Year 11

Curriculum Content


Students in Year 11 are following the Cambridge IGCSE syllabus for English Language. There are three components to the course: a reading examination worth 40%, a coursework unit worth 40% and a 20% speaking and listening examination.

For English Literature students are following the AQA syllabus. This again has three units: exploring modern texts, (40%) which includes the study of either ‘Of Mice and Men’ or ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and a collection of short stories called ‘Sunlight on the Grass’. Unit two is worth 35% and is a poetry examination based on the anthology ‘Moon on the Tides’ and the ‘Character and Voice’ cluster. There is also an unseen poetry question. Finally, unit three compromises of coursework worth 25% which is the study of ‘Great Expectations and ‘Macbeth’.


Students continue to follow a programme of study to prepare for Edexcel Linear Mathematics. The examination will consist of two examinations in June of Year 11. Overview of assessment

  •  Two written papers: each contributes 50% of the final grade
  •  Tiered papers
    •   Foundation Tier grades C-G available
    •   Higher Tier grades A*-D available (E allowed)
  •  1 hour 45 minutes (Foundation papers)
  •  1 hour 45 minutes (Higher papers)
  •  100 marks on each paper
  •  Paper 1F and 1H: Non-calculator
  •  Paper 2F and 2H: Calculator
  •  The functional elements of mathematics are assessed on each paper:
    •   30-40% of the Foundation Tier papers
    •   20-30% of the Higher Tier papers.

Students will continue to practice examination papers and past questions as well as having regular assessments in order to access progress and help students develop their thinking skills and application of knowledge.


Students follow the programme of study to prepare for the Additional Science 4408 GCSE. This consists of: Cells, organs, systems, photosynthesis, respiration, digestion, genetic crosses, Mendel, genetic disorders, fossils and extinction; Bonding, allotropes, chemistry calculations, rates of reaction, electrolysis, acids-bases and salts; Forces and motion, Hookes law, work, power, electrostatics, circuits, Ohms law, Mains electricity, power calculations, ionising radiation, life cycle of a star. Students are required to complete a second controlled assessment. There will be a further three examinations in June of Year 11 for each GCSE: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In total these students will take 6 examinations in year 11 and have completed 2 controlled assessments.

The group continuing with the three GCSE programme of study will complete the common Additional Science modules and then follow the triple science programme of study. This is: Osmosis, active transport, gaseous exchange, transpiration, heart and circulation, transport in plants, dialysis, homeostasis, diabetes, deforestation, global warming, food production; groups of the periodic table, hard or soft water, seawater, energy level diagrams, bond making/breaking, hydrogen, metal ion tests, titration, Haber process, alcohol, carboxylic acids, esters; Medical uses of waves, lenses, the eye, optical fibre, centre of mass, moments, levers, hydraulics, circular motion, motor effect,

transformers. Students will be required to complete a controlled assessment for each of the three GCSE subjects. In year 11, they will have 9 examinations.


Paper 1 is worth 50% and it is called Key Themes covering rivers, coasts, population, settlement, economic activity, natural hazards. The topics covered at the end of year 10

Paper 2 is worth 25% and it is called the Sustainable Decision Making Examination.

Controlled Assessment – A major investigative study from original fieldwork, is completed in the Autumn of Year 11 and worth 25%


Year 11 students study Weimar and Nazi Germany. The Civil rights movement in America and preparation for the GCSE exams.

Religious Education

Students continue with the second year of their GCSE course where they study Philosophy. The 4 topics are as follows:

The Existence of God: here students learn and evaluate arguments relating to the existence of God. This includes the First Cause Argument, the Design argument, Arguments from miracles, religious experience and morality. Students evaluate these arguments considering their own opinions and criticise the arguments

Miracles: Students learn definitions of miracles and various type such Biblical miracles, real life miracles, medical miracles etc. Students consider philosophical questions such as does God work in the world through miracles? Examples of miracles from scripture and history are taught. Students evaluate miracles and the problems they cause such as why does an all-powerful God not help those who are suffering the most? Views of philosophers such as David Hume are considered.

The Problem of Evil and Suffering: Students learn the concept of suffering and reasons for suffering. What is the purpose of suffering? Students consider how religious believers can actually help those who are suffering, through providing support both physically and spiritually. Pupils then investigate the concept of evil and where evil originates from also why evil still exists. Religious responses plus Biblical teachings are examined.

Immortality: Students investigate what is meant by death and the meaning of immortality. Plus teachings from other faiths on reincarnation and rebirth. Scriptural evidence on immortality is studied looking at Jesus ‘death and resurrection. Student’s views are considered and challenged. The views of the Philosopher, Rene Descartes are studied.


Students follow a programme of study to prepare for AQA GCSE. Students study a theme of Cultural Pattern, focusing on animals and pattern. The unit covers the exploration of a range of processes including, three-dimensional sculpture, drawing and painting. Students will enter one sketchbook, an animal sculpture and one final canvas painting which are produced in a Year 11 mock examination. The Year 11 unit is worth 30% of the GCSE.

Students are invited to broaden their learning on a day trip to Oxford Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers.

Controlled Tests:

The Externally Set Assignment is worth 40% of the GCSE grade. Exam papers are given out at the beginning of term 3 in January. Students will submit a sketchbook and a final outcome which is produced in a 10 hour exam. Students are supported with weekly afterschool ‘Art Surgery’ sessions running every Thursday.


Students study the Edexcel syllabus for GCSE Music. This is split up into three main areas:

  •  Performing – solo and ensemble controlled assessment
  •  Composing – two compositions produced under controlled assessment conditions
  •  Listening Paper – 1hr 30m paper based on 12 sets works taken from 4 Areas of Study
    •   Western Classical Music 1600-1899
    •   Music in the 20th century
    •   Popular music in context
    •   World music

In Year 11, students will produce at least another 2 compositions which can form part of their final GCSE submission. Students have to make their final solo and ensemble recordings, ready for submission by Easter. Students will complete the remaining Area of Study and revise thoroughly for the final examination paper.

Performing and Composing controlled assessment tasks will be recorded and handed in by Easter. There is a 1hr 30m Listening Paper in the Summer Term.


Year 10 and 11

Students follow the Edexcel GCSE specification.

The Edexcel GCSE in Drama encourages students to:

  • develop a personal interest in why drama matters and be inspired, moved and changed by studying a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study
  • work imaginatively and creatively in collaborative contexts, generating, developing and communicating ideas
  • consider and explore the impact of social, historical and cultural influences on drama texts and activities
  • reflect on and evaluate their own work and the work of others
  • develop and demonstrate competence in a range of practical, creative and performance skills
  • develop a basis for their future role as active citizens in employment and society in general, as well as for the possible further study of drama
  • actively engage in the process of dramatic study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.

Students are assessed over 3 units.

Unit 1:

  •  Students will complete 6 hours of workshops on a theme or issue led by their teacher. They will produce a documentary response of 2000 words to support their practical exploration.

Unit 2:

  •  Students will complete 6 hours of workshops based on a play text. They will produce a 1000 word documentary response to support their practical. Students are also required to produce a 2000 word essay in response to a live theatre performance.

Unit 3:

  •  Students will perform a 15-30 minute performance piece based on a theme to an audience. This will be assessed by a visiting examiner. Students may create a scripted response, a devised response or a combined scripted and devised response. Students may also have the opportunity to be assessed as a technical candidate.


The majority of Year 11 is spent completing the 45 hours controlled assessment student individual GCSE project work. Students studying hospitality and catering spend their practical sessions practising and perfecting their catering and cooking skills.

Mock examinations take place in the winter term of Year 11 and students have 6 hours of study allocated for their GCSE over a two week cycle with double periods allowing practical sessions to take place. All students work on a variety of design, planning and testing out of their ideas throughout the controlled assessment project work of GCSE Design & Technology with the final 3D outcomes and three courses catered dishes being produced in the Easter term of Year 11.

Formal examinations occur in the summer term of Year 11. Homework tasks are regularly set by all staff and students are entered for an end of year examination in the summer term of Year 10. Assessment is both formative and summative with grades awarded for both practical activities and design or written exercises. All GCSE staff are specialists in their subject area and the department is both well-equipped and spacious allowing all students to access all aspects needed to fulfil the examination board criterion for success


At Altwood we offer two options for studying ICT – BTEC L2 in Information and Creative Technology and Computer Science.

BTEC L2 in Information and Creative Technology

Students studying this course will explore the fundamentals of technology and gain the practical skills, knowledge and understanding to design, make and review:

  •  information technology systems and products, e.g. a software program
  •  creative technology products, e.g. a digital animation
  •  products that combine information technology and creative technology, e.g. a website or a mobile app

Students will complete 3 units over the course of their two years in Key Stage 4, those units being Unit 1: The Online World, Unit 3: A Digital Portfolio and Unit 13: Website Development.

Unit 1 is assessed by way of an externally assessed examination which students can take whenever they are ready, all other units are internally assessed controlled assessment pieces.

Computer Science

Students studying this course will learn how to create applications that:

  •  run on mobile devices
  •  operate in a web enabled environment.

In addition they will:

  •  gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts around creating software applications
  •  have opportunities to work collaboratively.

This course has one tier of assessment, with a single paper that covers all of the grades A*–G. The assessments for this course are terminal i.e. they must be taken at the end of Year 11 and there are no opportunities for retakes

The course is broken down into two components, and externally assessed examination and internally assessed controlled assessment.