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Academy Curriculum

Curriculum Design

The curriculum at Aston Academy is ambitious, broad and balanced, designed to be in line with the National Curriculum.


Year 7

English

Maths

Science

 


For further information about subjects studied at KS4, please click on the relevant subject.

English

Exam Board: Eduqas

What is studied?

English Language: The GCSE English Language course develops skills in reading comprehension and writing accuracy. Throughout year 10 and 11,  students will learn how to select relevant information, infer meaning, explore language use and compare texts’ ideas and messages. Students will also learn how to be more effective writers of a variety of writing text types, including fictional stories, letters, reports, and articles. They will improve their written accuracy through the study of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

English Literature: The GCSE English Literature course develops close reading skills through the study of classic literary texts. Throughout year 10 and 11, students will study one novel (‘A Christmas Carol’); two plays (‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘Macbeth’) and an anthology of fifteen poems. Students will also study unseen poetry. Students will closely examine the texts, studying plot development, character development, themes, and social, historical context. Students will also develop essay writing skills, including planning and commentary.

What specific skills do students need to succeed on this course?

In order to study English Language and English Literature at GCSE, students will build upon the skills they have already developed at Key Stage 3. Students will need to write clearly, in detail, and with technical accuracy, using sophisticated and appropriate vocabulary as they do so. Students will also need to be able to understand and analyse a text in detail, commenting on a writer’s language choices, and compare the way that writers present a specific idea or viewpoint.

Students will also develop their skills in spoken language and present on a topic of their choice.

How will this course be assessed?

For English Language, students will be assessed in two examinations at the end of Year 11. These will cover the following:

Exam 1 (40%)

  • Unseen fiction reading comprehension.
  • One creative writing piece.

Exam 2 (60%)

  • Non-fiction reading comprehension
  • Persuasive/ transactional writing

Students will also complete a spoken language assessment where they present a topic of their choice and answer a set of questions relating to this.

For English Literature, students will be assessed in two examinations at the end of Year 11. These will cover the following:

Exam 1 (40%)

  • ‘Macbeth’ – two questions; one based on an extract, one an essay
  • The Poetry Anthology – two questions; one single poem analysis and one comparative essay

Exam 2 (60%)

  • ‘An Inspector Calls’ – one essay question based on an extract
  • 19th Century Prose – one essay question based on an extract
  • Unseen Poetry – two questions – one single poem analysis and one comparative essay

Maths

Exam Board: OCR

What is studied?

In Year 10, students will begin their GCSE journey for Maths and, whilst continuing to learn new content, they will also get the chance to apply skills and knowledge over time, improving their mathematical understanding.

Students’ studies will still include topics from across the full Maths curriculum - Number, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Probability.

How will this course be assessed?

GCSE Maths is assessed by three full examination papers (two where students are allowed to use a calculator), in the summer of Year 11.

Science

Exam Board: AQA (Trilogy)

GCSE Science is either Combined Science (AQA trilogy), which is worth 2 GCSEs, or Single Sciences (AQA trilogy: Biology, Chemistry and Physics), which is worth 3 GCSEs.

In Combined Science and Single Sciences, students will continue to study the big ideas that underpin the world around us. They will explore question such as;

‘What can fossils tell us about the history of life on Earth?’

‘How do forces affect the speed of a racing car?’

‘Why are the Earth’s resources so important to our society?’

How will this course be assessed?

There are six written papers: two biology, two chemistry and two physics. Each of the papers will assess their knowledge and understanding from distinct topic areas. All examinations are held in the Summer of Year 11.

French/Spanish

Exam Board: AQA

What is studied?

Through a variety of contexts and topic areas, the GCSE MFL course aims to develop skills in four key areas: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. There are three overarching themes to the course:

  • Theme 1 - Identity and Culture
  • Theme 2 - Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3 - Current and future study and employment. Through studying a language at GCSE, students not only learn the language, but they also learn about different countries and cultures.

How will this course be assessed?

Students will be assessed in 4 key areas with 4 examinations at the end of Year 11:

Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. There will be entries at both Foundation and Higher Level. Each of the 4 examinations is worth 25% of the final GCSE grade.

Geography

Exam Board: AQA

What is studied?

The course has been designed to allow a large number of topics to be studied over the 2 years and to provide an insight into some of the most important and topical issues that will shape students’ life today and in the future. From climate change to resource depletion, from global pandemics to trade wars between countries, from population growth to sustainable living, Geography has never been more relevant!

GCSE Geography gives students the chance to get to grips with some of the big questions and understand the social, economic and physical forces and processes which will shape and change their world. Topics that students will study include:

Natural hazards - looking at volcanoes, hurricanes, extreme weather events and climate change, Living world - studying tropical rainforests and cold environments,Urban issues and challenges - topics range from shanty towns/ slums in the poor countries to building new green carbon neutral cities. We also study the changing economic world - looking at why some countries are richer than others and how international companies are changing the world in which we live.

How will this course be assessed?

Students will be assessed with three exams

  • Paper 1: Living with the physical environment - 1 hour 30 minutes, 35% of GCSE
  • Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment- 1 hour 30 minutes, 35% of GCSE
  • Paper 3: Geographical application -1 hour 30 minutes, 30% of GCSE (This paper links to fieldwork and issue evaluation this changes every year and is linked to a real-life current issue)

History

Exam Board: EDEXCEL

What is studied?

In GCSE History, we study a range of topics to ensure students gain as broad an understanding of History as possible.

Topics studied include:

  • Medicine Through Time – the way medical knowledge and understanding has changed from 1250 to present day.
  • Anglo-Saxon and Norman England – how different aspects of life changed after 1066 and the battles that took place to gain control.
  • The Cold War – the fight for supremacy between the USA and the USSR in the 20th century.
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany – how Germany changed and recovered after WW1 and Hitler’s rise to power.

How will this course be assessed?

GCSE History is assessed through three separate examinations at the end of Year 11. With no coursework to complete, we focus on developing knowledge, understanding and skills throughout the two year course.

  • Paper 1: Medicine through time and the British sector of the Western Front – 1 hour 15 minutes, 30% of GCSE
  • Paper 2: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060-88 with Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941- 1991 – 1 hour 45 minutes, 40% of GCSE
  • Paper 3: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939 – 1 hour 20 minutes, 30% of GCSE

GCSE PE

Exam Board: Pearson

What is studied?

Edexcel GCSE in Physical Education

What specific skills are needed to succeed on this course?

The PE GCSE course is the ideal for any student that loves all sports, physical education and the challenge to academically develop their knowledge of fitness, body systems, health and performance. Throughout the course students will complete practical PE lessons each week with a focus on promoting physical fitness, developing a range of skills across a broad and varied curriculum and an understanding of the benefits of exercise that can last beyond school years. In Y10 students will have the opportunity to select particular sports to specialise in. Here they will spend time developing advanced skills and have access to competitions and create a sport specific fitness training programme. By Y11 students will have to select 3 sports to be assessed in and prepare for the 2 written theory exams.

How will this course be assessed?

Students are assessed in 3 ways:

  • 60% of the final grade is achieved in 2 written theory exams .
  • Paper One: Fitness and Body Systems which is 1 hour and 30 minutes, marked out of 80 (Applied anatomy and physiology, movement analysis and physical training). Paper 2: Health and Performance which is 1 hour and 15 minutes marked out of 60 (Health, fitness and well-being, Sports psychology, socio-cultural influences).
  • 30% of the final grade is achieved through 3 practical performances . One team game/sport, one individual game/sport and one more of the students’ choice.
  • 10% of the final grade is achieved through the writing and completing of a Personal Exercise Programme (coursework) .

Sport

Exam Board: OCR

What is studied?

A Cambridge National Sports Science qualification. Students will develop their knowledge of reducing the risk of sports injury, improving personal fitness through training and diet and sports performance.

What specific skills do I need to succeed on this course?

The OCR Cambridge National Sports Science course is ideal for any students that appreciate how sports science underpins performance in sport at all levels.

How will this course be assessed?

Students will complete 3 Units of work. 2 of these will be coursework units and the third will be a written exam, to gain an OCR Cambridge National qualification in Sports Science, which is equivalent to a GCSE. Coursework tasks will include information leaflets, brochures, presentations and even participating in fitness testing sessions. The exam will be a 1 hour 15-minute written exam at the end of the course.

The 3 units:

  • Unit R180: Reducing the risk of sports injuries and dealing with common medical conditions (exam unit worth 40%)
  • Unit R181: Applying the principles of training: fitness and how it affects skill performance (coursework unit worth 40%)
  • Unit R183: Nutrition and sports performance (coursework unit worth 20%)

Religious Studies

Exam Board: AQA

What is studied?

At Aston Academy students complete the AQA GCSE Religious: Studies A specification. The course is designed to develop an appreciation of how religion, philosophy and ethics form the basis of British culture. Students are challenged to consider questions about beliefs, values, meaning, purpose and truth. They will be able to learn to form, express and justify their own opinions about modern religious and secular issues. This course includes an in-depth study of Christianity and Islam, building a foundation of knowledge about their key religious beliefs and practices. When students are confident with this knowledge they go on to study a range of ethical questions about family life and relationships, peace and conflict, crime and punishment and issues of life and death.

How will this course be assessed?

The GCSE course is examined at the end of year 11 through two external examinations. Each of these will be 1 hour and 45 minutes long. The first will examine students’ knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and teachings of Christianity and Islam. The second will examine students’ ability to apply these beliefs and teachings to thematic studies of peace and conflict, crime and punishment, religion and life and relationships and families. Each of these exams is worth 50% of the final result.

Fine Art and Photography

Exam Board: AQA

The course is broken up into 2 components:

Portfolio – 60%

Externally Set Task – 40%

All of our art courses are technically Non-Examined Assessments, but a part of the Externally Set Task has to be completed independently.

          Areas of study can include:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Mixed media
  • Land art
  • Portraiture photography
  • Location photography
  • Studio photography
  • Experimental imagery
  • Photo-journalism
  • Fashion photography
  • Conceptual and installation art

Skills:

  • Mark-making
  • Monoprint, collagraph and block printing
  • Assemblage
  • Construction
  • Carving
  • Digital working methods
  • Lighting
  • Viewpoint
  • Aperture
  • Depth of field
  • Shutter speed and movement
  • Use of enlarger
  • Chemical and/or digital processes
  • 3d drawing.

In Y10 students will complete a series of workshops which will build their skills in specialist areas, whilst exploring specific themes (year 10 work will contribute to their portfolio).

In Y11 students will develop a project with a final piece and also complete the Externally Set Task.

Do students get to choose what kind of things they make/create?

Like all GCSE subjects, we have to work to the exam board's requirements, but we design our courses so that students get a lot of personal choice. Students are given a range of starting points that they can then choose to develop in their own way.

Students will also get to exhibit their work at the end of the course.

3D and Textile Design

Exam Board: AQA

The course is broken up into 2 components:

  • Portfolio – 60%
  • Externally Set Task – 40%

All of our art courses are technically Non-Examined Assessments, but a part of the Externally Set Task has to be completed independently.

            Areas of study can include:

  • Art textiles
  • Fashion design and illustration 
  • Costume design 
  • Constructed textiles 
  • Printed and dyed textiles 
  • Surface pattern 
  • Stitched and/or embellished textiles architectural design sculpture 
  • Ceramics 
  • Jewelry and body adornment 

Skills:

  • Weaving
  • Felting
  • Stitching
  • Appliqué
  • Construction methods
  • Printing model making
  • Constructing
  • Assembling
  • Modelling
  • Carving
  • Sgraffito
  • Sculpting
  • Casting
  • Glazing and decoration

In Y10 students will complete a series of workshops which will build their skills in specialist areas, whilst exploring specific themes (year 10 work will contribute to their Portfolio).

In Y11 students will develop a project with a final piece and also complete the Externally Set Task.

Do students get to choose what kind of things they make/create?

Like all GCSE subjects we have to work to the exam boards requirements, but we design our courses so that students get a lot of personal choice. We give students a range of starting points that they can then choose to develop in their own way.

Students will also get to exhibit their work at the end of the course.

GCSE Computer Science

Exam Board: OCR

What is studied?

This 2 year course will take students from beginner to advanced levels in computer science. This will cover the theory of computer science and how students can use this information to create software to solve problems.

What specific skills do students need to succeed on this course?

  • Problem solving - Computer science involves a lot of problem solving
  • Programming - Students need to have a keen interest in programming and be willing to work hard out of school
  • Working under pressure - Students will be assessed by exam only so they need to be able to excel at this

How will this course be assessed?

The course is assessed completely by exams. There are 2 exams that both represent 50% of the overall grade. 50% on the theory of computer science and 50% on application of the programming skills students have learned.

Design Technology

Exam Board: Eduqas

What is studied? Core Knowledge

Through several different projects and focused practical sessions students will study:

  • Design Technology and our world
  • Modern and Smart materials
  • Timbers
  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Electronics and mechanisms
  • Art Textiles

Students will investigate given tasks, identify clients and their needs. Students will develop an exciting range of designing and presentation techniques and work with a wide variety of tools and equipment to make a range of products in different materials.

For section B of the written exam we study the material area of ‘natural and man-made timbers.

This includes:

  • Sources of timbers
  • Environmental, ethical and cultural influences on designs.
  • Stock forms
  • Process and techniques when working with timbers
  • Specialist techniques, tools and technology when working with timbers
  • Finishes and treatments

How is this course assessed?

The course is broken up into 2 assessments.

  •              External exam. Y11 = 50% and a Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) = 50%. Both completed in Y11

For the NEA students will design and make a product they have chosen within the set context provided by the exam board. The external exam has two sections: in Section A students are assessed on all the core knowledge areas above, and in Section B students are assessed on their knowledge of paper and boards.

Health and Social Care

Exam Board :OCR

What is studied?

A Cambridge National qualification in Health and Social Care. This course equips students with the knowledge and understanding of how to meet the needs of individuals in a range of Health and Social Care Settings. We also aim to give students opportunities to gain experience of working with a range of individuals during curriculum time.

What specific skills do I need to succeed on this course?

OCR Cambridge National in Health and Social Care is the ideal course for any students with an interest in the Health and Social Care industry.

The course is an ideal qualification for students who want a broad background in Health and Social

Care. An ability to display empathy, an understanding of the needs of others and a desire to reach out and help different sectors of our community would be beneficial for students to reach their potential in this subject.

How will this course be assessed?

Students will complete 3 units of work. 2 of these will be coursework units and the third will be a written exam, to gain an OCR Cambridge National qualification in Health and Social Care, which is equivalent to a GCSE.

Coursework tasks will include information leaflets, brochures, presentations and delivering sessions to individuals in our local community. The exam with be a 1 hour 15-minute written exam at the end of the course. The 3 units are:

  • Unit RO32: Principles of care in health and social care settings (exam unit worth 40%)
  • Unit RO33: Supporting individuals through life events (coursework unit worth 30%)
  • Unit RO35: Health promotion campaigns (coursework unit worth 30%)

Sociology

Exam Board AQA

What will I study?

Students complete the AQA GCSE Sociology specification. This subject aims to broaden students’ minds, helping them to see their world from different viewpoints and in new, thought-provoking ways. We analyse the way society works, and the way society makes us who we are. We investigate how sociologists carry out their research. We consider a range of sociological perspectives on the world including Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism and Interactionism. We then apply these viewpoints to aspects of society including the family, the education system, crime and the way that society is structured as a hierarchy. We look at questions such as, what is the purpose of school or the family? Who has power in our society? Why do people commit crime?

How will this course be assessed?

The GCSE course is assessed at the end of year 11 through two external examinations. Each of these is 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Each exam is made up of shorter questions and essays. The first exam tests students’ ability to explain and evaluate the sociology of families and education. The second assesses students’ ability to explain and evaluate the sociology of crime and deviance, and social stratification. Within each of the four sections, students are also required to critically interpret data from research studies on that topic, and link this to the theoretical perspectives. Each of these exams is worth 50% of the final result.

Hospitality and Catering

Exam Board: Eduqas

What is studied?

This is a practical course where students will make a range of food products and develop skills related to food preparation, including food hygiene, food presentation and production. The course is split into two units:

Unit One

Students will learn and develop the skills and knowledge to be able to create a new hospitality and catering outlet to open in a specific location. During this unit, students will explore all the different job roles in the hospitality and catering industry and how they could go on to study further for these careers. There will be an exam at the end of Y10 but they can re-sit the exam in Y11.

Unit Two

Students will learn and develop the skills and knowledge to safely plan, prepare, cook and present nutritional dishes.

The aim is to develop a range of practical skills and use a variety of catering equipment to produce a wide range of dishes.

There will be an assignment that is to be completed to show their knowledge and understanding of the subject and demonstrate their practical skills. This is called a Non-Exam Assessment (NEA). For the final part of this assessment students will complete a 4 hour practical exam: this is split into two 2 hour exams

How is this course assessed?

The course is broken up into 2 assessments.

  • Unit 1 – THE Hospitality and Catering Industry External exam = 40%
  • Unit 2 – Hospitality and catering in Action. Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) = 60%.

For the NEA students will design and make a product to meet the criteria of one of the set contexts from the exam board.

GCSE Music

Exam Board Eduqas

What is studied? Edexcel GCSE in Music

What specific skills are needed to succeed in this course?

The music GCSE course is ideal for any student that loves music and would like to develop their knowledge of music composition, analytical skills music appreciation, and performing on a variety of instruments.  Throughout both years students will cover four areas of study including: musical forms and devices, music for emsemble, film music and popular music.  By year 11 students will have completed two pieces of course relating to performing and composing.

How will the course be assessed?

Students will be assessed in 3 ways

  • 40% of the final grade is achieved through an examination unit - Component 3 Appraising
  • 30% of the final grade is achieved through a student performance.  This is a minimum of two pieces with one being an emsemble of at least one minute duration.

  • 30% of the final grade is achieved through a two compositions with total duration between 3-6 minutes

GCSE Drama

Exam Board: AQA

What is studied?

Throughout the two-year course, students study a range of performance styles, a set play from a choice of nine, and develop analytical and evaluative skills in relation to the work of live theatre makers. Students create their own devised piece of drama, contributing either as a performer or designer, and produce an analysis and evaluation of their own work. Students also work on performance styles by performing two extracts from one play, again, contributing as either performer or designer.

What specific skills do students need to succeed on this course?

In order to study Drama at GCSE, students will build upon the skills they have already developed at Key Stage 3. Students will need to be confident working as a team to produce a polished performance. Students will need to be able to take risks with their performance and be committed to evaluating their own work and the work of others in order to achieve the best outcomes. Students will need to write clearly, in detail, and with technical accuracy, using relevant subject terminology in their devising logs and extended written answers.

How will this course be assessed?

  • Component 1 – Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes, open book, 80 marks, 40% of the GGSE
  • Component 2 – Devising drama – practical performance of devised piece with an analysis and evaluation of own written work – 40% of the GCSE
  • Component 3 – Performance of two extracts from one play - Performance of Extract 1 and Extract 2 – 20% of GCSE