GCSE Curriculum

GCSE Curriculum

GCSE Options Handbook

GCSE Options Handbook

The aim of this booklet is to provide the information necessary for you as pupils and parents to make the right choice of GCSE subjects.

GCSE Handbook



Our spacious, brilliantly lit art studios offer specialist teaching facilities for fine art, printmaking, photography, textiles and ceramics. Each member of the art department is extremely experienced and enthusiastic, encouraging the pupils to be innovative, creative and experimental in a wide range of media. Termly storyboards for each year group are created by every member of staff with visual representation, creative ideas and material suggestions so that every pupil is clear as to what they will achieve within set time frames. As part of the course we take the pupils on trips to art galleries such as the Saatchi Gallery, Royal Academy, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, which helped inspire the pupils in their work. In addition, we arrange workshops with practising artists, working in a variety of disciplines to help to encourage the pupils to explore new techniques.

Coursework and Exam
Internal Assessment – 2-3 Coursework projects 60%
Externally set – Controlled test 40%

The two coursework units and the externally set assignment will be internally assessed and then externally moderated. Coursework will be produced continuously and the controlled test is started at the end of the fifth term. The option we take is the Unendorsed. This is a general course and the areas we may cover are drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, textiles, graphics, three-dimensional work and critical studies.

The Unendorsed option has been chosen because it leaves pupils free to interpret the controlled test in any of the areas covered. This will vary according to the skills and interests of the pupil.

All coursework should be completed by the end of the Spring term in the second year. Coursework units consist of preparatory work, experimentation, contextual studies, development and a conclusion. The controlled test covers a period of time, during which the pupil
produces preparatory studies. The final test is done in a ten-hour period over two days. At the end of the course the two units of coursework and the controlled test are assessed and then externally moderated. An exhibition of all examination work is mounted, to which all pupils, parents and visitors are invited. Knowledge, understanding and skills

This GCSE specification requires pupils to develop practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of:
• How ideas, feelings and meanings are conveyed in images and artefact.
• A range of art, craft and design processes in two and/ or three dimensions including, where appropriate, information and communication technology.
• How images and artefacts relate to their social, historical and cultural context.
• A variety of approaches, methods and intentions and the contribution of contemporary practitioners and others from different times and cultures to continuity and change in art, craft and design.

The most essential requirement for GCSE is a real enthusiasm for Art. The course will encourage an adventurous and enquiring approach to Art and Design and offers great opportunities to work in a wide range of media. The course is open to pupils of all abilities. Drawing forms the basis of all artwork and each coursework unit and the externally set assignment require a work journal or critical studies book. Any pupils who approach their work in a creative and imaginative way are likely to succeed.

Business Studies

Business Studies

You might have an interest in business and may want to start your own business one day. You may have an enquiring mind and be interested in learning about the world around you. The GCSE Business is a great qualification for students to start studying Business nationally and internationally. Taught by specialist teachers using a wide range of teaching methods and interactive resources including trips, competitions and speakers.

Housed in the historic core of Queen’s College the department, known as The Covers, comprises purpose designed classrooms fully equipped with the latest technology. GCSE Business begins in Year 10 and students do not need to have studied business before taking the course, although they had an option to take a one-year introductory course as an option in Year 9.

Introducing the world of business, students look at what makes someone a successful entrepreneur or business leader. They find out how to develop an idea and spot an opportunity and turn that into a successful business. Students gain an understanding of how to make a business effective and manage money well. They experience how the world around them affects businesses and all the people involved.

This is the right subject for you if you enjoy …
• communicating and explaining your ideas
• thinking creatively and making decisions
• working with numbers to solve business problems
• learning about the world of business through real and relevant local and international brands

You will start by exploring the world of small businesses through the lens of an entrepreneur. How and why do business ideas come about? What makes a successful business?

Then you will move on to investigating business growth. How does a business develop beyond the start-up phase? You will learn about key business concepts and issues and decisions you need to make when growing a business and working in a global business. You will learn about meeting customer needs, making marketing, operational, financial and human resourcing decisions and you will explore how
the wider world impacts the business as it grows.

Exam Assessment
There is no coursework and at the end of the course, you take 2 exam papers. Each exam is 90 minutes long and comprises three sections. Within each paper, the three sections are ramped, starting with multiple-choice questions, moving to short answer questions and ending with extended writing. Sections B and C are based on real life, relevant business contexts and examples.

Computer Science

Computer Science

Why study Computer Science?
Almost every aspect of our lives is affected by computers, from how we travel to school and manage our social lives to vast networks that control global communication, trade, finance and transportation. In fact, using computers has become so integral to our daily lives it would be difficult to imagine life without them.

Understanding how computing shapes our world and learning the skills necessary to be a part of this digital revolution is vital for everyone. Studying Computer Science is a key pathway for young people to secure their role in a rapidly evolving job market that already demands high levels of computing skill and literacy.

In this course, students will engage with a broad range of activities to enable them to learn to program to the standard required for this qualification, since mastering programming involves much more than simply learning the syntax/semantics of a programming language. It also involves learning strategies for problem solving, embracing mistakes as opportunities to learn, mastering a few simple tools and working together with others to achieve goals

Subject content
• Topic 1: Computational Thinking
Develop computational thinking skills to enable them to design, implement and analyse algorithms for solving problems.
• Topic 2: Data Representation/Usage
Learning how different types of data are represented in a computer, including Binary and Data Compression.
• Topic 3: Computer systems.
Familiarity with the hardware and software components that make up a computer system.
• Topic 4: Networking Key Principles
Understanding the key principles behind the organisation of computer networks, including network security.

Subject content
• Topic 5: Issues and Impacts of Technology
Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy and cyber security.
• Topic 6: Problem Solving with programming
Ability to apply programming skills to solve real problems and produce readable, robust programs.

Assessed by two papers
Paper 1: Principles of Computer Science.
In order to become proficient computer scientists, it is essential that students have knowledge and understanding of the field’s fundamental principles and concepts. This paper covers Topics 1-5, consisting of 5 questions, one question per topic.
• Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
• 50% of GCSE
Paper 2: Application of Computational Thinking
Learning to program is a core component of a computer science course. Students should be competent at designing, reading, writing and debugging programs. They must be able to apply their skills to solve real problems and produce readable, robust programs.

This paper covers Topic 6, consisting of 6 compulsory coding questions
• Coding exam: 2 hours
• 50% of GCSE

Design Technology

Design Technology

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare pupils to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply
technical and practical expertise.

The course allows pupils to study in more depth core technical and designing and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques and equipment. They will also have the opportunity to study specialist technical principles in greater depth. Pupils will have the opportunity to see how their theory is put into practice with trips to factories that have included Jaguar Land Rover and Morgan Motors to witness the use of robots and automation in manufacture.

This qualification is linear, meaning that pupils will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessments at the end of the course.

Paper 1
What is assessed
• Core technical principles
• Specialist technical principles
• Designing and making principles

How it is assessed
• Written exam: 2 hours
• 100 marks
• 50% of GCSE

What is assessed
Practical application of:
• Core technical principles
• Specialist technical principles
• Designing and making principles

How it is assessed
• Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx
• 100 marks
• 50% of GCSE

• Substantial design and make task

Assessment criteria
• Investigating
• Designing
• Making
• Analysing and Evaluating

We have a newly furnished workshop that includes traditional woodworking equipment including a lathe and a range of hand tools as well as more technologically advanced machines such as a 3D Printer and laser cutter. Pupils have access to computers and are encouraged to produce work digitally to complement traditional communication techniques such as sketching and rendering. The department also has access to a variety of software programmes that can be used to support CAD / CAM applications, together with other software to allow pupils to communicate their ideas.



The Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language exam is accepted by universities and employers as proof of ability to understand and communicate in English. It is aimed at pupils whose first language is not English, but who use it as a language of study. Successful English as a Second Language candidates have better educational or employment prospects and gain lifelong skills, including:
• better communicative ability in English
• improved ability to understand a range of social registers and styles
• greater awareness of the nature of language and language-learning skills
• greater international perspective
• sound foundation for progression to employment or further study at A-Level

The skills incorporated in the exam are transferable and beneficial to pupils’ work in subject areas while also developing their independent language strategies. These skills are note-taking, summary-writing, reading comprehension, composition writing, listening and speaking. The topics included are of international relevance and cover a range of contemporary issues.

Welcome to your new life as a bilingual citizen of the world
Having chosen to study in England, you are choosing a whole new future for yourself, which is exciting, challenging and an adventure! There are many positive points to being bilingual.
• You are in touch with two worlds, which is richer and more interesting, giving you twice the opportunities, even twice the fun.
• You are a bridge. You can communicate with two (or more) different communities and be pivotal to these connections.
• You can learn and teach tolerance, consideration and respect. These are increasingly important qualities in today’s globalised society.
• Your extra language(s) will open up a wider world of jobs, opportunities and experiences. Your bilingualism is a wonderful gift and an opportunity. Use it to make your future bright.

Paper 1: Reading & Writing 50%
Paper 2: Listening 25%
Paper 3: Speaking 25%



English Language and English Literature are taught by a team of highly experienced, enthusiastic individuals who share a common love of written and spoken English. The team can draw on the range of specialist interests and knowledge including the media, drama, Shakespeare, contemporary prose, and poetry through the ages, all within the department. The department teaches the Eduqas specification. All students study towards both GCSEs, which are taught synoptically. The English Department works closely together, sharing ideas, maintaining consistency in the assessment of pupils’ work and planning together and monitoring the progress of the pupils. Because we share a common belief in the value of language competence, of reading awareness and of those insights literature offers, pupils move between stages – Key Stage 3, GCSE and onto A Level – building incrementally on knowledge and understanding. The department is friendly and approachable in its relationships with pupils and standards are high. Lively and challenging teaching methods and imaginative task setting mean that pupils are fully engaged and inspired with lots of opportunities for pupils to go beyond the
curriculum. There is positive support for those with specific needs and learning difficulties particularly in the four major skill areas of reading, writing, grammar and oral work and parents are kept fully informed about progress, course requirements and achievement. The
department has achieved record success at GCSE with many choosing to continue the subject at A level and on to university. English is taught in a suite of classrooms each equipped with an extensive range of prose, poetry and drama specifically selected for each age group, including classic fiction and contemporary award-winning texts and reading. We enter our pupils into national essay writing and poetry competitions and have a very strong debating culture, for which Queen’s has an outstanding reputation. Students are encouraged to take part in Model United Nations which has achieved considerable success in recent years.

Paper 1: 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Prose Writing
Section A Reading: Understanding of one prose extract of literature from the 20th century assessed through a range of structured questions
Section B Writing: One creative writing task selected from a choice of four titles

Written exam: 1¾ hours; 80 marks; 40% of GCSE.
Paper 2: 19th and 21st Century Non-Fiction Reading and Transactional/Persuasive Writing
Section A Reading: Understanding of two extracts of high quality non-fiction writing, one from the 19th century, the other from the 21st century, assessed through a range of structured questions
Section B Writing: Two transactional/persuasive writing tasks
Written exam: 2 hours; 80 marks; 60% of GCSE.
Non-examination assessment: Spoken Language One presentation/speech, including responses to questions and feedback. Achievement in Spoken Language will be reported as part of the qualification, but it will not form part of the final mark and grade.

Paper 1: Shakespeare and Poetry
Two questions
• Poetry from 1789 to the present day: based on poems from the WJEC Eduqas Poetry Anthology, one of which involves comparison : One extract question and one essay
• Shakespeare question based on the reading of a Shakespeare text
Written exam: 2 hours; 80 marks; 40% of GCSE.
Paper 2: Post-1914 Prose/Drama, 19th Century Prose and Unseen Poetry from the 20th/21st Century

• Modern Prose or Drama texts: question on a post 1914 prose/drama text

One source-based question on
• The 19th Century Novel: a 19th century prose text
Two questions on unseen poems, one of
• Unseen Poetry: which involves comparison.
Written exam: 2.5 hours; 120 marks; 60% of GCSE.

Food Preparation & Nutrition

Food Preparation & Nutrition

In AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition we aim to instill a love of cooking that will open the door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. We will encourage pupils to demonstrate effective and safe high-level cooking skills by planning and preparing dishes using a variety of cooking techniques and equipment.

Pupils will also develop their knowledge and understanding of the functional properties, chemical processes and nutritional content of foods. In addition pupils will understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health, including the physiological and psychological effects of different diets and health.

The technology building provides a food preparation kitchen with an ICT room as well as a nutrition teaching room with a demonstration kitchen for visiting chefs. Over the academic year we will have a number of exciting learning opportunities and visiting culinary experts and chefs to help with pupils’ subject knowledge and understanding and to teach food preparation skills. There will also be visits that bring topics to life and allow pupils to learn first-hand how different food choices are made and foods are produced.

Pupils are encouraged to enter external competitions such as the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Cooking Competition and South West Chef of the Year (currently held by one of our pupils at Queen’s College).

Careers associated with a food qualification
The opportunities to work in the food, hospitality and catering industries are endless. A food qualification can lead to Further Education or employment in a wide variety of areas, such as:

• Food Science
• Nutrition/Dietitian
• Sports Science
• Food Marketing/Production
• Food Technology
• Agricultural Science
• Food Microbiology
• Hotel Management
• Catering

What will you study?
Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE is a creative and academic subject; you will be learning through making. You will be given the opportunity to develop and practise a wide range of skills, along with having a greater understanding of nutrition, the science behind food as a material and wider environmental aspects associated with food. The GCSE course promotes independent thinking, forward planning and organisational skills. Through making, the course embraces and emphasises understanding of and enjoyment of different cuisines and diets.

What are the main topics?
• Food Preparation Skills
• Food Nutrition and Health
• Food Safety
• Food Science
• Food Provenance
• Food Choice

How is the GCSE assessed?
• 50% Examination
• 50% Non-examination assessment (practical coursework)

How might it be useful in the future?
As well as learning many practical and life skills, GCSE Food involves developing skills such as: research, investigation, problem solving and evaluation. The food industry continues to expand and there are a wealth of food-associated careers. The course provides excellent progression to post-16 courses.



Geography is broadly concerned with the study of the physical and human environments of the world. If you are curious about the world in which you live and have an interest in the environment, then you will find Geography a stimulating and fascinating subject to study. Geography is a very fair subject in that the level of success achieved closely reflects the amount of commitment and dedication that a pupil shows. If you have enjoyed the subject so far and feel that you have coped with its demands, then you should do well at GCSE.

There will be 2 field days during the course. An urban day in Bristol in the summer term of Year 10 and a physical day investigating rivers and coasts at the start of Year 11. (A foreign trip will also take place to Iceland every other year). Geography is an extremely popular subject at GCSE and a good number of pupils progress to succeed at A-Level.

Paper 1 Living with the Physical Environment

Paper 1 involves the study of the physical environment. This includes the challenge of natural hazards, physical landscapes of the UK (glacial, coastal and river landscapes) and a consideration of the impact we have on the ‘living world’

Paper 2 Challenges on the Human Environment Paper 2 involves the study of the human environment. This includes the issues and challenges in urban areas, the changing economic world and the increasing challenges of resource management (water, energy and mineral resources).

In teaching these topics, we make use of a wide variety of resources including maps, photographs, IT and videos.

Throughout the course we will study geographical skills, e.g. Ordnance Survey mapwork, photograph interpretation and the drawing of graphs and maps. All pupils have their own textbooks and each classroom has a set of recent atlases. Wherever possible, topics are studied through practical enquiries and the nature of the subject enables us to make use of a variety of teaching strategies. Central to our work is the application of theory to the real world through the use of case studies.

Paper 3 Geographical applications

Paper 3 ensures pupils have the opportunity to experience geographical fieldwork without having to produce a lengthy project or controlled assessment. Field trips will be undertaken in both physical and human environments and pre-release material will be provided before the exam to assess pupils’ investigation skills.



Why take iGCSE History?
GCSE History is a very popular and well-respected subject at Queen’s College. This is due to the staff who teach it and their interest, and specialist knowledge of the subject but also due to the excellent exam grades that arecontinually achieved.

GCSE History will help you understand how the world you live in was shaped, and make you consider today’s society in a different way.

Employers and universities regard History qualifications very highly and it will provide you with many valuable skills that will allow you to choose and access a range of both A-Level and university subjects.• The topics studied are both interesting and dynamic
and relevant to the world in which you live today.

• It allows you to be creative and explore and debate key issues which improve your essay writing skills that are necessary for a range of subjects.
• It allows you to think critically and reach supported and logical conclusions.

The iGCSE syllabus is an exciting and enthralling examination of 20th Century History.

Below are the key areas of study along with the methods of assessment for the qualification.

Paper 1
2-hour written examination, externally marked, 40% of total. Candidates answer 3 questions in all (2 on core content, 1 of depth study) covering the following:

The core content
• Were the peace treaties of 1919–23 fair?
• To what extent was the League of Nations a success?
• Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?
• Who was to blame for the Cold War?
• How effectively did the USA contain the spread of Communism?
• How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe?
• The Gulf War c.1970-c.2000

The Depth Study
German 1918–45. This unit focuses upon the Weimar Republic and its downfall, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and life in Hitler’s Germany.

Paper 2
2-hour written examination, externally marked, 33% of total. Candidates answer six questions based on a range of sources. The question paper will focus on one of the above core content topics. The topic is pre-released by the exam board each year.

A 2,000 word internally marked and externally moderated essay. Worth 27% of the total mark.
• Russia 1905-41



We encourage all pupils to study at least one language to GCSE. The two languages on offer are French and Spanish. Pupils may opt to continue to study two languages.

The Modern Languages department aims to develop as fully as possible the linguistic ability innate in all our pupils and the teaching is sympathetic, supportive and, as far as possible, tailored to individual needs. Pupils are usually grouped in sets according to ability and the frequent use of the foreign language in class by both teacher and the pupils is accepted as the norm. A range of techniques and activities
are employed to make the learning process as enjoyable and stimulating as possible.

The department occupies three purpose-designed teaching rooms, all equipped with modern audio-visual and computing facilities. Up-to-date course books are used and these are linked to current exam specifications. Further up the school, the textbooks are supplemented by newspapers, magazines, films, DVDs and, increasingly, online subscriptions, through which we access many languages resources. Lessons will normally feel as they did at Key Stage 3, but there is a noticeable rise in the challenges offered by comprehension tasks, and the level of teacher expectations – improved accuracy, fluency etc. – increases similarly over the two-year course.

Pupils will often revisit topics which were introduced when they studied the language at Key Stage 3, such as life at home, leisure, holidays, school and healthy living. However, these topics are explored in greater depth and new topics are also introduced, for example relationships, social issues, new technology, environmental issues and the world of work.

Overseas Trips
There is no doubt that pupils who visit the countries whose languages they are studying come back motivated and enthusiastic to improve their language skills further. With this in mind, we organise regular visits to France and Spain so that our pupils can appreciate the culture, people and language first-hand.

Modern Languages have the obvious benefit of helping people understand and make themselves understood when they travel abroad, but by studying a language, pupils gain several other benefits. Many young people who have studied languages say that it gave them a greater understanding and control of their own language; that it helped their self confidence; that it made them more employable in many walks of life; that it gave them access to better-paid jobs – and, especially, that languages took them to places they would never have been able to go otherwise.

All skills are tested at the end of Year 11 in four separate exams. Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Each skill is worth 25% of the exam. Students can be entered into Higher or Foundation tier for the language they are studying. For Listening and Reading, the sort of exam questions are similar to those that pupils have undertaken previously, such as true/false, mix and match, multiple choice, ticking boxes, along with short, written answers in English and the target language. Therefore, they will have a familiar feel, even if they are somewhat harder than at Key Stage 3. The Writing exam requires candidates to sit a paper in which they write two short essays, and a translation into the target language. The Speaking exam consists of a 10-12 minute ‘oral’ in which they do a role play, describe a photo, and answer questions on topics they have studied.

Mathematics & further Mathematics

Mathematics & further Mathematics

The Mathematics staff at Queen’s College are highly experienced and utilise both traditional and modern approaches in their teaching. Whole class teaching, working of exercises, use of personal whiteboards, question and answer sessions and use of various technologies can all be found within lessons. The department prides itself on meeting the needs of each individual pupil. Walking down the corridor at lunch time, there is always at least one teacher giving extra tuition to a pupil who needs further explanation and we recognise that Maths, although a logical subject, does not come easily to everyone. Pupils at all levels are entered in a variety of Mathematics competitions and have achieved some excellent scores, several qualifying for ‘Olympiad’ competitions. We also take pupils to conferences and lectures when appropriate.

Edexcel GCSE Mathematics
Specification Code: 1MA1

Tier of Entry
Most pupils are entered at Higher level. Pupils will be entered for the Foundation level qualification if they are judged to be likely to gain a higher grade from this.

Grades available
Higher: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4
Foundation: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1


Pupils will use a mixture of resources including textbooks, worksheets and mini whiteboards, alongside different puzzles and activities which help with learning and retention. Classwork will be supplemented by further practice for prep to deepen understanding and support
retention of knowledge studied previously. Pupils will also have access to various online resources that will support their learning.

The Course
GCSE Mathematics is split into the broad topics of:
• Number
• Algebra
• Ratio, proportion and rates of change
• Geometry and measures
• Probability
• Statistics
At the end of Year11 all pupils will take three papers of equal weighting. Paper 1 is non-calculator. Papers contain 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. Pupils are required to know how to use various mathematical apparatus including protractors, compasses and tracing paper.

UKMT Maths
The top set(s) will be entered for the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge, and pupils achieving top results in this will be invited to take the follow-on papers (Olympiads and Kangaroos).

We also enter team challenges where appropriate for different competitions.

Further Mathematics
Top set(s) will work towards an extension qualification. This aids the GCSE work whilst also providing preparation for A Level Maths.

Level 2 Performing Arts BTEC

Level 2 Performing Arts BTEC

Exam Board: Pearson

Course Overview

Students choosing to study Performing Arts will develop their verbal, non-verbal, individual and group communication skills, skills they will use throughout their lives. Whilst developing their artistic and creative abilities students gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.


The BTEC First qualifications have core and optional specialist units.  Learners must complete the two core units and a choice of optional specialist units.

Core units

  • The compulsory units provide a foundation understanding of the shared values, techniques and strategies of the three disciplines of music, dance and drama 
  • One unit will be internally assessed and one unit will be externally assessed.

Optional specialist units

The remainder of the qualifications in the sector will be formed from optional specialist units where students can demonstrate skills in their preferred areas of music or dance or drama.

  • Optional specialist units are form specific, focus on a particular area within the vocational sector and provide an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding.


The Queen’s College resources and theatre spaces are unequalled and include:

  •  Drama studio fully equipped with technical facilities
  • Queen’s Hall Theatre with an open-plan stage fully equipped with technical facilities. The venue is the focal point of College concerts and presentations
  • Performing Arts studio with mirrors and a sound system
  • Performing Arts Classroom with tech suite
  • Sound Studio and numerous practice rooms

How might BTEC Performing Arts be useful in the future?  

Possible destinations include:

  • Higher Education
  • Performing Arts/Dance/Drama school
  • Direct entry to a Theatre/Performing Arts company
  • Careers as actors or dancers or directors in film, television or media
  • Careers as teachers or workshop facilitators
  • Careers as managers or in leadership roles
  • Communication based jobs requiring well-rounded and confident employees

Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education

Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education

PSHE (personal, social, health, and economic) education is a curriculum subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.

PSHE helps pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepared for life – and work – in the modern world. When taught well, PSHE also helps pupils to achieve across all areas of their life including realising their academic potential.

At Queen’s College our PSHE education has been developed so that pupils gain the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. The school has a statutory responsibility to promote pupils’ well-being and this is at the forefront of the programme that we offer. Queen’s College delivers a programme which is accessible to all and maximises the outcomes for all students so that they lead successful lives beyond their time at school. High expectations are set for the promotion of tolerance, understanding and appreciation of the diverse communities in which we live. We hope that students are actively involved in all aspects of school life, show kindness in all of their actions, have resilience when times are difficult and the courage to be an individual. 

We provide our students with the opportunities to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes and to explore these so that they are able to cope in an ever changing world. Our students learn to listen to others, to be tolerant of different views and to manage their own emotions so that they are able to communicate effectively in a range of different settings. We aim to prepare pupils for their life after Queen’s so that they are able to cope with any challenges that come their way. We hope that students will have a knowledge of their world, locally, nationally and globally and are able to understand their responsibilities and make positive contributions. 

Every student at Queen’s College participates in a fortnightly PSHE lesson which is delivered in a safe and supportive environment. All students cover a wide range of topics including mental and physical health, diversity, relationships and sex education, personal identity, internet safety, finance, world issues, first aid and careers. Students will revisit topics in later years to build on their existing knowledge, broaden the scope and reinforce the key ideas. PSHE topics are also covered across a wide variety of subjects, included in our tutor programmes and reinforced by whole school activities.

To enhance our programme we invite external agencies to speak to our students so that they can learn from the personal experience of others. We encourage role play and provide dilemmas for the students to work through to encourage their critical thinking and enable reflection. Our school programme has been built using many of the resources of the PSHE association.

Physical Education

Physical Education

Specification at a glance
This qualification is linear, meaning that pupils will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course. Students will have five lessons over the two-week timetable, with four in the classroom for the theory and one with a practical focus. Lessons aim to deliver the content and allow students to apply their knowledge to sporting situations; preparing them fully
for the assessments. The staff in the department teach all lessons with emphasis on the assessment objectives outlined by AQA. Practical lessons provide students with opportunities to progress further in their specialist sports, whilst teachers also use the opportunity to inform their practical assessment of the pupil.

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


Paper 1: The human body and movement in physical activity and sport

What is assessed
• Applied anatomy and physiology
• Movement analysis
• Physical training
• Use of data

How it is assessed
• Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes
• 78 marks
• 30% of GCSE

Paper 2: Socio-cultural influences and well-being in physical activity and sport

What is assessed
• Sports psychology
• Socio-cultural influences
• Health, fitness and well
• Use of data
How it is assessed
• Written exam: 1 hour 15
• 78 marks
• 30% of GCSE

Questions are a mixture of multiple choice or objective test questions, short-answer questions and extended answer questions for both papers.

Non-exam assessment: Practical performance in physical nactivity and sport

What is assessed
• Practical performance in three different physical activities in the role of player or performer (one in a team activity, one in an individual activity and a third in either a team or in an individual activity). Each sport is worth 10% of the final grade.
• A piece of coursework which involves the analysis and evaluation of performance to bring about improvement in one activity. This is also worth 10% of the final grade.

To view all GCSE Physical Education information

Click Here

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

“Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or is God merely a mistake of man’s?” Friedrich Nietzsche

If there is a God, is He really benevolent? Should members of ‘ISIS’ consider themselves Muslim? Is marriage an outdated concept in contemporary society? Does the Big Bang Theory help to prove or disprove God’s existence? Should the Queen be Head of State and Defender of the Faith? Should we have faith schools? Should Britain continue to invest in nuclear weapons?

Studying Religion & Philosophy at GCSE will immerse pupils in an exciting, yet academically rigorous, programme of study and equip them with the skills and attitudes needed to flourish in an increasingly diverse and challenging society. Pupils will develop skills in philosophical enquiry, decision making, collaboration and independent working. Pupils will also nurture their abilities to empathise, respect, tolerate and accept. These developments will provide pupils with a solid grounding for further study and a successful career in a wide variety of sectors including education, law, scientific research, emergency services or the military.

The course is aimed to encourage pupils to critically reflect and evaluate the beliefs and opinions of people around them as well as their own. Pupils are not required to have any religious affiliation but are required to have an open mind and eagerness to learn. During the two-year course, pupils are required to study two major world religions. The religions we have chosen to study are Christianity and Islam.

• Relationships and Families
• The Existence of God
• Religion, Peace and Conflict
• Dialogue within and between religious and non religious beliefs and attitudes
• Christian Beliefs and Teachings
• Christian Practices
• Islamic Beliefs and Teachings
• Islamic Practices

1. Christianity – 1 hour – 25%
2. Islam – 1 hour – 25%
3. Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the Modern World
– 2 hours – 50%

Science Triology

Science Triology

Science is a core subject. All pupils study all three sciences in Years 9, 10 and 11 and are taught by a subject specialist in each. The year group is placed into sets based on the end of Year 9 exam results in biology, chemistry and physics. The Trilogy course is graded 9-1 and counts as two GCSE equivalents. There are six 1¼ hour exam papers – two each for biology, chemistry and physics. All the exams are terminal – they all happen at the end of Year 11 and there is no coursework. The exams for Trilogy come in Foundation and Higher tiers, although you must take the same tier for all three sciences. The course covers the foundational concepts and applications in biology, chemistry and physics providing a sufficient grounding for the A-Level Sciences. We are more than happy to take successful pupils from Trilogy Higher tier into A Level biology, chemistry and physics. The Trilogy course is comprised of approximately two thirds of the separate biology, chemistry and physics courses. 20% of the overall mark is based on mathematical skills. Practical work is at the heart of the GCSE and helps to enhance pupils’ investigative thinking and consolidate their understanding of key scientific concepts. Students
will carry out core practicals for each science. Developing practical skills will enable pupils to access the 15% of marks on the GCSE exam based on experimental design and evaluation.

Biology is an exciting and relevant subject to study in the 21st century. Pupils will experience a wide range of practicals and make full use of our excellent facilities.

Key topics covered:
• Cell biology
• Organisation
• Infection and response
• Bioenergetics
• Homeostasis and response
• Inheritance, variation and evolution
• Ecology

Practical experimental work is central to our approach. We learn through doing, handling and seeing, not simply being told about something. We seek to make sense of the invisible in terms of the visible; IT helps us out greatly here as we can show animations and computer models of particles too small to be seen. Conceptual understanding is built from particle theory and atomic structure to bonding and the Periodic Table.

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

During a pupil’s time studying physics they will be introduced to many ideas and concepts that help to explain the world around them. The use of practical work and hands-on experience features prominently as both a strategy to introduce and teach the principles of Physics as well as giving pupils the ability and opportunity to test ideas for themselves.

Key topics covered:
• Energy
• Electricity
• Particle model of matter
• Atomic structure
• Forces
• Waves
• Magnetism and electromagnetism

Separate Science

Separate Science

If pupils select Separate Award as one of their GCSE Options then they will follow separate courses in GCSE biology, GCSE chemistry and GCSE physics. These are all linear courses in which pupils will be examined externally on the whole course at the end of Year 11. Each GCSE science course consists of two exam papers, there is no coursework assessment. Practical work is at the heart of the GCSEs and helps to enhance pupils’ investigative thinking and consolidate their understanding of key scientific concepts. Developing practical skills will enable pupils to access the 15% of marks on the GCSE exam based on experimental design and evaluation. The Separate Sciences carry out all the 16 Trilogy core practicals plus an additional 8 to cover the extra content.

The course covers all the topics covered by the Trilogy science course plus a wealth of additional exciting and interesting topics, which provide a sound foundation of biological understanding.

Example additional topics:
• Microbiology
• Monoclonal antibodies
• The Brain
• The eye
• How the body controls temperature, water and nitrogen
• Disease and hormones in plants
• Cloning
• Evolution and Speciation
• Impact of environmental change
• Food security and sustainability
• Biotechnology

The course covers all the Trilogy concepts and applications in chemistry plus extends pupils using high order concepts and mathematical application, plus the additional topics given below.

Example additional topics:
• Transition metals and comparison to group 1
• Mathematical comparison of subatomic particles and nanotechnology.
• Percentage yield and atom economy calculations.
• Amount of substance in gas reaction calculations.
• Fuel cells and batteries.
• Alkenes, Alcohols and Carboxylic acids, structure and reactions of.
• Esterification.
• Addition polymerisation.
• Condensation polymers, DNA and amino acids.
• Flames test.
• Alloys and % calculations in alloys plus uses and applications.
• Engineering materials, polymers, ceramics and composites.
• The Haber process and high order equilibrium concepts, plus uses in NPK fertilisers.

The course covers all the topics covered by the Trilogy science course plus extension topics unique to Separate Science. The topics studied cover a wide range of ideas from basic mechanics to the properties of waves and the origins of the universe.

Example additional topics:
• Nuclear Fission and Fusion
• Moments, Levers and Gears
• Sound Waves
• Lenses
• Pressure – in fluids and Boyle’s law
• Static electricity and electric Fields
• Electromagnetic Induction and transformers
• Space and the Solar system

Summer At Queen's

Keeping your children entertained and engaged during school holidays can be a challenge, especially for busy working parents.  That’s why we partner with a variety of exciting holiday camp providers to offer a range of options for all ages and interests.


View May and Summer Holiday Options