The Pioneers Academy

The Pioneers Academy



    The Key Stage 4 Curriculum

    At The Pioneers Academy, our aim is that all our students follow a broad and balanced curriculum that prepares them for college, the world of work and adult life. We believe that our Key Stage 4 curriculum is flexible enough to meet the individual learning needs of all our students in Key Stage 4.

    The following are the core subjects:

    Compulsory Subjects

    GCSE English Language

    GCSE English Literature*

    GCSE Maths

    GCSE Science (Combined or Separate) *

    Islamic Studies - Non examination subject

    PE – Non examination subject

    Citizenship - Non examination subject

    * Entrance into English Literature and either Separate or Combined Science is dependent on assessment results


    Option Subjects

    Students will need to choose one subject from each option block (three options in total)


    Option Block 1

    Option Block 2

    Option Block 3


















    You like it or find it interesting


    Your friends are doing it

    You are good at it


    You think you should do it.; even if you do not want to



    You need it or it is useful for your future career


    Your parents think it is a good idea but you do not

    You can develop new skills by doing it


    You know someone who has done it and they say it is great


    You think you will do well in it

    It’s thought of as a ‘cool’ subject by most people


    It will give you satisfaction


    You cannot think of anything else to choose

    Your teachers think it is a suitable choice for you

    You think it will be easy


    It will combine well with other subjects and help your general education


    It sounds good even though you have not found out about it


    You like the method of assessment and teaching


    You really like the teacher you have got now

    It’s a subject you would like to become good at


    You think it will impress people now or later on


    Good choices are balanced choices


    Bad choices are unbalanced choices



    GCSE English Language

    Examining board: AQA 8700

    Aims of the Course:

    • read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding
    • read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
    • write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
    • use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately
    • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

    In addition, students must:

    • listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard English effectively.

    The Spoken Language endorsement will be reported on as part of the qualification, but it will not form part of the final mark and grade.


    Overview of the Course

    Students will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes. They will be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences, deploying figurative language and analysing texts.


    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

    A written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes (50% of GCSE)

    Section A: Reading and answering four questions based on one literature fiction text

    Section B: Writing - one extended writing question on descriptive or narrative writing

    Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

    A written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes (50% of GCSE)

    Section A: Reading –answering four questions based on one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text

    Section B: Writing—one extended writing question to present a viewpoint


    GCSE English Literature

    Examining Board: AQA 8702

    Aims of the Course:

    • read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding and make connections across their reading
    • read in depth, critically and evaluatively so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
    • develop the habit of reading widely and often
    • appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
    • write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
    • acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.

    Overview of the Course

    Students will study a Shakespeare play of choice and will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play. Students will study a 19th century novel and will study extracts from the novel and the whole text. Modern texts, including prose and drama will be studied, as well as a range of poetry from an anthology and some unseen poetry.

    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel (1 hour 45 minutes) 40% of GCSE

    Section A: Shakespeare: -to answer one question on a chosen Shakespeare play.

    Section B: The 19th-century novel- to answer one question on a 19th century novel.

    Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (2 hours 15 minutes) 60%

    Section A: Modern texts - one question

    Section B: Poetry - one question from a pre-seen anthology of poems

    Section C: Unseen Poetry - two questions on two unseen poems.


    GCSE Mathematics

    Examining Board: EdExcel 1MA1

    Aims of the Course:

    • 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.

    Overview of the Course

    The weighting between the broad areas of the subject in the examinations will be approximately as follows:

    Topic Area






    Ratio, Proportion and Rates of change


    Geometry and Measures


    Statistics and Probability



    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Three (3) written papers

    Each paper lasts:

    • 1 hour 30 minutes (Foundation)
    • 1 hour 30 minutes (Higher)


    Each paper contains 80 marks

    • Papers 1F and 1H: Non-calculator, Papers 2F, 3F and 2H, 3H Calculator allowed


    Tiered papers:

    • Foundation Tier grades 1 - 5 available
    • Higher Tier grades 4 - 9 available


    Each paper assesses the functional elements of mathematics:

    • 30-40% on Foundation Tier papers
    • 20-30% on Higher Tier papers



     GCSE Science (Combined and Separate)

    Students will either undertake the Combined Science course resulting in two Science GCSEs, or the Separate Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) resulting in a GCSE in each subject. No final decision will be made on exam entry until the end of Year 10 allowing further opportunity for students to develop their scientific skills.


    Examining Board: EdExcel Combined Science - 1SC0, Biology – 1BI0, Chemistry – 1CH0, Physics – 1PH0

    Overview of the course




    Key concepts in Biology

    Key concepts in Chemistry

    Key concepts in Physics

    Cells and control

    Atomic Structure


    Motion and forces




    The Periodic Table

    Conservation of energy

    Natural selection and genetic modification

    Types of substance


    Health, disease and the development of medicines

    States of matter and mixtures

    Light and the electromagnetic spectrum

    Plant structures and their functions

    Chemical change


    Animal coordination, control and homeostasis

    Extracting metals and equilibria

    Energy – forces doing work

    Exchange and transport in animals

    Groups in the periodic table

    Forces and their effects

    Ecosystems and material cycles

    Rates of reaction and energy changes

    Electricity and circuits


    Fuels and Earth science

    Magnetism and the motor effect


    Electromagnetic induction


    Particle model


    Forces and matter



    Examination and Assessment Methods

    The Combined Science consists of six externally examined papers. Each exam is 1 hour and 10 minutes

    The Foundation paper will target grades 1–5. The Higher paper will target grades 4–9.

    The Separate Science course consists of two externally examined papers – six in total.

    The Foundation paper will target grades 1 -5. The Higher paper will target grades 4–9.




     GCSE Arabic


    Examining Board: EdExcel 1AA0

    Overview of the course

    Topics across all four language skills are set in common contexts, addressing a range of relevant contemporary and cultural themes. They are organised into five themes, each broken down into topics and sub-topics.

    The five themes are:

    1. Identity and culture
    2. Local area, holiday, travel
    3. School
    4. Future aspirations, study and work
    5. International and global dimension.

    Examination and Assessment Methods

    The Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9–1) in Arabic consists of four externally-examined papers based on the following skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

    Students must complete their speaking assessment in April/May and all other assessments in May/June in any single year.

    Each paper is available at Foundation tier or Higher tier.

    Paper 1: Listening and Understanding Arabic

    Paper 2: Speaking in Arabic

    Paper 3: Reading and Understanding Arabic

    Paper 4: Writing in Arabic


    GCSE Art and Design (Fine Art)


    Examining Board: EdExcel (Fine Art 1FA0)

    Aim of the course:

    Art and Design will help you to learn about the visual world, acquire the ability to investigate, observe, analyse, experiment and problem-solve. The course will also enable you to continue to develop your practical skills learnt at KS3 and to express your ideas visually and help you develop your imaginative powers.

    Overview of the course

    The Fine Art syllabus requires a variety of fine art media to be explored throughout the course, such as:

    • Painting and drawing (using a variety of Medium and technique)
    • Printmaking (mono printing, lino cutting and etching)
    • Sculpture, mixed media
    • Photography (composition, lighting, viewpoint, effects and manipulation using ICT)

    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Unit 1- Portfolio/Coursework: The coursework element includes the use of sketchbooks in which you will be required to show your research, investigations and development of ideas from a given starting point to produce a variety of outcomes. Unit 1 accounts for 60% of your grade.

    Unit 2 – Externally Set Assignment: You will complete one ten-hour examination that is held over two days in April/May of Year 11. A broad theme (set by the exam board) needs to be personally interpreted and prepared prior to the exam in a timed preparatory period. Unit 2 is worth 40% of the GCSE.

    Exhibition: At the end of the course in June, there will be a celebratory exhibition of all students’ work. This work will be internally assessed by art teachers and moderated at the exhibition by a visiting assessor.



    GCSE History

    Examining Board: EdExcel (1HI0)

    The Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9–1) in History consists of three externally examined papers.

    The proposed pathway is:

    • Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present and Whitechapel (Paper 1)
    • Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–40 (Paper 2)
    • Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91 (Paper 2)
    • The USA, 1954–75: conflict at home and abroad (Paper 3)

    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment

    Paper 2: Period study and British depth study

    Students take one of the following options:


    ● Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present and Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing, and the inner city.

    ● Medicine in Britain, c1250–present

    and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the


    ● Warfare and British society, c1250–present

    and London and the Second World War, 1939–45.

    Students take one of the following British depth study options:

    ● Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88

    ● The reigns of King Richard I and King John, 1189–1216

    ● Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–40

    ● Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88.


    Students also take one of the following period study options:

    ● Spain and the ‘New World’, c1490–c1555

    ● British America, 1713–83: empire and revolution ● The American West, c1835–c1895

    ● Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91 ● Conflict in the Middle East, 1945–95.

    How it's assessed:

    •   Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes
    •   52 marks
    •   30% of GCSE


    How it's assessed:

    •   Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
    •   64 marks
    •   40% of GCSE


    Paper 3 – Modern depth study

    Students take one of the following modern depth studies:

    ● Russia and the Soviet Union, 1917–41

    ● Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

    ● Mao’s China, 1945–76

    ● The USA, 1954–75: conflict at home and abroad.

    How it's assessed:

    •   Written exam: 1 hour 20 minutes
    •   52 marks
    •   30% of GCSE



    GCSE Geography B

    Examining Board: EdExcel (1GB0)

    Overview of the course

    The Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9–1) in Geography B is made up of three components:

    Component 1: Global Geographical Issues

    • Hazardous Earth
    • Development dynamics –
    • Challenges of an urbanising world

    Component 2: UK Geographical Issues

    • The UK's evolving physical landscape
    • The UK's evolving human landscape
    • Geographical investigations - two investigations, including fieldwork and research, carried out in contrasting environments, one from 'Coastal change and conflict' or 'River processes and pressures' and one of either 'Dynamic urban areas' or 'Changing rural areas

    Component 3: People and Environment Issues – Making Geographical Decisions

    • People and the biosphere
    • Forests under threat
    • Consuming energy resource

    Examination and Assessment Methods      

    Paper 1: Global Geographical Issues

    Paper 2: UK Geographical Issues

    An externally-assessed written exam with three 30-mark sections


    •   Topic 1: Hazardous Earth
    •   Topic 2: Development dynamics
    •   Topic 3: Challenges of an urbanising world

    An externally-assessed written exam with three sections

    •   Topic 4: The UK’s evolving physical landscape –
    •   Topic 5: The UK’s evolving human landscape – including a Case Study - Dynamic UK cities.
    •   Topic 6: Geographical investigations – including one physical fieldwork investigation and
    •   one human fieldwork investigation

    How it's assessed:

    •   Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
    •   94 marks
    •   37.5% of GCSE


    How it's assessed:

    •   Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
    •   94 marks
    •   37.5% of GCSE

    Paper 3 – People and Environment Issues

    An externally-assessed written exam with four sections

    •  Topic 7: People and the biosphere
    •   Topic 8: Forests under threat
    •   Topic 9: Consuming energy resources

    How it's assessed:

    •   Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
    •   64 marks

    25% of GCSE


    GCSE Business

    Examining Board: AQA 8132

    Overview of the course

    Students will consider the practical application of business concepts. The units provide opportunities to explore theories and concepts in the most relevant way, through the context of events in the business and economic world.

    The knowledge and skills gained from this specification will provide your students with a firm foundation for further study.

    1. Business in the real world
    2. Influences on business
    3. Business operations
    4. Human resources
    5. Marketing
    6. Finance


    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Paper 1 – Influences of operations and HRM on business activity

    Paper 2 – Influences of marketing and finance on business activity

    What’s assessed:


    • Business in the real world
    •  Influences on business
    •   Business operations
    •   Human resources


    What's assessed:


    •   Business in the real world
    •   Influences on business
    •   Marketing
    •   Finance

    Written exam:

    1 hour 45 minutes

    90 marks

    50% of GCSE

    Written exam:

    1 hour 45 minutes

    90 marks

    50% of GCSE



    IGCSE Information Communication Technology

    Examining Board: EdExcel (4IT1)

    Aim of the course

    The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to:

    • explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society
    • learn about current and emerging digital technologies and the issues raised by their use in a range of contexts by individuals and organisations
    • develop awareness of the risks that are inherent in using ICT and the features of safe, secure and responsible practice
    • work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts

    Overview of the course

    The Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) comprises six topics:

    1. Digital Devices
    2. Connectivity
    3. Operating Online
    4. Online Goods and Services
    5. Applying Information and Communication Technology
    6. Software skills

    Examination and Assessment Methods

    Students will sit two exams – one written paper and one practical paper. 

    Written paper from topics 1 to 4 – 1 hour and 30 minutes (50% of the total IGCSE)

    Practical paper from topics 5 and 6 – 3-hour practical exam (50% of the total IGCSE)