Senior School Curriculum

At Pitsford School, pupils learn the skills and acquire the knowledge necessary to excel in the demanding examination courses that lie ahead. The entrance criteria are such that all our pupils are able to cope with an academically challenging curriculum; one which is designed to prepare them for entrance to the best universities and subsequent career opportunities.

All pupils study:-Art & Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English, French, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Physical Education, Religious Studies, Spanish and Personal & Social Education.

For GCSE all pupils take English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, at least two Sciences and one Modern Foreign Language. All pupils continue with Physical Education. In addition they choose four subjects from Art &; Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, French, Geography, History, Music, Physics, Physical Education and Spanish.

Please see our GCSE Options Booklet for more information on each of the subjects available.

Core Curriculum

All candidates will study a common core of subjects during the two years, with a further seven subjects chosen from eleven optional subjects.

The timetable is based on a 40 period week, with subject allocations as follows:

Subjects Periods Per Week

Year 10

Year 11

English55
Mathematics44
Games33
Option A44
Option B44
Option C44
Option D44
Option E44
Option F44
Option G44

 

Senior Art & Design

Senior Art & Design

At Pitsford School our aim in Art is to enable students to develop technical skill-based learning with a contextual understanding.  This results in student’s developing key skills, learning the fundamental elements of Art whilst growing as an empathetic and thoughtful young artist.

Key Stage 3 is a time where students form the foundation of all skills required in GCSE and A-level whilst having fun exploring new and exciting materials. We aim to include all art media in the course in order to cater for every type of artist, which not only gives the students a broad range of expertise but, and most importantly, helps them identify areas of strength that will be nurtured in a bespoke GCSE curriculum suiting their individual needs.

Skills taught include drawing; painting; ceramics; art photography; printmaking; textiles; digital art and history of art.

Senior Biology

Senior Biology

It is important  in Biology at KS3 that children learn through participating in practical work as this develops greater scientific enquiry and enables pupils to have a good understanding of concepts covered and consolidates their learning.

Pupils start their biology course by looking at the different animal groups, learning how to classify them and how they are adapted to the environment in which they live. They learn about cells, tissues and organs using microscopes to aid this process . They study both wind and insect pollinated flowers dissecting both and looking at pollen grains under the microscopes. When pupils start their 2nd year of KS3, they build upon concepts covered and study seed dispersal and seed germination before moving on to study animal reproduction. As part of this year’s investigations pupils learn about ecology and with the wonderful grounds at Pitsford they are able to study different habitats around the school using different sampling techniques and a range of equipment to measure the biodiversity.

Senior Chemistry

Senior Chemistry

In Years 7 & 8 Chemistry is taught as a separate science and our aim is to equip our pupils with the key foundations for their future studies in chemistry. There is a strong emphasis on practical work and its application to the ideas covered. We cover the Key stage 3 national curriculum for chemistry plus other topics used to encourage and inspire an interest in the subject. States of Matter, Separation, Acids and Alkalis and Air are taught in Y7 and Water, Metals Elements and the Periodic Table, The Chemistry of Cooking and Forensic Chemistry in Y8.

In Year 9 we begin the GCSE Chemistry course studying the first 2 modules of the OCR Gateway Chemistry A GCSE, these are C1, Particles, looking at the particle model and Atomic Structure and C2 Elements, compounds and mixtures, studying Purity and Separation, Bonding and Properties of Materials.

Senior Computing

Senior Computing

At KS3 within Pitsford we cover both the Computing and ICT specifications. It is important for students to have an understanding of the logic behind Computing but also to become capable office users. Students will learn about problem solving, algorithms, binary and produce real-world programs to solve problems. However, we will still include elements of ICT where we improve the applications skills of students so they become capable Office users. In particular we focus on advanced Spreadsheet functions and creating websites using HTML and an authoring package.  The students will have a solid understanding of both practices in order for them to make their own informed choices of studying Computer Science at KS4.

Senior English

Senior English

Our KS3 English curriculum offers students the opportunity to study a vast range of texts. Our approach celebrates both traditional British Literature and more vivacious, contemporary and culturally diverse texts. Rather than sticking purely to the status quo, we’ve opted to enrich and diversify student experience by including texts such as ‘Trash’, which delves in to a murky and corrupt world of slum towns in South America. Rather than only studying the sonnets of Shakespeare and pigeon holing our curriculum to the 19thc Literary Canon, we’ve opted for more vibrant and modern poets/authors such as Benjamin Zephaniah (you might know him from Peaky Blinders) and Mark Haddon, author of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’.  We are committed to offering all years in our senior school extra-curricular opportunities and theatre trips. Some of our most recent trips have included; Matilda the Musical, Blood Brothers, All My Sons, War Horse and Shrek the Musical… we may have also incorporated a outings to ‘Nandos’ and ‘Pizza Express’ as part of the ‘dinner and theatre experience!’ Our texts choices are provoking, vibrant and always warrant discussion. In English at Pitsford, you’ll use your voices just as much as your pens as our classrooms are a hive of discussion and debate. We’d love you to come and be part of the conversation.

Senior Geography

Senior Geography

At Key Stage 3 the school follows the statutory Programme of Study for Geography using the Nelson Key Geography series. The curriculum is delivered along four broad strands:

1. Locational knowledge Pupils extend their locational knowledge and deepen their spatial awareness of the world’s continents focusing on their environmental regions, including polar and hot deserts, key physical and human characteristics, countries and major cities

2. Place Knowledge Pupils learn to understand geographical similarities, differences and links between places through the study of human and physical geography of a region within Africa, and of a region within Asia 

3. Human and physical geography Pupils understand the key processes in: physical geography relating to:  plate tectonics; rocks, weathering and soils; weather and climate; glaciation, hydrology and coasts
human geography relating to: population and urbanisation; international development; economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors; and the use of natural resources
Pupils understand how human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems.

Senior History

Senior History

Year 7 History- We start in the 11th century and examine the impact of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and work our way through the Medieval period in England up to 1485 and the Battle of Bosworth. This includes an in-depth study of the Crusades in the Holy Land and a study of medieval Islamic society in the Middle East.

Year 8 History- We examine the Tudor and Stuart monarchies and their impact on religion, government and foreign affairs in England which includes in-depth studies of significant events such as the Break with Rome, the Spanish Armada and the English Civil War. We then look at the causes of the Industrial Revolution and various aspects of social, political and economic developments in the Victorian era up to 1900.

Year 9 History- We investigate the causes and consequences of the First World War and examine life on the British Home Front. We then examine the rise of dictators in Europe and specifically Nazi Germany and its role in causing the Second World War. There is an opportunity to research the causes and consequences of the Holocaust, the significance of the dropping of the first Atomic bombs on Japan and the subsequent development of a Cold War between the USA and the USSR after 1945.

Senior MFL

Senior MFL

The ability to speak a second language is undeniably an advantage in a global economy.  Not only will it provide you with better career opportunities, but it is also scientifically proven that it improves your memory as well as enhances decision-making and the ability to multi-task.  At Pitsford School we are fortunate to offer French, Spanish (from Year 7) and German (from Year 9) up to both GCSE and A level. You will not only discover new cultures, but also have the opportunity to take part in our multilingual magazine, challenge yourself with our translation and house competitions, exchange letters with foreign penfriends, or even immerse yourself in the local culture through residential trips.

Senior Mathematics

Senior Mathematics

Key Stage 3 is the time when pupils (generally) start to overtake their parents in their maths knowledge! Long, distant lessons of a man in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches stood at a dusty blackboard tug at your memory but it is a distant haze.

Mathematics is taught in ability sets in KS3. The focus in Years 7 and 8 are correct mental and written methods, as well as efficient use of calculators. In Year 9 we start the GCSE content proper.

The work in mathematics is broken down into four attainment strands, Number, Algebra, Shape and Data with the syllabus constructed so the former informs the latter.

In the Number strand, we look at arithmetic operations with a variety of number forms, from integers, to decimal and fractions.

In the Algebra strand, we solve equations of increasing complexity and consider how these equations can be represented graphically.

In the Shape strand we apply our number and algebra skills to real life geometrical situations, finding areas, volumes, ratios and angles amongst others.

In the Data section we develop the skills of drawing and interpreting a variety of statistical diagrams, ranging from the simplest bar chart up to the most complicated histogram. We also look at measure of central tendency and spread.

Most importantly, we try to develop an appreciation and understanding of these concepts in a fun way. Games, puzzles, discussions, treasure hunts, competitions, paint by numbers … anything to avoid copying out of an exercise book. (Though repeated practice has its place once understanding has been gained)

Maths – not just for Countdown and Rachel Riley!

Senior Music

Senior Music

Explore – Perform – Create – Enjoy

We discover the world through Music and investigate its many forms and styles. By playing, listening and composing we develop our understanding of music from around the world, music from the Western tradition, film music and much more. Alongside the practical tasks we incorporate the theory of music, ensuring that our students have an understanding of how music works. We learn how music influences and reflects our different social and cultural experiences and learn of its place in our history. We explore, perform, create and enjoy the music that enriches our lives.

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum includes units of work on:

Rhythm; Pitch; Keyboard Skills; Elements of Music; Music from India; Ukulele Skills; Song Writing; Music for Advertising; Chords; Samba; Programme Music; The Blues; Film Music; Song writing; Form and Structure; Musical Theatre.

Senior Physical Education

Senior Physical Education

Pupils in years 7-9 participate in Physical Education lessons, Games Afternoons and Compulsory/Non -compulsory activities after school. The pupils have about 5 hours of contact time with members of the department during the week.

The department provides the pupils with an opportunity to participate in a variety of individual sports/activities such as: badminton, athletics, cross country and health related fitness. There is also plenty of opportunity to develop team skills in activities such as; basketball, rounders, cricket, handball, indoor hockey, netball, rugby, football. The sports that they pupils are taught provide them with an opportunity to develop a variety of different physical skills alongside decision making and tactical awareness. These are often linked to develop theoretical knowledge of the subject building towards GCSE options and beyond.

The pupils represent the school in many different sports in town leagues, ISA events, district/county tournaments and national schools competitions. The majority of the pupils represent the school in at least two different sports and many pupils will participate in more! This enthusiasm and opportunity enables the pupils to try many sports but it also allows them the opportunity to be active in sports during their free time for local sports clubs.

Senior Physics

Senior Physics

The aim is to provide pupils with a broad understanding of the fundamental building blocks of physics during years 7-9. This will include; light, energy, forces, electricity, magnetism, space, and sound. Lessons consist of a combination of theory and practical activities that help cement the children’s understanding of the subject.