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All pupils are entered for GCSE or IGCSE examinations, all of which are taken at the end of Year 11. Pupils study ten subjects for the two years in Years 10 and 11.

The compulsory subjects taken by all pupils are:

  • A modern foreign language: one of French, German, or Spanish
  • English: both English Language and English Literature, leading to two IGCSEs
  • Mathematics
  • Physics, Chemistry, and Biology
  • Physical Education and Games (non-examined)
  • PSHE, and Religion and Philosophy (non-examined)

I/GCSE Subject Choices

In addition to the subjects studied by all pupils, they choose three subjects from the following:

  • Art
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Latin
  • Music
  • Spanish
  • Religion and Philosophy
The curriculum at King's, Worcester (Full width Image)

I/GCSE Subjects

Art

The Art Department is committed to developing and supporting the skills and interests of all pupils, whatever their ability, through a structured programme of activities which promotes the learning of technique, whilst nurturing confidence, individuality and creativity. The department is friendly and welcoming but demands high standards and ambition in its pupils.

The GCSE course provides a wonderful opportunity for pupils, regardless of their initial ability, to explore a personal creativity whilst acquiring skills which will enable them to produce lively and ambitious work. The Upper Remove course explores further the full range of media available in the Art School. These include drawing, painting, textiles, mixed-media, print-making, sculpture and digital media. The Fifth Form course builds upon the good practices established in the Upper Remove, but places an emphasis on a personal response. The course culminates in an assessment exhibition.

Biology

Biology is an exciting course which aims to give pupils a very good understanding of the living world and is excellent preparation for further study at A-level. We start the course in the Lower Remove year and aim to provide pupils with as much experience of practical work as possible.

Chemistry

Our Chemistry course seeks to challenge the pupil to seek the explanation behind the way substances behave, using practical work to illustrate the key ideas and to develop the experimental skills of the pupil. As with the other sciences, Chemistry IGCSE is an ideal qualification to help prepare pupils for Chemistry at A-level. Achieving highly in Chemistry at IGCSE and A-level is necessary to study Medicine at university.

Classical Civilisation

The Classical Civilisation course offers pupils the chance to study the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. If they have a curiosity and interest about these two highly influential cultures, then they will enjoy this subject and gain a great deal from it. They may well be surprised by both what has changed over the past two thousand years or so and what has not.

Studying Classical Civilisation develops research skills, the ability to evaluate evidence and construct a clear argument. It encourages more flexible thinking, more open-mindedness, and more effective communication.

Design Technology

The GCSE Design Technology course prepares pupils to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. The department is very well resourced and, alongside developing traditional designing and making skills, pupils make full use of CAD and 3D modelling software, often outputting to the laser cutter or a 3D printer.

Pupils will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Pupils will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise.

The subject allows Design Technology pupils 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.

Drama

GCSE Drama is an attractive course for any pupil who enjoys the all-round process of how theatre is made. It has a performance element, in which pupils study a text and prepare and perform two extracts from it, with an option for design candidates to create the relevant production elements. These extracts are performed to a visiting assessor from the examining board and the mark is worth 20% of the total GCSE.

A second element centres on devising theatre, working from a given stimulus to explore a range of theatrical ideas and create a piece of original drama. This is internally assessed, and is worth 40% of the total GCSE. Not all the pressure is on a ‘one-off’ performance: three-quarters of the marks are for the ‘devising log’, which is a piece of ongoing coursework that records where ideas came from, how they were explored, and how individual skills developed during the process.

The final element is the written exam. This is worth 40% and starts with a series of  multiple-choice questions, to ensure that candidates know the basics about different production elements and the theatre personnel responsible for them. The second section explores staging decisions for a set text studied during the course. Finally, there is a question evaluating the work of other theatre makers in pieces of live theatre seen during the course.

English Language & English Literature

It is our aim that pupils should, through the study of English Language and English Literature, develop skills of communication in written and spoken English and explore the way in which a wide variety of non-fiction and fiction texts communicate their message and achieve their purpose to inform, argue, describe, persuade or entertain.

Such skills of communication and analysis are relevant to all subjects studied, as well as the pupils’ wider lives. At the same time, there is the opportunity to develop their own creative writing. We also study a range of texts from the rich cultural heritage of English Literature, including works from all three genres: poetry, prose, and drama. We hope by doing so to provide pupils with an understanding and delight in reading such texts that will stay with them for life.

Geography

Geography involves the study of people, places, and their environment. It features many of the key issues and global challenges that face us all. Studying Geography will allow you to appreciate the opportunities, challenges, and constraints that people face in different places and help you develop as a citizen in the rapidly changing 21st Century.

Statistics show that Geography graduates are among the most employable, and this is because they have the skills that employers look for. Being able to write fluently and have competent numeracy skills will be important to thrive at GCSE.

The GCSE course involves the study of human and physical topics using real examples from around the globe at a range of scales. Two compulsory fieldwork days will be provided during the course, and an optional residential trip to the French Alps in the summer holiday is normally offered to Year 10 pupils.

History

Studying History GCSE contributes significantly to pupils’ appreciation of their contemporary world. An historical understanding is imperative to inform our questions, judgements, and decisions about events and surroundings. It helps pupils to develop enquiring minds that question and construct rational arguments, whilst thinking with initiative, independently, and creatively. A study of History helps develop the following skills:

  • Writing with clarity and precision
  • Reading and research skills
  • Arguing a case both on paper and verbally
  • Forming one’s own opinion
  • Critically assessing the reliability and utility of evidence

Modern Foreign Languages

The study of languages helps to develop confidence, maturity of written and spoken expression, the ability to craft language (including a better understanding of English), self-awareness, reflectiveness, cultural awareness, a sense of perspective and context, broader horizons, responsiveness, and adaptability.

There are also gains in social and academic skills such as communication, discussion and self-expression, as well as cross-curricular skills such as summarising, deduction, code identification, analysis and memory skills.

Dual linguists enjoy deeper knowledge and understanding of culture, the wider world and diplomacy.

Latin

GCSE Latin offers unique challenges: the chance to study the Latin language (practising both translation and comprehension skills), and also to read literature that is more than two thousand years old which, despite its age, deals with issues that still concern us today, such as family life and relationships, passion and intrigue. Pupils are transported back to ancient times and gain a fascinating insight into Roman culture.

If pupils enjoy the thrill of code-breaking and the rigour of logical thinking and also like to be creative, then Latin GCSE may well be for them. The study of Classical subjects has led to a variety of different careers for many people. It shows universities and employers that pupils are able to research, collate and analyse materials, and critically evaluate resources in order to formulate arguments. It will offer an improved command of English, a better understanding of language in general, and an enhanced power to think for oneself.

Mathematics

Strong mathematical understanding is a vital life skill in almost all career paths as well as in everyday life. The preparation for the IGCSE course starts in the Lower Remove. The pupils’ allocation to sets, which is regularly reviewed, is based on ability.

Throughout the course, the pupils will study six main topic areas: numbers and the numbering system; equations, formulae, and identities; sequences, functions, and graphs; geometry and trigonometry; vectors and translation geometry; statistics and probability.

Music

The GCSE Music course is designed for musicians of all abilities to develop their skills in performing, composing, and appraising. The course is diverse and inclusive, yet stretching and rewarding. They will study music from a wide range of musical styles and will learn about aspects such as the context in which the music was written, structure, harmony, melodic construction, use of technology, and texture. The course serves pupils very well for further study at A-level or beyond.

Physics

The IGCSE Physics course serves as excellent preparation for any pupil who may be intending to pursue the subject for A-level. The course covers a very broad range of topics, most of which are centred around pupils undertaking practical work to draw conclusions to try and explain how the world around us actually works. The course does well to stimulate interest, enjoyment and curiosity in many diverse areas of Physics.

Religion and Philosophy

The IGCSE in Religion and Philosophy offers a perfect opportunity to think about some of the things that really matter: Is there a God? Why is there evil and suffering in the world? Is war ever justified? Is there life after death? What is the purpose of life?

The answers for most of these questions are hotly debated. Pupils are therefore required to think critically so that they can identify good arguments from bad. In other words, pupils learn to think philosophically.

By learning to express arguments orally and in writing, the course in Religion and Philosophy prepares pupils for the rigours of A-level, university, and good careers beyond. As Aristotle taught, excellence only comes through repeated mental endeavour.

A further benefit of the course is that it improves religious literacy, an important skill in a world, for good and ill and everything in between, that is still dominated by religion.

The move from Year 9 to Year 10 is a very exciting time for pupils studying at King’s Worcester. The challenge and academic demands of subjects grow and provide pupils with the opportunity to deepen their understanding and explore areas of interest.

Duncan King

Deputy Head (Academic)

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