Newcastle Academy, Gallowstree Lane, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 2QS
Part of Windsor Academy Trust
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International Studies

Curriculum Overview 


French:  The Modern Languages curriculum is designed to build up the skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to communicate effectively in French.

The GCSE course is designed around the three prescribed themes (Identity and Culture, Local, National, International and Global areas of interest, Current and Future Study and Employment).  The KS3 curriculum is based around these themes and the GCSE course revisits these, building up increasingly complex language.  Students are exposed to the target language as much as possible, and will be encouraged to use the target language without fear of making mistakes, in order to build up confidence and competence.

Students will be encouraged to explore how and where they might use the language when they leave school, regardless of whether or not they wish to continue to study a Modern Language post 16.

Geography:  The Geography curriculum aims to develop the knowledge and skills first gained at Key stage 2 to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

The GCSE course covers both physical and human geography, with the opportunity for fieldwork studies.  The main areas of study are centred around Physical Systems and Processes, Human Systems and Processes, whilst at the same time developing a comprehension of how humans impact these key factors. Understanding and analysing cause, effect, impact and management are at the heart of the curriculum in order to develop a deeper and more meaningful view of the world that we live in.  The KS3 curriculum is also based around these themes in order to build and prepare confidence and competence of the learner.

It is the intention for students to have a strong understanding of the future pathways they can follow should they continue to study Geography at post 16 level.

History:  The History curriculum is designed to develop an understanding of how our past shapes our future.  The main areas of study are largely centred around Modern History and the Medieval Period, which links closely to the GCSE course.  During the course, students develop an understanding of cause and consequence and the impact that different historical events have had on our society.  The KS3 curriculum allows students to develop the knowledge and understanding of what life was like during the modern period.  Students at KS3 develop a range of skills including the ability to analyse and make inferences from source materials, to understand bias and to argue a case and support their own judgements.

It is the intention for students to have a strong understanding of the future pathways they can follow should they continue to study History at post 16 level.

Health and Social Care

This is an outstanding ‘Skills for Life’ course, not only providing a sound understanding of health and wellbeing for students’ personal lives, but also in developing skills and attributes that lead to jobs in the ever-widening sectors of both health care and social care.

This is a BTEC qualification in which students learn about how humans grow and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially and how differing life factors can affect these. It also develops understanding of the tiers of health care available and obstacles to accessing care.

In the final examination, students will have to interpret a given context for an individual and develop a health and wellbeing plan for them.  Critical skills in analysis and evaluation are developed throughout the course and used to access the highest attainment levels both in assignments and in the exam.

The course provides an introduction to skills in independent learning that will be needed both at college, university and in the work place. It is a foundation for many future careers, not only in the health service but also in social care, including professions in probation and prison care.


PSHE:  The curriculum is designed to support students in building personal and interpersonal skills and to develop knowledge and understanding of the world both within and beyond the school environment.  Students follow the three elements of Living in the Wider World, Health and Wellbeing and Relationships.  During the five years, students study topics such as SRE, Careers and Keeping Safe.

Religious Education:  The curriculum is designed to encourage students to think critically about a wide variety of religious ethical and philosophical questions.  The key aim is to develop students into caring, confident and successful adults.  It provides them the opportunity to formulate their own set of values and beliefs, whilst also building tolerance and the attributes needed to live in modern day Britain. 


PSHE and RE KS3 and 4

Students have 1 hour of RE and 2 hours of PSHE.  These subjects are not examined, but are assessed in terms of the Five Rs and thinking skills, developing character and citizenship in order to promote cultural capital.


Students have 3/4 hours of French, Geography and History respectively.  See SOWs for the themes and topics taught.  In French, Geography and History GCSE exam style questions and assessments are introduced from Y7.  There is a variety of style of assessments, which are set in accordance with Academy protocol, to form the basis for judgements at data collection points.  In addition, opportunities for delivering Citizenship, Communication (Literacy) and Numeracy and incorporated into the curriculum and students are encouraged to develop their competence in using IT skills.  All three subjects are taught by subject specialists.

In all subjects at KS3, students are taught to develop their skill set.  They are encouraged to think independently and to collaborate effectively with their peers.


French:  AQA GCSE (8658)

  • 4 examination papers taken in Y11. Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (all externally assessed.)  Three themes covered.  Theme 1:  Identity and Culture, Theme 2:  Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest, Theme 3:  Current and Future study and Employment

Geography:  AQA GCSE

  • 3 examination papers taken in Y11.
  • Living with the Physical Environment, Challenges in the Human Environment, Geographical Applications.

Two field work trips.  Llandudno (Physical).  Newcastle (Human).

History:  Pearson (Edexel) GCSE

  • 3 examination papers taken in Y11.

Y11:  Germany 19-1939, The Western Front, Henry VIII, The Cold War.

KS4 French, Geography and History:

During the GCSE course, students further develop their skills, knowledge and understanding whilst revisiting familiar topics from KS3.  In addition, they are introduced to some new but linked topics.  For example, in French, students learn to talk about climate change and environmental issues within Theme 2, which links to the work they do in KS3, describing where they live and what the advantages and disadvantages are.  In Geography students learn about economic development, which links to work done at KS3 to so with Fairtrade and Low Income Countries (LICs). In History students learn about the advances in medicine from the Medieval Period to the present.  This links to their study of Medieval Life in KS3.

The course content is delivered in Years 9 and 10.  In Year 11, the focus is on revision and consolidation of the content taught in Years 9 and 10, with an emphasis on securing this knowledge and understanding.  In addition, students are encouraged to build on the skills and techniques they already possess, to be able to operate at the highest level appropriate to their ability.  Examination techniques and skills are developed throughout the course with PPEs and WTMs, and regular assessments.

Health and Social Care: Pearson Edexcel BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award

  • 3 Components: Components 1 and 2 internally assessed via 4 written assignments, Component 3 external written assessment.

Health and Social Care covers Component 1: Human Lifespan development.  Students study the 6 different life stages that humans live through and the factors that affect them.  Students will then produce their first two assignments for the component.  Following this, students will study Component 2, which covers Health and Social Care services and Values.  By the end of Year 10 students should have completed the two assignments that go alongside this Component. In Y11, the focus is preparation for the externally assessed component, which takes place at the start of February in Year 11. In addition, students are encouraged to build on the skills and techniques they already possess, to be able to operate at the highest level appropriate to their ability. Examination techniques and skills are developed throughout the course with PPEs and WTMs, and regular assessments.

Teaching and learning will focus on delivering the academy Quality First Teaching Principles. The mastery of skills is a key aim, in order to ensure that knowledge and understanding are secure and that students are able to perform long-term recall.


The impact of the curriculum in International Studies will be measured using the following criteria:

  • Improving outcomes over time (including in year progress outcomes)
  • Improving the performance outcomes of HAPs and of disadvantaged students
  • Post 16 indicators
  • QA systems:
  • Learning Walks and Lesson Observations
  • Work (including Homework) Scrutiny
  • Schemes of Work Scrutiny
  • Faculty Review


How grades are decided for input; what are the grades based upon?

Assessments will take a variety of forms as outlined below.  They will largely focus on developing the practice and techniques required to recall knowledge and demonstrate the skills and understanding linked to the examination at GCSE.  In PSHE and RE assessments will be linked to the students’ attitude to their learning, their critical thinking and debating skills and the Fives Rs.

Formal assessments will take the form of EOU assessments, exam style questions and papers and examinations.  Formative assessment will be undertaken in real time with plenaries, student discussions, student voice and revision quizzes.

Formal assessments will be graded according to the exam board grade boundaries.  There will be formal assessments contained in each new topic or theme in order to assist in building a profile of a student’s CWG and their likely GCSE grade.  They will also provide the evidence for strengths and the next steps needed to improve performance.

Assessment Maps will be used and shared with students to identify areas for development. 

The evidence base for assessment input; where do we find the students work?

Formal assessments can be found in students’ books and in their folders.  These will be graded and used to inform the teacher’s judgements entered at the formal data collection points.

Faculty Assessment Maps

Assessment maps are regularly used by teachers in their assessment of students’ work during lessons. These assessment maps are used to track the progress of subject specific skills, providing students with clear next steps.

Staff will:

  • Ensure that students have access to their own assessment maps and explain that the maps help staff to assess student attainment in lessons, tests, exams and homework against GCSE criteria. The maps help us to plot current attainment and, more importantly, outline what progress steps are needed to improve further. The maps may be stuck into books/folders or held electronically
  • Allow students to assess their work against the maps. Students  or teachers should highlight which aspects of the map they think they have achieved and then tick when this skill is secured – the starting point for this process is their most recent CWG(Current Working Grade) and EAP (Expected Attainment Pathway) The CWG gives an indication of the level/grade at which a student is working taking into account assessments, tests, classwork and homework.
  • In conversation with students verify or amend the self-assessment.
  • Ensure that by the end of this process all student copies of the assessment map which are available to both students and teachers during every lesson
  • In situations, staff may utilise mini-maps to aid the teaching of specific aspects or outcomes of the assessment map.

As can be seen, this process is best undertaken via individual learning conversations with students. As part of this a target setting process is undertaken whereby next steps for improvement are agreed.

Not only does this process highlight GCSE/BTEC skills throughout Y7-11, it also clearly maps out what a student needs to do to improve. Teachers will use this information to plan subsequent lessons and assessments.  This approach to assessment and feedback is a common one across all subject areas, providing a consistent pattern for students.  


Standardisation is completed before each data collection week and follows this process:

  • All staff attend the meeting
  • Staff bring a requested sample of books
  • HoF ensures subject Assessment maps and any KS4 Mark Schemes are available
  • Staff look at books from another member of staff to agree or request amendments to assessment marks, then to comment on amount of work and consistent use of school policy.
  • In addition some moderation takes place with other schools within the trust and, occasionally with a paid examiner and/or with the exam board.