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One Year GCSE

One Year GCSE Programme for International Pupils


This one year GCSE programme for international pupils combines several different subjects to give a balanced diet from the arts and sciences.

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Science (dual award)
  • Business Studies or French
  • Art & Design or History

At the end of the year a pupil will have six GCSE grades in five separate subjects, which will be a good foundation for progress into the Sixth Form and an A level programme. All papers taken will be at the higher tier which will allow pupils to attain an A* grade in each subject.

Naturally, we understand that pupils are choosing this programme because this will be an opportunity to perfect their English language skills. The academic subject timetable is supplemented with lessons from our EAL team. In addition to preparing the pupils for the FCE (First Certificate in English) our sympathetic experts provide help for pupils in their mainstream GCSE studies.

The One Year GCSE International pupils will be taught together in order to give them maximum support, but because the class is set within a boarding school where most of the pupils are from the local region they should find that their fluency in English develops rapidly. The broader sporting and co-curricular programme is valuable in itself, but it plays a key role in the pupils’ academic and linguistic development.


Many German pupils choose to come to Mount Kelly for the 2 year GCSE programme and are able to study a subject combination that meets the requirements of the Mittlere Reife. Pupils who come for one year may choose our programme specifically designed for international pupils and this too will be one that meets the criteria for the Mittlere Reife but it should be noted that they will study fewer subjects and consequently have more lessons in each subject.


Board: Edexcel

Why should you study Mathematics?

Mathematics is a universal part of human culture. It is the language of commerce, engineering and other sciences. It helps us recognise patterns and to understand the world around us. Mathematics plays a vital, often-unseen role in many aspects of modern life. As society becomes more technically dependent there will be an increasing need for people with a high level of mathematical training. Analytical and quantitative skills in problem solving, logical reasoning and flexible thinking are all qualities sought by a wide range of employers. This leads to careers that are exciting, challenging and diverse in nature. Whatever your career plans, or if you have no plans at present, mathematics provides you with particularly good job prospects.

Specification Content

The Mathematics GCSE is changing this year with more content being introduced to both the Foundation and Higher tiers. This means that pupils will be studying mathematical concepts to a much broader and deeper degree.

The new Mathematics content has been divided into SIX main domains: Number, Algebra, Ratio, Geometry and Measures, Probability, Statistics.

Assessment will be three 1½ hour examinations – this has been increased to cover the increased content and set of skills to be assessed. All examinations will occur at the end of the course and one paper will be non-calculator.



Percentage of assessment


AO1 is about using and applying standard techniques

Foundation Tier – 50%

Higher Tier – 40%


AO2 is about reasoning, interpreting and communicating

Foundation Tier – 25%

Higher Tier – 30%


AO3 is about problem solving with a greater focus on solving non-routine problems in mathematical and non-mathematical contexts

Foundation Tier – 25%

Higher Tier – 30%


Board: AQA

Why study English?

The specification offers a skills-based approach to the study of English. This enables candidates to make ‘fresh’ and individual responses to each element of assessment.

The specification is most suitable for those who wish to explore a range of literary and language topics.

The specification covers the functional elements of English. This is done mainly through the externally examined unit. The term ‘functional’ should be considered in the broad sense of providing learners with the skills and abilities they need to take an active and responsible role in their communities, in their everyday lives, workplaces and educational settings.

Speaking and Listening is internally assessed and is common to GCSE English Language. This unit draws on the good practice observed during the previous specification and allows teachers to set tasks that are relevant to their students. Candidates need to exhibit their ability to speak and listen in functional contexts which require them to discuss and present.

They also need to demonstrate their ability to role play in either functional or dramatic situations. This unit is an excellent preparation for life beyond the classroom. From and including summer 2014 Speaking and Listening will be an endorsement, separately reported on the certificate. Speaking and Listening will no longer contribute 20% towards the overall award in GCSE English.

Creative writing is also assessed through Controlled Assessment. Drawing on the ‘creative’ agenda in the National Curriculum Programme of Study, candidates will be encouraged to be imaginative and to experiment with language to create writing that goes beyond the ‘real life’ contexts of the writing in the external unit. They may choose to write narrative, script, poetry or indeed any genre that enables an imaginative or even experimental use of English. Tasks will be selected from a bank of questions that encourage invention.

Unit 1: Non-Fiction

Unit 2: Speaking and Listening

Unit 3: Creative Texts

External examination

60% of the total GCSE marks

2 hours 15 minutes

80 marks


Controlled Assessment


0% weighting

45 marks


Controlled Assessment

40% of the total GCSE marks

6–8 hours

90 marks


Section A: Reading

30% of the total GCSE marks

40 marks



Part a: Understanding creative texts (literary reading)

20% of the total GCSE marks

3–4 hours

45 marks


Section B: Writing

30% of the total GCSE marks

40 marks



Part b: Producing creative texts

20% of the total GCSE marks

3–4 hours

45 marks



Board: Edexcel IGCSE

Why should you study Science?

Studying science will broaden your understanding of the world around you and will give you the skills needed to approach most matters in a reasoned and analytical manner. Science makes a positive impact on people’s lives. In many cases, Science saves lives. Scientists use their expertise to develop real solutions for real problems. Remedies for many of the challenges that face our world will be developed by researchers who devote their whole lives to the pursuit of Science. One of the best reasons for studying Science is the wide variety of work it gives you access to. A Science background can also involve you in research and the strong academic challenges of a Science degree make it applicable to other careers. Science can provide a career for life because even if you do not want to stay in one area, many careers are interchangeable with a little extra study.

Specification content

The Edexcel International GCSE in Science (Double Award) specification is assessed via three papers – Chemistry, Biology and Physics. Pupils are awarded two International GCSE grades from A* to G. Covering a systematic body of scientific knowledge and facts, concepts, principles, themes and patterns, it’s designed for teaching in international schools and colleges and UK independent schools. The course encourages pupils to understand theoretical concepts alongside developing practical science skills. Each subject is taught by subject specialists.

Business Studies

Board: OCR

Why should you study Business Studies?

The world is becoming dominated more and more by business. Think about all the business topics in the news – the financial crisis, the energy suppliers, internet companies, the collapse of high street shops, business takeovers. Business is everywhere!

You will learn about topics incorporated within this broad subject area which include: Marketing, Enterprise, Employees, Production, Finance and Economics.

Business Studies will prepare you for either future career opportunities in the world of business or to study the subject at a higher level. It will encourage you to totally engage in the world of business and become an effective and independent learner. It will enable you to take a critical approach to business problems and make informed judgements based on the evidence given. It will enable you to apply your knowledge and skills to contemporary issues and teach you how to appreciate the views of all stakeholder groups affected in business decisions. You will become aware of the effect of economic decisions on society and look at global business issues and examine the advancement of technology and the impact it makes on people and the economy

Specification Content

There are three GCSE Units on this course, these are:

Marketing & Enterprise [Controlled Assessment]

Business & People [Examination]

Production, Finance and the External Business Environment [Examination]

Art & Design

Board: Edexcel

Why should you study Art and Design?

Art and Design offers you opportunities to be creative in exciting ways, to think about artwork critically and from a fresh point of view; it encourages you to work independently following your own ideas and gives you time to develop them thoughtfully, creating ambitious final outcomes.

You will become confident in taking risks and learning from your mistakes when exploring and experimenting with ideas, materials and techniques. You will discover how to work more expressively, understanding how to share your opinions, feelings and how to make bold statements with art. You will learn how to refine your outcomes with control and sensitivity, achieving accuracy, realism and fine painting skills. Getting to work in 3D, ceramics, textiles, photography, new media and with different paints and drawing materials you will build a dynamic portfolio that covers traditional and modern approaches.  Art and Design installs valuable transferable skills such as critical thinking, self-confidence, resilience, perseverance, self-discipline, reflective thinking and commitment and of course, creative thinking.

Specification Content:

Unit One, Coursework (60%):

You will be required to complete a personal portfolio, which will include artwork created in class and in private study. During the course you will complete a range of 2D and 3D projects set by your teachers.

Unit Two, Externally set Exam (40%):

This unit involves you creatively responding to the given title; you will create a sketchbook of ideas, experimentation, and research and will have a 10 hour controlled period to create an informed and developed final outcome.

Both units will involve you in:

• Generating and developing ideas informed by primary and contextual sources

• Refining ideas through experimenting with media, and developing and applying skills

• Researching, recording, analysing and reviewing your own and others’ work

• Selecting, creating, realising and presenting personally developed outcome(s).

Your portfolio should show your progress through your work and will be evidenced through the use of some or all of the following: sketchbooks, notebooks, worksheets, design sheets, different scale rough studies, samples, swatches, test pieces, digital material and any other means that demonstrate you thinking through the development of your ideas.


The Cambridge IGCSE History syllabus looks at some of the major international issues of the twentieth centuries, as well as covering the history of Germany 1918-1945 in more depth. The emphasis is on both historical knowledge and on the skills required for historical research. 

Learners develop an understanding of the nature of cause and effect, continuity and change, similarity and difference and find out how to use and understand historical evidence as part of their studies. Cambridge IGCSE History will stimulate any learner already interested in the past, providing a basis for further study, and also encouraging a lifelong interest in the subject.


Pupils study the Core Content in CIE’s Option B course: The 20th century, International Relations since 1919.

The content focuses on the following Key Questions:

• Were the peace treaties of 1919–23 fair?

• To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

• Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

• Who was to blame for the Cold War?

• How effectively did the USA contain the spread of Communism?

• How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948–c.1989?

• Why did events in the Gulf matter, c.1970–2000?

In addition, pupils study the Germany 1918–45 Depth Study



Paper 1   2 hours

Written paper 40%

60 marks

Candidates answer:

two questions from Section A (Core Content) and

one question from Section B (Depth Study)

All questions are in the form of structured essays, split into three parts:

(a), (b) and (c)


Paper 2   2 hours

Written paper 33%

50 marks

Candidates answer six questions on one prescribed topic taken from the Core Content.

There is a range of source material relating to each prescribed topic.

The prescribed topic changes in each examination session (in 2017 it is: Were the peace treaties 1919-23 fair?).