Year 10

Curriculum Content – Year 10


Students in Year 10 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 follow a programme of study to prepare for Edexcel Linear GCSE Mathematics. This qualification in Mathematics encourages students to develop confidence in, and a positive attitude towards, mathematics and to recognise the importance of mathematics in their own lives and to society. This qualification prepares students to make informed decisions about the use of technology, the management of money, further learning opportunities and career choices.

This GCSE in Mathematics gives students the opportunity to develop the ability to:

  •  acquire and use problem-solving strategies
  •  select and apply mathematical techniques and methods in mathematical, every day and real-world situations
  •  reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions
  •  interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context.

Develop knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts including:

  •  Number
  •  Algebra
  •  Geometry
  •  Measures
  •  Statistics
  •  Probability

Homework will be set using a variety of forms including homework booklets linked directly to the programmes of study taught during each term, Mymaths and individual worksheets.

Students will practise examination papers and past questions throughout the year as well as having regular assessments in order to assess progress and help students develop their thinking skills and application of knowledge.


Some students will follow a programme of study to prepare for two AQA GCSE’s: Science A 4405 and Additional Science 4408. During year 10 students follow the Science A GCSE which covers the national curriculum areas of: Diet, exercise, hormones, nerves, the Environment, Genetic engineering, evolution; atoms, rocks, metals, oil, polymers, biofuels, the Earth and its atmosphere; Heat exchange, insulation; paying for electricity; the national grid; types of energy resources; waves – light and sound; the Big-Bang theory. Students will practise examination papers and past questions throughout the two years as well as having regular assessments in order to assess progress and help students develop their thinking skills and application of knowledge. The examinations will consist of three examinations in June of Year 11 for each GCSE: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students also complete one controlled assessment for each GCSE course.

Other students are following a programme of study to prepare for three AQA GCSE’s: Biology 4401, Chemistry 4402 and Physics 4403. The programme of study is initially the same as Science A, since they are common units. Then students follow the programme of study for common units for Additional Science: 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. At the end of year 10 students will be tested and decisions made as to whether they continue on this programme of study or follow the two GCSE course.


The subject is a very popular choice for GCSE and the OCR B specification is followed. Students study a wide range of geographical processes in both the natural world and human environments along with the relationships between the two. Students are given the opportunity to research and debate issues central to the course and there is an emphasis on enquiry learning and developing thinking skills which help make the subject interesting, challenging and fun.

Students prepare for the Unit 1 section of the GCSE course. The topics studied are rivers, coasts, population, settlement, economic activity, natural hazards.


The Year 10 course deals with the causes of WW1, the Peace making process and the League of Nations as well as the rise of Hitler and road to WW2. There is also a controlled assessment comparing Britain in both world wars.

Religious Education

Students commence their GCSE course in Philosophy and Ethics where 4 topics are taught, starting with Ethics. These are:

Religious Attitudes to Matters of Life which covers fertility treatment, transplant surgery, genetic engineering, embryology, designer babies, saviour siblings, cloning and experiments on humans. All are assessed by regular tests.

The next topic is Religious Attitudes to the Elderly and Death; this covers key beliefs about death. Also covered is care for the elderly and the problems faced by older people with religious teachings such as ‘Love thy neighbour’. The euthanasia debate is explored along with life support machines and care for dying

The third topic is Religious Attitudes to Drug Abuse, covering key terms to do with drugs and drug abuse, drug classification, the cannabis debate, social drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. The reasons why people take drugs and the consequences of taking such drugs. These are all evaluated from a social and religious perspective.

Final topic is Religious Attitudes to Crime and Punishment, covering crime and its causes, plus punishments and their aims. Young offenders and how they should be dealt with. Exploration of the death penalty. Alternative forms of punishment such as electronic tagging and community service orders are examined.


Students follow a programme of study to prepare for AQA GCSE. Students study a theme of Portraiture Painting, learning about the different Art movements from the 20th and 21st century. The unit covers the exploration of a range of processes including, print, drawing and painting. Students will enter one sketchbook and one final canvas painting which is produced in a Year 10 mock examination. The Year 10 unit is worth 30% of the GCSE.

Students are supported with weekly afterschool ‘Art Surgery’ sessions running every Thursday. Students are invited to broaden their learning on a day trip to The National Portrait Gallery, London.


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

Performing – one solo and one ensemble performance recorded under controlled assessment conditions

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 10, students will learn basic theory to aid with composition and listening. They will produce at least 1 composition which could form part of their final GCSE submission. Students are also encouraged to regularly record solo performances which could also be used for their final GCSE submission. Students will cover three Areas of Study by the end of Y10 which will aid them in the composition process.

Students are assessed termly for performance and composition progress and there are end of unit listening and writing tests for each set work. Year 10


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.


Currently we offer GCSE courses in:

Design & Technology Product Design (AQA)

Hospitality and Catering (WJEC)

Students can opt for either or both of these courses.

Both of these courses have associated theory aspects but the majority of the marks gained are on the production of a design folio and practical outcome. Caterers have to design, plan, and cook and present a three course meal in a limited amount of time. Product Designers design, model and manufacture a 3D working model with an accompanying design folio of research and alternative ideas.

Work covered throughout Year 10 allows students to study both the fundamental theoretical basic needed to excel in the written examination along with a wide range of designing and practical tasks and activities allowing them to build up their skills in both workshop and food catering rooms.

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.


In the Business & Applied Learning department students can follow one of two pathways at KS4.

OCR GCSE Business

The GCSE course has been designed to provide students with an understanding of the following: how businesses work, how businesses market themselves in the wider business community, the process involved in setting up your own business, how businesses use and manage their resources to produce goods and services, what information is needs to make financial decision-making and how businesses respond to competition both in the UK, Europe and around the world. It also helps develop a range of important and transferable skills: literacy, numeracy, communication skills and team-working. The examination will consist of two examinations in Year 11 and a controlled assessment.

 Unit A292: Business and People

In the study of this unit students will develop a knowledge and understanding of why business exists, who business stakeholders are, discuss the aims and objectives of business and the sectors they operate in. Students will also study the main types of business ownership, the recruitment and selection process, the role of trade unions and monetary methods of motivation.

 Unit A291: Marketing and Enterprise

In the study of this unit students should be able to show knowledge and understanding of market research, market segmentation and the different types of markets businesses operate in.

Students will also study the concept of enterprise in business and the role of an entrepreneur including the nature of reward and risks as well as understand the need for business planning.

Or BTEC First Award in Business L1/L2

The BTEC Business First Award is structured in a very unique way. There is one online examination at the end of the year and three practical assessments which are ongoing throughout the course.

Course content

In the first year of study students will be covering one Core unit and one Optional unit. They will sit the core unit examination at the end of year 10.

  • Finance for Business
  • Promoting a Brand