The curriculum in Key Stage 4 meets the needs of our girls by providing academic challenge, subject breadth and the opportunity to gain good qualifications in a range of subjects that will stand them in good stead to pursue a wide choice of differing options at post-16 and beyond.
For the students at Woodford, the English Baccalaureate (E-Bacc - see below for more information) is an appropriate programme of study. This ensures that girls complete Year 11 with good GCSE grades in a range of academically demanding subjects. The E-Bacc is supplemented by an additional two GCSEs to add further breadth and student choice, plus a non-examined core curriculum.
All girls at Woodford County High School study ten GCSE subjects. These are all examined at the end of Year 11.
GCSE courses are two years in duration, with the exception of the three sciences and mathematics, which are studied over three years at Woodford (in Years 9, 10 & 11). The vast majority of students at Woodford are capable of gaining good grades in all three sciences and mathematics at GCSE. Beginning their study of these in Year 9 allows means that other subjects are not crowded out of the curriculum when girls move into Year 10.
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 Language 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 Combined Award. Science teachers provide guidance to students in making this choice when they are in Year 11; until then, all girls study for the Triple award.
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.
Everyone will continue with Physical Education and Religious Studies, although these Core courses do not lead to a qualification at GCSE. It is important for girls to continue to receive timetabled physical exercise while studying their GCSEs, which is why we devote two hours per week to Core PE. Core RS provides an opportunity to explore in depth and with greater maturity important issues related to religious belief, morality, ethics and so on.
(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
Students are deemed to have met the standard for the Baccalaureate if they attain GCSE grades 5-9 in a specified group of subjects. 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). In addition, all Year 9 students are now 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 Headteacher before submitting her options form.
(The Language Choice)
(The Humanity Choice)
Twenty periods of the fortnight are divided between the four option choices. The Options form includes 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 Food & Nutrition, Design Technology and Physical Education cannot.
The Options Process
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. Girls will also have a one-to-one discussion with a teacher about their option choices and academic progress during the February Review Days.
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 girls 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 rank their choices in order of preference. Final allocation to subjects will only be made after discussion with the student(s) concerned.