Early in the Spring Term of Year 9, students are asked to make choices about which subjects they will study at GCSE level. The PSCHE programme supports them in preparing for these decisions and an information session for parents is offered as part of the Year 9 Consultation Evening, prior to choices being made.
GCSE courses are two years in duration, with the exception of the three sciences which are studied over three years at Woodford (in Years 9, 10 & 11). The curriculum is made up of Core Courses (which are the subjects that all students must take) as well as Options Courses (students personalise their own programme by making 4 individual subject choices).
All students study the following subjects to GCSE:
This counts as two GCSE qualifications in English and English Literature.
All students will study a range of Mathematical concepts to provide a good understanding and to enable any student to progress to A-level if they wish.
The specification for GCSE Science covers all aspects of Science and will provide a suitable background for any A-Level Science Course. It is anticipated that the majority of Woodford students will take Triple Science although there will be some students who would benefit from taking the Double Award. Science teachers provide guidance to students in making this choice.
Students choose from French, German or Latin (depending on what they have studied to date). Students may take both their languages through to GCSE but cannot start another language at this stage.
A Humanities Subject
Either History or Geography (see below for more information about the ‘English Baccalaureate’
Everyone will continue with Physical Education and Religious Studies, although these Core courses do not lead to a qualification at GCSE.
(Both these subjects are available as GCSE subjects in addition to the Core.)
In Years 10 & 11, additional time is available for Personal, Social and Health Education and Careers Guidance. Throughout Key Stage 4 students are provided with opportunities to develop their skills in Information and Communication Technology through the other subjects that they are studying.
The English Baccalaureate
The Department for Education (DFE) in November 2010 announced the creation of a new “badged” qualification: The English Baccalaureate. The stated intention is that students attaining GCSE grades A* - C in a specified group of subjects will be awarded the English Baccalaureate Certificate.
The specified subjects are as follows:
Sciences (at least 2)
A humanity (either History or Geography)
The Core GCSE Curriculum at Woodford requires all students to study the first 5 subjects as listed (see information on ‘The Core’ above) and for many years the vast majority of students here (over 95%) have also studied at least one humanity. With the creation of the new English Baccalaureate all Year 9 students now (from January 2011) will be expected to include either History or Geography among their options choices. Where this presents an individual student with real difficulty, she is asked to discuss the issue with the Deputy Head before submitting her options form.
(The Language Choice)
(The Humanity Choice)
From September 2012 twenty periods of the fortnight will be divided between the four option choices. The Options Columns include the Humanity and the Language choice from the core curriculum, then students choose two further options subjects. Most GCSE courses can be continued to A-Level at Woodford, however two of the GCSE courses cannot: Graphics and Food Technology. As your choices at A-Level are mostly determined by your range of GCSE courses (although some new courses are introduced post-16), you may only include one of these subjects in your four option choices.
How The System Works
Parents and students are invited to attend the Year 9 Parents’ Evening held annually in February. This provides an opportunity for personalised discussion about a student’s potential for GCSE studies with the relevant subject teachers.
Completed Option Choice Forms are submitted in mid February.
The Options Columns are then built in response to the choices of the year group. The blocks are designed in such a way as to enable the maximum number of people to take the subjects they have chosen.
It will not always be possible to accommodate every student’s preferred combination of subjects. For this reason girls are asked to choose a fifth subject which they would enjoy studying if the need arose. Any decisions of this type would only be made after discussion with the student(s) concerned.