Year 9 Options

Art

What is this subject about?

In brief…gaining knowledge of different styles of art, developing drawing skills, refining ideas, exploring media and producing personal artworks. It is our goal to help you develop a greater understanding of art and, whilst developing work, help you to further develop your understanding of the artistic process from concept to outcome. It is important to realise straight away that development is crucial in your studies and is as important, if not more so, than end results. At GCSE, art is about developing your knowledge of art and your ability to explore media, processes and techniques.

Why should I choose this subject?

We feel that Art and Design is an essential element in a balanced education, allowing personal expression, personal development, creativity and real practical involvement in the subject. Students gain confidence and an appreciation of each other's talents. If you have an interest in art and design and wish to develop your skills and understanding of it further, join up. Learning how to improve recording skills, how ideas and meaning can be conveyed visually, how artists and designers can inspire your own development are areas in which we would like you to progress in. Students and parents have spoken of the rewards of this course.

When and how am I assessed?

There are 2 areas that are assessed:

  • Component 1 (60%): a portfolio of work completed in year 9 and 10
  • Component 2 (40%): an externally set assignment.

They are marked using four Assessment Objectives (AOs):

  • AO1. Develop ideas through investigations inspired by the work of others.
  • AO2. Refine ideas through the exploration of media, processes and resources.
  • AO3. To record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • AO4. To present personal responses, making connections with the work of others.

These AOs are always referred to and underpin all work.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

A genuine interest is very important and the courage to develop ideas whilst understanding that first attempts may need to be improved upon.

Drawing skills are a foundation of art and design but are not everything - determination then is something that will help.

Art and design encourages students to think about their work and to generate ideas so independence and being open-minded are abilities we look for and can enhance your studies.

Citizenship & R.E.

What is this subject about

Citizenship covers a range of areas, PSHE, Religious Education and Citizenship. With topics from Finance to Relationships Citizenship is an integral part of your studies, which will allow you to develop a better understanding of the world around you and the part you have to play in it.

The subject also allows you to access key information which is imperative for your future, such as Further Education destinations and careers advice. This is particularly important as all students are now expected to remain in recognised learning until the age of 18.

Why should I choose this subject?

This is a core subject which covers a large variety of topics. You will have one lesson per week for the three years.

What will I be studying?

Citizenship is assessed through internal assessments to ensure students are making progress in the topics covered. A wide range of topics are covered within PSHE, Citizenship and Religious Education ensures students are getting a broad curriculum preparing them for life in a modern multi-cultural society. Many of the topics relate to the world of work, keeping themselves safe in the workplace and their personal lives and careers planning. Religious topics include religion and conflict, religion and authority, religious expression, medical issues, looking for meaning, is it fair?, and, our world and relationships.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

You will need to have good communication skills, be able to work as part of a team and have independent study skills. You will need to be able to accept and reason with opinions that may be different to your own on a variety of topical issues.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

This subject will allow you to explore career paths open to you and decide on the educational route you would like to take. It will give you access to local providers and employers to develop an understanding of the careers on offer and the application process. This subject will give you the skills and confidence to enter the next stage of your education.

Computer Science

What is this subject about?

Take a look at the world around you. How close to a computer are you? When was the last time you used one? When was the last time you were creative with one?

Computer science is not just about writing code for a computer. Just look at the amazing artwork or the surround sound and special effects that goes into all the multi million pound video games if you want evidence of this. Watch any modern film and the special effects will show countless examples of computer science in action. The music you listen to has been engineered, compressed and transmitted all thanks to computers.

Why should I choose this subject?

Computer science is all about you and your life. It will equip you with many of the skills you will need in the future, whatever you decide to do with your life. We don't yet know what the world will be like when you get a job but I can guarantee that computers will be used a lot more than they are today. With experience of computer science you get the chance to create the future rather than just passively letting it happen. The problem solving skills you will develop are of use to everybody. Life is full of problems and obstacles that need to be overcome. Having studied computer science you will be much better equipped to deal with these situations.

When and how am I assessed?

Computing is an intellectually challenging yet practical and rewarding discipline. The course reflects this. 20% of the course, and the marks, involve creating solutions to real world problems. These focus on creating a program using a high-level programming language. The rest of the marks come from a range of theoretical topics as well as solving problems in different computer languages which will help you understand how computers work and can be used to solve problems in the world you live in.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of computer science and programming. This involves mathematical calculations and understanding how particular programs and algorithms work. You will be required to design, write, test and refine programmes using one or more high-level programming language. You will also study the importance of cyber security and understand the impacts of digital technology on wider society.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

A GCSE in computer science will give you a fantastic set of skills to do just that. But even more than this, it will give you the skills you need for any career. You want to become a designer, architect, engineer, publisher, medical researcher, music or film producer (the list is endless)? Then computer science is one of the best points to start from.

D&T: Resistant Materials

What is this subject about?

D&T enables students to develop an awareness of the nature and significant importance of Design & Technology in a rapidly changing society. Candidates will develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of materials, processes and construction techniques of textiles & resistant materials within an overall 'design and make' approach. The content of the specification aims to provide a coherent, satisfying and challenging course of study for candidates where they can expect to experience the latest CAD/CAM facilities along with other modern manufacturing techniques.

Why should I choose this subject?

If you are a creative thinker with a keen eye for fashion or technology trends who enjoys problem solving, drawing and making things, then you will find this subject interesting. The future growth of industries both locally and nationally is reliant on the development of innovative designers, engineers and problem solvers. Students wishing to take this course must understand that the focus will be equally spread between developing their level of technical knowledge, informal and formal writing and drawing skills and understanding of the 'design process' across a broad spectrum of materials and disciplines. Please do not choose this subject thinking it will be solely practical, you will be disappointed.

When and how am I assessed?

Controlled Assessment (Coursework) Project - 50%
A single design and make activity that may focus on the use of resistant materials, textiles or modern materials. The project consists of written tasks (research/evaluation), drawing and development work and practical activities.

Examination - 50% (2hr paper)
Students will sit a single 2 hour paper at the end of Year 11 which will focus on all aspects of designing.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

Creativity and a thirst for knowledge are a good start, as well as an appreciation of what makes a 'good design' and a desire to be challenged. A good candidate will consider careful presentation and develop imaginative ideas that focus on user centred needs. They will communicate effectively through written work and a variety of drawing techniques, paying attention to detail and striving for a high quality practical outcome that is fully evaluated.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Design and Technology leads into a wide range of careers from manufacturing to fashion design, or interior/graphic design to product design. Whether you want to stay on into further education at A Level, Degree level or apply for an apprenticeship and work based learning, D&T will provide you with the core skills required.

D&T: Textiles

What is this subject about?

This course provides opportunities for candidates to develop an awareness of the nature and significant importance of Design & Technology (D&T) in a rapidly changing society. It enables candidates to develop their application of knowledge, skills and understanding of fabrics, use of production processes and construction techniques within an overall 'design and make' approach. The content of the specification provides a coherent, satisfying and challenging course of study for candidates. Students will work with natural, SMART & man made fabrics as well as experience the latest CAD/CAM facilities (3D printing and laser cutting).

Why should I choose this subject?

If you are a creative thinker who has a keen eye for fashion and enjoys problem solving, sketching and making things, then you will find this subject interesting. The future growth of industries both locally and nationally is reliant on the development of innovative designers and problem solvers.

When and how am I assessed?

Controlled Assessment (Coursework) Project – 50%

A single 'Design and Make' activity selected from a range of board set tasks; currently based on home furnishings and fashion products. The project consists of written tasks (research/evaluation), drawing and development work and practical activities.

Examination – 50% (2hr paper)

Students will sit a single 2 hour paper at the end of Year 11.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

Creativity and a thirst for knowledge are a good start, as well as an appreciation of what makes a 'good design' and a desire to be challenged. A good candidate will consider careful presentation; develop imaginative ideas that focus on the needs of a well-researched user group. They will communicate effectively through written work and a variety of drawing techniques. Pay attention to detail and strive for a high quality practical outcome that is fully evaluated.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Design and Technology leads into a wide range of careers from manufacturing to fashion design, or interior/graphic design to product design. Whether you want to stay on into further education at A Level, Degree level or apply for an apprenticeship and work based learning, D&T will provide you with the core skills that you will need.

English Language

What is this subject about?

English Language is about developing the skills necessary to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts, covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods. Students will also hone their writing skills, enabling them to address a multitude of forms, audiences and purposes.

Why should I choose this subject?

All students will be entered for GCSE English Language.

When and how am I assessed?

Assessment will be in the form of two equally weighted written examinations at the end of Year 11, with both papers assessing the reading and writing skills learnt throughout the course. Spoken language will be tested throughout the GCSE course and is to be reported separately. Progress will be assessed at regular intervals through Years 9 to 11.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

You will benefit from engaging with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts and a variety of media. Your spelling, punctuation and grammar skills should be secure at GCSE level. You should also feel comfortable interacting with other students in different given scenarios such as whole class discussions and presentations.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Most post-16 courses and employment require students to have obtained a secure pass in GCSE English Language, including those wanting to go on to apprenticeships and further education courses. Students who enjoy the GCSE course often choose to study the subject at A Level, as it offers a wide range of options beyond the classroom.

English Literature

What is this subject about?

English Literature is about the reading and understanding of a wide range of texts from different time periods. Studying a variety of works from the English Literary Heritage, students will develop an appreciation of meaning, context and crafting of language, and how writers create characters and present themes. Texts to be studied will include a play by Shakespeare, a selection of themed poetry, a 19th century novel and a modern text.

Why should I choose this subject?

All students will be entered for GCSE English Literature.

When and how am I assessed?

Assessment will be in the form of two written examinations at the end of Year 11. Both papers will test understanding of how the writers of the texts studied throughout the course convey a range of themes, ideas and characters. Paper 1 is worth 40% of the final GCSE English Literature grade and Paper 2 is worth the remaining 60%. Progress will be assessed at regular intervals through Years 9 to 11.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

As with English Language, a love of reading and literature will benefit students throughout the course. An awareness and understanding of Britain during different time periods will aid contextual appreciation of the works studied.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

The course will help to develop students to be independent thinkers and to be able to empathise and understand people within their everyday world. Students who enjoy the GCSE course often choose to study the subject at A Level, as it offers a wide range of options beyond the classroom.

Geography

What is this subject about?

Geography is fundamentally concerned with the study of place, the differences between places and the interaction between people and place. Geography is about the world around us, its natural patterns and processes, how humans have an impact on these patterns and processes and how the world around us has an impact on human decision-making. Geography enables us to ask questions about contemporary issues and form an opinion about key topics at local, national and international scale.

Why should I choose this subject?

Do you have an inquisitive mind? Do you care about the world around you and the future? Do you like to form an opinion? Do you wish to develop a variety of skills that can enhance your opportunities when looking for a job? Do you like the sound of fieldtrips and collecting and processing your own data? If you answer yes to any of these questions then geography will be a subject that will inspire you. Geography is also a highly regarded academic subject that forms part of the English Baccalaureate.

When and how am I assessed?

All assessment will take place at the end of Year 11 and will be based on three separate examinations - one based on physical geography, one on human geography and one on geographical applications. Integrated into the examinations will be assessment of two pieces of fieldwork and geographical skills. Some of the marks on these examinations are also allocated for the accurate use of spelling, punctuation and grammar, and mathematical and statistical techniques relevant to geography.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

Important skills that need to be demonstrated by a geographer include:

  • The ability to learn and use key terminology.
  • The ability to understand case studies, remember key facts and explain fully causes, effects and responses to these.
  • The ability to write coherently, using accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • An interest in topical news issues.
  • To be able to collect, interpret, analyse and evaluate data.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Geography is highly regarded by colleges, universities and employers. The skills developed in geography are extremely eclectic and lend themselves to a variety of different jobs and professions, some of which include: Planning and Regeneration, Tourism, Teaching, Environmental Conservation, River/Coastal Management, Renewable Energy, Aid Work, Seismology and many more.

History

What is this subject about?

The study of history enables us to understand the world in which we live, as students investigate key themes of continuity and change, conflict and resolution and the way in which societies have lived and adapted over time. Studying history will enable you to develop a broad range of historical and contemporary knowledge as well as developing transferable skills which are essential in many subject areas.

Why should I choose this subject?

History is a highly regarded academic subject that forms part of the English Baccalaureate. Students who choose GCSE history will have the opportunity to study a variety of time periods, from Medieval to Modern history and gain an understanding of how Britain, Europe and the wider world has developed over time. History is not merely a subject concerned with learning dates but a subject that allows you to argue and debate issues in order to formulate firm conclusions. Choosing history at GCSE will allow you to study a dynamic course with interesting, thought-provoking topics and develop your understanding of the world.

When and how am I assessed?

All students who study GCSE History will be assessed through two written examinations at the end of Year 11.5% of the overall marks will be allocated for spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

Students who study GCSE History will use and develop the following skills:

  • gathering and reading different kinds of information;
  • interpreting and analysing sources for different points of view;
  • self-reflection, team work, and organisation;
  • reading maps, graphs and other diagrams;
  • communicating clearly to express yourself verbally and in writing.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

The study of history enables the development of skills which could lead to a variety of different options post-16. Many students go on to study the subject at A Level or university, and it is also relevant to a wide range of career choices. Examples of careers that it could lead to include law, media, archaeology, civil service, journalism, archiving, politics, teaching and many roles within the arts and cultural sector.

ICT

What is this subject about?

In today's society, IT is a vital part of life. We offer students an opportunity to explore different aspects of the subject, and increase their understanding of the modem world around them. The IT course will help to prepare students with skills needed for employment, as well as developing their practical skills in creativity and problem solving.

IT teaches our students how to choose the right digital tool for the job, and how to increase their productivity. We also ensure that students understand the importance of using computer systems safely and how to be secure when online.

Why should I choose this subject?

IT enables students to build an invaluable skill set that opens doors for their future. Through studying this course you will get the chance to think creatively, logically and critically in your production of digital solutions.

Potential projects include Multimedia and Video Production, IT Security, Microsoft Office, etc. Studying IT gives students the knowledge and understanding to use a variety of software packages which are commonly used in all lines of business, education and industry.

When and how am I assessed?

This course will be assessed with 30% coursework, and one online exam (70%).

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject

Throughout this course, students will develop independent learning, as well as the ability to work with others using IT collaboration tools. Students will need to be interested in the digital world and new developments in technology.

Where could this take me in the future?

Students will have secure foundation of knowledge and skills that are needed to progress into further study of computing or IT-related courses at KS5, or even IT related apprenticeships.

Languages

What is this subject about?

Students will follow a 3 year course and will have 3 lessons per week. The course will build upon language already learnt in Years 7 and 8 and will cover topics such as lifestyle, health, relationships, leisure, media, holidays, home, local area, environment, school and future plans. Students will develop their speaking and writing skills, as well as the receptive skills of reading and listening. Students will need to have studied the language at Key Stage 3 if they are to choose it at GCSE level.

Why should I choose this subject?

Learning a foreign language is considered an indication of higher academic ability and is a sought after trait in the employment world. Employers value people who are able to speak another language and language skills are useful in any career. Learning a language is also a good indicator of a confident communicator and of someone who can persevere and who is creative. The study of foreign languages will lead to greater opportunities to travel and work abroad. Just as importantly, languages combine very well with other courses at further and higher education level.

When and how am I assessed?

You will be assessed in all four skill areas (listening, reading, speaking and writing) and this assessment will take place at the end of the course. Students will be entered for either the foundation or higher tier. Use will also be made of IT and the Sanako language laboratories. Internal assessment is by past paper exams in all four skill areas throughout the course.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

You will need to have perseverance and dedication to learn a foreign language. You will also need to be creative and resourceful. A good ear for languages, and an ability to distinguish different words and emotions in both spoken and written texts, will be useful. Perhaps most importantly, however, you will need to enjoy learning languages, as enjoyment of speaking a language will enable you to overcome the challenges that you face and will lead you to be more creative with language.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Learning a language can lead to further study at A Levels and University. The higher thinking skills that you will develop will also enable you to consider and solve problems in your day to day life. There will be, of course, opportunities to travel and work or study abroad in the future. In terms of the work place, languages will enable you to do any job, but at an international level.

Maths

What is this subject about?

GCSE Mathematics is taught to all students in KS4. Students study a range of topics from number, algebra, geometry and measure and statistics and probability.

Why should I choose this subject?

Mathematics is compulsory for all students

When and how am I assessed?

All students will sit their GCSE Mathematics examination at the end of Year 11. There are two tiers that can be taken; foundation and higher and for each tier there are 3 papers. All three papers must be at the same tier of entry and must be completed in the same assessment series.

  • Paper 1 is non-calculator and papers 2 and 3 are calculator
  • Each paper is 1hour and 30 minutes long
  • Each paper has 80 marks

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

The main aims and objectives of the GCSE course in mathematics are to enable students to:

  • develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts
  • acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems
  • reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences, and draw conclusions
  • comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Mathematics will widen career options later in life rather than narrow them. Mathematics skills are very appealing to a variety of employers and are highly valued by university admissions tutors and further education establishments. Many careers use maths without you actually realising it is not just for scientists and engineers

Music

What is this subject about?

This subject is built around three strands: performing, composing and understanding how music is put together to form different genres.

It is about being able to give a musical performance as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. You will learn how to analyse different styles of music from different periods of time and you will investigate how music is assembled into an instrumental or vocal piece. You will learn how to create your own compositions.

It is a very creative subject, but at the same time there is a lot of musical terminology and theory knowledge to learn through listening to a wide variety of pieces.

Why should I choose this subject?

If you already play an instrument or sing and have taken exam grades, you obviously enjoy performing and have a skill. You may have enjoyed learning to play an instrument in your Year 8 lessons and this could continue on the music course.

This is a full GCSE qualification and as a creative subject, could add balance to your final choice of subjects.

When and how am I assessed?

The written examination paper is based on listening to different musical extracts and being able to analyse what you hear. This is worth 40% of the qualification.

The solo and ensemble performance is controlled assessment worth 30%. The composition is also controlled assessment and worth 30%.

Each half term you will prepare a solo or ensemble performance which will be assessed and recorded. One composition will be completed during each year of the course.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

You need to be able to play an instrument or sing to a minimum standard of grade 3 to achieve a good grade. You will be expected to develop these skills and continually improve your performance. Therefore, you will need to practice regularly at home as well as during lessons. You will be expected to read music notation as this will help with your composition work and analysis of music written by other composers.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

The course gives you all the necessary skills to move on to AS and A Level music.

There are many professions where music is used. Some examples are: teaching, composing, performing in orchestras or choirs, retail, music therapy, studio work and the media.

Performing Arts

What is this subject about?

By studying this subject you will learn to develop your skills in a variety of performing arts disciplines, and will plan and deliver a performance to an audience. You will also produce a portfolio to show evidence of skill development, planning and research, evaluations and your knowledge of the performing arts industry. You will learn how to use a variety of techniques when performing, experiment with ideas and practical skills, develop rehearsal schedules and rehearse effectively.

Why should I choose this subject?

This course is ideal for anyone that likes performing and wants to learn how to improve their skills and learn about the music industry. It develops confidence and self-esteem which then develops transferable skills. It is a mainly practical based course, evidenced with portfolio work. There is a showcase element where students will be required to complete a presentation/audition. This will help develop presentation/ interview techniques in the future.

When and how am I assessed?

The course is made up of three units:

  • Unit 1: Individual showcase requires students to complete a letter of application and a presentation/audition in response to a selected progression.
  • Unit 2: Complete planning and research, develop rehearsal skills and put on a performance based on a theme.
  • Unit 3: Option - Students will study a third unit selected from a list of available performance disciplines provided by the examination board, including dance and music.

Students to choose their best skill and develop this through workshops, lessons, research and incorporate this into their performance. Include evidence in portfolio.

A final grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction* will be awarded.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

You do need to have an existing skill in one of the above disciplines. You will be expected to develop these skills and continually improve your performance. Therefore, you will need to practice regularly at home as well as during lessons. You must be prepared to regularly perform to an audience.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

The course gives you all the necessary skills to move on to progress to other vocational qualifications, such as BTEC level 3 in Performing Arts, and also to progress to employment in the performing arts sector.

Photography

What is this subject about?

Essentially Photography is about gaining knowledge of different photographic styles, developing photography skills, refining ideas, exploring processes and producing personal artworks. It is our goal to help you develop a greater understanding of photography, photographic processes and concepts whilst evolving skills in editing, refinement and enhancement processes to successfully complete work. It is important to realise straight away that development is crucial to your studies, showing a journey and links throughout your work is as important, if not more so, than end results. At GCSE photography is about developing your knowledge and your ability capture the world around you and when to enhance and edit images to achieve their full potential.

Why should I choose this subject?

We feel that Photography is an essential element in a balanced education, allowing personal expression, personal development, creativity and real practical involvement in the subject. Students gain confidence and an appreciation of each other's talents. If you have an interest in Photography and wish to develop your skills further, join up. Learning how to improve photographic skills, how ideas and meaning can be conveyed visually and how photographers and artists can inspire your own development are all areas in which we would like you to progress in.

When and how am I assessed?

There are two components that are assessed: Portfolio of work (60%) and Externally Set Task (40%).

They are marked using four Assessment Objectives (AO):

  • AO1 - Develop ideas through investigations inspired by the work of others.
  • AO2 - Refine ideas through the exploration of media, processes and resources.
  • AO3 - To record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • AO4 - To present personal responses, making connections to research and ideas.

These assessment objectives are always referred to and underpin all work.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

A genuine interest is very important and the courage to develop ideas whilst understanding that first attempts may need to be improved upon.

Pupils will need to use some sketching and art skills to plan out ideas and processes.

Access to a camera or a camera phone will greatly enhance progress and the ability to practice photography skills and capture a variety of images.

Photography encourages students to think about their work and to generate ideas so independence and being open-minded are abilities we look for and can enhance your studies.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

Further Education:

  • Tollbar Sixth Form - Art and Design A Level, 2 years.
  • Franklin Academy - AS/A2 level Photography.
  • GIFHE - Foundation Course in Photography.

After A Level:

  • Apply to colleges, universities for further education and degree courses.

Some Potential careers:

  • Camera Operator
  • Film and Video Editor
  • Press Photographer
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Studio Photographer
  • Photojournalism

Physical Education

What is this subject about?

GCSE Physical Education allows students with a keen interest in sport to develop their knowledge of physical activity and successful sports performance. During the course students will be assessed both theoretically (60% of final grade) and practically (40% of final grade). The theoretical side tests students' knowledge of health and fitness, movement analysis, biomechanics, principles of training, sport psychology and anatomical structures. Students will also be assessed as a player/performer in all activities they complete during their practical lessons.

Why should I choose this subject?

You should choose this subject if you are someone who regularly participates in Physical Education lessons and attends extra-curricular sports clubs. Those wishing to take the course should be a competent athlete in a variety of sporting activities. This course is ideal for students who are enthusiastic about physical activity and if you are interested in studying a vast array of sporting topics. If you are passionate, inspired and motivated by sport and Physical Education this course could be the first step onto a career pathway.

When and how am I assessed?

Students will sit two examinations (each worth 30% of final grade) at the end of year 11. Throughout the course students will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of the theoretical aspects covered during classroom lessons. Starting in year 9 students will be assessed in all practical activities they undertake during their practical lessons. Students three highest practical assessments will be submitted but must include one team activity and one individual activity in their final assessment.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

Students should have a keen interest in physical activity and enjoy participating regularly in sport. It is expected that students who take the course will be able to link their newly acquired theoretical knowledge to their own sporting performance. Students who select the course need to have a high commitment for sport and demonstrate this during Physical Education lessons. Students are expected to be a competent performer across a number of activities and participate in competitive sport either at the Academy or in the local community.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

GCSE Physical Education can lead to many different pathways including P.E. teaching, sports coaching, physiotherapy and also sports management. Students can then go on to study sports based qualifications at both college and university. It could also be the first steps towards a successful sporting career as a player/performer.

Religious Education

What is this subject about?

The lively and stimulating R.E. curriculum enables students to engage with the different faiths and cultures of the world and to develop an insight into and understanding of contemporary moral issues. Students are given the opportunity to investigate a wide range of ethical and philosophical questions, and to explore their own views on such issues.

Units of work covered in Year 9 include Conflict, Authority, Medical Issues and Religious Expression. In Year 10 students move on to Relationships, Looking for Meaning, Our World and Is it Fair?

Why should I choose this subject?

R.E. is a compulsory subject for students. The study of R.E. enables you to develop your understanding of what motivates people, how they think and how they feel. You will increase your awareness of the social, moral, spiritual and cultural issues that are so important in today's world, and have the opportunity to explore events of local, national and global significance. Furthermore, this subject will develop your ability to express your own views clearly, and discuss and debate with people who may not share your views.

When and how am I assessed?

Students will follow the WJEC GCSE examination syllabus which will lead to a full GCSE qualification in Religious Studies. Students will sit two equally weighted examinations at the end of the course in Year 10; one on Religion and Life, and one on Religion and Human Experience. Each examination lasts for 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the final grade will be based on the result of these examinations. There is no coursework element to this GCSE qualification, although 5% of the marks are allocated for accurate use spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

In order to succeed in this subject, students will need to demonstrate an ability to describe, explain, analyse and evaluate a variety of views and opinions, including religious and non-religious perspectives.They will be expected to articulate their own opinions and those of others, both verbally and in writing. Students who take an interest in current affairs and demonstrate an enthusiasm for lively debate will find their R.E. lessons particularly engaging.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

A qualification in this subject is beneficial for students interested in many different career paths and areas of further education. The all-encompassing nature of the subject helps to develop a deeper understanding of the world in which we live, as well as building transferable skills that are highly valued by employers and other educational institutions. R.E. is particularly relevant to students interested in Law, Politics, Medicine, Social Work, Media and other related professions.

Combined Science

What is this subject about?

GCSE Combined Science has an emphasis on scientific literacy - the knowledge and understanding which students need to engage as informed citizens with science-based issues. It features many of the major theories of science in a way that encourages students to appreciate their importance to everyday life. The course also explores how scientific information is obtained, how reliable it is, what its limitations are, and how this information helps society to make important decisions.

The new GCSE also develops students' ability to plan and carry out scientific investigations and their understanding of the role of experimental work in developing scientific explanations.

Why should I choose this subject?

Science is a core subject in the National Curriculum and as such must be studied by all to the age of 16. A broad and balanced GCSE Science curriculum can be followed in Years 9, 10 and 11, using the OCR Twenty First Century Science.

When and how am I assessed?

There are four examinations for GCSE Combined Science. Three of these are for the subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). The fourth exam paper assesses data analysis skills.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

A good level of mathematics is expected within the science curriculum, graph drawing and dealing with data are key components of the data analysis. Science also incorporates an increasing assessment of scientific literacy as part of the examination process.

Science also incorporates an increasing assessment of scienctific literacy as part of the examination process.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

All of us, as citizens, need to be able to cope with the science that shapes our lives. We are on the receiving end of scientific ideas and technical information in many different roles such as worker, householder, parent, patient, voter or juror.

Some young people aspire to be scientists, or to work in careers where knowledge of science is essential. So educating the next generations of science practitioners is also crucial.

Triple Science

What is this subject about?

GCSE Biology covers the major animal and plant systems in a traditional way, but also introduces the students to important breakthroughs of recent years, such as cloning and genetic engineering.

GCSE Chemistry aims to give students a sound knowledge base, as well as industrial and practical applications of chemistry.

GCSE Physics topics include: forces and motion, electricity and electrostatics, the electromagnetic spectrum, light and sound, and radioactivity.

Why should I choose this subject?

Science is a core subject in the National Curriculum and as such must be studied by all to the age of 16. For students entering Year 9, wishing to pursue a career in science, Tollbar Academy will offer GCSE Biology, Chemistry and a choice of either Physics or Computer Science. Students wishing to study separate sciences must choose either Physics or Computer Science from the options and in doing so will study GCSE Biology and GCCE Chemistry as individual GCSE subjects.

When and how am I assessed?

There are two examinations for each GCSE Science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) each worth 50% of the final grade. Each paper will cover all of the topics from the Separate Sciences.

Which skills and aptitudes do I need for this subject?

A good level of mathematics is expected within the science curriculum, graph drawing and dealing with data are key components of the data analysis. Science also incorporates an increasing assessment of scientific literacy as part of the examination process.

Where could this subject take me in the future?

It is appropriate for students who may wish to progress to A Level Sciences, or wish to follow a science based career.

Band M (2017-2020)

Introduction

Key Stage 4 covers Year 9, 10 and 11 and it is at this stage that students can start deciding which subjects they require to further their career. Whilst some courses are compulsory others are optional and thus selecting the subjects to study is known as 'Options'.

Under a scheme called Raising the Participation Age (RPA) students currently in Year 8 will be required to remain in education or training until the age of 18; this can include employment with training and so does not mean that students need to remain in school to continue their training.

Choosing your option subjects is an important process as these form the passport for entry to further and higher education as well as employment.

It is important you understand the following:

  • Which subjects are compulsory
  • Which subjects are available as optional choices
  • What each of the optional courses contain, how they are assessed and where they lead to in the future
  • Option restrictions and the English Baccalaureate (E-Bacc)

Courses taken by students at Key Stage 4

All students will study the CORE CURRICULUM, which is compulsory. The subjects that make up the core are:

  • English
  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Science (with choice)
  • Citizenship and R.E.
  • Physical Education (P.E.)

Subjects with choice

Science - In Science you have the choice of studying Combined Science (2 GCSEs) or you can study Triple Science. If you choose Triple Science you will study Biology and Chemistry as core and then you must select either Physics or Computer Science in one of your options as your third Science choice.

If you are not studying triple Science, you must also choose a language, humanity, or Computer Science.

Languages - In Languages you can choose either French or Spanish. You may choose to study 2 Languages. This can be done by choosing a second language as one of your option choices.

Humanities - In Humanities you can choose either History or Geography. If you wish to take History and Geography you must choose History as one of your options.

Computer Science - Computer Science can also be taken instead of Physics as a component of the triple Science course.

Optional Courses

You must also choose three subjects from the following list:

  • Art and Design
  • Computer Science
  • Design Technology
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • ICT (Technical Award)
  • Performing Arts (BTEC)
  • Religious Education
  • BTEC Sport

The English Baccalaureate (E-Bacc)

The Government introduced the English Baccalaureate in 2011. This is not a stand-alone qualification but an award given to students who achieve the expected level in a minimum of 5 subjects which must include all of the following:

  • English
  • Maths
  • A Science (including Computer Science)
  • A Humanities subject (History or Geography)
  • A Foreign Language (French or Spanish)

All students in Band M will have the opportunity to achieve the E-Bacc if they so wish.

Thinking ahead

During years 9, 10 and 11 students will start exploring and applying for their chosen route for years 12 and 13. This could include any of the following:

  • Full-time education, such as continuing into Tollbar 6th Form or another college
  • Work-based learning such as an apprenticeship
  • Work with training

Students need to consider their chosen route when selecting their Key Stage 4 option choices. Whilst some students have made a decision on what career path they wish to follow, others are unsure on possible careers. Students who are unsure should choose a broad range of courses to 'keep their options open'.

More detailed careers information is available on the Lincs2 website.

Are you thinking of going on to study at University?

Making choices at this stage will affect the courses students can apply for at University. Students need to be aware that for a number of courses at university they need to have taken the subject at A Level and many A Levels require the subject to have been taken at Key Stage 4.

If students are considering studying at University you need to be aware of the entry requirements for the courses you may wish to study. These can be looked at using the UCAS website, in conjunction with individual university websites.

The Russell Group is an association of the top 20 universities in the country. They have produced a document called 'Informed Choices'. The document is important for both students who have a clear idea of the courses they might like to take and for those who aim to attend a good university but are unsure of their particular focus of study.

Some colleges are reluctant and others will not allow students onto an A Level course without them having studied the subject at GCSE previously. Please note, however, that the individual Science subjects listed can all be taken at A Level by students who have studied combined science.

Choosing courses

When making your choices you need to find out as much information beforehand to ensure you are making the right choice. As well as exploring the website you can also talk to your Form tutor, Subject teachers, Citizenship teachers, Parents and of course Employers.

Do not make choices based on the following:

  • My friends have chosen it
  • I like my current year 8 teacher
  • It sounds easy or 'different'
  • It sounds good / cool
  • My family member took it and liked it
  • It's new and I've never done it before

Changing and Dropping courses

Students need to be aware that it is difficult to change courses once they have started a course in September. If a course is full and a child requests moving into it, this will not be possible. If a student chooses a course for the wrong reasons and later asks to swap to an alternative, this is sometimes impossible and the student has to stick with the choice they have made.

Students will not be able to swap a subject after the first 4 weeks of study in Year 9.

Useful websites:

nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

www.apprenticeships.org.uk

www.ncsyes.co.uk

www.dofe.org

www.lincs2.co.uk

www.ucas.com

www.russellgroup.ac.uk

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Somercotes Academy Principal

Caroline L Yates
BA (Hons).

Tollbar MAT Chief Executive

David J Hampson
OBE, BSc, BA.
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