GCSE Subjects

GCSE Subjects

Alongside the core subjects of Maths, English and Science, the optional subjects we currently offer are:

  • Additional Maths (including Statistics)
  • Astronomy
  • Business
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Computing
  • Drama and Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • Fine Art
  • French
  • History
  • Geography
  • Latin
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Spanish
  • Triple Science

 

We have decided to keep options as broad as possible and ask pupils and parents to express their subject options as a preference. We will then try as far as possible to give everyone their first preference options or as close to them as possible.

Option subjects will be offered subject to demand, resourcing and availability. Despite offering breadth, when making their option choices, we recommend that pupils make a balanced choice of subjects. We also offer extended Learning Enrichment sessions to support maths, English and the rest of the pupil’s studies where this would be a better as a 4th option.

It is important that pupils ask themselves these questions as they make their choices

  1. What do I enjoy?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. Are there certain subjects I need for future studies?
  4. What am I interested in knowing more about?

Pupils in Year 9 have talks, experiences and one-on-one discussions to help them to reflect on these questions to help them make informed and sensible choices. As well as the questions above, pupils should also assess their own skills and talents, for example if they speak another language (even one not listed here) they may be able to take a GCSE in this language with relatively little preparation all owing them to take another subject or affording them more time to study their other GCSEs.

GCSE Frequently Asked Questions

How many GCSEs should my son/daughter take?

There is no single right answer to this question and you should consider all the information above as well as taking advice from the school before coming to this decision. Pupils at Eaton Square Senior School generally start on the path to take 9 GCSEs.

How are GCSEs graded and what is a pass?

The 9-1 grading scheme was brought in alongside a new GCSE curriculum in England. The highest grade is 9, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded).

Three number grades – 9, 8 and 7 – correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A – this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end. The old A* is considered to be equivalent to a grade 8 and a good pass (formerly a C) is now somewhere in the region of a 4 or 5. A 9 is designated as a pupil who has performed exceptionally and is reserved for a very few results in the country.

As a general guideline to National results, in 2019, 20.7% of results were grade 7 or above. 67.1% were 4 or above. The most common grades are 3, 5 and 4 in that order.

How many pupils do you need to run a subject?

There is no hard and fast rule on this. We will need to consider factors such as the cost of resources and recruitment. In some cases we may run a course with just one pupil however a good rule of thumb is likely to be 3-5 pupils to make a course run.

Will my son/daughter get his/her first preference?

With pupils each taking an average of 9 subjects including their choice of 17 options, it may be difficult to give everyone exactly what they want. However, as a small school we can be more flexible than a larger one and we hope to be able to offer every pupil a subject combination they will be happy with.

What are the easiest subjects?

There are no easy subjects. It is important to select preferences based on individual talents and interests rather than trying to cheat the system by looking for allegedly ‘soft’ or ‘easy’ options.

I’ve heard about the EBacc, what is that and how do I get it?

The EBacc is not a qualification in its own right but is a performance measure for schools allowing for comparison in league tables. Pupils are considered to have taken the EBacc if they have sat for GCSEs in English (Lit and Lang), Maths, Science (including Computer Science), a modern language and History or Geography.

My son/daughter is fluent in another language can they take the GCSE?

Probably yes, but it may not be as easy as your think. In some language GCSEs there is a literature paper as well as language paper which can make the qualification much more difficult. The papers will test all four language skills (speaking, reading, writing and listening) so if pupils can speak fluently but are not able to write, they may need support to pass the GCSE. Our examination officer will contact home about this option at the start of Year 10 and Year 11.

Do GCSEs have coursework or module exams?

Almost all GCSEs are now examined by terminal examinations (that is final exams at the end of the course). Modular testing and continuous assessment are mostly a thing of the past with the exception of certain applied subjects such as Music and Art.

I’ve heard that GCSEs aren’t that important?

Whatever your opinion on whether there is still a place for a universal exam at age 16 when everyone these days has to stay in school or training until they are 18, the fact is that GCSEs are currently an important summative assessment and transition point to further education (16+). Choices of subject and results can limit choices for 16+ which can go on to affect choices further on in life. We are always happy to talk through the options with you.

So many opportunities lie in front of our children.
At a time of change, education must adapt to ensure we’re helping them access the best possible chances.

Sebastian Hepher, Principal, Eaton Square Schools