Year 10

The Year 10 curriculum for 2020-21 will be as follows:

English Maths Science PE Option A Option B Option C
5 5 6 2 4 4 4

The Year 10 curriculum is broad and ambitious and maintains students’ choices for further study or employment. All students will study either history or geography and will be encouraged to study a language.

Year 11

The Year 11 curriculum for 2020-21 will be as follows:

English Maths Science PE Option A Option B Option C Option D
5 5 6 2 3 3 3 3

The Year 11 curriculum remains unchanged from Year 10, with the majority of students continuing with all four option subjects. This decision has been made due to the superb engagement of this year group with home learning and also because Ofqual have made adjustments to several subjects such as reducing the content students will be expected to answer questions on in their exams. In exceptional circumstances, it may be appropriate for some students to continue with three options rather than four if this means they would achieve significantly better in their remaining subjects as a result . This will only be done if it is in the best interests of the student and it will be done in full consultation with parents/carers by October half term. We are also awaiting further information from Ofqual about whether the exams in 2021 will be moved to June/July rather than May/June and we will communicate this with students and parents/carers as soon as we find out.

The Key Stage Four curriculum is designed to ensure that all students gain the necessary knowledge, experiences and skills to become curious, reflective and resilient learners who are ready to reach their potential in a complex, rapidly changing world. Our options process enables students to choose subjects according to their interests while remaining broad and balanced with the EBacc at the heart. Through our curriculum we take pride in all that we do, respect the thoughts, beliefs and personal qualities of others and seek to be the best we can be both personally and academically. 

What will all students learn in Year 10 and 11?

English (9 lessons per fortnight)

Plays and novels chosen will vary according to your child’s set:

Year 10

  • English LiteraturePaper 1: 19th Century Novel – A Christmas Carol or Frankenstein
  • English Language Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – literary fiction
  • English Language Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives using source material for comparison
  • English Literature Paper 2 : Modern poetry – Study of 15 poems from the Power & Conflict AQA anthology as well as a range of unseen material

Year 11

  • Speaking and listening assessments
  • English Language Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – literary fiction
  • English Literature Paper 2 : Modern poetry – Study of 15 poems from the Power & Conflict AQA anthology as well as a range of unseen material
  • English Literature Paper 2: An Inspector Calls revision

Post Easter holidays, classes will follow a bespoke programme of study to ensure revision is tailored to individual needs.


Learning and revision at home is an essential part of raising achievement. Students must submit regular homework and revise from home to support their GCSE studies.

Maths (8 lessons per fortnight)

Topics taught will be based on your child’s maths set:

Year 10 

Higher (Sets 1&2)

Equations and Inequalities; Probability; Similarity and Congruence: Further Trigonometry; Further Statistics; Equations and Graphs; Circle Theorems; Further Algebra.

Foundation (Sets 3&4)

Graphs;Transformations; Ratio and Proportion; Right-Angled Triangles; Probability; Multiplicative Reasoning; Constructions, Loci and Bearings; Quadratic Equations and Graphs; Perimeter, Area and Volume 2

Year 11

Higher (Sets 1&2)

Vectors and Geometric Proof; Proportion and Graphs.

Foundation (Set 3)

Fractions, Indices and Standard Form; Congruence, Similarity and Vectors; Further Algebra.

From Half Term 3 (January) All Year 11 sets will follow a personalised curriculum determined by detailed analysis.

Science (9 lessons per fortnight)

Students in Set 1 will take separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All other students will take the Trilogy Science qualification; worth two GCSEs, this course includes Biology, Chemistry and Physics units

Trilogy Science – Year 10

  • Electricity: current, voltage and resistance
  • Chemical energy changes: exothermic and endothermic reactions
  • Bioenergetics: factors affecting respiration and photosynthesis
  • Properties of waves and the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Measuring and calculating the rate of chemical reactions
  • Homeostasis: the control of internal conditions through the nervous system and hormonal systems
  • Organic chemistry: the structure of fuels and their uses 
  • Forces and motion: how and why do objects speed up, slow down or change direction?
  • Infectious disease: how do we stop the spread of disease and respond to infections in the body?
  • Chemical changes: what happens to a chemical during a chemical reaction?

Trilogy Science – Year 11

  • Ecology studies: how can we estimate the sizes of populations of plants and animals?
  • Chemical analysis: how can we test for specific chemicals?
  • Forces and motion: investigating Newton’s laws of motion
  • Inheritance: how do cells replicate and how can we predict patterns of inheritance?
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere: how has the Earth’s atmosphere changed over time?
  • Using resources: where do we get our useful elements such as copper from?
  • Magnetism: how do we use magnetic forces in motors electromagnets?

Additional content for triple science students (covered across Year 10 and 11)

  • Biology: Culturing microorganisms; monoclonal antibodies; plant disease; the brain; the eye; control of body temperature; maintaining water and nitrogen balance in the body; plant hormones; cloning; theory of evolution; speciation; genetics; decomposition; impact of environmental change; trophic levels; food production.
  • Chemistry: Properties of transition metals; bulk and surface properties of matter including nanoparticles; yield and atom economy of chemical reactions; Using concentrations of solutions in mol/dm3; use of amount of substance in relation to volumes of gases; titration; chemical cells and fuel cells; reactions and alkenes and alcohols; synthetic and naturally occurring polymers; identification of ions by chemical and spectroscopic means; using materials; the Haber process and the use of NPK fertilisers.
  • Physics: Pressure in gases; increasing the pressure of a gas; hazards and uses of radioactive emissions and background radiation; nuclear fission and fusion; moments, levers and gears; pressure and pressure differences in fluids; changes in momentum; reflection of waves; sound waves; waves for detection and exploration; lenses; visible light; black body radiation; loud speakers; induced potential, transformers and the national grid; space physics (the solar system, stars, satellites and red shift)
Humanities: From 2019, students must opt for either History or Geography (and may choose both)
History (5 lessons per fortnight)

Year 10

  • Opportunity and Inequality: The USA 1920-73
  • Conflict and Tension between East and West 1945-72

Year 11

  • Power and People (The development of rights in the UK from 1215 to the present day)
  • Elizabethan England 1568-1603
Geography (5 lessons per fortnight)

Year 10

  • Changing landscapes: rivers and coasts (includes fieldwork in Seaham)
  • Weather, climate and hazards: causes, changes and effects 
  • Ecosystems: their distribution and the impact of humans

Year 11

  • Changing cities: population, migration and sustainable living (includes fieldwork in Ouseburn)
  • Global development: India
  • Resource management: types of energy and views of stakeholders
MFL: From 2019, the majority of students must opt for either French or Spanish (and may choose both)
French or Spanish (5 lessons per fortnight)

As the GCSE examinations cover speaking, listening, reading and writing skills (each worth 25% of the total marks) students practice all four skills in relation to the following topics:

Year 10

  • Me, my family and friends; relationships with family and friends
  • Marriage/partnership
  • Sport and hobbies; social media, mobile technology, music, cinema and TV
  • School; my studies, life at school/college
  • Food and eating out

Year 11

  • Healthy and unhealthy living
  • Home, town and region
  • Education post-16, jobs, career choices and ambitions
  • Environment
  • Charity/voluntary work
  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Travel and tourism, customs and festivals
Other options: taking advice from parents and carers, their form tutors and an interview with a member of SLT, students will choose two or three additional subjects to study (5 lessons per fortnight)

The subjects listed below are those being studied by Year 10 and/or Year 11 in 2019-20. Subjects may be added or removed due to either national changes or numbers of students choosing them; you will receive further details about the options available to your child when they reach January of Year 9.

Business GCSE

  • Business activity: enterprise and entrepreneurship; planning; ownership; aims and objectives; stakeholders and growth
  • Marketing: market research; market segmentation; the marketing mix
  • Human resources: communication; recruitment; motivation and retention; training and development; employment law
  • Operations: production processes; quality of goods and services; sales and customer service; consumer law; business location and working with suppliers
  • Finance: sources of finance; revenue, costs, profit and loss; break-even; cash and cash flow
  • Influences on business: ethical and environmental considerations; the economic climate; globalisation
Computer Science GCSE

  • Computer systems: systems architecture; memory; storage; wired and wireless networks; network topologies, protocols and layers; system security; system software; ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns
  • Computational thinking: algorithms; programming techniques; producing robust programs; computational logic; translators and facilities of languages; data representation
  • Programming project: programming techniques; analysis; design; development; testing, evaluation and conclusions
BTEC Tech Award in Digital IT

  • Exploring user interface design principles and project planning techniques (coursework)
  • Collecting, presenting and interpreting data (coursework)
  • Effective digital working practices (exam) 
BTEC Tech Award in Enterprise

  • Exploring enterprises: enterprises; market research and competitor behaviour; factors leading to a successful enterprise (coursework)
  • Planning, pitching and reviewing a micro-enterprise activity (coursework)
  • Promotion and finance for enterprise (exam)
GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition


Year 10

  • Food Safety
  • Practical skills including pastry, sauces, boning and jointing a chicken and making pasta
  • Food, nutrition and health
  • Practice NEA (Non-exam assessment) on the scientific function of ingredients 
  • Food Science
  • Practical skills including eggs, cheesecake, meringue, dough, mayonnaise and eclairs
  • Nutritional needs and health
  • Practical skills including flatbread, meatballs and fishcakes
  • Food choice and food provenance


Year 11

  • NEA 1: an investigative task into the functional and chemical properties on a given theme (worth 15% of final grade)
  • NEA 2: researching, planning and making three dishes to meet the nutritional needs of a given client (worth 35% of final grade)
  • Exam decoding and practice
GCSE D&T with Resistant Materials

Year 10

  • Photo Frame Project: technical drawing, theory on polymers and engineering. 
  • Introduction to 2D Design (ICT)
  • Benefits and limitations of CAD software.
  • CAD CAM and modern manufacturing techniques
  • Phone stand mini project: orthographic drawing techniques; tolerance and quality control
  • Sustainability, social and environmental footprint
  • Planning for NEA Project (Non-exam assessment – worth 50% of the final exam grade)


Year 11

  • Complete NEA Project
  • Exam decoding and practice


GCSE Music

Year 10

  • Musical forms and devices and set work “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”
  • Popular Music and set work “Rainbow”
  • Composing a popular song
  • Unseen theory and theory skills 
  • Musical techniques in solo performance
  • Musical techniques in ensemble performance

Year 11

  • Music for ensemble
  • Film Music
  • Composing to a brief
  • Unseen theory and theory skills 
  • Musical techniques in solo performance
  • Musical techniques in ensemble performance
BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts

Component 1: Exploring the Performing Arts (Students will develop their understanding of the performing arts by examining practitioners’ work and the processes used to create performance)

Component 2: Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts (Students will develop their performing arts skills and techniques through the reproduction of acting, dance and/or musical theatre repertoire as performers or designers)

Component 3: Responding to a brief (Students will be given the opportunity to work as part of a group to contribute to a workshop performance as either a performer or designer in response to a given brief and stimulus)


Year 10

  • Pen and ink techniques
  • Ink and bleach painting
  • Artist analysis: Lauren Luloff
  • Sgraffito
  • Mark-making and drypoint etching
  • Monoprinting
  • Artist analysis: Beth Berriman
  • Oil pastels
  • Coursework 1

Year 11

  • Recap and refinement of the skills above will continue
  • Coursework 2
GCSE Art:Textiles

Year 10

  • Develop ideas through investigations: research, visual analysis, elements and principles of design
  • Refine work: selecting and experimenting with media, materials, techniques (including fashion illustration) and processes
  • NEA (Non-exam assessment 1) worth 60% of the final grade

Year 11

  • Complete NEA Project
  • Exam decoding and practice
NCFE Cache Level 2 Tech Award in Child Development and Care

Unit 1: Working with children aged 0-5 years (types of settings and local provision; preparing for a placement; responsibilities and limits of workers; individual needs and inclusion; learning styles – coursework)

Unit 2: Development and well-being 0-5 years (expected patterns of holistic child development; importance of observations and assessments; factors affecting holistic child development; everyday care routines which support independence; how to support children through transitions – coursework)

Unit 3: Childcare and development 0-5 years (exam based on Units 1 and 2)

Cambridge National in Sports Science

Year 10

  • Sports injuries (January exam)
  • Nutrition in sport (coursework)

Year 11

  • Technology in sport (coursework)
  • Principles of training (coursework)
GCSE Religious Studies

Paper 1: Key beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam

Paper 2: Thematic Studies: Relationships and families, peace and conflict, the existence of God and revelation, issues of life and death 

The religious and thematic units are both taught throughout Year 10 and 11 to enable students to make links between them.

Level 2 First Certificate in Engineering Technology

This is currently offered to a selected group of Year 10 students by Tyne Met College. It covers a broad range of engineering skills including CAD, electronics, mechanical engineering, maintenance, fabrication and welding, pipework installation, installing security systems and motor vehicle maintenance.