The Fourth Form at St John’s is an introductory year that offers pupils                         A summary of the subject options are listed below.
a broad range of subjects. The two years of the Fifth Form become
more significant as pupils narrow down their subject choices, laying the                        Core subjects (studied by all pupils):
foundations for A level study.                                                                  • English language
                                                                                                • English literature
At GCSE level, all pupils will study English language and literature, and
                                                                                                • Mathematics
mathematics. Biology, chemistry and physics are also obligatory with
                                                                                                • Science (Biology, Chemistry & Physics) either as dual award (two
pupils having the choice between taking them as individual GCSEs or as
                                                                                                  GCSEs) or triple award (three GCSEs)
a Dual Science award GCSE. Pupils then select an additional five options
to study alongside these core subjects. Opting for individual sciences                          Optional subjects (of which five are chosen):
counts as one of these choices, meaning four other subjects can be
chosen by pupils who follow this route. These choices will make up a                            Please note that pupils wishing to study triple science must choose
total of ten GCSEs for all pupils.                                                              science as one of their five options.

The expectation is that pupils will look to choose options that provide                         •   Art and design
a balance between modern languages, humanities and creative,                                    •   Classical civilisation
performance or design-based subjects. Modern languages are not                                  •   Classical Greek
obligatory but it is envisaged that most pupils will study a language and                       •   Computer science
the top linguists will look to study two.                                                       •   Design and engineering
                                                                                                •   Drama
It should be noted that not all subject combinations can be guaranteed                          •   French
but we do aim wherever possible to meet all requests for option                                 •   German
combinations that are made by the February deadline.                                            •   Geography
                                                                                                •   History
                                                                                                •   Latin
                                                                                                •   Music
                                                                                                •   Religious studies
                                                                                                •   Science (as triple award)
                                                                                                •   Spanish
                                                                                                •   Sports science

      GCSE COURSES                 FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS       OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
How and when do I decide which subjects to study?                                                     careers in the creative arts to specialise early on. However, a humanity is
It is wise for pupils to select subjects that they enjoy as they are more likely                      among most pupils’ final choices, not only because the subjects themselves
to want to give more time to these and therefore will probably be more                                are popular, but also because of the skills they develop, which are favoured
successful in them. The move away from AS levels means that GCSE grades                               by universities and employers.
will become a key part of university applications. Achieving the best grade
profile at the end of the Upper Fifth will therefore be very important.                               Should I choose dual or triple science?
                                                                                                      The system has been devised to afford flexibility to pupils in their GCSE
Pupils should also consider strengths and weaknesses when making final
                                                                                                      choices. Dual science gives pupils more breadth in terms of subject choices.
choices. Studying 10 subjects to GCSE level can be challenging and playing to
                                                                                                      Triple science involves more content being covered and so the subjects are
strengths will help to ensure success across subjects.
                                                                                                      studied in greater depth. Both options allow for pupils to study sciences at
The deadline for subject choices is 28 February 2019.                                                 A level and both options are held in the same regard academically.

Are some subjects more valued than others?                                                            How does the grading work?
All subjects are highly valued and a balanced profile which demonstrates                              A new grading system began in 2017 for some subjects and by the summer
creative, linguistic, scientific and mathematical skills will impress. It is unlikely                 of 2019 all GCSEs and IGCSEs will be graded from 9 to 1, moving away
that GCSE subject choices will preclude any pupil from any future courses                             from the A* to G system that was in place. The new grades are being
but advice should be sought from tutors, Housemasters/mistresses and                                  brought in to signal that GCSEs and IGCSEs have been reformed and to
teachers if in doubt.                                                                                 better differentiate between pupils of different abilities.

                                                                                                      The expectation is that there will be fewer 9 grades awarded than there
Do I have to do some subjects if I have a particular career in mind?                                  were A* grades with the previous grading system. The table below details
Through its core subjects, St John’s ensures that, to a certain extent, pupils                        what the grades equate to in comparison to the previous system.
keep their options open and do not make choices which preclude any pupil
from further study in any specific areas. This said, if architecture is being                          New grading structure   9    8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1   U
considered, it is advisable to study at least one of fine art and design and                           Old grading structure       A*   A       B   C   D E F G     U
engineering. Design and engineering is also useful for engineers (but is rarely
compulsory). Again, advice should be sought if in doubt.                                              If you have further questions, please contact Will Turner, Deputy Head
                                                                                                      (Academic): WTurner@stjohns.surrey.sch.uk
Should I study a humanity?
We do not insist that pupils study a humanity subject (history, geography,
religious studies) as this allows very creative pupils who intend to follow

      GCSE COURSES                     FAQS
                                       FAQs                   CORE SUBJECTS             OPTIONAL SUBJECTS






                            CORE SUBJECTS   OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MISS KM SYMES-THOMPSON                                                             revising examination techniques and practising past papers in preparation
                                                                                                       for the summer examination.
Examination Board: Edexcel

The two-year IGCSE English language course is designed to build on the                                 THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
groundwork of the Fourth Form curriculum to cover a basic working                                      The IGCSE English language course comprises:
knowledge of English-based skills, focussing on reading and writing;                                   • a single examination of 2 hours and 15 minutes (60% of the final
speaking and listening is also assessed as a supplementary endorsement.                                  mark);
English language is taught in parallel with English literature and it is                               • two pieces of written coursework (40%);
expected that by the end of the course each pupil will achieve GCSEs in
two separate qualifications - English language and English literature. At                              Marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) in this
the start of each half term, pupils will also sit spelling and literacy tests to                       subject.
ensure that these fundamental skills are revised and improved.
                                                                                                       We also offer The Spoken Language Endorsement, which is an extra,
LOWER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                       optional qualification. It comprises of one presentation lasting up to
In the Lower Fifth, pupils are introduced to the format of the examination.                            10 minutes. Pupils will be awarded a grade: unclassified, pass, merit,
They practise responding to unseen passages in preparation for Section                                 distinction.
A of the examination. In addition, they study the first five passages
from an anthology of non-fiction excerpts. They also complete the two                                  WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
coursework tasks: a piece of imaginative writing and a comparative                                     English language is a discursive and creative subject and so naturally
written response on a short story and poem taken from the Edexecel                                     complements those subjects that involve a similar focus on creativity and
Anthology. The summer examination, which is modelled on elements                                       discussion such as history, drama, religious studies and classical civilisation.
of the Edexcel IGCSE English paper, tests pupils’ knowledge and                                        At the same time, the close analysis of language that the subject demands
understanding of the course to date.                                                                   makes it a natural companion to classics and modern foreign languages.

In the Upper Fifth, pupils continue to practise their reading and writing
skills in preparation for the final assessment in the summer, including
sitting a full practice paper in November. There is a sustained focus on

      GCSE COURSES                   FAQS                  CORE SUBJECTS
                                                           CORE SUBJECTS           OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MISS KM SYMES-THOMPSON                                                           THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                     The IGCSE English literature course comprises:
Examination Board: Edexcel
                                                                                                     A single examination of 2 hours, worth 60% of the final mark; and two
Over the two-year English literature course, we aim to explore the                                   pieces of written coursework, worth 40% of the final mark.
worlds of literature and the imagination, while consolidating and
extending the literacy skills of all pupils. Independent reading, debate and                         WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
critical discussion are actively encouraged throughout the course.                                   English literature encourages discussion and debate, as well as close
                                                                                                     textual analysis. As such, it complements the study of subjects with a
LOWER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                     similarly discursive and analytical focus including history, drama, religious
In the Lower Fifth, pupils will begin by studying their set modern prose                             studies, classics and modern foreign languages.
text. The summer examination will test pupils on this novel as well as their
ability to analyse an unseen poem and compare two poems that they will
have studied from the Edexcel IGCSE anthology. There are 16 poems on
this list, most of which we will teach in the first year of study. Pupils will
be tested on their knowledge and understanding of the texts through
regular internal assessments.

In the Upper Fifth, pupils will complete both of their literature
courseworks. Their first coursework task is based on the study of a
modern play and their second is a written response to a play by William
Shakespeare, showing an understanding of the relationship between
a text and its context. They will study the remaining poems from the
anthology and continue to revise the set texts in preparation for the final
assessment in summer, including sitting a practice paper. There will be a
sustained focus on revising examination techniques and practising past
papers in preparation for the summer examination.

      GCSE COURSES                  FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS
                                                         CORE SUBJECTS           OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

ACTING HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MISS FMC HYDE                                                         THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                 Assessment takes the form of two 2 hour written papers both allowing
Examination Board: Edexcel
                                                                                                 the use of a calculator. The total number of marks for each paper is 100.
Confidence in the use of numbers is an essential skill for everyday life.                        Assessment objectives
Mathematics also teaches you to think logically, approach problems
from many different directions and analyse information effectively. A                            AO1: demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in number and
qualification in mathematics is a key requirement for many jobs, but even                        algebra:
if your career path is not directly linked to mathematics, you will learn
                                                                                                 •   numbers and the numbering system
many important skills that are highly valued in the workplace. The course
                                                                                                 •   calculations
aims to develop knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts
                                                                                                 •   solving numerical problems
and techniques, instil an enjoyment and confidence in using and applying
                                                                                                 •   equations, formulae and identities
these to solve problems and to ingrain a foundation of mathematical skills
                                                                                                 •   sequences, functions and graphs
for further study in the subject or related areas.
                                                                                                 AO2: demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in shape, space
NUMBER AND ALGEBRA                                                                               and measures:
The number and algebra unit includes number system, calculations,
solving numerical problems, equations, formulae and identities, sequences,                       • geometry
functions, graphs, set theory, calculus and quadratics.                                          • vectors and transformation geometry

                                                                                                 AO3: demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in handling data:
The geometry and measure unit involves geometrical reasoning,                                    • statistics
transformations and coordinates, measures and constructions, Pythagoras,
and trigonometry and vectors.                                                                    WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
                                                                                                 As a core subject, mathematics is a good accompaniment to many A
PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS                                                                       level subjects. In particular, mathematics will support the further study of
The probability and statistics unit involves representing and processing                         physics, chemistry, economics and business studies.
data, histograms, measures of spread and probability.

      GCSE COURSES                 FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS
                                                        CORE SUBJECTS        OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF BIOLOGY: MRS AM ABBOTT                                                                        Physics: forces in motion, electricity, waves, energy resources and energy
HEAD OF CHEMISTRY: MR JEL COOTE                                                                       transfer, solids, liquids and gases, magnetism and electromagnetism,
                                                                                                      radioactivity and particles.
                                                                                                      The examination will consist of three 2 hour papers, one for each of the
Examination Board: Edexcel IGCSE
                                                                                                      three sciences.
Two Edexcel programmes are followed at St John’s. The first option is
the IGCSE in Science (Double Award), which constitutes two IGCSE                                      SEPARATE SCIENCES
grades. The second is the individual science route leading to three IGCSE                             Pupils who are eager to study sciences in greater depth can choose to
examination grades (one in each of biology, chemistry and physics).                                   study biology, chemistry and physics as single certificates. They will have a
Whatever programme pupils follow, they will be stretched and stimulated                               total of 20 periods per fortnight, across the three sciences. This will lead
and will gain a clear understanding of science and its relevance to the                               to three separate IGCSEs. The content of these courses is as given above
modern world. Pupils will gain practical skills, develop their numerical skills                       but, in addition, there is a paper of extension material, which covers wider
and have a grounding in scientific theory suitable for further study. Both                            aspects of each subject. Pupils wishing to study science at A level and
options allow for pupils to study sciences at A level and both options are                            those with an interest in pursuing scientific careers, including medicine
held in the same regard academically.                                                                 and engineering, will benefit from this additional exposure.

                                                                                                      The examination for each subject will consist of a 2 hour paper as above
DOUBLE AWARD                                                                                          and a 1 hour 15 minute paper which includes extension material.
Pupils have 12 lessons a fortnight, shared between biology, chemistry and
physics, these lead to two separate IGCSE grades.                                                     WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
Biology: the nature and variety of living organisms, the structures and                               While the separate sciences provide a wider coverage, and are thus highly
functions in living organisms, reproduction and inheritance, ecology and                              suitable for those wishing to continue their studies in science to A level, a
the environment, use of biological resources.                                                         pupil who performs well in double award will still be suitably prepared to
                                                                                                      study one or more science subjects at A level.
Chemistry: principles of chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry
and organic chemistry.

      GCSE COURSES                   FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS
                                                          CORE SUBJECTS           OPTIONAL SUBJECTS















                                                OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MRS JV LANE                                                                    • The Roman home and members of the Roman family
                                                                                                   • Roman society including citizenship, slavery and politics
Examination Board: OCR
                                                                                                   • Leisure and entertainment including features of the colosseum and the
                                                                                                     circus maximus and the political purposes behind entertainment.
GCSE classical civilisation covers a diverse and fascinating range of topics
                                                                                                   • Roman theatre
within the classical world. The course offers pupils the opportunity to
                                                                                                   • Roman baths
study elements of the literature and visual/material culture of the ancient
world and acquire an understanding of their social, historical and cultural
contexts.                                                                                          THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                   Pupils sit two examinations at the end of the Upper Fifth. Each
                                                                                                   examination is worth 90 marks and lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes. The
                                                                                                   question paper will consist both of short answer and extended response
Unit 1 - Mythology and Religion (50% of GCSE)
                                                                                                   questions. Pupils will be required to respond to both literary and visual/
Topics covered include:                                                                            material sources, some of which will be unseen and some from the
                                                                                                   prescribed material which pupils have studied during the course.
•   Gods
•   The universal hero: Heracles/Hercules                                                          In the Unit 1 paper, pupils will also be asked to compare two ancient
•   Religion and the city: Temples                                                                 sources: one Greek, one Roman.
•   Myth and the city: foundation stories
•   Festivals                                                                                      WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
•   Myths and symbols of power                                                                     A GCSE in classical civilisation develops important skills in reading
•   Death and burial                                                                               complex texts, extracting key information, and developing a response
•   Journeying to the underworld                                                                   in writing. It is excellent preparation for A levels in classical civilisation,
                                                                                                   English, history, and any other essay-based subject.
Unit 2 - Roman City Life (50% of GCSE)

Topics covered include:

• Roman housing

      GCSE COURSES                  FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS         OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                               OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MRS JV LANE                                                                    THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                   Three written examinations:
Examination Board: OCR
                                                                                                   Greek language (1 hour 30 minutes), involving a combination of
Classical Greek is the study of the language and literature of the ancient                         translation and comprehension questions from Greek, and some basic
Greeks, whose culture exerted a profound influence on the western                                  questions on grammar.
world. It is a highly prestigious academic subject, which trains mental
rigour and precision throughout one’s studies, develops core linguistic                            Two literature papers (1 hour each), involving a number of
skills and knowledge transferrable to many other languages; it allows                              comprehension and discussion questions about the previously prepared
pupils to study and discuss original Greek literature first written two and                        set texts.
a half millennia ago.
                                                                                                   WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
LOWER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                   Greek is a challenging subject, ideal for strong linguists and academics
The classical Greek course is an intensive language course for strong                              who wish to stretch themselves in their GCSEs. Strong, self-directed
academics and linguists who have flourished in the Fourth Form Greek                               learning is essential, but those who undertake the challenge will find it
course. In the Lower Fifth year, pupils will continue their progress                               hugely rewarding. There is a natural crossover with Latin, and the two
of grammatical understanding through language lessons. From the                                    subjects are often seen as markers of academic excellence. A level
second half of the year, they will begin to meet and discuss original                              choices within classics are common beyond GCSE and the skills learned
Greek literature. Pupils will prepare the first of two set texts: prepared                         are also excellent preparation for a wide range of other academic
translations of short extracts from Herodotus’ Histories, about which                              subjects, including modern languages, English, history, mathematics, and the
they will answer questions in the GCSE examination.                                                sciences.

In the first half of the Upper Fifth, pupils translate the second of two set
texts, short extracts from Homer’s Iliad, while meeting the final linguistic
features of the Greek language. After this, pupils focus on perfecting their
knowledge of the vocabulary list, and developing the necessary skills to
score highly in the GCSE examinations. Pupils have a considerable period
in which to consolidate their linguistic knowledge.

      GCSE COURSES                  FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS         OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                               OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MR AG SMITH                                                                     TOPIC 2 - THEORETICAL CONTENT (50% OF GCSE)
                                                                                                    1. Fundamentals of computer networks
Examination Board: AQA                                                                              2. Fundamentals of cyber security
                                                                                                    3. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society,
The Computer Science course is a union of scientific and mathematical thinking and has                 including issues of privacy
a growing reputation for rigour. In addition to its own merits, it also provides an excellent       4. Aspects of software development
preparation for A level computing. The course to be followed is the GCSE offered by
AQA and this is detailed below but one of the key features that makes this course
                                                                                                    TOPIC 3 - PROGRAMMING PROJECT
appealing is the non-assessed task, allowing pupils to implement their own code to solve
                                                                                                    A programming project which deals with problem solving. Pupils will be given a task
a problem.
                                                                                                    and are expected to spend up to 20 hours of lesson time implementing and testing a
The course builds upon the most popular aspects of current computing specifications                 programme.
and adds fresh features, including computational thinking, to provide an academically
challenging programme of study for pupils of all ability levels.                                    THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                    The assessment is via two examinations, each lasting 1 hour 30 minutes, worth 90 marks.
PUPILS WILL:                                                                                        The project is completed in class during the course and does not count towards the final
• Develop an understanding of current and emerging technologies and how they work;                  grade.
• Look at the use of algorithms in computer programmes, including searching and
  sorting algorithms;                                                                               WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
• Acquire and apply creative and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of                   An interesting and challenging subject in its own right, computing is considered a science
  computing in a range of contexts;                                                                 and, as such, success at GCSE level demonstrates excellent analytical and problem-solving
• Develop computer programmes to solve problems;                                                    skills. It is a good precursor (but by no means a necessary prerequisite) for the study of
• Evaluate the effectiveness of computer programmes/solutions and the impact of                     physics, mathematics and computer science.
  computer technology in society.
                                                                                                    The increasing importance of digital computing technologies means there will be a
WHAT IS COVERED                                                                                     growing demand for professionals who are qualified in this area. In this respect, the
                                                                                                    course will make an excellent preparation for pupils who want to study or work in
TOPIC 1 - COMPUTATIONAL THINKING (50% OF GCSE)                                                      areas that rely on these skills, especially where they are applied to technical problems.
1. Fundamentals of algorithms                                                                       These areas include robotics, AI, financial, science and medicine and a broad range of
2. Programming (chosen languages are python and UbiNet)                                             engineering disciplines.
3. Fundamentals of data representation
4. Computer systems

      GCSE COURSES                     FAQS                    CORE SUBJECTS            OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                        OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MR J WARD                                                                       THE ITERATIVE DESIGN CHALLENGE (NEA)
                                                                                                    50% of total GCSE
Examination Board: OCR
                                                                                                    The Iterative Design Challenge is a single project which represents 50% of the
Design and engineering is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject which                        course. It requires pupils to demonstrate their ability and to draw together
excites and engages pupils. All pupils are required to build in-depth knowledge,                    their knowledge and understanding from across the course. Pupils interpret
understanding and skills which relate to a broad range of material areas. In                        and respond to open-ended real wporld challenges which offer starting points
addition, some may choose to focus on the principles of design engineering if                       to explore and consider in relation to their subject interests. At the heart of
they have an interest in electronic and mechanical systems and control.                             the challenge are the three interrelated processes, requiring pupils to exploring
                                                                                                    needs, creating solutions and evaluating how well the needs have been met.
This course generates empathetic learners who have the ability to confidently critique
products, situations and society in every walk of their lives now and in the future. Pupils         Pupils’ understanding of ‘core’ and ‘in-depth’ knowledge represents 50% of the
are required to use critical thinking leading towards invention and design innovation, in           marks available. In the written paper, pupils are required to demonstrate their
order to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems. This course              deeper understanding in relation to their main area of learning, be it a main
aims to emulate real-world practices and strategies used by the creative, engineering               material area or design engineering. A minimum of 15% of the paper will assess
and manufacturing industries, drawing on research done by a team from the Faculty of                the pupils’ applied mathematical skills.
Education and the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.
                                                                                                    WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
The content of the course can be summarised by eight topic areas:
•   Identifying requirements                                                                        GCSE design and engineering is an ideal preparation for A level study of the
•   Learning from existing products and practice                                                    subject. Pupils who excel often go on to study the following types of courses at
•   Implications of wider issues                                                                    university: The wide range of engineering courses which are available, Product
•   Design thinking and communication                                                               Design and Industrial Design (and similar courses), courses related to the
•   Material considerations                                                                         automotive or construction industries, or architecture.
•   Technical understanding
•   Manufacturing processes and techniques
•   Viability of design solutions

      GCSE COURSES                     FAQS                   CORE SUBJECTS             OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                        OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MR JR GARBETT                                                                     THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                      The course is assessed through a written examination paper and two practical
Examination Board: Edexcel                                                                            examinations.

Drama encourages and nurtures pupils through direct personal expression to expand
                                                                                                      UNIT 1 - DEVISING
their creativity, hone their analytical abilities, develop their performance skills and explore
                                                                                                      60 marks - 40% of the GCSE. Internally assessed and externally moderated. This unit
their imagination. Drama is a skill that can be learned, hence the pursuit of high standards
                                                                                                      requires pupils to devise and perform their own piece of original theatre created from
in creating and performing without losing the sense of playfulness is at the core of our
                                                                                                      a stimulus. Pupils must also create a written portfolio that assesses the creation and
teaching and learning. We put great emphasis on the enjoyment of learning performance,
                                                                                                      development of the performance piece.
devising skills and developing technical awareness and competence. As a result, pupils
not only develop a greater cultural awareness, but also develop the self-confidence to
directly address the wider world.                                                                     UNIT 2 - PERFORMANCE FROM TEXT
                                                                                                      48 marks - 20% of the GCSE. Externally assessed by a visiting examiner and externally
Trips to the theatre are compulsory and an integral part of the course. They deepen                   moderated. Pupils will either perform in and/or design for two key extracts from a
pupils’ awareness of the theatre as a site of production and reception, and pupils are                performance text. Performer or designer routes available.
given the opportunity to evaluate the complex relationship between the two. We ask for
a contribution of around £30 for each of these trips.                                                 UNIT 3 - THEATRE MAKERS IN PRACTICE
                                                                                                      60 marks - 40% of the GCSE. Written examination of 1 hour and 30 minutes. The
LOWER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                      written examination will require a response to the study of one complete performance
In the Lower Fifth year, pupils will be introduced to the fundamental skills required                 text and a response to a live theatre evaluation.
to excel at GCSE drama. During the course of study, pupils are expected to engage
maturely with complex texts, to make connections across different times, places and                   WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
cultures, and to communicate this learning through practical assignments. Time is taken               GCSE drama could lead on to further study in drama, theatre studies, performing arts
to build the necessary confidence in performance. Pupils will create an original piece of             and expressive arts at A level and above, or other related subjects such as English, music,
theatre devised from a stimulus.                                                                      dance, art and design. Career opportunities for pupils who study drama at a higher level
                                                                                                      include: the media, theatre, television, radio, the film industry, arts administration, drama
UPPER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                      therapy, and education.
In the Upper Fifth year, pupils will hone and perfect the skills that they have learned from
the previous year. They will deliver two extracts from a published play for performance
as a piece of scripted drama. Pupils will also learn how to reflect upon and evaluate the
quality of their process and their final performance.

      GCSE COURSES                      FAQS                    CORE SUBJECTS             OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                          OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

ACTING HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MISS SL EMBLEM                                                      past examination themed paper. This will help the pupils gain an understanding
                                                                                               of the examination process and the duration of a set examination (eight weeks
Examination Board: AQA
                                                                                               preparation.) Pupils will learn how to develop their support portfolio before
                                                                                               making a standalone piece in a 10 hour mock examination. The fifth term is
Fine art is both a form of communication and a means of expression of
                                                                                               taken up by the externally set assignment and the pupils will be given eight
ideas and feelings. It is a language which complements those of the literary,
                                                                                               weeks to develop their ideas before a 10 hour examination.
mathematical, scientific and factually based subjects, and is especially concerned
with the development of those complex mental processes involved in visual
perception and aesthetic experience.                                                           THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                               The GCSE assessment is in two parts.
The syllabus has been devised to combine the necessary breadth and depth
of study with the freedom of choice required to accommodate a wide range                       ASSESSMENT 1 - CANDIDATE PORTFOLIO (60%)
of abilities and material requirements. The pupils will cover a combination of                 The tasks are set by the Art Department to embrace and challenge thematic
methods and genres from the following disciplines: drawing, installation, lens/light-          briefs to be developed by the pupil from a personal perspective. The portfolio
based media, mixed media, land art, printing, painting and sculpture.                          must be selected and presented by the pupil and based on work undertaken
                                                                                               within the course over three separate projects, and provide evidence of how the
COURSE WORK - TAUGHT OVER FOUR TERMS                                                           candidate has met each of the assessment objectives.
• ‘Still Life’ will cover all the different possibilities and artistic skills needed for       ASSESSMENT 2 - EXTERNALLY SET ASSIGNMENT (40%)
  the two year course. This will include drawing, printing, painting, sculpture as             The examination project should elicit a personal response from the pupil in
  well as compositional skills (one term).                                                     relation to the thematic brief set by the examination board. It should enable
• Individually chosen themes will help prepare pupils to challenge new concepts                pupils to provide evidence of how they have met each of the assessment
  and stretch their contextualisation skills in relation to their art. This will               objectives, and provide a sustained period of focussed study of no longer than
  encourage divergent thinking and analysis of what they want their art work to                10 hours.
  convey in terms of meaning (two terms).
                                                                                               WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
TOPICS: PAST EXAMINATION PAPER AND THE EXTERNALLY SET                                          This naturally leads to art A level and in the past few years, pupils have gone on
ASSIGNMENT (ESA)                                                                               to attain places on numerous foundation courses, architecture courses, graphic
In the fourth term, the pupils will advance onto their art assessment work on a                design, photography and art history courses.

      GCSE COURSES                   FAQS                  CORE SUBJECTS           OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                   OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MR T HOWELL                                                                            •   Section A: Changing cities
                                                                                                           •   Section B: Global development
Examination Board: Edexcel                                                                                 •   Section C: Resource management. including energy resources.
                                                                                                           •   The examination includes multiple choice questions, short open, open response, calculations
The world is rapidly changing and the study of GCSE geography allows pupils to explore these                   and 8-mark extended writing questions.
changes and the reasons for them. Many contemporary issues in the world relate to geography,
such as environmental challenges, resource consumption and population pressures. This makes                COMPONENT 3: GEOGRAPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS: FIELDWORK AND UK
geography an exciting and engaging course to study, drawing regularly on current issues and events         CHALLENGES. (25% OF GCSE)
in the world.                                                                                              1 hour 30 minute written examination

We currently offer the Edexcel GCSE A specification, which gives pupils the chance to learn about          This section covers the practical geographical skills that are essential for all GCSE geography pupils.
a broad range of geographical topics and develop key geographical skills. Geography is a popular           They gain an understanding of cartographic and graphical enquiry, Information Technology (IT) and
and successful subject at St John’s and many pupils also go on to take it at A level. The course is        geographical information systems (GIS) skills and expertise into how to apply them to geographical
divided into three different sections.                                                                     investigations. The pupils will undertake fieldwork related to two topics:

                                                                                                           •   Section A: Physical environments fieldwork - coasts
                                                                                                           •   Section B: Human environments fieldwork - urban
1 hour 30 minute written examination
                                                                                                           •   Section C: UK challenges - skills-based questions based around UK themes
This section covers the physical geography aspects of the natural world and the issues related to
                                                                                                           The examination includes multiple-choice, open-response, calculation, 8 mark and 12 mark
the environment. Pupils complete the following three topics:
                                                                                                           extended writing questions.
•   Section A: The changing landscapes of the UK. A choice of coastal or glacial landscapes.
•   Section B: Weather hazards and climate change
                                                                                                           Components 1-3 are reviewed and a structured revision programme takes place in the final term
•   Section C: Ecosystems, biodiversity and management
                                                                                                           of the Upper Fifth year.
The examination includes multiple-choice, open-response, calculation and 8-mark extended writing
questions.                                                                                                 THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                           It is externally assessed through three examinations lasting 1 hour 30 minutes, set and marked
COMPONENT 2: THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT (37.5% OF GCSE)                                                         by Edexcel. It is single tier entry and the papers will contain a variety of question types, such as
1 hour 30 minute written examination                                                                       multiple choice questions, short extended answer questions, graphical and data questions, and
                                                                                                           practical enquiry questions.
This section covers the human geography aspects of the world we live in and the issues related to
the people living on our planet. Pupils complete the following three topics:                               WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
                                                                                                           Geography spans the arts/science barrier and consequently it combines well with many subjects.

       GCSE COURSES                        FAQS                     CORE SUBJECTS              OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                               OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

Examination Board: Edexcel
                                                                                                    TOPIC 4 - CONFLICT, CHANGE AND CRISIS: CHINA, 1900-1989
The course analyses major political, social and economic developments                               The course addresses major change in Chinese society and government,
across Europe, North America and the Far East during the twentieth                                  from rule by the warlords, Japanese colonisation, civil war and Communist
century. It provides a rich appreciation of significant events and their                            revolution; it then follows changes in Communist rule from Mao’s reforms
impact in recent times. The course also develops the skills of extended                             to the introduction of capitalist economics.
writing and source analysis.
                                                                                                    THE IGCSE ASSESSMENT
TOPIC 1 - RUSSIA AND THE SOVIET UNION, 1905-1924                                                    Two examination papers:
The course addresses Tsarist rule in Russia and its collapse during the                             • Dictatorship and conflict in the USSR, 1924-1953 and A divided union:
First World War; it then focuses on the Bolshevik Revolution and how                                  civil rights in the USA, 1945-1974 (1 hour 30 minute examination, 50%
the Communists consolidated power through the civil war and the New                                   of the IGCSE)
Economic Policy.                                                                                    • Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905-1924 and Conflict, change and crisis:
                                                                                                      China, 1900-1989 (1 hour 30 minute examination, 50% of the IGCSE)
The course charts Communist rule in the Soviet Union following the                                  WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
death of Lenin and Stalin’s subsequent rise to power. Stalin’s rule is then                         Besides continuing with history to A level, this IGCSE complements other
examined in detail, including his industrialisation and agricultural policies                       subjects including English, politics and economics, plus modern foreign
and his purges. The topic finishes with Stalin’s death.                                             languages and geography.

The course follows the emergence of civil rights movements in the USA
post-1945, addressing the reasons for the movements and the roles
played by various groups and individuals, including presidents and civil
rights leaders. It also considers the extent of change that was brought

      GCSE COURSES                 FAQS                  CORE SUBJECTS          OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MRS JV LANE                                                                       THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                      Three written examinations:
Examination Board: OCR
                                                                                                      Latin language (1 hour 30 minutes), involving a combination of translation
Latin is the study of the language and literature of the ancient Romans,                              and comprehension questions from Latin along with some basic questions
whose culture profoundly shaped the western world. It is a prestigious                                on grammar. Two literature papers (1 hour each), involving a number of
academic subject that trains mental rigour and precision throughout                                   comprehension and discussion questions about the previously prepared
one’s studies, develops core linguistic skills and knowledge transferrable                            set texts.
to many other languages, and enables pupils to study and discuss original
Latin texts first written two millennia ago.                                                          WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
                                                                                                      Latin is a challenging subject, but one that is highly rewarding for any
LOWER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                      pupil who is willing to put in the necessary time learning vocabulary
Pupils will continue with GCSE language grammar using Cambridge                                       and set texts. There is a natural crossover with classical Greek, and the
Latin Course Books 3-4. In the second half of the year, pupils will also                              two subjects are often seen as markers of academic excellence. A level
meet their first taste of Latin literature. In lessons, pupils will prepare the                       choices within the range of classical subjects are common beyond GCSE,
first of two ‘set texts’: prepared translations of short extracts from the                            and the skills learned are also excellent preparation for a wide range
Cambridge Latin anthology about which they will answer questions in the                               of other academic subjects, including modern languages, English, history,
GCSE examination.                                                                                     mathematics and the sciences.

In the first half of the Upper Fifth, pupils translate the second of the
two set texts, extracts from Virgil’s Aeneid IV, while continuing to study
the core features of the Latin language using Cambridge Latin Course
Book 2. After this, pupils will focus on perfecting their knowledge of the
vocabulary list, and developing the necessary skills to score highly in the
GCSE examinations.

      GCSE COURSES                   FAQS                  CORE SUBJECTS          OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                  OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MISS LCM ELLIOTT                                                                •   Home and abroad
                                                                                                    •   Education and employment
Examination Board: Edexcel
                                                                                                    •   Personal life and relationships
                                                                                                    •   The world around us
Learning a foreign language is a skill for life. It is a real asset in our
                                                                                                    •   Social activities, fitness and health
multicultural society and is increasingly important in the commercial
world. In learning a modern foreign language, not only will pupils open                             Lessons are fast-paced and active, incorporating all four skills with a
doors to discover other cultures but they will develop their overall                                variety of reading, listening, writing and speaking tasks. Pupils will be asked
literacy and communication skills, which will assist them in all areas of the                       to participate fully in order to develop spontaneity and confidence in
curriculum.                                                                                         communication. In order to achieve success in any language pupils must
                                                                                                    develop a wide range of vocabulary, a sound ability to convey information
In their chosen language(s), pupils will gain confidence in speaking, writing
                                                                                                    clearly when speaking and writing, a very good understanding of tense
and understanding the language while discovering and appreciating the
                                                                                                    formation and high-level communication strategies. Pupils will also have
native cultures and ways of thinking. They will be challenged intellectually
                                                                                                    conversation sessions with a foreign language assistant.
and culturally, questioning how best we communicate with each other in
our increasingly global community.                                                                  See next page for subject specifics.
We believe that this IGCSE course produces a greater depth of linguistic
expertise and prepares our pupils for a smoother transition between                                 WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
IGCSE and A level.                                                                                  Languages complement all other subjects but particularly strengthen
                                                                                                    literary skills. They therefore combine particularly well with any humanity
The Edexcel IGCSE examination is wholly assessed externally and                                     subject. It is also advisable to study more than one language, as the
comprises three papers that are all taken at the end of the Upper Fifth                             direct links between languages help the learning process. Languages are a
year:                                                                                               versatile A level option and can be study in single or combined-honours
                                                                                                    degree programmes.
• Paper 1 - Listening (25%)
• Paper 2 - Reading and writing (50%)
• Paper 3 - Speaking (25%)

The Edexcel examination board is centred on five key topic areas for
IGCSE. These include:

      GCSE COURSES                  FAQS                  CORE SUBJECTS         OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

FRENCH                                                      GERMAN                                               SPANISH

HEAD OF FRENCH: MRS N BYRNE                                 HEAD OF GERMAN: MRS T BATESON                        HEAD OF SPANISH: MISS LCM ELLIOTT

With approximately 100 million native speakers              German is the most commonly spoken language          Spanish is a relatively simple language. Its
and 300 million secondary speakers, the                     in the EU (100 million people). It is an official    pronunciation and spelling are straightforward
significance of French as a world language is               language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland,           and can be mastered after one lesson, as
considerable. French is spoken in 55 countries              Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and even Namibia.           Spanish is totally phonetic. Many scientific
and is the only language other than English to              German also plays an important role as a             studies have proved that dyslexic learners in
be spoken on five continents, making it truly               foreign language in many countries, particularly     particular have most success mastering this
global. Its influence on English over the years             in Central and Eastern Europe, and is the            language. Spanish grammar is also relatively
has been great; studying French involves many               second-most commonly used scientific language.       straightforward as it is, after all, an extremely
words that learners already recognise but it also                                                                simplified form of Latin with only two genders
enriches their knowledge of English grammar                 However, the main criterion of the usefulness        and no declensions for nouns. Spanish is also
and vocabulary.                                             of any language is not the total number of           invaluable in our modern world. There are
                                                            speakers, but the economic significance of the       currently over 450 million Spanish speakers,
Whether learners choose to study French for                 countries in which it is spoken relative to our      making Spanish the second most important
cultural reasons (France has the world’s largest            own. Germany has the strongest economy in            international language, and it is the official
number of Nobel Prize winners for literature),              Europe and fourth largest in the world. It is also   language of 21 countries. Latin American
for travel (more tourists visit France than any             the world’s second largest exporter and the          markets have opened up considerably in the
other country in the world and French is a                  UK’s biggest trading partner. Of the world’s 100     last 20 years. As a means of communication in
melodious and attractive language) or for a                 biggest companies in 2009, 14 were German/           the 21st century, therefore, Spanish is clearly of
future career (French is the official language              Swiss, nine were French and six were British.        importance, whether for business or pleasure.
of the United Nations and the International                 In 2011, Switzerland was the world’s second
Red Cross, and is widely used in the diplomatic             largest market for hedge funds, and Frankfurt
world), the wealth of opportunities on offer                remains a financial capital, home to some major
is virtually unrivalled. The French economy is              banks.
one of the strongest in the world and France is,
increasingly, a leader in technological innovation.

      GCSE COURSES                  FAQS              CORE SUBJECTS         OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                            OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

ACTING HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MRS IOM MORGAN                                                                    along with unfamiliar music that has not been stipulated within the specification. The examination is
                                                                                                             divided into two areas:
Examination Board: Edexcel
                                                                                                             Section A - Eight questions, broken into smaller parts, based on listening to extracts from the set
GCSE music is a rewarding and engaging qualification that promotes the key skills of performing,             works. One question will be on dictation and one on a piece of unfamiliar music.
composing, listening and appraising. The qualification is appropriate for a wide range of musicians,
                                                                                                             Section B - One essay comparison question on one set work and one unfamiliar piece of music.
from classical to popular, as well as a wide range of abilities. Pupils should seek to achieve a
performing level of at least ABRSM Grade 5 by the end of the course. The course is divided into              The set works for the qualification are listed below:
three units:
                                                                                                             1. INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC 1700-1820
UNIT 1 - PERFORMING MUSIC                                                                                    • J S Bach: 3rd movement of Brandenburg Concerto no.5 in D major
This is a coursework unit and accounts for 30% of the total GCSE.                                            • L van Beethoven: 1st movement from Piano Sonata no.8 in C minor ‘Pathetique’

•   Pupils perform at least two pieces, one solo and one ensemble performance with a combined
    duration of at least four minutes.                                                                       2. VOCAL MUSIC
•   Performances must be completed in the academic year the pupil completes the qualification.               • H Purcell: Music for a While
•   Pupils can perform on any instrument and in any style.                                                   • Queen: Killer Queen (from the album ‘Sheer Heart Attack’)
•   Improvisation and arranging tasks can also be submitted, as can performances of the pupil’s
    own composition.                                                                                         3. MUSIC FOR STAGE AND SCREEN
                                                                                                             • S Schwartz: Defying Gravity from ‘Wicked’
UNIT 2 - COMPOSING MUSIC                                                                                     • J Williams: Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope - Main Title/Rebel blockade runner
This is a coursework unit and accounts for 30% of the total GCSE. Pupils produce:
                                                                                                             4. FUSIONS
Two compositions, with a combined duration of at least three minutes total.                                  • Afro Celt Sound System: Release (from the album ‘Volume 2: Release’)
                                                                                                             • Esperanza Spalding: Samba Em Preludio (from the album’Esperanza’)
•   One composition is in response to a set brief, of at least one minute in duration.
•   The other is a free composition of at least one minute in duration.
                                                                                                             THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
Both compositions must be written up in a minimum of five hours of controlled conditions.                    Units 1 and 2 are internally assessed and externally moderated. Unit 3 is marked externally.

UNIT 3: LISTENING AND APPRAISING MUSIC                                                                       WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
This unit makes up the remaining 40% of the qualification and is a 1 hour 45 minute written                  The obvious subject that follows this course would be A level music.
examination at the end of the course. The examination paper is based on four areas of study with
two set works within each. Pupils are examined on music that they have studied during the course

       GCSE COURSES                        FAQS                      CORE SUBJECTS               OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                                 OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MRS C HANDZEL                                                                     Rights, equality and social justice: human rights, equal rights and equal
                                                                                                      opportunities; the multi-ethnic society and racial harmony; the multi-faith
Examination Board: Edexcel
                                                                                                      society and interfaith relationships; relationships between rich and poor.
GCSE religious studies provides an opportunity to explore religious,                                  Celebration and pilgrimage: including Christian festivals and places of
philosophical and ethical issues, in the context of a study of religious                              pilgrimage.
teachings, religious and non-religious beliefs and values (assessed in Paper
1 of the examination), and aspects of the religious community (assessed
                                                                                                      UPPER FIFTH YEAR
in Paper 2 of the examination). While Christianity is the main religion
                                                                                                      Pupils will study the following:
studied in terms of a religious perspective, pupils will also look at religious
ideas which are not specific to any one religion, and non-religious beliefs                           Origins and their impact on the community: religious texts and sources of
and values.                                                                                           authority; founders and leaders.

LOWER FIFTH YEAR                                                                                      Celebration and pilgrimage: festivals and celebration; places of pilgrimage.
Pupils will study the following:                                                                      Worship and practice: places of worship; forms of worship.
The universe, creation and the place of human beings, including religious
                                                                                                      THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
and non-religious teachings about: the universe and the place of human
beings in it; human nature and the human condition; selfishness, greed,                               Pupils are assessed by two examinations; one 1 hour 45 minute
ignorance and sin; freewill, determinism and predestination; ultimate                                 examination and one 1 hour 30 minute examination. There is no
reality; belief, uncertainly and unbelief; the problem of evil and suffering.                         controlled assessment for religious studies.

Life and death: death and the afterlife; the meaning and purpose of                                   WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
life; sanctity of life - abortion and euthanasia; human relationships;                                Pupils who study religious studies have also studied English, geography,
marriage and partnership; divorce and remarriage; family structures and                               history, psychology, languages and sciences. They have gone on to
responsibilities; childlessness and celibacy.                                                         university to study English, languages, law, philosophy and theology and a
                                                                                                      range of other subjects.
Peace and conflict: conflict and war; peace, reconciliation and forgiveness;
bullying; sin and crime; punishment; capital punishment.

      GCSE COURSES                   FAQS                 CORE SUBJECTS           OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                  OPTIONAL SUBJECTS

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MR IW WHITE                                                                            THE GCSE ASSESSMENT
                                                                                                           The course is assessed by means of practical and written controlled assessment
Examination Board: AQA
                                                                                                           which accounts for 40% of the overall marks and two 1 hour 15 minute
                                                                                                           examinations, accounting for 60%.
A GCSE in Sports Science provides an opportunity for pupils to study the wider
aspects within sport and physical education, with a large element on external                              Marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar in this subject.
factors that will impact both performance and participation. Pupils will develop
knowledge, skills and understanding on a number of related topics ranging from                             Pupils must perform in three practical activities: one from the ‘individual’ list, one
anatomy and physiology to international sporting events.                                                   from the ‘team’ list, and one other from either. Please note that the same sport
                                                                                                           cannot be used for both an individual and team assessment, and some activities
The following topics are studied:                                                                          cannot be used in conjunction with each other e.g. rugby union and rugby league.
•   The structure and function of the skeletal system                                                      Team sports: Association football; badminton; basketball; blind cricket; camogie;
•   The structure and function of the muscular system                                                      cricket; dance; Gaelic football; goal ball; handball; hockey; field hockey; hurling;
•   Movement analysis                                                                                      lacrosse; netball; powerchair football; rowing; rugby league; rugby union; squash;
•   The cardiovascular and respiratory systems                                                             table cricket; table tennis; tennis; volleyball; wheelchair basketball; wheelchair
•   Effects of exercise on body systems                                                                    rugby
•   Components of fitness
•   Applying the principles of training                                                                    Individual sports: Amateur boxing; athletics; badminton; boccia; canoeing; cycling
•   Preventing injury in physical activity and training                                                    (track or road only); dance; diving; equestrian; golf; gymnastics; kayaking; polybat;
•   Engagement patterns of different social groups in physical activities and sports                       rock climbing; sculling; skiing; snowboarding; squash; swimming; table tennis; tennis;
•   Commercialisation of physical activity and sport                                                       trampolining
•   Ethical and socio-cultural issues in physical activity and sport
•   Sports psychology                                                                                      WHAT CAN I STUDY NEXT?
•   Health, fitness and wellbeing                                                                          The breadth of the subject allows it to sit alongside a large number of subjects
                                                                                                           at A level, with the obvious benefit that it is a stepping stone to A level sports
The controlled assessment element of the course enables pupils to improve their                            science.
ability to plan, perform and evaluate in order to improve performance.

       GCSE COURSES                    FAQS                   CORE SUBJECTS            OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
                                                                                       OPTIONAL SUBJECTS
St John’s School
Epsom Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8SP
T +44 (0)1372 373 000

Registered Charity No: 312064
December 2018
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