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Key Stage 4

Art & Design

Course - AQA 4201

Within this option block, students can explore all aspects of Art and Design.

For all disciplines, students should:

  • Undertake visual research using primary and secondary sources, record observations, create ideas and look at art work first hand.
  • Develop and realise ideas, modifying them where appropriate.
  • Understand and use a range of materials, techniques and technology
  • Know, understand and be influenced by a range of art, craft and design (ranging from contemporary to traditional, and including cultural influences).

Students will be expected to attend two external visits in year 10 and 11 which vary from year to year depending on the project. These have previously been:

  • Kew Gardens
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum
  • The National Gallery
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum
Design Technology - Food Preparation and Nutrition

Our GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course sets out the knowledge, understanding and

skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating.

The majority of the course is delivered through preparation and making activities.

Students must be able to make the connections between theory and practice to apply their

understanding of food and nutrition to practical preparation.

The topics covered are:

  1. Food, nutrition and health
  2. Food science
  3. Food safety
  4. Food choice
  5. Food provenance.


The range of food and ingredients studied reflect the recommended guidelines for a healthy diet

based on the main food commodity groups. Food groups include:

  • bread, cereals, flour, oats, rice, potatoes and pasta
  • fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, canned and juiced)
  • milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • meat, fish, eggs, soya, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds
  • butter, oil, margarine, sugar and syrup



  • Exam - 1hr 45 minute, 100 marks, worth 50% of the overall grade
  • Non-exam assessment -

Task 1:

Food investigation (30 marks) Students' understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients. Practical investigations are a compulsory element of this NEA task.

Written or electronic report (1,500–2,000 words) including photographic evidence of the practical investigation.

Task 2:

Food preparation assessment (70 marks) Students' knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food and application of nutrition related to the chosen task. Students will prepare, cook and present a final menu of three dishes within a single period of no more than 3 hours, planning in advance how this will be achieved. How it's assessed: written or electronic portfolio including photographic evidence. Photographic evidence of the three final dishes must be included.

Design Technology - Product Design

Product design allows students to follow a designing and making course that also involved elements of electronics, mechanical systems and control.

Students study:

  • human factors
  • the market pull and technology push cycle
  • sustainability
  • product evolution
  • designer influences
  • materials and processes
  • the role of ICT within design and product development.


The assessment of the subject is based upon a controlled assessment worth 60% of the overall mark and a terminal examination worth 40%


GCSE Drama is a course with a huge practical focus, and a substantial performance component. The opportunities to use the skills gained in Drama across other subjects and career paths are very beneficial for students. Students are encouraged to take part in extracurricular activities within and outside of school to support Drama skills.

Our chosen exam board is AQA which offers a very detailed yet broad range of drama skills, course content includes:

Area of Study 1 – Understanding Drama & Set Text Study

This area includes understanding the characteristics of a performance and how meaning is interpreted and communicated on stage, also Drama terminology and the roles and responsibilities of theatre makes are also explored. Students must study and explore practically a chosen set text and develop knowledge and understanding of the characteristics and context of the whole play.

Area of Study 3 – Live Theatre Evaluation

Students will learn how to analyse and evaluate the work of live theatre makers after seeing a performance on stage.

Area of Study 4 – Devising Drama

Students can choose to be assessed as a performer or as a designer and then work in a company to devise a piece of drama learning how to develop ideas and communicate meaning in performance. They will create a devising log of the process and then perform their created piece.

Area of Study 5 – Texts In Practise

Students will choose 2 extracts from the set play and choose to be assessed as a performer or a designer. The performance must show their understanding of the characteristics and context of the play through pervious experimentation and study with the text.


This course consists of:

  • 40% Examination - A 1hr 45min examination paper, open book with 3 sections (multiple choice, extract from set play, live theatre review).
  • 60% Performance and coursework - Two units (Unit 2 = 40%, Unit 3 = 20%), each containing one performance/design skill and a devising log (coursework) in Unit 2.


Further information is available from our Drama teacher.

Extra Curricular

There are many exciting opportunities for involvement in extra activities for students including lunch time clubs, school production and many concert/performing arts evenings throughout the year. These activities are an excellent way for students to get involved in the school community, make friends and improve their theatre skills.


Courses - AQA (Language) AQA (Literature)

GCSE English

This involves the study of Literature and Language and students are entered for two separate GCSEs.

Preparation for the Language GCSE includes reading from a broad range of texts and developing inference skills. Students are given plenty of opportunity to develop their creative and persuasive writing skills, both of which form an important part of the new GCSE.

Assessment for English Language takes the form of two examinations at the end of year 11.

GCSE English Literature

This involves the study of poetry, pre-1900s prose as well as Shakespeare. Students also study the contemporary play An Inspector Calls.

Assessment for English literature also takes the form of two final examinations in year 11.


Recommended websites:

Recommended Reading:

  • AQA GCSE English Language and English Literature: Core Student Book
    Authors: Sarah Darragh, Phil Darragh, Mike Gould and Jo Heathcote
    Publisher: Collins     ISBN-13: 978-0-00-759679-9
  • AQA GCSE English Language and English Literature: Advanced Student Book
    Authors: Sarah Darragh, Phil Darragh, Mike Gould and Jo Heathcote
    Publisher: Collins     ISBN-13: 978-0-00-759680-5
  • GCSE English Literature for AQA: An Inspector Calls Student Book
    Authors: Peter Thomas (Series Editor), Jon Seal
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press     ISBN-13: 978-1-107-45455-2
  • GCSE English Literature for AQA: Macbeth Student Book
    Authors: Anthony Partington, Richard Spencer, Peter Thomas
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press     ISBN-13: 978-1-107-45395-1
  • GCSE English Literature for AQA: A Christmas Carol Student Book
    Authors: Imelda Pilgrim, Peter Thomas
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    ISBN-13: 978-1316-5046-04

Students follow the 3 year Edexcel GCSE French course which consolidates and extends vocabilary and grammar met in earlier years as well as introducing new topics.

Students continue to delveop and refine their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

They are encouraged to use a variety of resources to support their productive language.

Assessment takes place within two of the four skill areas every halft-term in addition to regular vocabulary tests.

By the time they take their GCSE exams students should be able to communicate effectively with a sympathetic native speaker.


Examinations - 100% of total grade

There is a teacher -conducted oral exam are three exam papers that are worth 25% each;

  1. listening
  2. reading
  3. writing

Students can be entered at either foundation or higher level.


Course - AQA GCSE Geography

Specification coed: 8035

  • Are you concerned about the environment?
  • Do you want to understand what is going on in the World?
  • Do you enjoy visiting different places?

If so, this is the course for you.

Geography is one of the broadest GCSEs available. You will develop:

  • research and enquiry skills
  • writing and graphical skills
  • the ability to discuss, debate and make decisions
  • an understanding of data handling and interpretation
  • you will learn how to read maps.

Geography will help you to understand how the world we live in today has changed and guide you in predicting the future. It brings a wide range of arts and science based subjects together within the context of real places.

At Townsend we have chosen the AQA GCSE Geography syllabus, one of the most popular courses on offer. It is a lively course which focuses on ontemporary geographical issues. The course covers a variety of topics uncluding:

  • Rivers and coasts
  • Population
  • Challenging Urban Environments and the changing ecnomic coasts

Developing geographical skills such as map reading and satellite image interpretation are also an important part of the course.

The gorgraphy department is committed to flexible and enquiry appraoches to learning, with discussions, debates and group work, computer-based exercises and audio-visual presentations. Clear explanations will be given about all the themes being studied along with advice about examination techniques and fieldwork.

Further imformation is available from the head of department.



Students will study

  • The First World War where they'll practice using GCSE history skills.
  • A thematic study of crime and punishment in Britain from 1000 to the present day. Included in this uit is a study of the historic environment of Whitechapel from 1870 to 1900.
  • A period study on the American West from 1835 to 1895
  • A British depth study on early Elizabethan England from 1559 to 1588



Students will sit 3 exams on 4 differen topics that they will sit at the end of year 11.


Recommended Websites:

  •  bbc bitesize - http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/examspecs/zw4bv4j

Mathematics - GCSE (9-1) AQA 8300 

Mathematics in is taught in six sets across the year group. A variety of resources are used in lessons including text books, IT, practical activities and practice examination material. Students are encouraged to undertake independent study in addition to classwork and weekly homework.
The examination is offered at two tiers of entry; Higher tier covers grades 9-4, and Foundation tier grades 5-1. Assessment consists of 3 exam papers; two calculator papers and one non-calculator paper. These are taken at the end of Year 11. There is no controlled assessment component to the Maths qualification.

More information about the course can be found here:

More information about the new grading system can be found here:

Generally the first 3 sets will be entered for the Higher tier of entry, and other sets will sit the Foundation tier examinations. Final decisions on tiers of entry are not taken until after the Year 11 trial examinations, when each student is considered on an individual basis.
Students are given the opportunity to purchase revision materials suitable for their individual needs.


Further Mathematics

Townsend students in the top Maths set who will be sitting GCSE examinations from Summer 2016 onwards will be studying units from the AQA Level 2 Further Mathematics qualification alongside the GCSE course across Years 10 and 11. This additional qualification provides stretch and challenge for our most able students, as well as preparing them with many of the skills needed to tackle Maths at A Level and beyond.

Assessment consists of 2 exam papers; one calculator paper and one non-calculator paper. These are taken at the end of Year 11. There is no controlled assessment component to the Further Maths qualification.

More information about the course can be found here:


Media Studies

In the media studies course at GCSE level 30% of the marks are awarded by the teacher for written coursework and a production piece.

The remaining marks are obtained through 2 written examinations in the summer of year 11 - 'Investigating the Media'.

Students are encouraged to think deeply about the media text that are used in modern life. They are given opportunites to interact with media texts of all kinds and are taught how to analyse them through the following key aspects:

  • language
  • genre
  • narrative
  • media forms

The course also aims to encourage students to enjoy, appreciate and understand a variety of media texts. At all times they are asked to respond to the media texts in a sensitive manner.

Useful Websites:


GCSE music is one of the options that students can choose in Years 9-11. Students follow the new OCR specification, which has the following programme of study:

Area of Study 1 - My Music

A study of your chosen instrument and style - this can be any genre of your choosing. Students are gien free weekly instrumental lessons in order to pursue their own chosen musical paths.


Area of Study 2 - The Concerto Through Time

A study of the development of the Concerto from 1650 - 1910, including the conventions of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.


Area of Study 3 - Rhythms of the World

A study f the rhytmic roots of four geographical regions: India, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.


Area of Study 4 - Film Music

A study of how music can depcit moods and characters and how this is use to enhance the dramatic and emotional content of films and video games.


Area of Study 5 - Conventions of Pop

A study of a wide variety of popular music genres ranging from 1950s rock and roll to contemporary solo artists.


Scheme of Assessment

  • Integrated Portfolio
  • Students produce an individual performance and a linked composition in the style of your choice (Area of study 1)
  • Practical Component 30% (Coursework/Controlled Assessment)
  • Students produce an ensemble performance and a composition written to a breif supplied by the exam board.
  • Listening and Appraising 40% (Examination)
  • Students sit a 90 minute listening test assessing understanding of areas of study 2-5


Addional qualifications - KS4

The new KS4 assessment system values music extremely highly allowing a variety of musc qualifications to be included in a student's attainment 8. Practical and theory exams taken during KS4 can be submitted, often scoring extremely highly on atatinment 8. In addition students are given the opportunity in year 10 to complete practical work that contributes to a BTEC in Performing Arts. Some students will therefore finish year 11 with three or even four qualifications.

Physical Education

CORE PE non-examination

All students continue to have two compulsory one-hour lessons in core Physical Education. Students continue to develop their performance and knowledge in a wide range of physical activities, including athletic activities, dance activities, games activities, gymnastic activities, and swimming activities.

Fitness and exercise activities and health education remain an important element of the PE curriculum, and students continue to experience different ways to exercise.

Students also continue to develop their ability to undertake different roles within sport and physical activity, such as leader, coach, official, and choreographer. Competitive inter-form festivals and special performances of class work provide all students with the opportunity to produce special performances in a challenging but friendly event.

A host of school clubs, teams and special events continue to provide opportunities for students to extend their participation in physical activity.


In year 9,10 and 11 students taking GCSE PE will be studying the OCR GCSE PE Course J587

The GCSE PE course requires students to develop their knowledge and understanding of physical education, physical activity and the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle, both through classroom study and through practical performance.

Students have three one-hour GCSE PE lessons, in addition to their two compulsory one-hour lessons in core PE. Two lesson each week is in a classroom, with written homework set on a weekly basis. Students should already enjoy their PE lessons and have an interest in studying about the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
In GCSE PE students work in mixed-gender groups.

In order to achieve higher grades in the practical assessment, students should be competing in at least 1 of their sports outside of school, and a minimum of 2 sports in school.

Course content and assessment

The course contains 3 sections:

1) Applied Anatomy and Physiology

A formal 60 mark written exam (1 hour) worth 30% of the overall GCSE grade

Students will learn about the skeletal system; the muscular system; the respiratory system; the cardiovascular system; short and long-term effects of an active, healthy lifestyle; aerobic and anaerobic exercise and training; components of fitness; principles of training, method of training and prevention of injury

2) Socio-cultural influences, Sport Psychology and Health and Well-being

A formal 60 mark written exam (1 hour) worth 30% of the overall GCSE grade

Students will learn about participation levels of sport in the UK; commercialisation of sport; ethics in sport; drugs in sport; violence in sport; characteristics of skilful movement; goal setting; Health, fitness and wellbeing; diet and nutrition.

3) Practical Activity Assessment and Evaluating and Analysing Performance (AEP)

A non-exam assessment worth 40% of the overall GCSE grade

Students will be assessed in three sporting activities. At least one of the performances must be in a team activity and at least one must be an individual activity. You cannot be assessed in the same sport twice e.g. Table Tennis as an individual and as a team performance.  As well as this students will also complete an ‘Evaluating and Applying Performance’ written task.  Here students will need to evaluate the performance of a sportsperson, identify strengths and weaknesses and explain how they would improve the performance level using a range of different techniques


For more information visit the OCR website: www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-physical-education-j587-from-2016/ 

Recommended Reading:

Useful Websites:

Religious Education

In Religious Education students follow the AQA Religious Studies 'A' course focusing on Christianity and Islam.

This encourages students to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion and fundamental questions.

Students study Christian beliefs and practices and Muslim beliefs and practices.

They engage with a variety of sources of wisdom and authority including the Bible and the Qu'ran, as well as considering views of people from other world views.

These are further developed by considering how this impacts on the life of a believer through areas such as religion, human rights and social justice, relationships and families, and religion, crime and punishment.


Exam board: OCR 21st Century Combined or Separate Sciences

At GCSE pupils have the choice of two routes in Science. They will be advised by their teacher which is the most appropriate route for them to take.

Combined Science

The Combined Science course emphasises scientific literacy – the knowledge and understanding which candidates need to engage, as informed citizens, with science-based issues. This qualification uses contemporary, relevant contexts of interest to candidates, which can be approached through a range of teaching and learning activities. This course comprises eighteen teaching units which are assessed through a combination of examinations at the end of year 11 (worth a total of 100% of the final grade). The course is worth two GCSE’s.

Throughout the two years of the course the pupils will be completing various set practical’s which will match up with the units they are learning. In their final exam pupils will be expected to remember these practical’s and will be examined on the skills learned during this practical.

In Combined Science each subject (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) will have one exam each plus an additional paper on combined science which will assess their practical skill and ideas about science such as fair testing, data analysis and the development of scientific theories:

  • Biology (1H 45mins) out of 95 marks
  • Chemistry (1H 45mins) out of 95 marks
  • Physics (1H 45mins) out of 95 marks
  • Combined science paper (1H 45 marks) out of 75 marks.

The Biology, Chemistry and Physics papers are worth 26.4% each of the final GCSE’s and the Combined Science paper is worth 20.8%. All 4 papers are completed at the end of year 11.

Triple Science

Triple science is a combination of three GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. It provides the fullest coverage of these subjects at Key stage 4. Triple science contains all the elements of combined science but in more depth on certain concepts. Successful completion of the course results in three separate GCSEs being awarded. Triple Science is worth 3 GCSEs and taught in the same number of hours as combined science so therefore lessons are fast paced and a lot of content is covered in each lesson. Due to the more complex and detailed study of the separate sciences teachers will assess pupils ability to achieve in triple science and would advise pupils as to whether this route or combined would be a better option based on an individual’s performance and attitude to learning at KS3.

In Triple Science each subject (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) will have two exams both of equal worth (50%) on:

  • Breadth (1H 45mins)
  • Depth (1H 45mins)

Both papers are worth 90 marks and will be done at the end of year 11. Therefore at the end of year 11 students are expected to do 6 exams in science.

For both routes the following websites are recommended to help pupils.

  • SAM Learning - https://www.samlearning.com/
  • BBC Bitesize - http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zrkw2hv

Revision guide books and practise question workbooks are available from the Science Teachers. We strongly recommend purchasing these. For more information and to order these from the Science department please click on the links below.


Combined Science Revision guide 2017

Triple Science Revision Guide 2017