technology.  

However, Physics is a mathematically demanding subject with up to 30% of the final assessment being Maths based. You should be confident in rearranging and remembering formulae if you are to reach your full potential in physics.

How will I be assessed?

Examination Board:  AQA   |   Specification:  8463

This is a new specification with significant changes to the assessment structure. In light of government reviews for all external GCSE examinations, exams are now to be taken at the end of the course and the practical requirements of the course are assessed within the written papers. There is no longer any coursework for GCSE Physics. 

There are 10 required practical for pupils to carry out during the physics course, any of which can be assessed on the written exam papers at the end of two years.

Progress in skills and knowledge is regularly assessed in tests, following which pupils are presented with model answers and have the opportunity to see and discuss how they can make further progress.

Paper 1: 1hr 45mins, 100 marks, 50% of total GCSE

Energy | Electricity | Particle model of matter | Atomic structure

Paper 21hr 45mins, 100 marks, 50% of total GCSE

Forces | Waves | Magnetism and electromagnetism | Space physics

Paper 2 may also draw on key concepts of electricity and energy from Paper 1

What does this course offer me?

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, second only to Mandarin Chinese, with English in third place. The course covers identity and culture, local areas and international and global dimensions, holiday, travel and school, future aspirations, study and work.

The aims of the course are:

  • To develop the ability to communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers in speech and writing;
  • To express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently;
  • To listen to and understand clearly articulated, standard speech at near normal speed;
  • To develop awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries and communities where the language is spoken;
  • To develop language-learning skills both for immediate use and to prepare them for further language study and use in school, higher education or employment.

What will I study?

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

How will I be Assessed?

Examination board: AQA | Specification: 8698

Assessment: Speaking 25% | Reading 25% | Writing 25% | Listening 25%

The course book, VIVA!, has an in-built system of assessment which tests pupils in the four skills at regular intervals. Assessments closely follow the format of GCSE examinations. Much use is made of practice papers as the course progresses.