Last year, Epsom pupils had an outstanding set of GCSE results. 54% of all exams were graded A* (9-8), and 77% were awarded A*-A (9-7). Just under one third of pupils (32%) achieved a clean sweep of A*s or As. There were outstanding results in all areas of the curriculum, notably in Computer Science, Further Maths, Geography, Mandarin and Music. Over 90% of grades in these subjects were awarded A*- A (9s and 8s).
New grading system
In 2017, a new 9-1 grading system was introduced in three subjects: Maths, English Language and English Literature. In 2018, a further 20 subjects followed and most others will follow in 2019. Roughly, the equivalents for the new grades are as follows:
- 9 is equivalent to an A^ (above an A*)
- 8 is equivalent to an A*
- 7 is an A
- 6 is equivalent to a high B
- 5 is equivalent to a low B / high C
- 4 is a low C
Pupils entering Year 10 in September 2019 will take ten GCSE/IGCSE subjects. Seven of these are compulsory; the remaining three are optional choices.
For the vast majority, this will lead to IGCSE in both English Language and English Literature.
Modern or Classical Language
A choice of French, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Latin or Classical Civilisation. An additional Modern Foreign Language (French or Spanish), or Latin, may be taken as an Optional Subject.
Those pupils who need to study English as an Additional Language will do as their Modern Language; they may take French, Spanish or Latin as an optional subject.
All sets will sit IGCSE in Year 11.
All pupils currently study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as single sciences. All pupils take Biology, Chemistry and Physics IGCSE. The Science departments regularly review courses to ensure that they are suited to pupils’ abilities and may choose to introduce Dual or Single Science IGCSE for selected pupils.
Optional GCSE subjects
Pupils will need to choose three options from the list below which will lead to the GCSE Examinations. All option subjects are taught in mixed ability groups.
- Computer Science
- Design & Technology
- Physical Education
- Religious Studies
If you wish to find out more about the specific course followed in any of our GCSE or IGCSE subjects, please click on the headings below. Or download our GCSE Choices booklet by clicking here.
Fine Art GCSE (9-1) J171
GCSE Art allows you to develop your practical skills and opens the door to an incredibly wide range of creative careers. Over the two years you will develop critical and academic skills, as well as a creative approach to problem-solving.
In 2018, 81% of our pupils achieved A*-A grades (9-7).
The GCSE is made up of two components, both internally assessed and externally moderated.
Component One: Portfolio (60%)
At the start of the course, Year 10 pupils will work under a general title, developing ideas and skills in a wide range of materials. They explore drawing, photography, mixed-media, painting, printmaking and three-dimensional studies.
Pupils establish a foundation of skills and also identify their own interests and strengths with different materials, techniques and concepts. Pupils then refine and further extend these strengths into Year 11.
The emphasis is on a personal response to given starting points. The portfolio should demonstrate diversity as well as personal strengths and interests.
Pupils are engaged in the creative process, developing practical skills, exploring creative thinking and becoming confident risk-takers and reflective learners. At the end of the Michaelmas Term in Year 11, pupils will conclude their Portfolio Component having selected, organised and presented the best of their work.
Component Two: Externally Set Task (40%)
At the start of the Lent Term, Year 11 pupils receive their exam paper. The paper has a number of starting points, one of which the pupil will choose to develop their exam project.
Responding to the exam paper, pupils record, develop, explore and prepare for the ten-hour set task.
Throughout both the Portfolio and Externally Set Task pupils are encouraged and assisted as they structure and organise their practical work and develop creativity, as well as working to establish sound study skills.
Beyond the classroom
In addition to our regular lessons we organise Year 10 and 11 Art trips, take part in Art competitions and invite speakers to talk or provide practical courses to our student cohort. All of these co-curricular activities help our students to enhance their cultural capital and knowledge of the subject while gathering visual research which will feed into their investigations.
Pearson Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) in Biology (4BI1)
Biology is the study of the living world, encompassing the structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution and taxonomy of living organisms.
The International GCSE in Biology covers five basic themes:
- The nature and variety of living organisms
- Structures and functions in living organisms
- Reproduction and inheritance
- Ecology and the environment
- Use of biological resources.
Pupils will learn to appreciate the importance of accurate experimental work, scientific method and reporting. They will also develop an appreciation of the significance of biological facts, concepts and principles, and the skills needed for their use in new and changing situations.
They will develop an enjoyment of, and interest in, the study of living organisms.
Pupils will evaluate, in terms of their biological knowledge and understanding, the benefits and drawbacks of scientific and technological developments, including those related to social, environmental and economic issues.
The course provides a strong foundation for pupils wishing to study Biology at A-level and offers a wealth of practical opportunities throughout the three-year course.
There is no coursework or controlled assessment. Both papers contain questions designed to assess the pupils’ practical skills.
- Paper 1: Is worth 61.1% of the total mark, and lasts two hours.
- Paper 2: Is worth 38.9% of the total mark, and lasts one hour.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) (4CH0)
Chemistry is the study of materials – what they are made of and how they interact with each other. It provides the tools to make new and better compounds for the service of mankind.
The aim of this course is to give pupils the opportunity to:
- learn about unifying patterns and themes of chemistry
- appreciate the practical nature of chemistry, acquiring experimental and investigative skills based on correct and safe laboratory techniques
- appreciate the importance of accurate experimental work and reporting
- form hypotheses and design experiments to test them
- develop a logical approach to problem-solving in a wider context
- understand the widespread importance of chemistry and the way materials are used in the world
- appreciate how the work of the chemist has social, industrial, technological, environmental and economic consequences for the community
- prepare for more advanced courses in chemistry and for courses which require them to have a knowledge of Chemistry.
There is no coursework component as this is examined within the material covered by the two papers.
- Paper 1: Is worth 61% of the total mark and lasts two hours.
- Paper 2: Is worth 39% of the total mark and lasts 1 hour 15 minutes.
The new course uses the 9-1 grading system. Both papers contain a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions.
The Classical Civilisation GCSE course focuses on the OCR specification, comprising one Thematic Study paper and one Literature and Culture paper to be taken at the end of Year 11. Any literary sources referred to are in English translation.
The topic of the Thematic paper is ‘myths and religion’. In this paper, pupils will study myths regarding the role of the gods and heroes in the founding of Athens and Rome and the importance of Heracles/Hercules to both the Greek and Roman world. Myth as a symbol of power will also be explored, as will ever-popular stories about the underworld. Pupils will also look at the role of religion in the everyday lives of ancient Greeks and Romans. The study of temples, sacrifice, festivals, death and beliefs in the afterlife will give a broad overview of religion in the ancient world, and provides opportunity for the study of a wide variety of material remains. Pupils will be required to make informed comparisons between Greek and Roman ideas and will need to use literature and archaeological finds in conjunction with one another to inform judgments, including discussion of why or how the sources may present things differently from each other.
In the Literature and Culture component, pupils will explore everyday Roman city life through a range of prescribed visual material and literary sources with a particular focus on the Imperial period in Rome, Ostia, Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Culture section of this component includes the study of a variety of aspects of Roman society such as housing, the family, social hierarchy and entertainment. The Roman social system was notorious for its intrigues and politics and this, coupled with the study of the spectacle provided by Roman entertainment, makes this an exciting topic to explore.
Within the set literature, pupils will examine poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction texts to gain an insight into different literary styles and techniques that were used in this era, as well as into interesting areas of Roman life and society. Pupils will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the contexts of these sources and the intention behind their production. They should also be prepared to discuss possible different interpretations of sources, such as those offered by an ancient and modern audience.
- Thematic Study (50%) – 1 hour 30 minutes
- Literature and Culture (50%) – 1 hour 30 minutes
CIE International GCSE (IGCSE) (0478)
This IGCSE puts emphasis on learning the principles of problem-solving using a computer, computational thinking and programming. Pupils apply their understanding to develop computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and a high-level programming language (Python 3).
This is not a programming course, but a course in which the fundamental programming concepts are learnt, which then can be applied in solving various practical problems using any high-level programming language.
That said, keen programmers are provided with resources to write code independently, be it Python 3 or another language.
This qualification will help pupils appreciate current and emerging computing technologies and the benefits of their use. They learn to recognise the ethical issues and potential risks when using computers.
It is an ideal foundation for further study in Computer Science, at A-level or beyond. The ultimate goal and ethos of this course is the academic rigour, creativity and the excitement of making things happen that comes with programming.
Paper 1: Theory (60%) 1 hour 45 minutes
This written paper contains short-answer and structured questions. Topics assessed include:
- binary, hexadecimal numbers, and their application
- learning how data is input, output, stored, transmitted and processed
- logic gates and electronic circuits that make a computer component
- what is inside a processor and how it works/executes instructions
- security and ethical questions when working with computer systems.
Paper 2: Practical Problem Solving and Programming (40%) 1 hr 45 mins
This written paper assesses candidates’ understanding and ability in solving a problem by writing its algorithm in a flowchart, pseudocode, and then code. This will involve the use of validation, testing techniques, identifying errors, and using trace tables.
An important emphasis is placed on thoroughly planning a solution (with flowcharts and pseudocode) before any line of programming code is written.
Programming is an important part of this paper and is used to demonstrate candidates’ understanding of problem-solving and programming concepts – we use Python 3 at GCSE.
Finally, the basics of databases, data types, primary keys and querying a table are also included.
This GCSE prepares pupils to become creative and critical thinkers. It develops their skills to design and deliver prototypes that solve real and relevant problems.
The course combines the use of CAD and CAM, through our excellent range of CNC machines, with more traditional manufacturing processes alongside up-to-date technologies reflecting the full range of Design and Technology areas.
Pupils develop their knowledge and skills through the completion of design exercises, small project work, taught theory lessons and a series of visits to exhibitions and industrial environments. Many have gone on to study Design at A-level and Design, Architecture and Engineering related subjects at degree level.
Current visits include:
- the Oxford Mini car factory
- the New Holland tractor factory
- the V&A museum
- the Science Museum.
In addition, voluntary trips are offered to see key exhibitions at London Design week, the London Design Festival and Grand Designs Live as appropriate.
There is also an opportunity for future engineers to apply for an Arkwright Scholarship in Year 11.
Iterative Design and Make project (50%)
Candidates undertake a single design-and-make activity which is selected from a small range of contextual challenges released by the examination board on the 1st June in Year 10. Candidates submit a three-dimensional outcome and a concise electronic design folder. Candidates will be prepared for their assessed project by completing a number of smaller projects designed to develop their awareness of the iterative design process and their understanding of areas outside the traditional resistant materials approach.
The components include a design portfolio of approximately 20 A3 pages, detailing the entire design process from conception through to testing and evaluating, as well as the manufactured prototype itself, which is often full size. It is expected that candidates should spend approximately 40 hours on this activity.
Examination (50%): 1hr 45mins
The examination is made up of two sections:
- Section A: Core
This section is 40 marks and contains a mixture of different question styles, including open-response, graphical, calculation and extended-open-response questions. There will be 10 marks of calculation questions in Section A. Core includes new and emerging technologies, energy storage and generation, modern and smart materials, systems approach to designing, mechanical devices, materials and their working properties.
- Section B: Material categories
This section is 60 marks and contains a mixture of different question styles, including open-response, graphical, calculation and extended-open-response questions. There will be 5 marks of calculation questions in Section B. this section allows candidates to answer more in-depth questions about one particular area, which we have selected as Timbers.
Time and prep use
During the U4, pupils will have one 30 minute prep based on the theory topic for the week and one 30 minute prep where they are expected to make independent progress on their current project.
In the Fifth Form, when pupils undertake the bulk of their project work, prep is completed through weekly attendance at one of the seven clinic sessions offered in the Design and Technology department.
WJEC Eduqas GCSE (9-1) Drama
Pupils study theatre skills and may specialise in acting, lighting or sound design. They can choose if they wish to act or design in either of their two practical performance exams and have an open choice.
Regular theatre visits each half term form the lifeblood of the course. These ensure pupils gain a wide understanding of theatre styles and genres to influence their work as performers, designers and directors alongside preparing for their live theatre review in Section B of the written paper. Their set text for Section A will be Dennis Kelley’s DNA. We explore the play practically, culminating in four written questions on character, staging, design elements and performance of a given extract.
In addition to seeing live theatre performances every term and experiencing some professional workshops, pupils have the opportunity to come on the New York Broadway tour, which next runs in April 2020, where they will see five productions and attend two professional workshops on a five-day tour.
- Component 1: Devising Theatre (40%)
This part of the course is internally-assessed and externally moderated. Pupils devise a practical performance based on a given stimulus, linked with a practitioner or genre. Pupils may choose either acting, lighting or sound design.
The timing of the final performance is 5-16 minutes, depending on group size. Work is performed to a public audience and recorded on DVD. Pupils will produce a 900-word portfolio charting key moments in their devising process and the development of their skills. They end the unit evaluating their final performance or design in a timed 1 hour and 30 minutes controlled assessment, where they write an evaluation report.
- Component 2: Performance from a Text (20%)
This part of the GCSE is externally assessed by a visiting examiner. Pupils are assessed on either their acting, lighting or sound design skill, in a timed public performance, combining two different, ten-minute extracts from a published play.
Pupils have complete freedom in editing the text from their extracts to create the final performance piece, which will be timed exactly to be between 5-14 minutes, depending on group size.
- Component 3: Interpreting Theatre (40%)
This is an externally-assessed written exam, lasting 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Section A: DNA
Candidates analyse and answer a series of questions on Dennis Kelly’s DNA as an actor, designer or director. Pupils are allowed to take in a clean copy of the play.
- Section B: Live Theatre Review
Candidates answer one question requiring analysis and evaluation of a given aspect of a live theatre production seen during the course. The review must cover vocal and movement skills, as well as lighting, sound, set and costume design. Pupils are not allowed to take in any notes to the exam.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) English Language A(4EA1)
English Language and English Literature are taught in an integrated scheme of work.
The course allows pupils to:
- develop the ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively when speaking and writing
- learn how to use a wide-range of vocabulary, and the correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
- develop a personal style and an awareness of the audience being addressed.
Pupils are also encouraged to read widely, both for their own enjoyment and to further their awareness of the ways in which English can be used.
The Edexcel IGCSE also develops more general analysis and communication skills such as synthesis, inference, and the ability to order facts and present opinions effectively.
Our candidates are entered for Papers 1 and 2:
- Paper 1: Non-Fiction Texts and Transactional Writing 2hrs 15mins (60%)
Candidates answer questions on unseen texts and texts from a prepared anthology of non-fiction writing, including travel writing, rhetorical writing and other genres. They also undertake a 45-minute writing task.
- Paper 2: Poetry and Prose and Imaginative Writing 1hr 30mins (40%)
Candidates write about a poetry or prose text from a prepared anthology and undertake a 45-minute writing task.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) English Literature (4ET1)
The course allows pupils to:
- read, interpret and evaluate texts through the study of literature in English
- develop an understanding of literal and implicit meaning, relevant contexts and of the deeper themes or attitudes that may be expressed
- recognise and appreciate the ways in which writers use English to achieve a range of effects
- present an informed, personal response to materials they have studied
- explore wider and universal issues, promoting pupils’ better understanding of themselves and of the world around them.
Our candidates are entered for Papers 1 and 2.
- Paper 1: Poetry and Modern Prose 2hrs (60%)
Candidates write about a prepared novel as well as two poems from a prepared anthology. They also complete one task on an unseen poem.
- Paper 2: Modern Drama and Literary Heritage Texts 1hr 30mins (40%)
Candidates write about a modern play and one text from the English literary heritage. The latter category covers works by Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens and other major writers.
CIE International GCSE (IGCSE) French (0520)
Whilst many of the areas studied will be familiar (some time will be spent consolidating previously taught grammar and vocabulary), an emphasis is placed on rekindling interest for the lower sets and stretching the more able.
The textbook is bespoke for the course, and is accompanied by a grammar work book. All pupils also have regular exposure to the language through work with our French assistants, who practise oral skills and help pupils prepare for the Oral tests.
Textbooks will be supplemented by multimedia resources, and a variety of printed media.
The Speaking examination will be taken in March of Year 11, and the others during the main examination period. The Reading and Listening components are based on everyday materials pupils will encounter.
Pupils who acheive Grade 7 in their mock GCSE exams will be invited to study towards the B1 Level of the DELF diploma in Year 11. This is the French certificate within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages, offered by the French Ministry of Education. The qualification is accepted by French Universities and the National Employment Agency. This may be useful for gap year work experience and studies abroad, is recognised by UCAS, and serves as an excellent preparation for A-level French.
Pupils will sit the DELF exam before Easter and complete their IGCSE exams in the summer term of Year 11. Since the structure of the DELF examinations is exactly the same as the IGCSE, at a slightly higher level, DELF serves as a further practice for the IGCSE that follows.
The IGCSE examination consists of four papers, each worth 25%. Papers One, Two and Four are externally assessed Paper Three is internally-assessed and externally moderated.
- Paper One: Listening (45 minutes)
- Paper Two: Reading and Directed Writing (1 hour). The directed writing consists of short answers in the foreign language.
- Paper Three: Speaking (15 minutes). Two short role plays, a short presentation of a topic chosen by the candidate, followed by a conversation on this and other areas.
- Paper Four: Continuous writing (1 hour). Candidates write three pieces, two short ones and one of 130-140 words. The emphasis here is on accuracy rather than on complexity, and the use of a range of structures.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) 4GE0
Geography is the study of Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It bridges the social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography).
Geography creates global citizens of us all; our pupils understand the issues facing the world now and in their future, and appreciate the complex relationships between people and place which shape our lives and our world.
Our aim is to actively engage pupils in the process of geographical enquiry, to develop them as independent learners and as critical thinkers with enquiring minds.
We will develop a deep understanding of the fundamental geographical process which shape places and environments from a local to global scale.
IGCSE geographers will appreciate the different viewpoints held by different groups of people on a variety of contemporary and challenging issues facing the world today.
Through the multiple opportunities for fieldwork, we will develop and apply practical geographical enquiry skills by undertaking geographical investigations from conceptualisation through data collection and analysis.
We explore the complex nature of Hazardous Environments; developing a detailed understanding of the nature of hazards, risk, and vulnerability. This involves the exploration of coral reefs, tropical storms and tectonic hazards; the reasons for their occurrence and the factors which affect our ability to cope.
We also investigate Coastal Environments; the processes and systems at work and the landscapes and ecosystems which are found on global coasts. Coasts are also considered as a resource and conflicts over their use are an integral part of their study.
Urban Environments are studied; the significance of the world’s increasingly urban population, through to the challenges faced in cities in countries at all levels of development.
We also explore economic change and energy dependency and the implications that economic development and resource exploitation have on the planet.
Finally, we study development and human welfare – a synoptic unit in which both physical and human factors are developed to help us understand the complex interrelationship between people and the land they occupy.
At all stages, fieldwork is integral to study. In past years, IGCSE pupils have visited Cuckmere Haven and East London to carry out fieldwork.
The IGCSE is assessed through two end-of-year examinations; one 1hr and 45min Human Geography paper (60% of total grade) and one 1hr and 30min Physical Georgraphy paper (40% of total grade). There is no coursework component.
CIE International GCSE (IGCSE) German (0525)
The IGCSE German course already starts in September of the Year 9, so Year 10 provides a seamless continuation all the way up to public examinations.
The two Year 9 sets, which cover the same contents in the first year, merge to one IGCSE set in Year 10, and this has proven to be very successful.
An emphasis is placed on making sure that learners of all abilities are catered for in lessons. The textbooks used provide a solid foundation for all topics and will be supplemented by multimedia resources and a variety of printed media. All students also have regular exposure to the language through their work with our German assistant, practising oral skills and helping students prepare for the Speaking tests.
The Speaking examination will be taken in April of Year 11, and the other tests during the main examination period; Listening, Reading and Writing exams are based on everyday materials pupils will encounter in the foreign country.
For pupils who have already reached a high level of German, there will be the opportunity to study for the CEFR DaF examinations.
This is a language course approved by the German government, in the context of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages. It is internationally recognised and it enhances any CV or university application.
The IGCSE examination consists of four papers, each worth 25%. Papers One, Two and Four are externally assessed. Paper Three is internally assessed and externally moderated.
- Paper 1: Listening (45 minutes)
- Paper 2: Reading & Directed Writing (1hour). The directed writing consists of short answers in the foreign language.
- Paper 3: Speaking (15 minutes). Two short role plays, a short presentation of a topic chosen by the candidate, followed by a conversation on this and other areas.
- Paper 4: Continuous writing (1 hour). Candidates write three pieces, two short ones and one of 130-140 words. The emphasis here is on accuracy rather than on complexity, and the use of a range of structures.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) (4hI1)
The study of History at IGCSE offers a varied and exciting insight into the twentieth century. Pupils will explore the three major ideologies of communism, capitalism and fascism in their different contexts, while also learning how to assess and explain complex ideas in readable and analytical prose – transferable skills highly prized by university admissions tutors and future employers.
The course is split into four parts across two papers.
Paper 1: Depth Studies (50%, 1hr 30min exam)
The course examines pupils’ knowledge and understanding of:
- Development of Dictatorship: Germany 1918-1945
- A Divided Union: Civil Rights in the USA 1945-1974.
The former involves an exploration of the challenges that faced Germany after the First World War, before moving onto the rise and fall of the Nazis.
The latter is predominantly concerned with the rise of protest movements in America: African American, anti-Communist, pupils and women.
Paper 2: Investigation and Breadth Studies (50%, 1hr 30min exam)
This paper encourages pupils to develop their critical thinking skills through the study of primary sources and historians’ interpretations of two areas of focus:
- The USA, 1918-1941
- Conflict, crisis and change: China 1900-1989.
The first unit is an in-depth study in regard to America following the First World War. In a chronology that runs parallel to Germany in the inter-war years, we study the boom and bust years of post-World War One America.
The breadth study is a fascinating study of the turbulent story of China from hte Boxer Rebellion in 1900 to the events of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
The Latin GCSE course focuses on the Eduqas Latin specification, comprising one Latin Language paper, one Literature and Sources paper and one Roman Civilisation paper to be taken at the end of the Year 11.
The Language paper builds upon grammar and vocabulary studied so far and examines translation and comprehension skills. There are also some questions testing understanding of grammar and three short translation sentences from English into Latin. There is a defined vocabulary list for this unit.
Literature and Sources paper
For the Literature and Sources paper, pupils will apply their grammar and vocabulary knowledge to study short extracts from Latin texts on a particular theme. They will explore the background and context of the extracts through study of archaeological sources, translate the texts and analyse the style of the writers.
Roman Civilisation paper
For the Roman Civilisation paper, pupils will analyse a range of archaeological and written (in English) sources to develop an understanding of what life was like in Ancient Rome. In the examination, they will be required to explain what can be learnt about Ancient Rome from these sources and offer a personal response about what they think life was like.
- Latin Language (50%) 1 hour 30 mins
- Latin Literature and Sources (30%) 1 hour 15 mins
- Roman Civilisation (20%) 1 hour
Pearson Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) in Chinese (4CN1)
This syllabus is designed for pupils who are learning Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language. The aim is to develop an ability to use the language effectively for purposes of practical communication.
The course is based on the linked language skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing, and these are built on as pupils progress through their studies.
The syllabus also aims to offer insights into the culture and civilisation of countries where Mandarin Chinese is spoken, encouraging positive attitudes towards language learning and towards speakers of foreign languages.
Content and assessments provide an engaging real-world focus. The authentic situations and stimuli enable pupils to see language in context and learn about the culture of the country.
The assessments allow for spontaneity and test grammar, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for pupils to apply their knowledge independently, creatively and in authentic situations.
Paper 1: Listening. Externally assessed written examination, 30 minutes plus 5-minutes reading time (25% of the final qualification).
Content overview: This paper assesses listening skills across five topic areas:
- Home and abroad
- Education and employment
- Personal life and relationships
- The world around us
- Social activities, fitness and health.
Assessment overview: Seven questions, which are a combination of multiple-choice, multiple-matching, note-taking and gap-fill questions. All five topic areas are assessed. The listening audio files are available on our website. Recordings of spoken Chinese will be available in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Paper 2: Reading and Writing. Externally assessed written exam, 1hr 45mins (50% of the final qualification).
Content overview: This paper assesses reading and writing skills in separate sections across five topic areas:
- Home and abroad
- Education and employment
- Personal life and relationships
- The world around us
- Social activities, fitness and health.
- Section A: Reading. five questions, which are a combination of multiple-choice, note-taking, gap-fill and short-answer questions.
- Section B: Writing. There are two open-response writing tasks, each linked to a topic area. There is also a question involving translation of four sentences into Chinese. All four sentences are linked to one topic area. The assessment will be available in traditional and simplified characters. All questions and texts are printed twice, once in English and traditional/full characters, and once in English and simplified characters. Students may work from whichever version they wish.
Paper 3: Speaking. Internally conducted, externally assessed spoken exam. 8-10 minutes, plus 10 minutes’ preparation time (25% of the total qualification).
Content overview: This paper assesses speaking skills across five topic areas:
- Home and abroad
- Education and employment
- Personal life and relationships
- The world around us
- Social activities, fitness and health.
The examination is made up of three tasks. Students will present and answer questions on a picture that is related to one of the topic areas. They will also discuss two different topics, chosen at random by Pearson.
The assessment will be available in Mandarin and Cantonese.
The assessments are conducted by teachers in one session within a prescribed assessment window, the recordings are then submitted to Pearson for external marking.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) (4MA1)
The topic areas are:
- Graphs & Differentiation
- Space & Shape (ie. Geometry)
- Data Handling (Statistics, Probability and Set Theory).
There is an emphasis on problem-solving and application in the 9-1 examinations.
Calculators are used on both papers. A standard scientific calculator, such as the Casio Fx- 83Gt Plus is required in addition to standard mathematic equipment including a 30cm ruler, protractor and compasses for all mathematics lessons and examinations.
All sets will take the Higher Tier IGCSE in the summer of their Year 11.
- Paper 1 (50%) 2 hours
- Paper 2 (50%) 2 hours
AQA International GCSE (IGCSE) Level 2 Certificate (8360)
The top sets in Years 10 and 11 study this Further Mathematics course in parallel with the IGCSE.
The course is aimed at extending higher ability pupils and covers some additional topics as well as developing strong problem-solving and application skills.
It is only suitable for pupils who are confident with IGCSE work and who can apply their learning successfully in unfamiliar contexts and under examination pressure. Additional topics include higher order polynomial and the factor theorem, matrices, further trigonometry and proof.
Admission to the course is dependent on a suitable level of attainment during the Year 9 and the end-of-year examinations.
Grades awarded are:
- A* with distinction (grade 9 equivalent)
There are two papers. Paper 1 is non-calculator; Paper 2 is a calculator paper.
A standard scientific calculator, such as the Casio Fx- 83Gt Plus is required in addition to standard mathematic equipment including a 30cm ruler, protractor and compasses for all mathematics lessons and examinations. All examinations are taken in the summer of Year 11.
This course develops musical knowledge, understanding and skills through performing, composing and appraising.
It encourages pupils to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts, to develop an understanding of the place of music in different cultures, and to reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities.
This course is assessed via three components.
Component One: Performing (30%)
Two recordings are submitted, one of a solo performance and one of an ensemble performance. The combined duration of these performances must be at least four minutes. Standard Level is identified as Grade IV and marks for performances above this level are scaled up. This is a non-examined assessment which is internally marked and externally moderated.
Component Two: Composing (30%)
Two compositions are submitted: one to a brief set by Edexcel and one which is free. This is also a non-examined assessment which is internally marked and externally moderated.
Component Three: Appraising (40%)
This is assessed as an examination lasting 1 hour 45 minutes. Preparation for this examination focuses on four areas of study:
- Instrumental Music 1700-1820
- Vocal Music
- Music for Stage and Screen
There are two set works in each area of study.
In addition, wider listening is expected and the examination will draw on set works and also ask about how they relate to other pieces. GCSE Music is an excellent course for anyone interested in any aspect of the subject. It broadens knowledge and develops skills.
Eduquas GCSE (9-1) Photography (C656QS)
This is an exciting and creative course with an outstanding record of 89% A*-As (9-7) in 2018. Pupils will be taught various creative techniques, and enjoy the benefits of a fully-equipped photography studio with Apple Macs and Photoshop. They will learn how to manipulate images digitally as well as how to master traditional darkroom techniques.
Pupils have to complete two components of artwork during the two-year course.
Component One: Personal Investigation (60% of qualification)
This is a major in-depth practical investigative portfolio. This is a personal portfolio of artwork where pupils are free to decide which themes and ideas they wish to investigate.
Component Two: Externally Set Assignment (40% of qualification)
The externally set assignment will involve creating a portfolio of work in response to a topic set by the exam board. This portfolio and final images will count for 40% of the final grade.
This is an engaging, multi-dimensional course which aims to develop a thorough understanding of the factors which affect sports performance and participation at the highest level.
Pupils will learn about:
- anatomy and physiology of the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems
- exercise physiology investigating the short and long-term responses of the body to different types of exercise
- methods and principles of training and how these can be used to maximise perfomance
- nutrition and how it can improve health and performance
- the use of biomechanics in movement analysis
- psychological topics including mental preparation, goal setting and methods of effective feedback
- a range of sociocultural material surrounding topical issues such as drugs, commercialisation of sport, violence and factors affecting participation in sport in the UK.
This is made up of an analysis of performance task, which gives pupils the opportunity to critically observe physical activity. They have to identify strengths and weaknesses in it and produce an in-depth action plan to improve future performances. It challenges pupils to draw on information from the whole course when developing the action plan.
This part of the course promotes pupils’ advanced skills and techniques. It helps them learn to select and use tactics, strategies and/or compositional ideas. Their regular involvement in physical activity gives them a real opportunity to participate in a range of roles such as umpire and coach. This increases self-esteem and fosters their leadership, teamwork and communication skills.
Examination One (30% of the course, 1 hour paper)
- Applied anatomy
- The effects of physical training
Examination Two (30% of the course, 1 hour paper)
- Sociocultural and Health Influences
Coursework and Practical Activity Assessment (40% of the course)
- Evaluating and Analysing Performance. This is a written coursework task.
- Practical Assessment in three chosen activities. The assessments are ongoing throughout the Years 10 and 11.
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) Physics (4PH1)
Physics is the study of natural phenomena. The concepts involved are wide-ranging and provide opportunities for cross-curricular links.
Whilst the course is practically based, it also seeks to develop the mathematical nature of the subject and shows how our understanding of the world around us can be improved by the use of models.
Applications of the ideas include many technological developments and the impact these have on the environment.
All pupils follow the Edexcel IGCSE Physics course, which is aimed at providing a sound foundation in the basic principles of Physics.
It is very suitable for candidates who wish to continue to a higher level in this subject, but also provides a thorough grounding for pupils to understand the world around them and the social issues involved, even if they are going no further with their science studies.
The course emphasises the understanding of concepts rather than rote learning of large amounts of material.
There is no coursework component and this is examined within the material covered by the two papers.
- Paper 1: (61%) 2 hours.
- Paper 2: (39%) 1 hour 15 minutes.
The course uses the 9-1 grading system. Both papers contain a mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions.
The Religious Studies GCSE involves two components:
- Component One: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices.
- Component Two: Thematic studies.
In Component One, pupils study the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Judaism.
This component provides pupils with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of religion by exploring the significance and impact of beliefs, teachings, sources, practices, ways of life and forms of expressing meaning.
In Component Two, pupils study four religious, philosophical and ethical study themes.
This component supports pupils to become adept in expressing their personal responses and developing informed insights into the ethical problems surrounding such issues as life, the existence of God and revelation, peace and conflict, and crime and punishment.
Pupils learn to write analytical answers in a structured and coherent manner, and to think critically and with empathy.
- Component One: 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Component Two: 1 hour 45 minutes.
CIE International GCSE (IGCSE) Spanish (7160)
The emphasis of the course is placed on developing the pupils’ autonomy in the use of Spanish grammar and vocabulary so that they become autonomous users of the language in the topics that we cover. To that end, we allow our students regular exposure to the language through work with our Spanish assistant, who coaches them on how to develop their oral skills and prepare for the oral exams.
This year we have established links with a school in Barcelona. Pupils from Epsom College will spend a week soaking in the Spanish culture and, as they join their host-siblings in their after school socials, they will make long-lasting friendships and they will live Spain at its fullest, and the same Spanish students will return the visit for a week in June (the continuity of this trip is confirmed every September, for the following academic year).
For pupils who want to stretch themselves and who have already reached a high level of Spanish, there will be given the opportunity to study for the DELE A2/B1 exam. B1 is the level required to study a university degree in Spain; B2 being required for Masters degrees.
This is a language course approved by the Spanish Ministry of Education. It is internationally recognised and is given UCAS points for university applications.
Papers One, Two and Four are externally assessed. Paper Three is internally assessed and externally moderated. All papers are externally assessed but the oral is done with the teacher examiner.
- Paper One: Listening (25%) 45 mins.
- Paper Two: Reading (25%) 60 min.
- Paper Three: Speaking (25%) 15 mins.
- Paper Four: Writing (25%) 60 min.