Options & Pathways

Scroll down to find out more about the options and pathways available for your child at Irlam & Cadishead College

Options & Pathways

Use the tabs below to see the different options and pathways we offer students at Irlam & Cadishead College.

AQA GCSE English Language

All students will study GCSE English Language and English Literature in Key Stage 4.  The English Language qualification involves the study of non-fiction, imaginative writing and transactional writing, whilst the English Literature qualification will require students to study a range of texts, including 19th century fiction, a play/performance, Shakespeare and poetry.

These courses will enable students to:

  • Develop their analytical skills, considering key themes and characters in relation to a writer’s intention and purpose.
  • Acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation of a range of contexts and settings.
  • Develop creative and functional writing skills, whilst considering audience and purpose.
  • Study language – its meaning, effect and development.
  • Read for pleasure, whilst accessing a range of authors and styles.

There is no coursework or controlled assessment element to either course at GCSE.  Students will instead complete 4 final examinations (2 English Language papers and 2 English Literature papers).

Each qualification will be graded on a nine-grade scale from 9 to 1 using the total mark from both exam papers in each qualification.  This will result in students receiving two separate GCSE grades towards their future education and training goals.   The new English GCSE guidelines mean that all students in KS4 will sit the same exams.  There will be no need to distinguish between higher and foundation tiers at entry.

To be successful in English you have to be able to read a range of texts, including genres and authors you may have not previously accessed.  You must be willing to work both independently and in a group, to consider the possible meanings and interpretations of a text.  Working closely with teachers and staff is crucial to share ideas and achieve the best within this subject.

Future Pathways

A good GCSE in English provides a strong foundation for further academic and vocational study in most areas.  Future educational providers and employers will always consider an individual’s English GCSE grade, as reading and writing skills are prevalent in most careers.  An English GCSE can prepare students for jobs such as teaching, media and marketing, law, travel and tourism, and many more.

Edexcel GCSE Maths

All students will study GCSE Mathematics in Key Stage 4.

This qualification involves the study of Number, Algebra, Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change, Geometry and Measures, Statistics & Probability.

This course enables 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

There is no coursework or controlled assessment in Mathematics – just a final exam consisting of three equally weighted examination papers; one non-calculator paper and two calculator papers.

The qualification will be graded on a nine-grade scale from 9 to 1 using the total mark across all three papers where 9 is the highest grade.

Students will be entered for either the Foundation Tier, where grades 1 – 5 are available, or the Higher Tier, with grades 4 to 9 available.

To be successful in Mathematics you have to be able to accept and enjoy a challenge; be able to work on your own and in a group and have the ability to work closely with your teachers in order to get the most out of this subject.

Future Pathways

A good GCSE in Mathematics provides a strong foundation for further academic and vocational study and for employment.  Exciting jobs, such as medicine, engineering and accountancy are future pathways of good mathematicians.

AQA GCSE Science

Combined Science (AQA)

All students will follow this Science Course.  Combined Science provides a flexible approach to teaching and learning Science.  The specification is divided into topics, each covering different key concepts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  Teaching of practical skills is integrated with the theoretical topics and they are assessed through the written papers so students will not be expected to complete any coursework for Combined Science.

Assessment

The combined course is linear with all exams to be taken at the end of Year 11.  There will be 6 exam papers for foundation tier students, and 6 exam papers for higher tier students, with each paper counting towards a percentage of the final grade as outlined below:

  • Biology Paper 1 16.7% of total GCSE
  • Biology Paper 2 16.7% of total GCSE
  • Chemistry Paper 1 16.7% of total GCSE
  • Chemistry Paper 2 16.7% of total GCSE
  • Physics Paper 1 16.7% of total GCSE
  • Physics Paper 2 16.7% of total GCSE

Future Pathways

This course will allow students to gain 2 GCSE grades and is a firm foundation to study A level single Science where local colleges ask for at least a ‘B’ grade to move on to further study.  Good grades at GCSE will lead to jobs in the health service such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Medicine, Nursing and many more.  It is also a firm foundation for jobs involving research and jobs which require analytical thinking.

AQA GCSE Separate Science

Biology, Chemistry and Physics Separate Science (AQA)

Separate Science provides a more detailed insight into the world of Science.  The Separate Science course is split into three: Biology, Chemistry and Physics and they will gain three GCSEs.  Teaching of practical skills is integrated with the theoretical topics and they are assessed through the written papers so students will not be expected to complete any coursework for Combined Science.

Assessment

All three courses (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) are linear with all exams to be taken at the end of Year 11.  There will be 2 exam papers for each course with each paper counting towards a percentage of the final grade as outlined below:

  • Biology Paper 1 50% of total GCSE
  • Biology Paper 2 50% of total GCSE
  • Chemistry Paper 1 50% of total GCSE
  • Chemistry Paper 2 50% of total GCSE
  • Physics Paper 1 50% of total GCSE
  • Physics Paper 2 50% of total GCSE

The Separate Science course is for students who are achieving a Grade 5- equivalent by the Easter of Year 9.  Due to the challenging nature of the course the number of places is kept low and they are reserved for the most able. Guidance will be given by the Curriculum Leader because of the high level of challenge the course presents.  This course is aimed at the most able scientists.

Future Pathways

This course will allow students to gain 3 GCSE grades and is a stepping stone to study A level single Science where local colleges ask for at least a ‘B’ grade to move on to further study.  Good grades at GCSE will lead to jobs in the field of Engineering, Medicine, Analytical Chemistry and many more.  It is also a firm foundation for those looking to study Science related degrees at University and jobs involving research and jobs which require analytical thinking.

BCS ECDL

The ECDL qualification which is a GCSE equivalent is the most widely recognised IT qualification around the world, and a great way to demonstrate that you are digitally literate.  This will give you a solid foundation for any job you apply for.


In this course, you will study several units covering ICT skills, including:

  • Word processing
  • Presentations
  • Spreadsheets
  • Improving Productivity Module

This course is a practical course showing mastery of skills.  The course is assessed on line by the exam board.

For much of the time you will work on a computer, and you should be able to work independently. You should use the skills taught in ICT at Key Stage 3 to help you with this qualification.

Future Pathways

This course could lead to students studying further ICT skills, apprenticeships or any position that requires an IT skills qualification.  It is particularly useful for those wishing to work in administration or a customer care environment.  However, the skills are also useful when preparing presentations or documents for any career.