Curriculum: Key Stage 3 & 4

 

Art and Design

Art is an integral part of the education of students at JCoSS. The rationale for the subject stems from the importance of applying creativity to different ways of thinking. We firmly believe that students need to be equipped with skills, knowledge and working practices of artists and designers that cultivate the visual world we live in. We teach Art so that students learn to engage with visual stimuli in their everyday lives and experiences, consolidating their understanding of what they are learning in the classroom.  A stimulating working environment is created both in the classroom and around the school. Students’ work, chosen from all year groups, is displayed as much as possible and students are encouraged to enjoy their Art lessons and gain confidence and expertise within the artistic and creative fields to express their own ideas. Students are taught in mixed ability sets from Year 7 onwards and are taught to draw using a wide variety of media, including painting, printing, 3D work and textiles. Students are also introduced to the history and work of different artists, designers and Art movements, as well as gain insight into careers within the creative industries which helps them gain an understanding of the place of Art in our society. Extended home learning projects encourage students to explore and experiment with a range of creative practices outside of the classroom.

For those students who choose to study Art at Key Stage 4, they will build upon the skills and techniques learnt throughout Key Stage 3, in order to develop and explore a personal line of enquiry related to set Coursework and Exam themes. The department extends students’ learning with Art clubs, workshops and Art trips that are designed to consolidate what students learn in the classroom environment.

Business Studies

Whether students are interested in setting up their own business, stepping onto the corporate ladder or just getting a better understanding of how the world works, Business is a great subect. Students learn about the world around them, they are challenged intellectually and they develop a clearer understanding of the economy and the way businesses are run.

The Business Faculty offers courses from Year 10 when students have the opportunity to undertake the academic GCSE in Business or the vocational Cambridge National in Enterprise and Marketing. 

Both qualifications give students a thorough understanding of business activity. The GCSE takes a more academic, exam-based approach and the Cambridge National is more rooted in research and project work.

The nature of the subjects taught in the department allows plenty of opportunities for students to learn outside the formal classroom environment. Students have participated in a number of competitions, including The Business Challenge, The Tenner programme and IFS Stock Market challenge.

Computing

The pace of technological development is as rapid as the growth of opportunities for employment in the technological sector. A growing number of students come to us with a desire to develop their coding skills.

Computing offers students the chance to harness the power of technology and solve problems using carefully-constructed algorithms.

At Key Stage 3, students will use logic to write code in Scratch and Python. They will develop web pages with HTML and CSS. Students will get to grips with binary numbers and will explore the tools available in spreadsheets. They will also reflect on using computers safely.

The aim is to develop creativity and confidence using technology, helping students to use tools effectively as well as to enhance their problem-solving skills.

Students can then proceed to take Computing as an option at GCSE.

Design and Technology

At JCoSS we teach Food, Resistant Materials and Graphics within Design and Technology.  Benefiting from exceptional resources, students experience all three technologies at Key Stage 3 before making choices about further study at Key Stage 4.  Students follow an exciting and challenging modular curriculum with knowledge and a wide range of practical skills taught alongside context-based design processes in Food and Nutrition, Graphics and Resistant Materials.

Throughout Key Stage 3 students are taught in mixed ability groups, engaging in ‘real life’ design and make tasks which encourage students to be innovative and creative.  Key Stage 4 is an extension of the knowledge and skills acquired at Key Stage 3; students have the option to specialise in either Food Technology, Graphic Products or Product Design.

There are a range of extra curricular activities offered which include ‘Design Ventura’, ‘ Health and Safety Club’, ‘The Great JCoSS Bakeoff’ and ‘JCoSS Junior Masterchef’.

Drama

KS3:  All students in Years 7-9 have Drama once each week. We follow Schemes of Learning that offer opportunities to develop communication, collaboration and co-operation. Through the skills and knowledge acquired in Drama, students are encouraged to use their creative skills and their imagination to create empathy in order to understand the world from viewpoints other than their own.

KS3 Drama introduces students to the Explorative Strategies of still image, marking-the-moment, cross-cutting, hot-seating, thoughts-aloud, rôle play and Forum Theatre.

Each Scheme of Learning runs for half a term. Assessment for Learning  (Creating, Performing and Evaluating) feeds directly into the targets needed to work towards in order to progress through the Key Stage.  Schemes of Learning include  Darkwood Manor,  Superheroes, The Titanic, Commedia, Radio plays, Physical Theatre, Status, Silent Movies, Political Theatre, Bullying, Devising and Theatre spaces.

KS4:  At GCSE we follow the Edexcel GCSE Drama course. At the start of the course, students revise and reflect on their knowledge and understanding of the work covered in KS3. In addition to the Explorative Strategies, they learn how to include the Medium and the Elements of Drama in their work. In Y10, students are assessed on components 1,2, and 3 as ‘mocks’ for progression into Y11. In the autumn term of Y11, component 1 is completed and in the spring term component 2. In addition to practical performances students complete a working notebook. Theatre visits and practitioner workshops form an integral aspect of the GCSE Drama course; attending the theatre regularly enables students to access the highest grades in GCSE Drama.

 

English

Key Stage 3

English is a core subject at Key Stage 3 and literacy skills are crucial to students’ achievement in subjects across the curriculum. Based on the National Curriculum, our Schemes of Learning are broad and varied and offer students opportunities to engage in a wide range of stimulating activities. Students study poetry, prose and drama texts from different literary periods, including those written pre 1900, so they are familiar with the English literary heritage. They are encouraged to read independently and to develop a love of books. Students are encouraged to explore ideas orally and in writing using a variety of imaginative styles.  Reading is fundamental to the English curriculum and books are read independently, shared in class or as a part of small group teaching. Students will have one lesson a fortnight in the Learning Resource Centre (Library) to nurture and extend their wider reading.   

Whilst we seek to develop students’ creativity we also strive to ensure that they are confident and competent users of both the written and spoken forms of the English language and are prepared for the demands of Key Stage 4. We expect students to become increasingly independent in their learning as the Key Stage progresses.

We recognise that much learning takes places outside of the classroom and thus enrich the curriculum with many extra-curricular visits and activities including theatre visits, drama workshops, reading projects and writing competitions.

Students are assessed regularly throughout the Key Stage and are also given examination practice at the end of each year.

Key Stage 4

GCSE English is a core subject at Key Stage 4. Students study both English Language and English Literature in an integrated course and are awarded separate GCSEs for each subject.

During the English Language course students develop their ability in functional English, analysing language and using language creatively.  Students are assessed in two final examinations in which reading, of fiction and non-fiction texts, and writing skills are tested. Students are awarded a Speaking and Listening grade which appears alongside their overall grade but which does not contribute to it.

In the English Literature course students study poetry, prose and drama from the English literary heritage, including at least one Shakespeare play. Students are also prepared to respond to unseen poetry. Students are assessed on their knowledge of set texts over two final examination.

To prepare students for the rigorous exam period, at Key Stage 4 students are regularly assessed and complete 3 sets of mock exams in the examinations hall.

French

JCoSS students learn how to communicate in French from the beginning of Year 7.  French is spoken for most part of the lesson and speaking is highly encouraged. In addition, students learn a range of skills such as listening, understanding the world around us and literacy which they use in other areas of the curriculum.

Students learn through activities such as games, songs, films and role plays. They are taught by native speakers as well as non-native speakers. The French department is well resourced and uses authentic materials as much as possible. Students have the opportunity to visit France in Year 10 to practise French in real situations.

In year 7, 8 and 9, students build a secure base which will enable them to strive at GCSE.  They cover a variety of topics from talking about themselves, their family, their town and hobbies to debating about the uniform or world issues. They use the skills and vocabulary to date in assessments which includes: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.

Geography

KS3

Geography is the study of Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. In the broadest sense, Geography is an education for life and for living. Learning through geography – whether gained through formal learning or experientially through travel, fieldwork and expeditions – helps us all to be more socially and environmentally sensitive, informed and responsible citizens and employees.

Students study a wide range of geographical tropics spanning both physical and human geography. In Y7 they learn about the ‘Terrific Thames’; its hydrology, use as a resource, risks and developments. This is followed by the application of geography to the study of crime which is followed by a study of weather and climate using en enquiry based learning approach. In Y8 students study a short unit on Asia – its peoples, environments and cultures; and we assess its growing influence on the world. This is followed by a study of cold environments which teaches students about the climate, ecosystems and landscapes of these regions as well as the challenges they are facing. In the Spring term students study a unit entitled 7 billion and counting… which tracks the growth of the world’s population, how populations change over time and their growing demand on the planet’s resources. We end the year investigating modern day empires in an era of globalisation, embedding a series of lessons on Africa, seeking to unravel its mysteries and misunderstandings and enquiring why Africa appears to be so left behind in development. In Y9, we study Restless Earth, a unit on the causes, effects and solutions to natural hazards followed by a unit called Rich World, Poor World which discovers why some parts of the world are more developed than others and how the development gap can be narrowed. We then investigate cities of the future, drawing together all we have learnt into a synoptic unit. Students then undertake a mini enquiry unit where they decide how to invest $65 billion to improve the Top 10 world’s challenges. The year culminates in a coastal geography unit, simulating GCSE Controlled Assessment.

KS4

GCSE Geography follows the AQA B specification and develops content and skills learnt at KS3. It is split into three units:

1)      Managing Environments in the 21st Century

This is a unit which is split into physical and human geography. The first section is coastal geography; a unit in which students learn about the processes, changes and risks at the coast and learn about a variety of management options from hard engineering to managed retreat. The second section is urban geography where students learn about trends of urbanisation, the pull of cities and the varying challenges this represents. Students learn how cities at different stages of development manage these challenges, attempting to be more sustainable.

2)      Hostile World and Investigating the Shrinking World

This unit explores extreme environments from polar to tropical to desert – their distribution, ecology, human interaction and challenges. This is followed by an investigative unit into the global economy – bringing us closer and closer together but creating disparities of wealth in the process.

3.) Controlled Assessment

Students study an issues-based topic on water security which is assessed by an 800 word essay. The second piece is a fieldwork investigation into the urban environment.

History

History is set by ability from Year 7.  Students develop their enthusiasm and curiosity for the past, whilst broadening their knowledge of different eras and sharpening their critical thinking skills. Concepts such as change and continuity, causation, consequence, analysis and evaluation are understood by examining key events in British History and from other civilisations.

History is taught through a variety of methods: as well as supporting and developing extended written work, we use activities such as information bingo, card sorts, role plays, historical investigations and source analysis. Students work individually as well as in pairs and groups.

In Key Stage 3 History, students begin by studying the Romans. They go on to study the Medieval period, from the Norman invasion to the War of the Roses, finishing with a unit on the Reformation and the Tudors. The Y8 course covers the English Civil War under the Stuarts, the Industrial Revolution, British Empire, Slavery and Civil Rights.  The World Wars, and the Holocaust are covered in Y9 providing a firm foundation for GCSE. Students learn to be critical consumers of knowledge and to question, interpret and explore History through enquiry and discovery.

GCSE History begins with an exploration of the political and economic issues in Weimar and Nazi Germany, before examining the consolidation and social impact of Nazi rule. The Russian revolutions and rule of Stalin are studied for controlled assessment, giving students an ability to draw comparisons across countries and political regimes. In Year 11 students extend their understanding of different political regimes by examining the British experience between 1906 and 1939, incorporating Liberal Reforms, Suffragettes and the General Strike. The course finishes with an examination of the Cold War in the twentieth century and the formation of much of the geo-political landscape as it is seen today.

Ivrit (Hebrew/Modern Hebrew)

All students study Ivrit (Hebrew) in Year 7 and many continue it in Year 8 and on to GCSE. It is taught through the Modern Languages skills framework of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. All students have the opportunity to develop their Ivrit language skills regardless of their Ivrit background. They are given the tools and opportunities to study the language in a meaningful and enjoyable way. The Ivrit curriculum is focused on student participation, collaboration and independent learning. Regular assessments and classes divided into sets ensure that students continually make the progress expected of them.

At the end of year 9, students can choose Modern Hebrew as a GCSE option. The course assesses the 4 skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The listening exam consists of items varying at length such as comprehension of announcements, short conversations, instructions and short news items; longer texts include in additional reference to various tenses. The reading exam consists of short items such as public notices and advertisements, and longer extracts such as letters, newspapers, e-mails. Students’ reading comprehension will be tested by a range of questions types. The speaking exam consists of two sections, Presentation & Discussion and General Conversation. The writing exam provides students with the opportunity to use a variety of written structures, expressing their personal opinions. Students will also have to write in a descriptive and imaginative manner.

By choosing to learn Modern Hebrew for GCSE, candidates will enhance their knowledge of the language of Israel and that of millions of people in Jewish communities worldwide, equipping them to spend a year gap in Israel after graduating from school or university. Learning a Modern foreign language is highly regarded by reputable colleges and universities.

Jewish Education

Key Stage 3

JCoSS is committed to educating and creating literate Jews, who have a substantial knowledge and skills base that will inform their Jewish identities and secure their commitment to a life-long Jewish journey.   The curriculum consists of building blocks that develop over the three years of KS3.

The curriculum is approached thematically:

Year 7 focuses on the building blocks of Jewish identity, looking at the Jewish Cannon specifically focusing on the story of the Patriach Abraham, the Jewish home, the Jewish year and Jewish attitudes to family.  Students will also look at Tikkun Olam (healing the world) and the Jewish attitudes to caring for our world and the people in it.

Year 8 focuses on the Jewish people.  Students will start of by considering the synagogue and key aspects of Jewish worship.  They will then look at the biblical origins of the Jewish people and then trace the Jewish journey through ancient into modern history.  They will then look at the foundations of Zionism.

Year 9 focuses on leadership.  Students will look at key biblical leaders including Moses and Esther.  They will learn how to be leaders in discussion controversial issues within a Jewish framework, and look a range of modern Jewish leaders from Adam Czeriakow in the Warsaw Ghetto to prime minister of Israel Golda Meir.  Then, in preparation for the year 9 Israel experience students will cover a number of topics relating to contemporary Israel.

There is a strong emphasis on skills acquisition, to ensure that a JCoSS student is fully equipped to continue their Jewish journey far beyond the school gates.

JCoSS also offers a Beit Midrash parallel curriculum.  In Year 7 students will focus on key stories from the Torah from Adam to the Jews in the desert with Moses.  In year 8 students will focus on key texts from the rest of the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) looking at the origins of Jewish Kingship and the stories of Jonah and Ruth.  Year 9 will focus on post-biblical texts including Mishna, Midrash, Jewish thinkers in history and diaries of those who went through the holocaust.

Key Stage 4

All JCoSS students study the GCSE in Religious Studies.  The course helps students develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of Religion and its relation to the wider world.

As a part of the course students will study six units of Judaism including core Jewish beliefs and practices as well as considering the family, the world we live in, war and crime through a Jewish lens.

Students will also study two units of Islam focusing on Islamic belief and practices.

World Religions at JCoSS

JCoSS is committed to the study of World Religions, as we are all citizens of the world. Studying World Religions provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about G-d, the self, the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.  As well as studying Islam in key stage four, students will study a different religion in each of the three key stage three years.

In Year 7 students will look at Christianity; its core beliefs and the relationship between Christianity and justice.

In Year 8 students will have the opportunity to study Sikhism and look more generally at the question of the morality of religion.

In Year 9 as part of their preparations to begin their GCSEs students will do a short introduction to Islam course.

 

 

Latin

JCoSS students can begin learning Latin in Year 8. The course combines language learning with the history and culture of the Romans. Latin at KS3 aims to build language awareness, with constant links made between Latin and English as well as other modern romance languages.

KS3 students will receive a grounding in Latin grammar and learn the skills to translate stories from the Roman world. Topics include gladiator fights, Roman baths, and life in the town of Pompeii.  Lessons are highly interactive, with language skills taught through games, videos, role plays and e-learning activities. Trips take place in Year 9 with a visit to the museum of London a popular choice, where students learn about the Roman occupation of Britain and the daring rebellion of Boudicca.

Students taking Latin for GCSE build on their language skills from KS3 and also begin to study Roman literature in the original Latin. This fascinating aspect of the course allows students to really appreciate the skill of Roman authors and experience a variety of literary styles, from the epic poetry of Virgil to Pliny’s letters.

Mathematics

In line with the National Strategy for Maths, JCoSS focuses on the four key principles of Expectation, Engagement, Progression and Transformation. High expectations ensure that challenging targets are set for all students. We support them with approaches to teaching and learning that engage and motivate, requiring students’ active participation. All maths classes are set by ability from Year 7 onwards, where they receive targeted teaching and support. Well-paced progression from primary school is fundamental to sustain development and we achieve it with transformational teaching and learning as well as the very latest technology. Regular assessments and carefully planned lessons ensure that students continually make the progress expected of them.

Media and Film

The media has an ever increasing importance in the lives of young people. In the Media and Film Department, students are equipped with the practical and reasoning tools to navigate an increasing complex world. Underpinned with the principle of media literacy – that all students are able to decode and interpret the ideas behind media texts – it is a consistently popular choice with the Key Stage 4 students at JCOSS.In the Media and Film department we offer three courses – GCSE Media Studies, GCSE Film Studies and Cambridge National Certificate in Creative I-Media. Across all three subjects we develop a wide range of transferable skills, including design, creativity, research and presentation. Each of the subjects utilises it’s own core analysis concepts, although throughout the department there is a focus on theoretical issues of representation, audience, industries and media language. 

The department boast three excellently equipped classrooms, with over 45 Apple Mac computers available for student use, as well as a range of cameras and ancillary equipment. Through a range of practical assessment activities, students will develop their skills in using industry standard applications such as PhotoShop and Final Cut Pro. 

Music

The Music Department at JCoSS aims to introduce students to good music of all genres, and to encourage the participation of all students in musical activities and performances.

During Key Stage 3, the curriculum allows students to explore theory, composition, performance, listening and appraisal. Students have usage of a number of fully equipped rehearsal rooms, and an iMac suite with midi-keyboards.

In Key Stage 4, the subject becomes optional and is taught to GCSE standard in Years 10 and 11, for which students require practical skills and general musicianship. JCoSS teaches the Edexcel Course.

Students are given the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. We have visiting instrumental staff; students may have individual lessons in woodwind, brass, percussion, guitar, piano, and singing.

There is an inclusive variety of extra-curricular musical activities with concert performances, showcases and a musical production annually.

Physical Education

At JCoSS, we offer a high-quality Physical Education curriculum that inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities. All students have the opportunity to develop a variety of physical skills and we see each of them – regardless of talent or ability – as an individual with something to offer. We provide opportunities for students to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness, along with opportunities to compete in sport to help build character and embed mensch values such as fairness and respect. Students are taught to become more competent, confident and expert in their techniques, and apply them across different sports and physical activities, while developing the confidence and interest to get involved in exercise, sports and activities out of school. During Key Stage 3, students develop game skills in Basketball, Netball, Table -Tennis, Badminton, Handball and Cricket. Individual skills are developed through Gymnastics, Athletics and Dance. During Key Stage 4, students have a broader choice of options and are allowed to pick a sporting option each half term. Students also have the choice to study Physical Education as a GCSE option in Key Stage 4.

We strive to develop students’ use of a range of tactics and strategies to overcome opponents in direct competition (through team and individual games) and develop their techniques and improve their performance in other competitive sports. We fully encourage our students to take part in competitive sports and activities outside of school through Maccabi community links and sports clubs. Our facilities include a sports hall, activity studio, and multi-gym, in addition to our Multi use games area and all-weather pitches.

Science

Key Stage 3: JCoSS has Science Specialist Status and Science plays an integral role in school life. In Key Stage 3 students study life and living processes, materials and their properties, and physical processes. ‘How Science Works’, including scientific investigations, is integrated into practical and theory work and there is a strong emphasis on the use of ICT and interactive learning.

Key Stage 4: During Year 9 students, under consultation and agreement with the school, will make a choice regarding which route they will take through their GCSEs in science. We offer both triple (three science GCSEs) and double (two science GCSEs), both routes using the AQA exam board. As with Key Stage 3 there is a strong emphasis on practical work to consolidate on theory, and ICT and interactive learning are used frequently. All science GCSEs contain an examination taken in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as well as a practical examination (similar to coursework) taken as a controlled assessment. For students who wish to go on to take science based A-Levels at Key Stage 5, the triple science route is the generally expected path to follow.

Sociology

Sociology is a popular option at GCSE and the skills developed in the subject are transferable to many subjects at GCSE and beyond. Society is not a fixed construct; it is constantly changing and being reshaped. Students of Sociology are curious about the world around them. The course is broad and challenging, encouraging students to interpret the social world from many different perspectives. 

Main areas studied at KS4:

At GCSE level students study a broad range of topics and theories and develop their understanding of how sociologists conduct their research.

Unit 1: The sociological approach; Sociological research methods; Families; Education (studied in Y10)
Unit 2: Crime and Deviance and Social Stratification (studied in Y11)

Assessment:  Students are assessed via two 1 hour and 45 minute written exam papers for each unit, comprised of short questions and essay questions. Each paper is worth 100 marks each and makes up 50% of the GCSE. There is no coursework or controlled assessment for this qualification. Developing essay writing skills and presenting arguments is central to learning over the duration of the course. This GCSE qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the course (Y11). 

Structure of questions:  Each paper is split into two separate sections; Section A and Section B. Both sections are structured in exactly the same way; both papers comprise of two multiple choice questions followed by a range of short and extended responses.  

Spanish

JCoSS students have the option to take up Spanish from the beginning of Year 8. They can do this by dropping either French or Hebrew at the end of Year 7.   Spanish is spoken for most part of the lesson and speaking is highly encouraged. In addition, students learn a range of skills such as listening, understanding the world around us and literacy which they use in other areas of the curriculum.

Students learn through activities such as games, songs, films and role plays. They are taught by native speakers as well as non-native speakers. The Spanish department is well resourced and uses authentic materials as much as possible. Students have the opportunity to visit Spain in year 10 to practise Spanish in real situations.

In year 8 and 9, students study an accelerated course to cover the key stage 3 content and build a secure base which will enable them to strive at GCSE.  They cover a variety of topics from talking about themselves, their family, their town and hobbies to debating about the uniform or world issues. They use the skills and vocabulary to date in assessments which includes: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.