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, soft sculpture, 3D work and textiles. Students are also introduced to the history and work of different artists, designers and Art movements, which helps them gain an understanding of the place of Art in our society.

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 and Art trips that are designed to consolidate what students learn in the classroom environment.

Business Studies

The change in the economy has made the study of Economics and Business Studies ever more relevant to understanding everyday life. Students are not only informed about the world around them, but are also challenged intellectually and emerge with a clearer understanding of the key aspects of the economic system and the way businesses are run.

The department offers courses from Year 10 when students have the opportunity to undertake the Applied Business GCSE course.  This GCSE qualification in Applied Business is designed to engage students in the study of business and to develop them as effective and independent learners. The course also enables students to develop and apply their business knowledge.

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. We also offer a range of educational visits including Cadbury World and Thorpe Park.

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’.


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 Drama in Literature, Darkwood Manor, Greek Theatre, Melodrama, The Tell-Tale Heart, Flannan Isle, The 39 Steps, Devising with Music, Commedia dell’Arte.

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 in Units 1, 2 and 3 as ‘mocks’ for progression into Y11. In the autumn term of Y11, Controlled Assessments for Units 1 and 2 are held. In addition to the practical workshops, students complete documentary response  and documentary evidence work. Theatre visits form an integral aspect of the GCSE Drama course; attending the theatre regularly enables students to access the highest grades in GCSE Drama.


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.

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 using Levels. They are also given examination practice at the end of each year.

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 a final examination in which reading (of non-fiction texts) and writing skills are tested. Controlled Assessments in Extended Reading, Spoken Language and Creative writing are also part of on-going assessment throughout the course.  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. They also study a range of texts by contemporary and global authors.  Students are assessed on their knowledge of set texts in a final examination. A Controlled Assessment task on English literary heritage texts is completed during the course.


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 8 and 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 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.


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 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 & Year 8 and many continue it into Year 9 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 – Family; Year 8 – Peoplehood;  Year 9 – Leadership.  The themes of diversity and difference, Tikun Olam (World Repair), and Bein Adam Le Chavero, (treatment of our fellow humans) pervade each aspect of the curriculum. 

This thematic approach enables students to make connections across subjects, with a strong emphasis on the acquisition of skills and the unique responsibility of personal social action.

The pedagogic method employed are consistent throughout the key stage and will reflect the values unique to JCoSS.  Machloket (informed debate) is at the heart of learning, difference will be celebrated and diversity respected.  Texts are analysed through a plurality of methods: literary, historical, and values oriented.  The full range of Jewish sources are used and opportunities to study independently are encouraged.

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 track for those students who are highly motivated.

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.

The course encourages personal response and informed insight on fundamental questions about: identity ; belonging; meaning; purpose; truth; values; commitments. 

The GCSE is distinctive in providing the opportunity for the systematic study of the beliefs, sources of authority, practices and organisation of an in depth study of Judaism.

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. At JCoSS we are dedicated to developing students’ knowledge and understanding of other principal religions, other religious traditions, and different world views that offer answers to challenging questions. Engaging in the study of World Religion enables students to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society and global community. It also enables pupils to develop respect for and sensitivity towards others, in particular those whose faiths and beliefs are different from their own. We are able to use these lessons to promote discernment and equip pupils to combat prejudice.

In year 7 students will be focussing on the concept of Christianity and Justice, engaging in discussions about what Biblical figures as well as modern leaders have done to promote justice. They will have an opportunity to develop their own ideas about how they could promote justice in their own communities and the world as a whole. In year 8 students will be introduced to different ways of practicing Faith, issues surrounding having faith, and some of the arguments put forward by those who oppose the existence of G-d. In year 9, students will be discovering the different ways religions respond to ‘Life after Death’ and considering their own ideas about this topic. Allowing students to develop their own thoughts and reasoned ideas will enhance their awareness of those around them, ensuring that we are meeting the promise that we make in our ethos that JCoSS students will become ‘well-rounded’ individuals.

YEAR 7 – Christianity and Justice

  • Who is Maria Gomez?
  • What is justice?
  • What did justice mean to Jesus?
  • What did Desmond Tutu to promote justice?
  • How can the story of the Good Samaritan influence our understanding of justice?
  • What can we do to promote justice?

Year 8 – World Religions 

  • Jedi religion
  • Own statement of faith
  • Characteristics of religion/G-d/faith
  • The problem of evil
  • The G-d delusion
  • The tea pot philosophy
  • Debate ‘This house does not believe that G-d exists’

 Year 9 World Religions – Life after Death

  • Mexican Day of the Dead
  • Near Death Experiences
  • Own opinions
  • Christian ideas
  • Muslim ideas
  • Jewish ideas
  • Hindu ideas

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 Studies

GCSE Media Studies is a Key Stage 4 option choice. The course allows students to analyse media products and industries, and then create their own products using industry-standard equipment and software. Students study a range of media including film, advertising, newspapers, magazines using the key concepts of Media Studies: audience, representation, institution and language/genre.

The subject develops a range of skills that complement other subjects, such as research, analysis, teamwork, communication, planning, time management and presentation skills.

The course offers extensive and meaningful coverage of media theory alongside practical work which integrates theories and concepts. There is a wide range of assignment briefs that offer the chance to study across different media and be creative and imaginative.


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 Football, Basketball, Hockey, Netball, Table -Tennis, Badminton and Rounders. Individual skills are developed through Gymnastics, athletics and a Multi-Skills unit. During Key Stage 4, students continue to develop these skills, and in addition learn Trampoline and Softball.

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.


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 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: Studying Society; Families and Education (studied in Y10)
  • Unit 2: Crime and Deviance; Mass Media; Power and Social Inequality (studied in Y11)


Students are assessed via two 90 minute papers for each unit, comprised of short questions and essay questions. 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.


Languages are an invaluable skill to have. The study of Spanish in particular will open up a world of experiences and allow you to access cultures across the globe. Spanish is one of the three or four major international languages, spoken by 470 million people, the second language in the world by number of native speakers, the second language of international communication and the third most used via the Internet.

Spanish is available in JCoSS as an extracurricular club in years 7 and 8. Pupils have the choice to start Spanish as a part of the curriculum in year 9 and it is offered all the way through GCSE, AS and A2.

In year 9 and GCSE students learn how to not only talk about themselves and their own lives, but make a start on looking at current affairs in Spanish and giving opinions on issues currently affecting young people around the world. With hard work and your knowledge of French grammar behind them, students are well able within three years to reach the top grades at GCSE.