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The Buckingham School

The Buckingham School

Core Subjects - Course Summaries

Click on the drop down boxes shown here to read about each Core subject:

ENGLISH language GCSE

English Curriculum Leader: Mr R Lewis
rlewis@buckinghamschool.org

Course Content

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
Assessed written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
80 marks
50% of GCSE

Section A: Reading
Questions based on one literature fiction text
Section B: Writing
Descriptive or narrative writing - 1 extended writing question 

Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives
Assessed written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
80 marks
50% of GCSE

Section A: Reading
Questions based on one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text.
Section B: Writing
Writing to present a viewpoint -1 extended writing 

Alongside this, students will complete a Speaking and Listening Assessment which, although compulsory, does not contribute to the final GCSE grade.

Where does this Course lead?

This course is a perfect introduction to A Levels in English Language and/or English Literature.  It is a fully recognised qualification that can lead to entry into sixth forms, colleges and universities.

Visits / Coursework / Specialist Requirements

Students will need to read widely to develop their reading skills and to keep up with homework tasks. 

How Parents can help

Parents/carers will need to encourage students to read extensively and in a range of genres and also to support students in their homework.

Assessment

Two compulsory exams.

Guides / Support Materials / Websites

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700

ENGLISH literature GCSE

English Curriculum Leader: Mr R Lewis
rlewis@buckinghamschool.org

Course Content

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel
Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
64 marks
40% of GCSE

Two extended questions; one on a Shakespeare play and the second on the 19th century novel. Both texts will be studied in detail in class with the students.

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry
Written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes
96 marks
60% of GCSE

Three extended questions; one on a modern text that students will read and study before the exam, a second on an anthology of poetry that students will also have studied and the final question will be on an unseen poem.

Where does this Course lead?

This course is a perfect introduction to A Levels in English Language and/or English Literature.  It is a fully recognised qualification that can lead to entry into sixth forms, colleges and universities.

Visits / Coursework / Specialist Requirements 

Students will need to read their chosen texts.

Students will need to buy copies of the texts for students to explore and study and also support students in their homework.

Assessment

Two compulsory exams.

Guides / Support Materials / Websites

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-literature-8702

mATHEMATICS GCSE 

Mathematics Curriculum Leader: Ms H Beach
hbeach@buckinghamschool.org

Course Content

The course will cover the following content headings:

1. Number
2. Algebra
3. Ratio, proportion and rates of change
4. Geometry and measures 
5. Probability
6. Statistics

Where does this Course lead?

GCSE qualification in Mathematics  

Progression routes will suit individual abilities and needs. 

The GCSE will form a basic requirement for entry to either college or school based courses, including  ‘A' Levels that aren’t necessarily maths and other more vocational courses .  A ‘pass’ in GCSE Mathematics will be a requirement for almost all job applications. 

How Parents can help

Parents can help by making sure students come to lessons properly equipped. Parents can also keep track of homework tasks listed on Google Classroom and encourage students to consolidate their classwork at home.

Assessment

There are three assessment objectives:

AO1 - Use and apply standard techniques

Students should be able to: 

  •  accurately recall facts, terminology and definitions 
  •  use and interpret notation correctly 
  •  accurately carry out routine procedures or set tasks requiring multi-step solutions

AO2 - Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically

Students should be able to: 

  • make deductions, inferences and draw conclusions from  mathematical information 
  • construct chains of reasoning to achieve a given result 
  • interpret and communicate information accurately 
  • present arguments and proofs 
  • assess the validity of an argument and critically evaluate a given way of presenting information

AO3 - Solve problems within mathematics and in other contexts 

Students should be able to: 

  • translate problems in mathematical or non-mathematical contexts into a process or a series of mathematical processes 
  • make and use connections between different parts of mathematics 
  • interpret results in the context of the given problem 
  • evaluate methods used and results obtained 
  • evaluate solutions to identify how they may have been affected by assumptions made

Students will be assessed at the end of the two year period. Three written terminal papers will be taken, two calculator papers and one non- calculator paper. The exam board used is Pearson Edexcel. All papers are of equal weighting, each paper carries 80 marks, giving a total of 240. All 3 papers are 1 hour and 30 minutes long. There are two tiers of entry, Foundation and Higher. Foundation Tier allows students to access grades 1 to 5. The Higher Tier enables access to grades 5 to 9. Decisions on Tier of entry will be made in Year 11.

SCIENCE - tHE Pathways 

Science Curriculum Leader:  Ms S Rodrigues
srodrigues@buckinghamschool.org

Key Stage 4 Information regarding Pathways available in Science  

Science is a core subject, so all students must follow a Science course as part of their Key Stage 4 curriculum, as this is a national expectation.

 At The Buckingham School you have to do one of the following:

  • Combined Science – you will study Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics as a combined subject. Your final grade will be a double grade, worth two GCSEs.
  • Separate Sciences (OPTION) - you will study Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics as well, but as separate subjects. Each subject will be awarded a grade, which means you will end up with three GCSEs.

Separate Sciences is an academically demanding course. We will support student requests to study Separate Science using the following pieces of information:

  • KS2 English and Maths data;
  • KS3 Science data, including all end of unit tests, assessment tasks and homework tasks;
  • Professional discussions with previous Science teachers in order to gather information regarding, among other things, engagement in lessons, attitude to learning and completion of challenge tasks.

It is expected that students who start on the path towards Separate Sciences from the beginning of Year 10 remain on this pathway throughout Years 10 -11. This is because it forms one of their option choices. 

COMBINED SCIENCE

Science Curriculum Leader:  Ms S Rodrigues
srodrigues@buckinghamschool.org

Course Content

This course is designed for the majority of our students. It gives students opportunities to progress onto STEM careers, as well as giving them valuable insight into real-life science applications. Students will study Biology, Chemistry and Physics units.  Science at Buckingham School is taught with a heavy emphasis on practical work and so students should expect to carry out multiple practical activities for each unit. 

On successful completion of this course, students will achieve two GCSEs in Combined Science.

Where does this Course lead?

This course sets students up well to continue studying science at Key Stage 5. Depending on the students’ attainment, they would be able to follow either vocational (BTEC) and/or academic (A-Level) routes. 

Visits / Coursework / Specialist Requirements

There are no longer coursework components to Science GCSEs, however, the students will be carrying out specific practicals throughout their course that they will be expected to write about during their examinations.  

How Parents can help

Parents/carers may wish to consider purchasing a good revision guide specific to the new AQA GCSE Combined Science specification (9-1). Suitable revision guides will be available from Reprographics throughout the year. It is our intention that all of our students have access to past examination papers.

Assessment

This is a linear course and therefore all of the students’ exams are sat in the Summer of Year 11, although progress will be monitored through formative and summative internal assessments throughout the course.

Guides / Support Materials / Websites

Excellent revision guides are available from both AQA and Collins publishers. Students will be made aware of how they can access these resources through their class teachers.

GCSE Bitesize online offers a variety of support activities to support revision and exam preparation.

http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/AQA-KS4-SCIENCE-COMP-GUIDE.PDF

Personal Development (PSHE) and Enrichment

Personal Development Curriculum Leader:  Mrs C McKeown
cmckeown@buckinghamschool.org

Course Content

PSHE stands for personal, social and health education.  Within this course, the following things will be covered throughout KS4:

  • Health and Wellbeing – including physical, mental and social health
  • Relationships – including sex education
  • Living in the Wider World – including financial capability

Enrichment covers topics such as: careers, finance and study skills.

Where does this Course lead?

Personal Development (PSHE) in KS4 allows students to further develop their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of themes, as well as consider how a variety of topics impact others. Personal Development is not externally assessed but rather designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, safe, successful and purposeful lives. Students are able to share their views and opinions, and become more self-confident both in and outside of the classroom.  Personal Development  forms an integral part of our commitment to developing our students holistically, and gives  students an understanding of our school virtues (ambition, curiosity, confidence, empathy, resilience, respect and integrity) and how to demonstrate these.

Enrichment allows students to explore a variety of different topics and enables students to develop their skills, broaden their experiences and prepare them for future success.

Visits / Coursework / Specialist Requirements

There are opportunities throughout the duration of KS4 but no specialist requirements exist. 

How parents/carers can help 

Discuss the topics  covered in the PSHE curriculum with your child, including extended learning tasks.
Discuss current affairs and news articles with your child.
Discuss their aspirations and life goals with them, including choice of possible career.

Assessment

Assessment will be internal and not externally awarded.

Guides / Support Materials / Websites

PSHE Association