GCSE Curriculum

GCSE Curriculum



Creativity is becoming one of the most important skills in today’s society. The world is constantly changing to adapt to developing technology and a pupil’s ability to think creatively and innovatively is increasingly important.

Taking Art to the next level is very exciting at Queen’s College.

Why take Art GCSE?

The Drama and Art building at Queen’s College offers some of the best facilities in the South West. The spacious, brilliantly lit studios offer specialist teaching facilities for fine art, printmaking, photography, textiles and ceramics. There are also well-equipped rooms for GCSE pupils and every A Level student has their own exhibition and working space.

Head of Department Rebecca Cade, Teachers of Art Laura Burgoyne and Sandra Spall, and the Art Technician Alison Luisi have specialisms in textiles, painting, printing, ceramics and mixed media, and are all practising artists. Each member of staff is extremely experienced and enthusiastic, encouraging the pupils to be innovative, creative and experimental in a wide range of media. Termly story-boards 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.

The pupils’ artwork is displayed all around the campus, and if you visit Queen’s College you will see many examples of stunning and adventurous projects and exhibitions. There are excursions to art galleries such as the Saatchi Gallery, Royal Academy, Tate Modern and Tate Britain. We have also visited sculpture parks and National Trust properties as well as residential trips to St Ives, Venice, New York, Barcelona and Paris, which helped inspire the pupils in their work. In addition, we arrange workshops with practising artists, working in a variety of disciplines to help inspire the pupils to explore new techniques.

Many of our pupils have progressed from A Level to study creative subjects at a variety of institutions, including Central Saint Martins, Kingston, Falmouth, Edinburgh and Glasgow. We are incredibly proud of all our pupils and their achievements to date, at Queen’s and beyond.

Key Areas of study / topic list: 

Our topic lists change every year; this enables us to keep our ideas fresh and to keep us up to date with what is going on in the world around us.


Exam board: EDEXCEL

Course outline:

  • 60% coursework
  • 40% Exam
  • The exam is a practical 10 hour timed test.



Biology is a dynamic and exciting subject very much in the forefront of many new developments in science in the 21st century.

The new Biology suite in the Callard Laboratories comprises four teaching rooms, prep room, greenhouse, animal room and office with the use of an IT room in the same block.

In Years 9, 10 and 11 pupils follow a programme of lessons that leads either to the AQA separate science GCSE Biology or the AQA combined science GCSE.

At this stage we are looking for our pupils to understand scientific ideas; how they develop, understand factors which may affect development, their power and limitations and evaluate and consider ethical issues. The topics covered are very diverse, from DNA, genetics and genetic engineering to the causes behind and possible cures for communicable and non-communicable diseases in humans.

The course takes the topics covered in years 7 and 8 and explains the issues in more depth as well as introducing new concepts. Students who do well on the separate science GCSE course will be in a strong position to cope with the challenges of the Biology A-Level.

Pupils are also encouraged to take part in the Biology challenge, a countrywide competition which acts as a junior British Biology Olympiad, which aims to encourage an interest in biology beyond the school curriculum and stimulate curiosity in the natural world.

Core topics covered by Separate Science and Trilogy Science:

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

Additional topics unique to Separate Science Biology:

  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • The Brain and the eye
  • DNA
  • 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


There are two 1 3/4 hour exam papers. All the exams are terminal – they all happen at the end of Year 11 and there is no coursework. The exams come in Foundation and Higher tiers, although you must take the same tier on both papers.

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 (9-1) 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.

Why take GCSE Business Studies?

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 (9-1) Business begins in Year 10 and students do not need to have studied business before taking the course, although have 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

Course information: 

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?

You will learn how to develop an idea, spot an opportunity and turn it into a successful business. You will understand how to make a business effective, manage money and see how the world around us affects small businesses and all the people involved.

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 of 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.



Chemistry at Queen’s is a vibrant mix of ‘hands on’ experiments, state-of-the-art technology and experienced and enthusiastic teaching. All the dedicated staff in the department work hard to make Chemistry exciting and rewarding by using a great variety of stimulating activities in teaching and learning.

Chemistry pupils undertake significant experimental work. Test tubes and Bunsen burners, colours, smells, bangs and bubbles are part of Chemistry as much now as ever. These activities are enhanced by regular use of specialist computer software (both in the lab and in the computer room), data logging equipment, LCD projectors, an interactive whiteboard, and molecular models.

The Chemistry Department is housed on the ground floor of the Callard Laboratories. There are three spacious and well-equipped ‘state-of-the-art’ teaching labs, all connected to a central preparation room. Also on the ground floor alongside the laboratories is a computer room linked to the school network with 24 workstations.

Course information:

AQA trilogy science and separate chemistry GCSE.


2 exam papers taken in the final terms of year 11.

Team Bio: 

Department member, Tim Jolliff, is the author of the Royal Society of Chemistry book Chemistry for the Gifted and Talented written when he was the RSC School Teacher Fellow.

Computer Science

Computer Science


Subject content:

  • 3.1 Fundamentals of algorithms
  • 3.2 Programming
  • 3.3 Fundamentals of data representation
  • 3.4 Computer systems
  • 3.5 Fundamentals of computer networks
  • 3.6 Cyber security
  • 3.7 Relational databases and structured query language (SQL)
  • 3.8 Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy

Programming skills:

A key part of the delivery of this specification is the development of students’ programming skills.

Throughout their course of study, students must be given the opportunity to design, write, test and refine, using one or more high-level programming language(s) with a textual program definition. In developing these skills schools and colleges are free to choose the context (ie they can be developed in relation to solving a specific problem or to a specification).

In assessments where programming skills are assessed, we will assess students’ ability to:

  • design
  • write
  • test, and
  • refine

 a program to a set task/brief (or to solve a problem).


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.

Assessed by two papers

Paper 1: Computational thinking and problem solving.

What is assessed:

Computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code.

The content for this assessment will be drawn from subject content 3.1 and 3.2 above.

How it is assessed: 

Written exam: 2 hours

90 marks

50% of GCSE

Made up of a mix of multiple choice, short-answer and longer-answer questions assessing a pupil’s practical problem solving and computational thinking skills.

Paper 2: Computing concepts

What is assessed:

The content for this assessment will be drawn from subject content 3.3 to 3.8 above.

How it is assessed:

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

90 marks

50% of GCSE

A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions, assessing SQL programming skills and theoretical knowledge.

Design Technology

Design Technology

The Design and Technology department aims to prepare students 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.

Sustainability is an important factor that is covered in the subject and pupils will also get the opportunity to participate in national competitions.

Why study Design Technology?

The course allows students to study 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.

We have a newly furnished workshop that includes traditional woodworking equipment and a range of hand tools as well as more modern machines such as a 3D Printer and laser cutter. Pupils have access to computers and are encouraged to produce work digitally and using traditional communication techniques such as sketching and rendering.

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. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.


What’s assessed?

Core technical principles

  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE


What’s assessed?

Practical application of:

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it’s assessed:

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


  • Substantial design and make task based on a prescribed context that pupils can personalise.

Assessment criteria:

  • Investigating
  • Designing
  • Making
  • Analysing and Evaluating


Useful Links –

Career Pathways Posters

What is DT and why study it?

Why Choose DT?

Where will your career path take you?

What will you be doing in D&T?

Transferable Skills Poster




The Performing Arts develop vital skills in communication, build self-confidence, aid presentation skills (vital in later life), enable pupils to work as a team and have pride in performance and perhaps, most importantly, have tremendous fun and enjoyment working together to create something magical.

Why study Drama?

Students choosing to study drama 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. Through an exploration of drama contexts relating to identity, societies, cultures, ideologies, gender, time and change, students are able to become more critically reflective members of society and are encouraged to consider how they can use theatre as a means of change. 

In Drama students are able to explore intellectual, social, physical, emotional and moral domains through learning which involves thought, feeling and action. Studying drama fosters self discipline, confidence and team work and develops skills in interpreting, researching, negotiating, problem solving and decision making. 

We are tremendously fortunate to have some of the best facilities in the country for Performing Arts and the College is well known for its specialism in the area. The Queen’s Hall, a fully equipped 500-seat theatre complete with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, is used for all major productions as well for rehearsals and practices.

The Wyvern Hall with heated wooden floors, mirrored wall and retractable seating for 120, is an ideal performance area especially for dance, although it also serves as an additional performance area for music and drama performances throughout the year. The Wyvern Hall is a very versatile space in which we run our Performing Arts Academy (click here for more information) and the many dance classes on offer (including Street Dance, Hip Hop, Ballet, Modern, Tap and Contemporary) is quite outstanding.

There is also a purpose-built, blacked-out Drama Studio with retractable seating for 75 used for Drama lessons, theatre in the round and more intimate productions.

Course Information: 

The EDUQAS GCSE in Drama and Theatre is an exciting and inspiring course which prepares learners for further study at A Level and Higher Education. This highly practical specification provides learners with the opportunity to work as either performers and/or designers on two different performances. In Component 1 (40%) learners devise their own piece of a theatre based on a stimulus and influenced by one of four practitioners studied in the Autumn Term. Learners can choose to be assessed on acting, lighting or costume design.

In Component 2 (20%) learners engage with a script which contrasts to both their devised piece and the set text studied. Learners can choose to be assessed on acting, lighting or costume design.

In Component 3, learners explore the set text ‘DNA’ by Dennis Kelly. They will explore in depth the characters, themes and storyline. Learners are also required to watch at least two live theatre productions and learn about the processes and practices involved in interpreting and performing theatre in order to produce a live theatre review.


Practical 60% 

Written Exam 40%



Queen’s has a long history of welcoming overseas pupils from a variety of countries and we place great value on the contribution these students make to the school community. Our international students achieve excellent grades at GCSE and A level with many securing places at top universities in Britain and worldwide.

At Key Stage 4, EAL pupils will study for the Cambridge IGCSE in English as a Second Language.  The course has 4 key components; reading, writing, listening and speaking – all assessed in examinations in the summer of year 11.

The course is delivered using a topic-based approach with students practising their reading skills through studying a variety of texts based on current events and global news.

Writing skills include summaries, note-taking, friendly letters, articles, reviews, and reports.  The reading & writing components account for 60% of the overall grade.

The listening examination includes audio from every-day conversations as well as academic topics and accounts for 20% of the final grade.

In the speaking examination, students answer questions on a given topic and have opportunities to expand their answers and support their ideas.  This component is 20% of the final grade.

The benefits of the IGCSE in English as a Second Language

The course encourages the development of all 4 key language skills alongside each other; leading to well-rounded language users.

Grammatical accuracy and lexical resources are developed in a topic-based approach leading to interesting and engaging lessons.

The skills acquired at IGCSE support academic studies in other subjects at KS4 and complement the requirements of the IELTS course studied in KS5.

Some British and overseas universities recognise grades 5 and higher for the IGCSE as suitable proof of level of English for access to Higher Education.

The communicative approach to teaching, and focus on both receptive and productive skills builds learner-confidence in using English socially as well as academically.

Useful Links:


Team Bio:

Head of EAL:  Miss Helen Goodall.

Miss Goodall has over 15 years of experience teaching EAL and has worked in the UK and overseas including China and Indonesia.  She completed her degree and PGCE at Cardiff University and has worked at Queen’s College since 2013.

EAL Teachers:  Mrs Karen Williams  & Mr Sam Tarr

Mr Tarr has had extensive experience in education for over 15 years, working in Italy and China. He graduated with an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Portsmouth in 2011 and joined the staff at Queen’s College in February 2020 where he also undertakes boarding house duties in School House. An Old Queenian, Mr Tarr was a pupil here from 1989 to 1995.

EAL Teacher: Mrs Karen Williams

Mrs Williams has ten years of experience teaching EAL to students of all ages and abilities. She joined Queen’s College in 2014. Prior to this she spent two years in the north of Spain, teaching English to teenagers and adults.

She completed her degree in History and Religious Studies at Lancaster University.

Before life as an EAL Teacher she lived and worked in London for a number of years where she tried her hand at freelance travel / lifestyle writing, alongside various roles in the charity sector.

In her spare time she enjoys travelling, baking, swimming, reading and, more recently, being a mum.



English GCSE

English Language and English Literature are taught synoptically, and we follow the Eduqas specification. The two GCSEs complement each other, and we move seamlessly between both GCSEs, believing that Literature is the equivalent of practical experiments in Science: it’s the English language being brought to life, and demonstrated by the very best writers.

The department is incredibly friendly and approachable in its relationships with pupils and standards are high. Lively and challenging teaching methods and imaginative task-setting means that pupils are fully engaged and inspired with lots of opportunities for pupils to go beyond the curriculum. At present, we teach ‘Macbeth’, either ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ or ‘A Christmas Carol’, and ‘An Inspector Calls’; these can change, as we believe that a teacher is at their most inspiring when they teach Literature that they are most interested in and engaged by. The department has achieved record success at GCSE with many choosing to continue the subject at A level and on to university.

Many joint trips are run in conjunction with the Drama department to see theatrical productions in London, Stratford and Bristol. During periods of lockdown, we were able to bring the theatre to us, using the Queen’s Hall theatre facilities to live-stream plays instead We are all looking forward to visiting the theatre again on a regular basis.

Food Preparation & Nutrition

Food Preparation & Nutrition


AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition we encourage pupils of all abilities to make full use of their skills and to reach their potential.

The technology building provides spacious accommodation and includes a large computer suite, a food preparation kitchen with an ICT room as well as a nutrition teaching room with a demonstration kitchen.

Over the course we visit local food businesses to help with knowledge and understanding of food choice and receive guest chefs to teach specific food preparation skills. 

These visits bring topics to life and allow students to see first hand how different foods are produced and the reason why different food choices are made.

Pupils are encouraged to enter external competitions such as the Future Chef Competition, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Competition and Junior South West Chef of the Year with previous students making it through to the SW Chef Final, having already won the County Final. We also work closely with our school chef in our lessons to demonstrate advanced cookery skills which the Year 11’s included in their GCSE NEA tasks.

Why study Food and Nutrition? 

Food Preparation and Nutrition equips learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to prepare different foods and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. It encourages learners to cook, enables them to make informed decisions about food and nutrition and allows them to acquire knowledge in order to be able to feed themselves and others affordably and nutritiously, now and later in life. 

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

Course information: 

There are 6 main topics in the GCSE Course:

Food Preparation Skills

A range of food preparation and cooking skills needed throughout the GCSE

Food, Nutrition and Health

Macronutrients, micronutrients and the nutritional needs and health

Food Science

Cooking, heat transfer and the functional and chemical properties of food

Food Safety

Food spoilage and contamination and principles of food safety

Food Choice

Factors affecting food choice, British and International cuisine, sensory evaluation, food labelling and food marketing

Food Provenance

Environmental impact of food and sustainability of food, food processing and food production


15% – Food Science Practical Investigation – NEA 1

Students show their understanding of the working characteristics, and functional and chemical properties of ingredients.

35% – Food Practical Preparation – NEA 2

Students demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food and application of nutrition related to a chosen task. Students will do this by preparing, cooking and presenting a final menu of three dishes within three hours, planning in advance how this will be achieved.

50% – Written Exam Paper 

Students will be assessed on their theoretical knowledge of food preparation and nutrition from the subject content. The exam is 1 hour 45 minutes out of 100 marks, with multiple choice questions (20 marks) and five longer questions each with a number of sub questions (80 marks).




The aim of the Geography Department is to prepare pupils to take an active and intelligent interest in the world in which they live. The Geography Department is a highly successful department and is staffed by experienced and enthusiastic subject specialists.   

Fieldwork is integral to the study of Geography and students will have at least two field days; one investigating the physical environment (coasts & rivers) and the other looking at the urban environment.  

There will also be an opportunity for GCSE geographers to visit Iceland – ‘The land of fire and ice’ This is an incredible trip and often one of the highlights of pupils’ time at Queen’s.

Geographers at Queen’s also regularly take part in the local round of the Geographical Association’s national competition ‘Worldwide Quiz’ and have frequently won a place in the regional finals. In previous years Queen’s has won the National Trophy and one member of the team was selected to captain the UK team at the International Geographical Olympiad in Washington, USA.

Course detail: 

At GCSE we follow the AQA Geography specification which looks at six key topics:

The living world: This includes the study of ecosystems at a variety of scales and our impact upon them.  This includes in-depth studies of tropical rainforests and the arctic tundra.

Physical landscapes in the UK (Coasts & Rivers):  This includes the study of physical geomorphological processes and the landforms they create as well as how humans affect these landscapes both intentionally and unintentionally.

The challenge of natural hazards:  This includes the study of tectonic hazards, weather hazards and climate change.  It considers the causes, impacts and responses to these events.

Urban issues & challenges:  This includes the study of urban growth and the challenges as well as opportunities this creates.  It considers urbanisation in both high income and low income countries.

The changing economic world:  This includes the study of both high income countries as well as low income countries and looks at how their employment and industrial structure has changed over time. It also looks at how we measure development through standard of living and quality of life.

The challenge of resource management:  This includes the study of food, water and energy.  It tackles the issues caused by the discrepancy between the location of supply and demand as well as sustainable use of resources and the impacts of levels of development.

Why study Geography GCSE? 

Geography is essential for pupils to make sense of the world.  It encourages pupils to research information, analyse data, explore different points of view  and make informed decisions.  These skills are all transferable and key to our young people becoming global citizens.


GCSE Geography is assessed over three exams:

Paper 1 – The Physical world

Paper 2 – The human world

Paper 3 – Fieldwork skills and issue evaluation (this includes pre-release materials provided in advance of the exam)




History is all about the telling of stories – big, small and tall, always interesting and often amusing. The History department aims to thread the stories together chronologically in the lower and middle school, to provide a broad picture of change over time. The department operates its own marking scheme which monitors the standard and effort of pupils weekly and on a consistent basis. Examination classes study specific periods and topics with the emphasis on pupils working increasingly by themselves and encouraging more intimate engagement in class.

Why study History GCSE? 

History is a very exciting subject and a popular one. Generating an enthusiastic and enduring interest in the subject, as well as developing the ability of pupils to think for themselves and arrive at logical and reasoned judgements, are key departmental objectives.

Course information: 

We study Cambridge IGCSE which allows pupils to study the 20th Century World and continues to ignite pupils interest in the subject.

Topics studied include:

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 the 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 1970 – 2000.

The Depth Study

  • Germany 1918 – 45. This unit focusses upon the Weimar Republic and its downfall, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and life in Hitler’s Germany.

We believe in giving all pupils the opportunity to progress fully. As such, we adopt a wide range of teaching methods which enthuse and excite pupils. Where possible, external visits and lectures take place and there is a bi- annual trip to Berlin to study German History along with key aspects of the Cold War era.


Pupils are assessed by two written examinations. 

Paper 1 tests their knowledge pf the periods studies whilst paper 2 tests their source evaluations skills. The topic for paper 2 is pre – released each year. 

There is also a single piece of coursework based on Stalin’s Terror which is completed in year 11




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.

Students studying French, German and Spanish follow the AQA exam board. Students are examined at the end of the two year course in each of the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students practise these skills inherently throughout the course so that they are fully prepared for the demands of the exam. The speaking element of the exam is taken just before the normal exam period. 

Students studying Chinese or Russian (as native speakers) follow the Edexcel exam board. As with the other languages, students are examined across all four skills. 

GCSE Topics include: Relationships with family and friends; Social Media; Cinema and TV; Sport; Hometown and Neighbourhood; Charity and Voluntary Work; the Environment; Travel and Tourism; Life at school; Education Post-16, Career choices and Ambition. 

Students are expected to understand and provide information and opinions about these themes relating to their own experiences and those of other people, including people in countries/communities where these languages are spoken. 

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. Students are encouraged to problem solve both individually and in groups, developing knowledge previously learnt at KS3, as well as introducing many completely new and interesting concepts. You have the option to choose whether you would like to study a Further Mathematics Level 2 Certificate in addition to the Mathematics GCSE if you are in the upper set in the year group. Whilst Mathematics is a compulsory subject, the teachers within the department make Mathematics interesting and engaging so that students can see where they would use the content taught in their future. 

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 as we recognise that Mathematics, 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.

Course Overview 

We follow the AQA GCSE course. The course is split into 6 broad topics within which there are many subtopics. These main overarching themes are; Number, Algebra, Ratio, proportion and rates of change, Geometry and Measures, Probability and Statistics. Many of the individual topic overlap nicely with other topic areas so we teach the contents in a variety if different ways to help students to see the links between the different topics.


GCSE Mathematics can be taken in one of two tiers, Foundation tier (grades 1 – 5) and Higher tier (grades 4 – 9). Regardless of tier, the assessment is completed fully by examination at the end of Year 11, with pupils sitting three separate Mathematics papers. One of these is a non-calculator paper, with the other two papers allowing the use of a calculator. Each paper contains a mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper.



Why study FURTHER MATHEMATICS Certificate? 

This qualification gives additional challenge for high achieving students by assessing their higher order mathematical skills, particularly in algebraic reasoning, in greater depth, thus preparing them fully to maximise their potential in further studies at A Level. It offers the opportunity for stretch and challenge that builds on the Key Stage 4 curriculum and is intended as an additional qualification to the GCSE Mathematics, rather than as a replacement. The content assumes prior knowledge of the Key Stage 4 Programme of Study and covers the areas of algebra and geometry, which are crucial to further study in the subject, in greater depth and breadth. This qualification places an emphasis on higher order technical proficiency, rigorous argument and problem solving skills.

It also gives an introduction to calculus and matrices and develops further skills in trigonometry, functions and graphs.

This course is NOT a prerequisite to study A Level Mathematics, however the content of the course will be beneficial to those looking to progress on to the Mathematics  A Level.

Course information: 

Further Mathematics is taken by those who wish to in the upper set. Content is taught alongside the Mathematics GCSE content to everyone in the upper set through Years 10 and 11, but entrance into the examination aspect of the Level 2 Certificate is not compulsory for all students. Below details the list of topics included in Further Mathematics, some of which build on topics already learnt, some of which are topics which have already been learnt, and some topics, for example differentiation and matrices are brand new to the students.


1.1 General Number 

1.2 The product rule for counting

1.3 Surds including more complex rationalising


2.1 General Algebra

2.2 Definition of Function

2.3 Domain and Range of Function

2.4 Composite functions

2.5 Inverse functions

2.6 Expanding Brackets and Collecting Like Terms

2.7 Expand (a+b)^n for positive integer n

2.8 Factorising

2.9 Algebraic Fractions (Rational Expressions)

2.10 Manipulation of Formulae

2.11 Factor Theorem – integer and rational values

2.12 Completing the Square

2.13 Sketching functions (including multi-section) – including exponentials

2.14 Solution of Linear and Quadratic Equations

2.15 Simultaneous Equations

2.16 Algebraic solutions of linear equations in three unknowns

2.17 Linear and Quadratic Inequalities

2.18 Index Laws

2.19 Algebraic Proof

2.20 Using nth terms of sequences and limiting value

2.21 nth term of linear sequences

2.22 nth term of quadratic sequences

Coordinate Geometry (2-dimensions only)

3.1 Gradient

3.2 Parallel and Perpendicular gradients

3.3 Pythagoras’ Theorem for distance between points

3.4 Midpoints and point on line between two given points

3.5 Equation of a Straight Line

3.6 Draw a Straight Line

3.7 Equation of Circle centre (0,0) – use of Circle Theorems

3.8 Equation of general circle


4.1 Know dy/dx gives rate of change of y with x

4.2 Know gradient function is gradient of tangent at that point

4.3 Differentiate kx^n for integer n and the sum of such functions

4.4 Find Equation of Tangent and Normal at given point

4.5 Increasing and Decreasing Functions

4.6 Understand and use the notation d2y/dx2

4.7 Use of differentiation to find maxima and minima points on a curve

4.8 Using calculus to find maxima and minima in simple problems

4.9 Sketch/interpret a curve with known maximum and minimum points

Matrix (only 2×2 or 2×1)

5.1 Multiplication of Matrices

5.2 Indentity Matrix

5.3 Transformations of the unit square

5.4 Combination of Transformations


6.1 General Geometry incl. Circle Theorems, Angles with Parallel Lines, Area of Triangle

6.2 Understand and construct Formal Geometric Proofs

6.3 Sine and Cosine Rules

6.4 Pythagoras’ Theorem in 2D and 3D

6.5 Apply Trig and Pythag to 2D and 3D  incl. Angle between line and plane and two planes

6.6 Sketch and use sin, cos, tan for angles of any size

6.7 Finding sin, cos, tan for positive angles up to 360

6.8 Know angles of 30, 60, 90 and 45, 45, 90 triangles

6.9 Use tan = sin/cos and sin^2 + cos^2 = 1

6.10 Solution of simple Trigonometric Equations in a given interval



The course is fully assessed at the end of Year 11 by two additional exam papers, one of which you can use a calculator in. The papers consist of a  mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems to be completed within the 1 hour 45 minute time frame.



Music GCSE 

Music is an exciting option for GCSE and is thriving at Queen’s with a steadily increasing uptake. All lessons are taught in our dedicated music department which has excellent facilities including a PC suite with compositional software and separate recording studio. Students who opt for Music usually have instrumental lessons; although there is no prerequisite to have taken grades, a student would be aiming to be around the standard of Grade 4 or above by the time they sit the exam. With its blend of coursework followed by a single exam, the course has the ability to allow students to develop their musicianship to a high level over its two year duration.

Why study Music? 

Music is an excellent choice for those with any degree of interest or experience in the subject. It develops the key skills of performance, composition and listening which as well as contributing to exam success, are skills that last a lifetime. These are important if thinking about a career in music but are enormously enriching whatever career you have. Recent global events have highlighted the benefits and  joy of having musical skills as well as the incredible wellbeing benefits of it 

In addition, as well as being a specific discipline which enables students to develop their own musicianship, music develops a whole range of transferable skills that are highly valued. These include memory and concentration skills, perseverance, teamwork skills, adaptability and confidence. Studying music allows you to access it at A level and beyond and the transferable skills you develop whilst studying it are valuable in their own right. 

Course information and assessment: 

We follow the Edexcel specification which is based on three units;

Performance – internally marked (30%)

Over the two years of the course, students work on their instrumental skills to produce a recording portfolio of 4 minutes length; this would include both solo and ensemble performances.

Composition – internally marked (30%)

The students learn how to compose effectively during the course and produce two piece with a minimum combined length of 3 minutes. One is a free composition i.e. the students can choose all elements of the piece and the second is to a brief released by the exam board at the beginning of Year 11.

Listening – formal exam (40%)

This is predominately based on eight set works which the student studies over the two years of the course. The first section of the exam is based on. 


Click Here to Learn About Co-Curricular Music 

Spring Term Music Events 2022

Personal, Social, Health & Moral Education

Personal, Social, Health & Moral Education

PSHE (personal, social, health, moral 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 education 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

To view all GCSE Physical Education information

Click Here



The Physics Department aims to make Physics an enjoyable subject for all those who study it, incorporating as much practical work at all levels and with as many unusual experiments as possible.


A plethora of toys, popcorn, jellies on turntables, steam puddings and the invisible man have all made an appearance within a lesson!. We are a friendly department and encourage pupils to get involved, ask questions and seek out extra help when they need it.


Physics is housed in a purpose-built laboratory block with three labs and a preparation room. The department has a very good stock of up to date apparatus including an electron diffraction tube, many oscilloscopes including a digital storage oscilloscope module, radioactivity apparatus, data logging equipment with accurate sensors and both a 90mm refracting telescope and an 6” reflecting telescope.


All students start their GCSE studies in year 9, where they cover the more straightforward topics and lay the foundations for years 10 and 11. In year 10 students can opt to study Physics and Biology and Chemistry as separate sciences, leading to an independent GCSE in each science.


If students choose to follow a combined science route then they still study all three sciences, but cover less content in each, leading to two GCSEs in science. In either case students follow the AQA scheme and can have access to A Levels.


Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

GCSE – Religion, Philosophy and Ethics:

Religious Studies at Queen’s College is an integral part of the life of the school, which has a Christian Methodist foundation and is one of sixteen Methodist schools in Great Britain and Ireland.

A fundamental part of the curriculum, the study of religion, helps all pupils gain awareness, tolerance and understanding. There is no doubt that one of the reasons why pastoral care is so strong at Queen’s is because teaching Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics  helps pupils respect other people as well as themselves, understand and appreciate different viewpoints and work together as a community for the good of the School.

The department has a large teaching room and makes good use of a variety of tools for teaching including, video, an interactive white board, DVD and PowerPoint presentations. We make extensive use of religious artefacts, particularly in Years 7 and 8.

Outside the classroom, there is a Christian Union society and the Chaplain runs annual Confirmation classes. Assemblies are generally Christian in content, there is an annual carol service at Temple Methodist Church, and boarders who would like to attend a variety of different churches on Sundays. There are often other informal events featuring on the School’s calendar which aid religious understanding.

Why study Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at GCSE? 

This course gives students a greater awareness of the issues around them in the world, for example war and peace, relationships and interface dialogue.

Skills developed during this course are useful not only in exams but also for when they leave education and pursue careers. Skills like debate, critical analysis and tolerance and understanding of others opinions, are all skills transferable into the world of work. 

The course also examines ethical issues which are debated in government and society today giving students a greater understanding of current issues and politics. 

Course information: 

Year 10 Overview

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the modern world from a Christian perspective – OCR GCSE 9-1

Topic 1

Relationships and Families

  • Relationships
  • Men and Women
  • Christian understanding of Equality
  • Revision

Topic 2

The Existence of God

  • The question of God
  • The nature of Reality
  • Experiencing God
  • Revision

Topic 3

Religion, Peace and Conflict

  • Violence and Conflict
  • Peace and Peacemaking
  • Forgiveness and Reconciliation
  • Revision

Topic 4

Dialogue within and between religious and non-religious beliefs and attitudes

  • Challenges for Religion
  • Dialogue within and between religious groups
  • Dialogue within and between religious and non-religious groups
  • Revision

Year 11 Overview:

OCR GSCE 9-1 Christianity and Islam


Topic 1Beliefs and Teachings

  • The nature of God
  • The concept of a God as a Trinity of persons
  • Biblical accounts of Creation
  • The problem of evil and suffering and a loving and righteous God
  • Jesus Christ
  • The incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension
  • The concept of salvation
  • Eschatological beliefs and teachings

Topic 2 – Practices

  • Worship
  • Sacraments
  • Prayer
  • The role and importance of pilgrimage
  • Celebrations
  • The role of the Church in the local community and living practices
  • Mission
  • The role of the Church in the wider world
  • Revision


Topic 1 – Beliefs and Teachings

  • Core beliefs
  • Nature of Allah
  • Prophethood [Risalah]
  • Book [Kutub]
  • Angels [Malaikah]
  • Eschatological beliefs
  • Life after death [Akhirah]

Topic 2 – Practices

  • The importance of practices
  • Public acts of worship
  • Private acts of worship
  • Zakah
  • Sawm
  • Hajj
  • Festivals and special days
  • Jihad
  • Revision

Assessment information: 

The GCSE exam comprises of:

  • Paper 1 and 2: Beliefs and teachings and practices from a Christian and Islam perspective

2 hour exam

1 hour paper on Christianity 1 hour paper on Islam

  • Paper 3 : Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the modern world from a Christian perspective 

2 hour exam

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 are placed into sets based on end of Year 9 exam results in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

The Trilogy course is graded 99-11 and counts as two GCSE equivalents.

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 in Physics they will be introduced to many other 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

In recent years, GCSE pupils have also had the opportunity to visit the Large Hadron Collider at CERN along with the Sixth Form, which we do every two years. Pupils have also had the opportunity to see the development of the Bloodhound Project which is the latest attempt by Richard Noble and his team to break the land speed record.


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.

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.

2022 GCSE Handbook_v4