Key Stage 4 Option Subjects

Art and Design

Course title: AQA Art, Craft & Design

Assessment: 60% Coursework 40% Exam

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/art-and-design/gcse/art-and-design-4200

The AQA course allows students’ to build skills in a really wide variety of media, allowing many to then follow higher level art courses and related career paths. Once again, questioning, thinking, analysing, creating, problem solving and self-expression are key elements of the learning process. The examination period begins on the 1st January of year 11 and students produce assessed work between this date and the 10 hour examination in March / April. Throughout the course and particularly during the examination period, extension lessons are available to all students to come and receive guidance, support or just use the art rooms and art materials.

Astronomy

Exam board & Course title: Edexcel GCSE Astronomy

Assessment type: Exam. 15% of the exam will be testing observational skills developed during the course. 20% of the exam will be testing mathematical skills developed during the course.

Link to specification: GCSE_Astronomy_Spec_2012.pdf

This is a voluntary course that is currently offered to Years 10 and 11 pupils who have shown that they can achieve highly in their Science studies. It is a challenging but rewarding GCSE that covers:

  • The Earth, Moon and Sun
  • Planetary Systems
  • Stars
  • Galaxies and Cosmology

Students must also do observations in a topic of their choice. One of these will be observations made just with the human eye, and the other with the aid of a telescope, binoculars or camera. No equipment is needed by the student.

The course is excellent for students who are interested in Astronomy or for students wanting additional qualifications to impress for college or university entrance.

Business Studies

Course title: AQA GCSE Business Studies

Assessment: 100% exam

Specification: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-4130-W-SP-14.PDF

This course enables students to develop their knowledge on a broad scope of business topics; including finance, marketing, human resources and operations management. Students will develop an understanding of how to set up a small business enterprise and how to manage this business into a large, successful national/multi-national corporation. This course develops sophisticated analysis and evaluation skills, which are essential if progressing on to further education.

Business Studies (BTEC)

Course title: Edexcel BTEC First in Business

Assessment: 25% exam 75% coursework

Specification: http://www.edexcel.com/migrationdocuments/BTEC%20Firsts%20from%202012/BF031438-BTEC-L1-2-Award-Business-spec-Issue2.pdf

This is a vocational course that allows students to learn about business using a more practical approach to teaching and learning. Students will cover a wide range of topics including: business planning, finance, human resources and marketing. Throughout the course students will complete three projects where they will develop their own business concepts; the final one being a complete business plan for their own business .

Computer Science

Course title: OCR GCSE Computing

Assessment: 60% Practical and 40% Theory

Specification: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-computing-j275-from-2012/

The course will develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills through the study of computer programming, giving students a fun and interesting way to develop these skills, which can be transferred to other subjects and even applied in day-to-day life. In this respect, the course provides excellent preparation for students who want to study or work in areas that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems. These areas include engineering, financial and resource management, science and medicine.

Dance

Course title: AQA GCSE Dance

Assessment: 60% Coursework 40% Exam

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/drama-and-performing-arts/gcse/dance-4230/spec-at-a-glance

This fantastic course gives students an understanding of all the different elements associated within the field dance including performance, choreography and analysis. The assessment requires students to perform two solos, one group dance and to choreograph a solo and a group dance for other students to perform. There is a written exam at the end of the course but the majority of lessons will be practical, focusing on a contemporary style of dance. Students do not need to dance outside school but a genuine passion and enjoyment of the subject is essential. Students will be required to rehearse one night after school in order to complete all the course requirements.

Drama

Course title: AQA GCSE Drama

Assessment: 60% Coursework 40% Written Exam

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/drama-and-performing-arts/gcse/drama-4240

GCSE Drama enables students to further their interest in performing while equipping them with the knowledge of how to analyse, direct and understand the social, cultural context of a play they are watching or studying. Students perform a variety of different styles through devised and scripted work. The written exam at the end of Year 11 requires analysis of a piece of drama they have created and performed and answer questions on a set text they have studied and performed to an age appropriate audience. The course enables students to develop as independent learners and critical thinkers while being imaginative and creative with their work.

French

Course title: Edexcel GCSE French

Assessment: 60% Controlled Assessment (speaking and writing) 40% Final Exam (listening and reading)

Specification:

GCSE French aims to build on the language skills acquired at KS3 covering a range of themes relevant to young people, including the media, freetime and holidays, education and future plans and health and fitness.

Two spoken and two written assessments comprise 60% of the final grade, and are conducted internally during the course.  Listening and reading skills are assessed in a final exam at the end of the course.

Geography

Course title: WJEC GCSE Geography Spec B

Assessment: The course comprises three units; which are tested through examinations (75%) and two controlled assessments / coursework (25%).

Specification: http://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/geography/geography-gcse/geography-b-gcse.html

The course is made up of three units: Challenges of living in a built environment, Physical processes and relationships between people and environments and Uneven development and sustainable environments. 

We use a variety of classroom activities including ICT and fieldtrips to examine issues in the real world. Year 10 students visit the 2012 Olympic Park area in London and the Year 11 geographers have investigated ecosystems at Bramcote Wood and river flooding in Derbyshire.
Geography is the only subject that covers aspects of the sciences and arts. This means that you develop a broad range of knowledge and skills that are useful in any job or future studies. Plus a sense of place and understanding issues in the world around us is useful in our daily lives. Specific jobs that may require geography are town planning, tourism, environmental jobs, architecture, surveying and geographical information systems jobs, to name a few!

German

Course title: Edexcel GCSE German

Assessment: 60% Controlled Assessment (speaking and writing) 40% Final Exam (listening and reading)

Specification:

GCSE German aims to build on the language skills acquired at KS3 covering a range of themes relevant to young people, including the media, freetime and holidays, education and future plans and health and fitness.

Two spoken and two written assessments comprise 60% of the final grade, and are conducted internally during the course.  Listening and reading skills are assessed in a final exam at the end of the course.

History

Course title: OCR GCSE History A: Schools History Project

Assessment: 2 written examinations and controlled assessment

Specification: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-history-a-schools-history-project-j415-from-2012/

GCSE History students will explore a wide ranging and balanced course of history, encompassing many historical periods and events, meaning there is something for everyone!

Paper 1: Students will study the breadth development topic of Medicine Through Time, which ranges from prehistoric and ancient history to modern history. They will also complete an in-depth study of The American West 1840 – 95.

Paper 2: Students will sit a source based exam paper on Public Health in Britain 1800-1914.

Controlled assessment: Students will complete an assignment on the local history site of Nottingham Marketplace.

ICT

Course title: Edexcel GCSE ICT

Assessment: 60% Practical and 40% Theory

Specification: http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse10/ict/Pages/default.aspx

Students broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts. Students learn to reflect critically on their own and others’ use of ICT and to adopt safe, secure and responsible practice. students also explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society. Students learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts.

Media Studies

Course title: WJEC GCSE Media Studies

Assessment: Exam 60%, Controlled assessment 40%

Specification: http://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/media-studies/r-media-studies-gcse-2017/

If you have an enquiring mind, are willing to explore a variety of media texts in detail and are keen to develop ideas for your own film-making projects, then this course is certainly for you. The course is both creative and critical involving planning and production as well as analysis and evaluation.

The exam topic changes each year. Pupils are assessed on their knowledge and understanding of the given topic and the following key concepts:

  • Media Language/ Forms
  • Representation
  • Genre
  • Narrative
  • Audience
  • Institution

Music

Course title: AQA GCSE Music

Assessment: 80% coursework 20% exam

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/music/gcse/music-4270

The GCSE Music course is practical, with considerable performing and composing on the students’ instrument. Students are required to perform two pieces of music on their chosen instrument, one of which will be as part of an ensemble. They will also compose two pieces of music. Students will cover many aspects of music and a wide variety of musical styles and genres. This course suits students who listen to and appreciate a variety of musical styles (including jazz and pop), students who are able to play an instrument or sing and student who enjoy composing music.

Music Technology

Course title: Edexel BTEC First Level 2 Music

Assessment: 25% exam, 75% coursework

Specification: http://www.edexcel.com/quals/firsts2012/music/Pages/default.aspx

This course is for students who have an interest in the music or music technology industry. Working both individually and as a member of a group (usually about 10 students), students take part in a variety of practical work, making music with computers, recording, composing and performing. Students work on Apple Mac computers to ensure the smooth transition to A level and degree level study. This course suits students who listen to and appreciate a variety of musical styles (including jazz and pop), students who have an interest in music technology and students who enjoy composing music.

Physical Education

Course title: AQA-GCSE PE

Assessment: 60% Practical and 40% Theory

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/physical-education/gcse/physical-education-4890

Students are assessed practically over a two year period in a large number of different sports within school. They can also provide video evidence of themselves performing in sports they participate in outside of school. At the end of the two year practical assessment, internal moderation takes place and a visiting external assessor moderates the practical marks. There are many different theoretical elements of the course, including “Physical and Mental demands of Performance” and “Health, Fitness and a healthy active lifestyle”. Students sit a two hour exam at the end of year 11 and if successful in both areas, are awarded a single GCSE qualification. There is scope for those students who perform a number of sports to a very high standard and continually produce excellent theory work, to be entered for a double award, worth 2 GCSE grades.

Physical Education (BTEC)

Course title: Edexcel-BTEC First in Sport, Level 2

Assessment: 25% external exam, 75% Assignment based Coursework

Specification: http://www.edexcel.com/migrationdocuments/BTEC%20Firsts%20from%202012/BF031442-BTEC-L1-2-Award-Sport-spec-Issue2.pdf

The BTEC course is run over two different option blocks, providing one and two year courses. The course is broken down into 4 units, the first being a mandatory external exam. This is based on “Fitness for Sport and exercise” and students perform the test online. The three other units are classroom based assignments with a vocational emphasis. “Practical Sports Performance” , “Training for Personal Fitness” and “Leading Sports Activities”. Students are taught the content of the unit and then given time to produce a piece of work for internal assessment. A small sample is then sent to the exam board for moderation.

Religious Studies

Course title: AQA GCSE Religious Studies B – Full Course

Assessment: Assessment: 100% written examination

GCSE RE students will follow a Philosophy and Ethics based course that will stretch and challenge thoughts, opinions and beliefs. The course examines topics that concern our modern world and develops students ability to look beyond face value, to question and evaluate a range of views and opinions in a respectful and intellectual manner.

Paper One: Life Issues
The Ethics topic is made up of four modules that look in detail at Prejudice and Discrimination, Animal Rights, Environmental Issues and Early Life – the right to life. The exam requires students to be able to give the opinions of two religions to these different ethical issues. We will look at both how Muslims and Christians respond to these issues and will debate and challenge our own personal views.

Paper Two: Philosophy and Ultimate Questions
The second topic we study is Philosophy and Ultimate questions looking at questions such as: Does God exist? How can his existence be proven? Did God create the universe? Is God to blame for the existence of evil and suffering? Can God perform miracles? We study how Christians may react to these types of questions and again debate and challenge our own thought and views.

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/religious-studies/gcse/religious-studies-b-4055/spec-at-a-glance

Technology

Course title: AQA: GCSE Product Design

Assessment: Controlled assessment coursework 60%, written 2hour exam 40%

Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/design-and-technology/gcse/design-and-technology-product-design-4555

The Product Design course is brimming with variety allowing students to develop their originality and creativity. Students have the opportunity to choose the area, within product design, that they would like to specialise and be successful in. These include Graphics, Food, Electronics, Resistant Materials or Textiles.

The course allows students to design their own product by following the design process. This includes investigating an existing problem, through to the designing and making of a product, suitable for sale on the local High Street.

Product Design covers a variety of skills including, designing, making, and theory of product design, which allows all students to achieve. Students learn how to analyse they own work and existing products, be creative and develop practical/workshop skills.