The Core Subjects
The Option Subjects
We are privileged to be able to promote and develop Christian beliefs, practices and values within the whole school Boteler family, wider communities and within our teaching and learning. The teaching and ministry of Jesus enables us to bring Hope, Compassion and Endurance to our students and others. Sir Thomas Boteler acknowledged 500 years ago that “Through God, We Care” which is at the heart of our school community today. All students follow Religious Studies at KS4 enabling students to respond to personal, spiritual and moral questions that face us as human beings.
As a school we want to develop self-motivated and mature young people who enjoy learning. We offer a selection of BTEC courses as well as traditional GCSEs. BTECs are work related qualifications providing a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a key theoretical background. Students complete units of work which are internally assessed and verified. They also complete an external exam component. Students are graded with a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*. Each of our BTEC courses are equivalent to one GCSE.
Government changes to GCSE and the new GCSE grading system
GCSEs specifications changed in September 2016 to meet new Government guidelines and standards. All GCSE qualifications will now be examined at the end of the two-year course. Only a few contain internal assessments that need to be completed in school as well as a final exam. All GCSE subjects will be graded on the 9-1 scale replacing grades A* – G. It is important to note that a grade 5 (strong pass) is required by many colleges to gain access to courses post-16.
Thinking ahead – University
Universities look for students who have good grades but grades in the right subjects for the course they want to apply for. If you know what you want to study at university, you should think about choosing subjects which give you the best possible preparation for your chosen degree course. If you’re not sure what you want to study at university yet, it’s important to choose subjects which will leave as many options open as possible.
What are Facilitating Subjects?
Some A-level subjects are more frequently required for entry to degree courses than others. We call these subjects ‘facilitating’ because choosing them at advanced level leaves open a wide range of options for university study. These facilitating subjects are: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, Geography, History, Languages (French/Spanish), Maths.
If you don’t know what you want to study at university then it’s a really good rule of thumb that taking two facilitating subjects will keep a wide range of degree courses open to you. Studying a language at GCSE will be looked on favourably by universities. Successful applicants are normally expected to achieve good grades in a range of subjects at GCSE or equivalent, and to meet any specific requirements for their chosen course. Some institutions publish a list of preferred A-level subjects which are acceptable for general admission, as well as specific requirements for individual courses. It is important to check University websites very carefully for detailed GCSE requirements should you have a specific degree course in mind. This information should be easily accessible on Universities’ websites or in their prospectuses.
What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?
The EBacc is not a qualification in its own right – it’s a combination of the GCSE subjects listed below that offer an important range of knowledge and skills to young people. The Department for Education recommends that students follow the EBacc subjects as it will help keep their options open.
- English language and English literature
- Science – Combined science or 3 single sciences from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Computer Science
- History or Geography
- A language
Choosing the EBacc at GCSE gives students access to a full range of employment options when they leave secondary school and the broad knowledge that employers are looking for. If you are thinking of going to university, the EBacc is well regarded as a strong set of subjects that can be supplemented further by more creative subjects.
What if you are unsure about a future career of further study?
A good piece of advice is to pick a broad and balanced mix of subjects that will give you the most choices for study, training and employment after the age of 16. If you have a specific career in mind, check with your subject teachers, Miss Bound (Head of Year) or Mr Koltan (Senior Assistant Headteacher) for guidance about what is required at GCSE and beyond. To study some A-level subjects, you need to have studied them at GCSE but this is not always the case.