English Language English Literature Mathematics Science
Geography History Physical Education Enrichment (PSHE/RE)

GCSE English Language

Students will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes.

This specification will ensure that students can read fluently and write effectively. Students will be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences, deploying figurative language and analysing texts.

For GCSE English Language students should:

  • read fluently, and with good understanding, a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews and journalism
  • read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts
  • summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts
  • use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
  • use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively.

GCSE English Language is designed on the basis that students should read and be assessed on high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Each text studied must represent a substantial piece of writing, making significant demands on students in terms of content, structure and the quality of language. The texts, across a range of genres and types, should support students in developing their own writing by providing effective models. The texts must include literature and extended literary non-fiction, and other writing such as essays, reviews and journalism (both printed and online). Texts that are essentially transient, such as instant news feeds, must not be included. The number and types of texts, and their length, are not prescribed.

Paper 1

Explorations in creative reading and writing

Paper 2

Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

Non-Examination Assessment

Preparation and Assessment of Spoken Language is a requirement of the course of study. It will appear on all students’ certificates as a separately reported grade, alongside the overall grade issued. Performance will be assessed against common criteria issued by all exam boards.

GCSE English Literature

Students will be studying a range of literature, including plays and poetry.

Shakespeare Plays

Students will study one play from a list of 6 set texts.

  • Macbeth
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Tempest
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Julius Caesar.

The 19th century novel

Students will study one novel from the following list:

  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations (1867) by Charles Dickens
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Frankenstein (1831) by Mary Shelley
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Modern prose or drama texts

Students will study from a choice of 12 set texts which include post-1914 prose fiction and drama.


  • An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley
  • Blood Brothers (musical version) by Willy Russell
  • DNA by Dennis Kelly
  • A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney
  • Princess & The Hustler by Chinonyerem Odimba
  • Leave Taking by Winsome Pinnock


  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Telling Tales – an AQA Anthology
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Anita and Me by Meera Syal
  • Pigeon English by Stephan Kelman
  • My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal.

The poetry anthology

Students will study one cluster of poems taken from the AQA poetry anthology, Poems Past and Present. There is a choice of three clusters, each containing 15 poems. The poems in each cluster are thematically linked and were written between 1789 and the present day. Students should study all 15 poems in their chosen cluster and be prepared to write about any of them in the examination. 

The 3 clusters are:

  • Love and Relationships
  • Power and Conflict
  • Worlds and Lives

Paper 1

Shakespeare and the 19th century novel

Paper 2

Modern texts and poetry,

GCSE Mathematics

The aims and objectives of the GCSE in Mathematics are to enable students to: 

  • develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts 
  • acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems 
  • reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences, and draw conclusions 
  • comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context.


The assessments will cover the following content headings: 

  1. Number 
  2. Algebra 
  3. Ratio, proportion and rates of change 
  4. Geometry and measures 
  5. Probability 
  6. Statistics

The qualification consists of three equally-weighted written examination papers at either Foundation tier or Higher tier.  All three papers must be at the same tier of entry and must be completed in the same assessment series.

Paper 1

Non-Calculator Examination

Paper 2

Calculator Examination

Paper 3

Calculator Examination

GCSE Combined Science

The course will look at the following:


  • Cell biology
  • Organisation
  • Infection and response
  • Bioenergetics
  • Homeostasis and response
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution
  • Ecology


  • Atomic structure and the periodic table
  • Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
  • Quantitative chemistry
  • Chemical changes
  • Energy changes
  • The rate and extent of chemical change
  • Organic chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Using resources


  • Energy
  • Electricity
  • Particle model of matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Forces
  • Waves
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism

Examination – there are six papers: two biology, two chemistry and two physics. Each of the papers will assess knowledge and understanding from distinct topic areas.

GCSE Geography

Students will study geography or history as a core subject.

The course will look at the following:

Living with the Physical Environment

  • the challenge of natural hazards
  • the living world
  • physical landscapes in the UK

Challenges in the Human Environment

  • urban issues and challenges
  • the changing economic world
  • the challenge of resource management

Geographical Applications

  • issue evaluation
  • fieldwork

Geographical Skills

Paper 1


Paper 2


Paper 3


GCSE History

Students will study history or geography as a core subject.

Subjects to be studied could include some of the following:

Thematic Study and Historic Environment

  • crime & punishment in Britain
  • medicine in Britain
  • warfare and British society
  • migrants in Britain

Period Study and British Depth Study

  • Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
  • King Richard I and King John
  • Henry VIII
  • early Elizabethan England
  • Spain and the ‘New World’
  • British America
  • the American West
  • superpower relations and the Cold War
  • conflict in the Middle East

Modern Depth Study

  • Russia and the Soviet Union
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany
  • Mao’s China
  • the USA

Paper 1
Thematic Study and Historic Environment


Paper 2
Period Study and British Depth Study


Paper 3
Modern Depth Study


Core Physical Education

As a part of the National Curriculum, students must study Core PE.

All students in Key Stage 4 will benefit from two hours of core Physical Education per week. Students will participate in a range of sports and be taught by subject specialists using the academy’s extensive indoor and outdoor facilities.

Enrichment (PSHE/RE)

The PSHE programme is a comprehensive bespoke programme that focuses on the teaching of personal, social, health topics that enables students to navigate the world within and beyond school. Students are taught one lesson per week in Key Stage 4 and enjoy a range of lessons that enable class discussions and debates. Students participate in a variety of topics that include mental well-being, building resilience, ensuring internet and mobile phone safety, aspirational career guidance, as well as how to maintain healthy relationships and revision and independent study guidance. Lessons are taught by a variety of specifically trained staff and form part of Leigh Academy Minster’s core curriculum offer.