We are very proud of the consistently strong public examination results achieved by our pupils, demonstrating clearly that a key priority at Mount Kelly is the fulfilment of academic potential.

We combine high expectations with accurate monitoring of progress, carefully considered enrichment activities and individually tailored support to ensure that every child, across the ability range, meets and often exceeds those expectations.

In Years 7 and 8 our pupils study at the Prep moving seamlessly to the College in Year 9. The academic programme for these year groups is designed to enrich and extend and to encourage debate, critical thinking and the exploration of new ideas. We aim to instil good work habits that will provide a strong foundation from which to progress to GCSE.

The importance of independent learning is fundamental to teaching styles throughout the School.




In Year 9 our pupils study every subject giving them a broad base from which to make an informed decision about their GCSE options.

GCSE options are chosen during the Lent Term of Year 9 and the format is set out below with helpful advice at the end of the subject lists.

The core GCSE curriculum

All pupils study the core subjects:

  • English (Language and Literature)
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences

GCSE Options

Pupils can choose four subjects from this list:

  • Art and Design: Fine Art
  • Business Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Design Technology
  • Drama
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL)
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Music
  • Personalised Learning
  • Philosophy, Religion & Ethics (PRE)
  • Physical Education
  • Spanish

​​​​​Notes and Conditions

  • Only pupils whose first language is not English will be permitted to study English as an Additional Language. These pupils are not required to study any other Modern Foreign Language option.
  • Pupils are strongly advised to pick one of the humanities for one of their options. (Geography, History or Religious Studies) Pupils are also encouraged to choose a creative subject. (Art, Design Technology or Drama)
  • The College reserves the right to withdraw any course for which there is insufficient demand.

GCSE Grading

You might have read about the changes to GCSEs which the Government has introduced. The main changes are:

  • A new grading system. Pupils will be awarded a grade from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest.
  • Tiering (Higher & Foundation Papers) is only available in some subjects.
  • All GCSEs are fully linear where assessment will occur at the end of the course. Subject content is not divided into modules and there is no Controlled Assessment module.
  • Examinations are the default method of assessment; although where examinations cannot provide a valid assessment of skill (e.g. in Art) then an alternate method of assessment will be used.
  • Examinations are only available in the Summer Term.



GCSE Art and Design: Fine Art

With our own gallery, pottery studio, photographic suite, dedicated art library and two large purpose built art studios, not to mention the beautiful setting for ‘En Plein air’ painting, Mount Kelly offers a fabulous location for the study of Art and Design.

We see art as a transferable skill in creative problem solving and a tool to increase confidence in the way in which pupils express themselves critically and analyse their experiences in everyday life and in the world around them.

Pupils are taught traditional skills such as drawing, painting, printing and sculpture. They are encouraged to observe the world around them more intently and, with a fresh approach, to explore their ideas and feelings with expressive and surreal experiments. Mistakes are welcomed and used as positive developments. Pupils are invited to work independently, responding to text, imagery and experiences in personal and original ways.

The GCSE Art and Design curriculum aims to develop pupils’ creative and practical skills, extending their existing knowledge and understanding. They learn about the diverse roles and functions of art, craft and design, and develop individual, diverse and skilful coursework folders. Vibrant lessons and projects are designed to expand pupils’ understanding of visual communication and develop their powers of expression.

Designed to motivate and inspire, pupils are given a university style, personal working space in the Sixth Form. The importance of self-motivation, creative maturity and analytical research is delivered through study skills sessions. Pupils’ delve deeper into art history, forming critical and informed judgments of chosen artwork and create sophisticated and intuitive, personal portfolios through a variety of independently lead projects.

With dynamic, original and informative projects and lessons, Mount Kelly Art and Design underpins pupils’ creative learning through gallery visits, educational trips and artist master-classes. Pupils are challenged to question critically and independently, to discuss ideas and critique their own and others’ artwork. They regularly exhibit artwork in our Westall Gallery and in local exhibitions.

Business Studies

Business Studies

GCSE  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! In this broad course you will cover the themes of business activity, marketing and people and also operations, finance and the external influences on business. You will learn about a range of topics including:







Business Studies 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, look at global business issues, and examine the advancement of technology and the impact it makes on people and the economy.

Computer Science

Computer Science

GCSE Computer Science

It is a fact that information technologies continue to have a growing importance in all aspects of our lives. The computing syllabus will give you an in-depth understanding of how computer technology works and a look at what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, and as part of this you will investigate computer programming.

Through this study of computer programming, the course will help you develop critical thinking, analysis and problem solving skills.

The syllabus aims are to develop:

  • Computational thinking, that is thinking about what can be computed and how, and includes consideration of the data required
  • Understanding of the main principles of solving problems by using computers
  • Understanding that every computer system is made up of subsystems, which in turn consist of further sub-systems
  • Understanding of the component parts of computer systems and how they interrelate, including software, data, hardware, communications and people
  • Skills necessary to apply understanding to solve computer based problems using a high-level programming language (Python).

Design Technology

Design Technology

GCSE Design Technology Product Design

The Product Design Department has an excellent track record at GCSE and A Level, and has won several awards from the Good Schools Guide. Product Design is an extremely popular subject and the department maintains a fierce academic rigour whilst allowing pupils the thrill of designing and creating their own products.

Year 9 pupils create an exciting range of products using traditional materials. Projects include copper braising, fused glass jewellery, pewter and resin coasters, mirror frames, chopping boards and ‘Greenwood’ spatulas. Projects build upon skills learned at the Prep but also provide a sound basis for those who have not studied Product Design before.

GCSE and A Level pupils study the AQA Product Design Specifications which allow them exciting opportunities of designing and making products using any material.

Year 10 pupils learn both Theory and Practical skills. Theory topics include all common materials like timber, metals and plastics, but also smart materials. History of design, industrial manufacturing methods and sustainability are also key topics at GCSE and A Level. In practical, pupils complete a variety of tasks, building skills for Year 11.

Year 11 pupils complete the unit 2 controlled assessment, worth 60% of the GCSE. They have freedom to choose their projects and past students have created items of prototype furniture, fashion jewellery, sports equipment, garden furniture, water features, lighting and household accessories.

At A Level, pupils extend their knowledge and skills beyond GCSE. Pupils gain a deeper understanding of materials and industrial manufacturing processes in readiness for the two, demanding Year 13 examinations and complete two innovative ‘Shop Quality’ prototypes.

Every year pupils have the opportunity to represent the school in the exciting Go4SET scheme, introducing them to the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers. In recent years, Year 9 pupils have won the South West competition and competed in the national final at the NEC. Pupils also gain their CREST Bronze awards for project work and may also work towards their Industrial Cadet Award.



GCSE Drama

GCSE Drama provides pupils with a solid foundation in creative, practical and performance skills. You will be encouraged to engage in and actively explore a wide range of activities that are stimulating and creative, drawing from a variety of situations and contexts to which you can relate.

The course requires you to develop skills that will be useful throughout your life: communication, presentation/public speaking, group and leadership skills, problem solving, time management, the ability to work to a deadline and get a performance right first time.

In the practical components you may specialise in performing, lighting, sound, set, costume and/or puppets. The subject content for GCSE Drama is divided into three components.

You will develop your knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre through study of a set play and through the analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers. There is a practical element that involves creating and performing a piece, followed by analysis and evaluation of your work. You will also perform two extracts from one play. The performances are as part of a group and pupils may contribute as performer or designer.



IGCSE English Language

We see GCSE English Language as the key to successful learning, knowledge acquisition and understanding in all subjects. Command of English Language facilitates opportunity in every aspect of life, learning and experience; without it people face an additional hurdle in seeking success.

The English Language IGCSE will enable you to:

  • Develop the ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively when speaking and writing
  • Use a wide range of vocabulary, and the correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Develop a personal style and an awareness of the audience being addressed.

You are also encouraged to read widely, both for your own enjoyment and to further your awareness of the ways in which English can be used. The course also develops more general analysis and communication skills such as inference, and the ability to order facts and present opinions effectively.

IGCSE English Literature

Being a literate reader widens horizons and opens up a lifetime of opportunities. Reading enables you to acquire knowledge and understanding of the world around you, whilst developing valuable, and transferable, skills of analysis, critique and empathy: studying and reading literature for pleasure is the most precious of gifts.

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than a book! – when I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

Jane Austen ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

The course is a wide-ranging one. It will introduce you to modern prose and drama as well as the study in depth of a novel from the 19th century. You will also study one of Shakespeare’s plays and you will analyse a cluster of poems on a theme of ‘power and conflict’.



GCSE Geography

Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world’s current problems boil down to geography, and we need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.

Geography is an academically robust subject which spans the social and physical sciences and promotes a lifelong interest and fascination with how the world works. You will learn about and develop a view on, the key challenges facing the rapidly changing world in which we live. You will focus on the interdependence of physical environments and how human activity affects the environment and vice versa, developing an understanding of the need for sustainable management of both human and physical environments.

Furthermore, you will learn to appreciate similarities and differences between places and people.

Component 1: Changing physical and human landscapes

Component 2: Environmental and development issues

Component 3: Applied fieldwork enquiry



Higher (Level 2) Project qualification (HPQ)

The Higher Project qualification (HPQ) is a standalone qualification and can be taken by students as an addition to their GCSE or other Level 2 qualifications. The HPQ provides an exciting opportunity to conduct research into subjects which may not be available as part of other formal studies. The qualification requires pupils to develop research skills, keep a production log, give a presentation on their research and evaluate the process.

The HPQ is suitable for pupils in Years 9 and 10, in preparation for GCSEs and as a stepping stone to the EPQ

The HPQ requires students to study a topic area which extends or expands their learning in an appropriate area of study. The qualification helps students to:

  • undertake an autonomous piece of work
  • develop as inquisitive and independent students
  • be inspired and enthused by new areas or methods of study
  • explore the experiential learning process, and further opportunities to plan and review their learning
  • take responsibility for their own learning and develop transferable, core life and study skills
  • if appropriate, use ICT and appropriate technologies with confidence


The Higher Project is a single component linear qualification.

Students undertake their Higher Project in the context of a project topic they have selected, in agreement with the centre.

The outcome of the project can be a written report but it can also be a design, media production, performance, artefact or combination of these.

The Higher Project provides students with the opportunity to create an extended piece of work and to:

  • select an appropriate topic
  • identify a question or brief which specifies an intended project outcome
  • produce a plan for how they will deliver their intended outcome
  • conduct research into the project brief using appropriate techniques
  • develop the intended outcome using selected tools and techniques safely
  • demonstrate the capacity to see a project through to completion
  • share the outcome of the project, including a review of their own learning and performance with others, using appropriate communication methods



IGCSE History

History offers the opportunity to study human society in the past and encourages you to raise questions about motivation and causation of events whose consequences impact on the present.

You will develop and deploy a range of historical analytical skills and acquire knowledge and understanding in order to provide historical explanations.

You will explore aspects of 20th century history from a diversity of perspectives, including social, economic, cultural and political, and from this you will gain a greater understanding of international issues and inter-relationships. You will examine historical documents and other evidence and learn how to use it to make balanced and reasoned judgements, and you will acquire the ability to present clear, logical arguments.

You will study the 20th century: International Relations since 1919, examining why international peace had collapsed by 1939 and who was to blame for the Cold War after 1945. A depth study examines events in the USA between 1919 and 1941.

We don’t subscribe to the view that if you don’t study history you are doomed to repeat it, but we do honestly believe that the study of history plays an important role in making our pupils into well rounded, well informed and inquisitive individuals who will be better prepared for life’s challenges because they have a good grounding in ‘whence they have come’.



GCSE Mathematics

Mathematics is an extremely popular subject at the College with many pupils continuing to study the subject in the Sixth Form. The ethos of the Mathematics Department is to foster the belief that every pupil can do well in Maths, that mistakes are valuable and that mathematical learning can be fun.

“Mathematics has beauty and romance. It’s not a boring place to be, the mathematical world. It’s an extraordinary place; it’s worth spending time there.”

 Marcus du Sautoy

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.

The Mathematics course is divided into six main domains:

Numbers and the number system | Equations, formulae and identities | Sequences, functions and graphs | Geometry and trigonometry | Vectors and transformation geometry | Statistics and probability

“If you listen to the great Beatles records, the earliest ones where the lyrics are incredibly simple. Why are they still beautiful? Well, they’re beautifully sung, beautifully played, and the mathematics in them is elegant. They retain their elegance.”

Bruce Springsteen

Modern Foreign Languages

Modern Foreign Languages

GCSE French

GCSE Spanish

A language GCSE will teach you the practical use of a language which could help in almost any career and which opens up opportunities at home and abroad. It will also give you a wider knowledge of the world, so you can take your place in global society. The language GCSE curriculum fosters key skills, such as communication, ICT proficiency, problem-solving and working with others, and will help you in preparation for the world of work.

The specification covers three distinct themes. These themes apply to all papers.

Theme 1: Identity and culture

Me, my family and friends | Technology in everyday life | Free-time activities | Customs and festivals in French – Spanish speaking countries

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

Home, town, neighbourhood and region | Social issues | Global issues | Travel and tourism

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

My studies | Life at school/college | Education post-16 | Jobs career choices and ambitions



GCSE Music

Music is an accessible and varied course. You will need to be proficient on any instrument or voice to around Grade IV standard by the end of Year 11 in order to succeed in this course.

Performing with and to each other is a vital and enjoyable part of the course and you may contribute in any style and on any instrument including voice. The course will teach you how to prepare and record performances as soloists and members of ensembles. There are options to complete the performance aspect of the course exclusively using technology for those whose interests lie in that area. By studying a number of musically varied set works, you will learn the skills to complete a series of compositions, performances and listening tasks. You will learn to compose in a variety of styles using practical improvisation and also the latest computer software including Sibelius for traditional notation and Logic for technology based styles.

Personalised Learning

Personalised Learning

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

 Albert Einstein

Personalised Learning at Mount Kelly encompasses Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (including Potential High Achievers), Medical and Mental Health, English as an Additional Language and the demands on our performance swimmers and athletes.

Our aim is to ensure that the learning styles and requirements of all our pupils are met through the benchmark of Quality First Teaching and a graduated response of Wave 1, 2 and 3 interventions.

We make reasonable adjustments for pupils who require additional support and offer small group interventions or additional study skills. One-to-one sessions are provided on an ad-hoc basis but are not a timetabled option. All pupils in Year 9 are screened using Lucid Exact to take a snapshot of reading comprehension and speed, writing speed, spelling and typing speed.

Pupils have access to an academic mentor to help extend their study and research skills. In some lessons, there is the input of a Teaching Assistant. Our SENCo at the College holds approved teacher status from the British Dyslexia Association and is an Access Arrangements Assessor. Our SENCo at the Prep is a specialist in ASC and ADHD.

Personalised Learning Profiles (PLPs) assist teachers in understanding the classroom strategies that help individual pupils. Support is reviewed regularly with pupils, parents and teachers involved in the process.


Mount Kelly works closely with parents, children and the respective Local Authorities (LA) to assess whether the school can provide the required level of care and support for pupils with an EHCP.
In addition to a statutory Annual Review of their Plan in partnership with the LA and support services, pupils in the school should expect:
• a Personalised Learning Profile (PLP) outlining needs and strategies to meet those needs
• a half termly review of academic and personal progress
• regular updates for and from parents, the pupil, tutor and teachers

Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE), for pupils in Year 9, looks at the ideas of tolerance and how people see the world in different ways. Pupils are encouraged to explore issues in philosophy, theology and ethics and to develop a critical approach to religious and moral questions. This academic emphasis makes the subject appealing to pupils irrespective of their personal faith.

The overarching goal and assessment criteria for religious studies are to learn about different religions and then begin to develop an understanding of how religion affects people’s views and actions.

GCSE Religious Studies

In Religious Studies you will engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their influence on human life. It is an opportunity to reflect on and develop your own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what you have learnt, and this will all contribute to your preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community.

The Religious Studies course has modern and engaging material. Pupils can gain a deeper understanding of two religions, and explore philosophy and ethical studies in the modern world. The course explores the issues of relationships and families, peace and conflict, belief in God and non-religious belief.

This course will equip you with skills for today’s world. It can open up the possibility of in-depth debate, which leads to critical evaluation and analysis. You will develop the ability to construct well-informed and balanced arguments on matters concerned with religious beliefs and values. Studying Religious Studies will help you become a reflective learner who knows his/her own views and can listen to opposing views and consider their validity in a thoughtful manner.

Physical Education

Physical Education

GCSE Physical Education

GCSE Physical Education

Love being active? Want to discover what makes the human body work? If so, this is just the course for you. You will gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts of performance from every aspect including physiological, psychological, biomechanical, sociological and historical. In this course you will improve your knowledge and understanding in a range of practical activities and will have the chance to learn about the principles and practices which lead to good performance.

For the first paper the focus is on the human body and movement in physical activity and sport. You will study anatomical topics like the musculoskeletal system, the respiratory system and the cardio vascular system. You will also look at physical training and skill acquisition, and the use of data in sport. In the second paper you will look at socio-cultural influences, sports psychology, and issues of health and well-being in physical activity and sport.

Participation in a wide range of sports is offered after assessing your physical abilities and your knowledge of the rules. Topics here include the National Curriculum, international sporting events, social groupings and roles in sport.

NB an interest in 3 sports is required.


Pre A Level Course/One Year GCSE

Pre A Level Course/One Year GCSE

The one-year, Pre A Level or one year GCSE Course is intended to prepare overseas pupils for study in a British academic environment and move on to A Level.

You will study the core GCSE subjects, Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and English Language together with other Year 11 pupils. You will also choose 2 or 3 subjects from the GCSE grid which will be provided by Admissions.

In addition to the strictly academic elements, the course includes lessons in EAL (English as an additional language), leading to a qualification in one of the Cambridge certificates.

If you are new to the British education system and are unsure about A Levels and which subjects to choose this option is ideal for you and we have many pupils who have gone on to do very well at A Level having had this extra year to prepare.

Pupils on the one-year course will follow the same extra-curricular activities as those on the traditional two-year GCSE pathway.

If you choose to study on a 3 year visa to the end of A Levels then you will not be able to sit any of the GCSE public exams, this will not affect your progress to Year 12 and 13 at the end of which you will sit the public A Level exmas required for university application. If you do wish to take GCSE exams at the end of Year 11 then you can only have a Student Visa for one year and will need to reapply (and Pay!) again for your two year A Level course.

The course is available for pupils aged between 15 and 17 who plan to study A Levels.

Entry Requirements:

  • Written assessments in Mathematics and English.
  • Interview with the Director of Admissions either in person or via Skype.
  • Translated copy of the most recent school report.

All offers will be subject to a satisfactory reference from the pupil’s current school.



Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) is delivered weekly in Years 10 and 11 and fortnightly in Year 9 in timetabled lessons taught by dedicated and experienced PSHE teachers.

The Mount Kelly PSHE curriculum is carefully tailored and regularly updated to ensure that it is relevant to our pupils and equips them to deal with life experiences and challenges both now and in the future. It is therefore structured as a spiral programme of knowledge, skill, and attribute development which each year builds on what has gone before and introduces new and more challenging learning, with scenarios developing in complexity and depth by Year 11. Our PSHE education contributes to pupils’ personal development by helping them to build their confidence, resilience, and self-esteem, and to identify and manage risk, make informed choices, and understand what influences their decisions. It also enables them to recognise, accept and shape their identities and values, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings.

The Year 9-11 curriculum is mapped to the PSHE Association Programme of Study and we follow Government guidelines for Relationships, Sex and Health Education and British Values. The curriculum is organised into three strands: Health & Wellbeing, Relationships and Sex Education and Living in the Wider World, which includes Online Safety, Careers Guidance and Financial Education. Topics are often timed to coincide with national or international events, such as Anti-Bullying Week, School Diversity Week and Mental Health Awareness Week, and the curriculum is enriched by sessions with outside speakers and organisations.

Year 10 PSHE
Financial Education
  • Scams and online fraud
  • Being a critical consumer (e.g. comparing deals)
Year 11 PSHE
Financial Education
  • Understanding credit and debt
  • Budgeting
  • Saving, borrowing and interest rates



GCSE Combined Science Trilogy

GCSE Separate Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)

Our primary aim in the Science Faculty is to promote natural curiosity and enthusiasm for science amongst pupils of all abilities and our philosophy is ‘Science for all’. Whatever your plans and aspirations for the future, an understanding of scientific concepts and method will be of value for the citizen of the 21st century.

The three sciences are taught by specialist subject teachers and you will begin your GCSE course pathway in Year 9. This early start ensures effective consolidation of the core concepts as well as giving you time to refine your practical skills in preparation for the required practical aspect.


Trilogy is the combination of the three sciences into two GCSE grades. This qualification gives an excellent overview of Science and may be taken at both foundation and higher tier. It will involve examinations sat at the end of Year 11.

SCIENCE Separate

Separate science is back to the traditional route but in a new GCSE context. You will study the sciences separately and be awarded three GCSEs, one in each science. Like the Trilogy specification, the course will be examined at the end of Year 11 with slightly longer examinations.

English as an Additional Language

English as an Additional Language

Cambridge First Certificate in English [FCE]

Cambridge Advanced in English [CAE]

Cambridge Proficiency in English [CPE]

International English Language Testing System [IELTS]

The EAL Department is about so much more than helping with language aquisition. It is also important to ensure that overseas pupils settle down happily within their new environment and to help them with any initial learning difficulties, culture shock and possible homesickness. For pupils who are far from home it is essential that we do all we can to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and we achieve this through tuition on a one-to-one or very small group basis with each pupil’s needs individually assessed. We provide a teaching programme of English Language support to enable pupils to work effectively towards their GCSE or A-level examinations and we prepare them for EAL examinations such as Cambridge English: First (FCE); the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE); the Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE); and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.

Years 7 – 9

Overseas pupils will study EAL as one of their subjects. This is usually instead of a modern language (French or Spanish), depending on their language ability and EAL requirements, or will be instead of another subject. EAL lessons range between one and four lessons weekly; an English skills analysis on entry to the school will determine their needs.

Years 10 – 11

Overseas pupils will study EAL as one of their four options, which would normally be timetabled as three lessons per week. We endeavour to carry out a range of topic-related projects on themes, which will complement their academic studies and broaden their cultural and social experience in English.


Pupils in Years 7 to 9 take an internal EAL exam, alongside other mainstream subject exams.

Pupils in Year 10 and 11 take GCSE English and one of the Cambridge ESOL exams.

All the Cambridge University ESOL examinations are internationally recognised, prestigious awards and a credit to any pupil when returning to their own country.