The academic programme for pupils starting their GCSE years in September requires all pupils to take the compulsory core subjects and to take three other subjects of their choice. The studying of core subjects meets both the National Curriculum objectives and those of the School in providing a desirable basis to education for all pupils at this level. We recognise the value of all subjects in providing depth and interest to education. However, time does not permit all of the subjects studied in the Third Year to be taken as GCSE subjects.
Pupils therefore need to choose three additional non-core subjects. Most pupils will take nine or ten subjects to GCSE. This number of subjects provides sufficient breadth of curriculum to ensure that pupils are acceptable to the universities of their choice and allows sufficient depth to be reached in each subject to give a sound preparation for A level subjects.
The GCSE Subjects:
The Core subjects:
English and English Literature
Science - Biology, Chemistry and Physics
The Option Subjects:
Art & Design
Business Studies & Economics
Philosophy & Ethics
The purpose of the option subjects is to allow pupils to express a preference in part of their GCSE curriculum and yet maintain a balanced education to GCSE. To preserve balance and provide for future A level choices the freedom to choose is constrained so that pupils must select at least one subject from Geography, History, Philosophy & Ethics, and Business Studies & Economics. These subjects provide balance in the GCSE curriculum and develop skills of writing and analysis and in executing extended pieces of coursework. Each of these subjects provides a basis for the skills required in many subjects at A level. Exceptions to this requirement may be made if a student has a particular interest in and aptitude for a curriculum area- eg a strong linguist might wish to take Latin, Greek and a Modern Language as their options; a student planning a future career in the Arts might wish to take Art, Music and Drama.
N.B. In certain option subjects, pupils will need to show that they have the skills necessary for success before they are allowed to start the GCSE course. This is especially the case in P.E. and Drama. If uptake for a subject is very small, it may be withdrawn. In this case those who have opted will be invited to select another subject.
No language can be taken as a new subject in the Fourth Year.
In making choices pupils need to bear in mind that it is generally necessary to have taken a subject at GCSE in order to opt for it at A level, with the exception of Business Studies & Economics, where no prior knowledge is necessary for the A level courses.
Download the Full Options Document