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Core GCSE Subjects

Core GCSE Subjects


Students in all years are taught to communicate through the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. We take pride in introducing students to a range of texts from different genres, cultures and eras; we ask students to develop their own opinions and become confident in expressing them. We work hard to provide engaging opportunities for students to consolidate and develop their skills and understanding right through Key Stages 3 and 4. The English faculty is staffed by a team of specialists with expertise in literature, language, Latin and drama.

English – Year 10 and Year 11

At Key Stage 4, the majority of students will prepare for GCSEs in English Language and English Literature concurrently in seven 1x hour lessons per fortnight; GCSE English, a combined qualification, is available for the minority of students unable to study Literature and Language at this level.

Following the syllabus prescribed by the WJEC, the units in the table below will be studied over Years 10 and 11:

More about English in Yrs 10 and 11

There will be opportunities for students to re-take examinations and controlled assessments in lessons, at lunchtimes and in after-school sessions.

The specific Shakespeare play and creative writing titles are yet to be released by WJEC – teachers are restricted in their choices of tasks in these units.

The contemporary/heritage drama and novel studied in Unit 2 of the English Literature GCSE course will be chosen from a specified selection given by WJEC at the class teacher’s discretion; choices are made to maximise the achievement potential of students based on their interests and skill level.

Students will remain in their classes with the same teacher in both Year 10 and Year 11, allowing a rapport to develop between teacher and students that is considered beneficial to their learning at this stage of their education.


Mathematics at Cottenham Village College is five year course culminating in GCSE examinations at the end of year 11.  We aim to support the College’s “Best in You” motto by increasing our students’ fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills in mathematics as they progress through our school.

Our overall aims are to ensure that students become confident mathematicians, able to explore mathematics, identify and generalise connections and develop the persistence and resilience needed to apply their mathematics in different contexts. Students therefore need to be given the opportunity to discuss mathematics and solve problems, in order to become confident in choosing the skills to apply and to become fluent in the application of those skills. This will then allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in GCSE examinations.

GCSE students continue to follow the AQA 8300 specification, started in year 9, either at higher tier or at foundation tier.  Some revision resources for this course are available on the school’s intranet but currently these are the legacy GCSE style.  More appropriate resources will be added as they become available.

Towards the end of each half term, the students in year 10 and year 11 are tested on the topics covered that half term.  They record their performances on comprehensive analysis sheets which are used to inform any necessary intervention work.

In year 10 there is one set of exams in May, three papers which mimic the real GCSE exams.


At Key Stage 4 pupils follow one of a number of pathways in order to tailor Key Stage 4 to their specific needs.

Currently we follow the Edexcel Certificates for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. We also provide the Edexcel Certificate in Double Award Science and the OCR Gateway B Core and Additional Science course, alongside running the OCR Entry Level qualification for some pupils. We select the courses that are best suited to pupils needs and will give them the best opportunity to succeed.