Year 7

Students begin their study of English with a transition unit on Storytelling, to develop their oracy skills. Following this they develop their skills in reading and writing, throughout several challenging topics including: Myths and Legends, Science Fiction, and a study of Shakespeare’s villains.

Broadly students are taught in mixed ability groups, however those students who require additional support in reading are taught in a specialised group to fast-track their progress.

Year 8

In Year 8 students are set in ability groups and continue to hone skills in analysis and writing for specific purposes, which will feed into their GCSE studies. Topics include: Poetry, Causes to Fight for, Dracula (play).

Year 9

During Year 9 students transition towards their GCSE studies by looking at appropriate texts.

Useful Links:

KS3 BBC Bitesize
A catalogue of Accelerated Reader books
Useful reference

GCSE English Language (Exam Board: AQA)

Students will study separate GCSEs in English Language and Literature. Students will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus (Non-fiction and Fiction from the 19th, 20th and 21st Century) and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills.

In GCSE English Language, students work towards 100% terminal examinations. This is comprised of two papers:

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50%)
Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (50%)

Useful Links:

AQA English Language
BBC Bitesize English Language

GCSE English Literature (EDEXCEL)

In GCSE English Literature, students are also assessed with 100% terminal exams. The papers students sit are:

  • Paper 1: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature (50%)
  • Paper 2: 19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789 (50%)

Typically, students study Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, Frankenstein or A Christmas Carol and the Love and Relationships cluster from the Edexcel Anthology.

There are no longer tiers to the exams, and all students sit the same exam papers, which can be awarded a Grade 1-9.

In order to achieve highly on the course, Students should read widely outside of lessons and ask questions about texts.

Useful Links:


From Year 7 maths lessons are based on the three aims of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving and follow the Mathematics Programmes of Study as outlined by the DfE.

The schemes of work have number at their heart. A large proportion of Year 7 is spent reinforcing number to build competency. Key number skills are fed through the rest of the scheme so that students become more fluent. Algebra also runs through every topic.  Students will spend longer periods of time studying each unit of work to ensure a robust and embedded understanding. Higher attaining students are challenged through depth rather than acceleration onto new content.

Useful Links:

Mathematics Programmes of Study for KS3

Students at GCSE follow the AQA syllabus for mathematics. Their work will build on the foundations laid from previous years and continue with the three aims of the national curriculum.  Students are encouraged to develop confidence in, and a positive attitude towards mathematics and to recognise the importance of mathematics in their own lives and to society. They will also build a strong mathematical foundation for future studies at higher level post-16. The GCSE course in mathematics 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.

GCSE Mathematics is split into two tiers.  The Foundation tier covers grades 1 – 5 and the Higher tier covers grades 4 – 9. Students must take three question papers at the end of year 11.

Useful Links:

AQA Maths GCSE Specification

In year 7 and 8, students are guided by the Exploring Science Scheme of Work that provides a practical, rich learning experience. This not only quenches students’ thirst for knowledge and understanding but also hones their practical skills in preparation for their future studies.

The curriculum is based on five big ideas that underpin all content:

  • Knowledge and Application – describing and explaining scientific processes and phenomena.
  • Research and Independent Learning – extending learning at home by choosing relevant facts and ideas from a range of sources.
  • Investigating – planning ways of collecting valid, reliable, accurate an precise data to use as evidence to answer hypotheses
  • Data Handling – analysing and interpreting data including drawing graphs and manipulating data using equations
  • Concluding and evaluating – evaluating the merits of collective data and drawing valid conclusion from a range of sources

In year 9, GCSE content is introduced whilst still building on and consolidating skills from previous years.

Useful Links:

BBC Bitesize

Further information is available on the Science pages of Honeycomb

Students follow the OCR Gateway A suite of Science courses.  The specific course students will follow depends on a number of factors including performance during year nine and discussions with parents.  All students have the opportunity to study ‘Combined Science’ whilst a number of students will be offered the choice of ‘Triple Science’.  In both routes, students will study all three Sciences; Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  The route taken does not affect the chances of students being eligible to study A Level Sciences at post-16.

Assessment is by 6 examinations which cover the content below:

  • Biology: Cell-level systems, Scaling up, Organism-level systems, Community level-systems, Genes, Inheritance and Selection
  • Chemistry: Particles, Elements, Compounds and Mixtures, Chemical Reactions, Predicting and Identifying reactions and products, Monitoring and Controlling chemical reactions
  • Physics: Matter, Forces, Electricity, Magnetism and magnetic fields, Waves in matter, Radioactivity and Energy

Useful Links:

OCR Combined Science
OCR Biology
OCR Chemistry
OCR Physics
BBC Bitesize

Year 7

Students will study one of two languages offered and learn the basics including numbers, colours, pets and school subjects. They will move quickly from word to sentence level and develop the ability to express and explain opinions. In line with new specifications, they will also learn how to speak about future events. Assessments will examine the four essential language skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Year 8

In Year 8 students will continue to develop the skills of expression, comparing and move on logically to narrate events in the past. This will result in the ability to manipulate language in 3 tenses in order to proceed to year 9 which introduces topics studied at GCSE.

Useful Links:


The GCSE content in Languages is split into three themes covering aspects of life in Target Language countries. Students will use a variety of authentic texts and resources, written, video and audio with an emphasis on grammar, communication and spontaneity.

  • Identity and culture – Me, my friends and family; Technology in everyday life; Free-time activities; Customs and Festivals.
  • Local, national, international and global areas of interest – Home, town, neighbourhood and region; Social issues; Global issues; Travel and tourism.
  • Current and future study and employment – My studies; Education post 16; Jobs, career choices and employment.

Students are assessed through an exam in each of the 4 skill areas; Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing each worth 25% of their overall GCSE score.

They will be entered for either the Foundation exams; 7 minutes Speaking, 35 minutes Listening, 45 minute Reading and 60 minute Writing or for the Higher exams; 12 minutes Speaking, 45 minutes Listening, 60 minute Reading and 75 minutes Writing.

Useful Links:

Edexcel French
Edexcel German
Edexcel Spanish

Year 7

Students are taught chronologically starting with ‘Invasion and Conquest’. Within this topic students study the Romans and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. They then move on to look at ‘Who has the Power?’ This unit focuses upon the War of the Roses. Finally, we study ‘State vs the King’ looking at the Civil War and the Restoration.

Year 8

In Year 8 students begin by looking at ‘Expansion and Empire’, with a specific focus on the slave trade. This then naturally leads onto studying both the World Wars with a real focus of what life was like for soldiers and civilians. ‘Who has the power?’ looks at the changing fortunes of women and children during the early C20th. Students explore the challenges Great Britain faced during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Throughout both years students continue to develop key historical skills, as well as building their chronological knowledge. This will hopefully prepare them for the GCSE in History.

Useful Links:


GCSE (Exam Board: AQA HISTORY B 8145)
Paper 1 Understanding the Modern World: (1hour 45 mins 50%)

Conflict and Tension 1890-1918

Germany 1890 – 1945, Democracy and Dictatorship

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation (1hour 45 mins 50%)

Britain: Health and the People c1000 to present day

Norman England 1066 – 1100

Students will study both the breadth and depth of History and will develop many skills including; reading and learning about the past, arguing and explaining their opinion, solving problems and learning about multiple points of view. Students will also begin to think creatively to gain a better understanding of the world through the topics studied.

The curriculum allows students to understand change and continuity across a long sweep in History as well as gaining an understanding of the complexities of societies or historical situations. Students are also offered the opportunity to study the impact on people through a variety of perspectives: political, social and cultural, economic, the role of ideas and the contribution of individuals and groups. Shaping the nation helps students to understand the History of Britain and key events, people and developments which have shaped the nation’s History.

In addition the historical environment element of the course allows students to focus on a particular site in its historical context and enables students to study the relationship between a place and historical events and developments. This historic site will change annually.

Useful Links:


Year 7

Students learn the fundamentals of map skills and their local geography. They then go on to explore the impacts of volcanoes, extreme environments, climate change and how we can live more sustainably, a country study of China and finally rivers and flooding.

Year 8

Students investigate issues in our local area, such as the Nottingham tram system. They learn about differences in development across the world, plate tectonics, energy resources, the ice age and British and European identity.

GCSE (Exam Board: Edexcel B)

Students will learn about the dynamic nature of our planet and the current issues affecting people and the environment today. Students will develop their practical and analytical skills, values, problem solving and decision making abilities through the study of these 3 areas:

  • Paper 1: Global Geographical Issues – 1) Hazardous Earth (Climate and Tectonics), 2) Development Dilemmas, 3) The Challenges of an Urbanising World. The exam is 1 hour 30 minutes. It is worth 37.5% of the final mark.
  • UK Geographical Issues – 4A) Coastal Change and Conflict and 4B)River Processes and Pressures, 5A) Dynamic Inner Cities, 5B) Changing Rural Settlements. The exam is 1 hour 30 minutes. It is worth 37.5% of the final mark. It includes questions on the two fieldwork studies that students will carry out (a river study and a study of contrasts in Nottingham)
  • People and Environmental Issues – 7) People and the Biosphere, 8) Forests Under Threat, 9) Consuming Energy Resources. The exam is 1 hour 15 minutes. It is worth 25% of the final mark. It includes a short resource booklet which students will use to answer the questions and then a Making Geographical Decision task based on the information students have explored in the exam.

Students will undertake 2 full days of fieldwork in preparation for Paper 2 (UK Geographical Issues). One of these will be on a Physical Geography issue (Rivers) and the other will be on a Human Geography issue (Contrasts in the Nottingham urban area)

Year 7
Students look at what it means to be part of Bluecoat Academy and explore the Christian ethos and mission of our school. Students will then study Judaism to give them an understanding of the origins of Christianity focusing on Patriarchal figures such as Abraham and Moses. After which, we examine different approaches to the Bible as well as the Person of Christ. In the final half term, we write and perform speeches on “our ideal world” looking at global issues and drawing on our personal faith to inspire our visions.

Year 8
In year 8 we study inspirational people of faith such as Gandhi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Malala Yousafzai and explore how they have used their faith to inspire others and bring about social justice. We learn about Islam and encourage open dialogue and address many misconceptions about this world faith. As part of our Christian Ethos, we take part in a project called “Spirited Arts” in which students all over the UK explore a given theme and create personal art work as part of a National Completion. Finally, we explore Sikhism and explore key beliefs, teachings and pilgrimage.

Core PE

From year 7 students look to build upon fundamental skills in a variety on sports and physical situations. There is a strong emphasis on student engagement and teaching the skills that help build physical literacy and a passion for PE and Sport.

The key principles delivered are improving physical ability, cognitive decisions, leadership and personal health & fitness. Students will participate in a net and wall games, Athletics, Gymnastics, Invasion games, health and Fitness and Outdoor Adventure Activities which all feed in to Academy teams that compete in City, County, regional and National competitions.

As students progress they play a more active role in their learning leading their own sessions and personalising their lessons.

Students continue to focus on the key principles delivered previously but now have the choice of concentrating on areas of interest and expertise. This may take the form of becoming a sports leader, performer, analyst or personal health and fitness.

The overall aim is to create motivated, continually improving learners who are life long participants in sport and physical activity.

There are still the same opportunities to represent the Academy in a variety of sports or take part in non competitive, extra curricular clubs before, during and after the school day.

GCSE (Exam Board: OCR)

In GCSE PE learners develop theoretical knowledge and understanding of the factors that underpin physical activity and sport and use this knowledge to improve performance. Learners are taught how the physiological and psychological state affects performance in physical activity and sport.

Learners perform effectively in different physical activities by developing skills and techniques and selecting and using tactics, strategies and/or compositional ideas. They develop their ability to analyse and evaluate to improve performance in physical activity and sport.

Course breakdown:

60% Final Exam
Paper 1 (30%) – Applied anatomy & physiology and physical training (1 hour)
Paper 2 (30%) – Socio-cultural influences, Sports psychology and Health, fitness and well-being (1 hour)

40% Practical Coursework
3 sports (2 team sports and 1 individual sport or visa versa)
Evaluating and Analysing Performance (AEP)

Useful Links

OCR GCSE Specification

OCR Practical Sports

My PE Exam

BTEC Sport Level 2 (NQF) (Exam Board – Pearson)

BTEC SPORT is a vocational course which delves into all aspects of the sport and health industry. It is designed to develop and apply knowledge, skills and understanding of physical education and sport. Students are given the opportunity of a wide and varied experience of what is required to work in the sports industry and how best to access it.

Throughout the course students will have access to varied assessment options to push and stretch student’s creativity. In addition to theory work students will be given the opportunity to perform and improve physical sporting performance.

The course is divided into 4 separate units:

Unit 1 – Fitness for Sport & Exercise

Students will look at various ways and methods to improve theirs and others fitness. They will also look at some of the barriers to improving physical fitness. Assessment – external online exam

Unit 2 – Practical Sports Performance

Students look at the rules, regulations and origins of sport as well as the roles of officials. They must also have a clear understanding of what makes a good or bad performance.

Assessment – external online exam

Units 3 & 4 – Various Options

Students will be assessed on 2 more options dependant on their strengths and weaknesses. These will range from: Sports Leadership; The Sports Performer in Action; Running a Sports Event and Lifestyle and Well-being.

Useful Links

Pearson BTEC Level 2 Sport


Within Computer Science, students are offered a varied and personalised curriculum, where they are all encouraged to fulfil their potential in an enthusiastic, yet supportive and challenging environment. We aim to inspire and develop the confidence of students whilst providing them with the opportunity to encounter new concepts, develop their logical thinking and apply knowledge to solve real life problems.

The curriculum is based around the four key strands of:

  • Computational Thinking
  • Computer Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Digital Literacy

Typical topics covered are E-Safety, Computer Programming, Digital Graphics, Digital Audio, Modelling, Computer Crime & Cyber Security.

Useful Links

Python Newbies

CODE Academy

Teach ICT

GCSE Computer Science (Exam Board: OCR)

OCR GCSE Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. The course will value computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems and design systems that do so.  It will help learners develop skills that are relevant to the modern and changing world of Computer Science. The qualification will also provide a good grounding for other subject areas that require computational thinking and analytical skills.

Content will include:

• Understanding the components that make up digital systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems

• Analysing problems in computational terms through practical experience of solving such problems, including designing, writing and debugging programs

• Understanding the impacts of digital technology to the individual and to wider society

Full details of the specification can be found on the OCR website.

Useful Links

OCR GCSE Computer Science
Teach ICT
Python Newbies

BTEC Level 2 First in Creative and Digital Media Production (Exam Board: Edexcel)

The course will help you take your first steps towards a career in the digital industry. You’ll learn essential skills such as planning and pitching a digital media product, digital publishing and producing digital video. Students will learn how to take an idea from initial formation through focus groups, pitches, research and planning to final production. All the skills learn are highly transferable such as chairing team meetings and leading presentations as well as organisational skill and time management.

This is a largely practical course where all units of work teach students real world skills that will transfer straight into the media Industry. We use industry standard equipment and software such as green screens, Adobe Premiere Pro, InDesign and Photoshop. Throughout the course students will produce work which can be used as part of a portfolio for further studies or employment.

The course has 4 units:

Examined Unit 25%

  • Digital Media Sectors and Audiences

Coursework Units 75%

  • Planning and Pitching a Digital Media Product
  • Digital Moving Image Production
  • Digital Audio Production

Useful Links

Pearson Specification
BTEC Creative Media Blogspot

Year 7

Year Seven students are given opportunities to develop their skills by exploring a wide range of media and techniques. They will study three separate projects over the course of the year, including basic drawing techniques, colour theory, mixing with coloured pencil and water colour, and manipulating wire to create 3D sculptures.

Year 8

Year Eight students will refine their skills in observational drawing, and add more skills to their repertoire over the course of three separate projects. This includes exploring the work of other artists and cultures to develop ideas towards personal outcomes. These projects act as a foundation to build upon for GCSE Art.

GCSE Art and Design (Exam Board OCR)

Year 9 is a foundation year for preparing students for working at GCSE standards. Students will become confident working with a wide range of media, and learn how to create a sustained project, with the potential to work with pencils, paints, printing methods, 3D media, textiles, photomontage, and mixed media.

During Year 10 and 11 they will develop competence with increasing independence in refining and developing ideas. The course comprises of:

Coursework portfolio (worth 60% of the overall mark)
Students will develop a body of work in response to their chosen starting point. This will include artist research, analysis, drawings, experimentation with media, and a final outcome.

OCR Set Task (worth 40% of the overall mark)
Students are given ten weeks to research, experiment and explore one of the starting points provided by OCR. The final outcome will be produced over a ten hour controlled assessment period.

Year 7

Pupils will begin their dramatic studies learning the basic necessary dramatic skills such as freeze frames, thought-tracking, ensemble and chorus work. The range of styles, texts and performance work that pupils will engage with and develop is a wide ranging and cohesive experience. Pupils will range in text from Shakespeare to Alice in Wonderland to Ancient Greek Theatre.

Year 8

In Year 8, pupils further develop their drama skills, by focussing on more specific skills, the use of voice and how to create tension within performance. In addition, pupils look at real life scenarios, such as the crisis in Syria and refugees, and introducing forum theatre. Finally we explore further genres of drama and how these are presented on stage, for example Musical Theatre, Science Fiction and Horror.

Pupils start to refine their dramatic skills learned previously and apply higher level thinking, approaching performances from the perspective of not only an actor but as a designer and a director. Pupils will expand their drama vocabulary, learning about proxemics and semiotics within performance. Pupils will also look extensively at a range of styles and genre including Commedia Dell’Arte and Trestle Mask Theatre. Pupils will also have the opportunity to perform to a public audience for the first time. Devising opportunities and group work will be apparent, giving pupils the chance to develop group work and communication skills whilst working towards a common goal. Text analysis will be further developed, overlapping with a key English GCSE text An Inspector Calls in preparation for a written exam.

Year 7

Students begin their Bluecoat musical journey with an understanding of musical literacy and the elements of music. The skills of performance, composition and musical listening are embedded through practical music-making, using real instruments such as ukuleles, djembe drums and keyboards within the classroom. Projects involve timbre, scales, harmony and structure.

Year 8

Students start the year by learning about film music techniques. They then expand their cultural awareness by studying aspects of world music, including Chinese music and African drumming. Performance skills are developed by working together to produce Blues performances. Other projects include hooks and riffs, music for special occasions and MOBO.


Students who opt to further their studies in Music develop their musical performance, composition and listening skills. The course is divided into these 3 sections but the learning of these is interlinked though a variety of areas of study. Students discover the history of music through the study of the concerto through time. They also discover the use of rhythm around the world, discovering the music of India, South America, Africa and the East Mediterranean. Students also cover music for film, including video game music, and conventions of popular music. Music students also learn about their instrument and complete a project including a performance based around this.

In years 7 and 8 students are taught the fundamentals of designing, manufacturing and evaluating. This is done through the four areas of Design and Technology that the students will study. These areas are Resistant Materials, Food, Graphics and Textiles with each area contributing its own specific skill set. Students are encouraged to be creative and innovative as well as being able to solve problems through both design and practical activities.


Students are encouraged to further develop their knowledge and skills of Design and Technology in one of these areas:

  • Textiles
  • Food Preparation and Nutrition
  • Design and Technology

These will provide the students with the foundations to continue further onto a career in the creative, manufacturing, construction and design industries. Students will study theoretical content of the course as well as developing their skills in designing and manufacturing using a variety of specialist tools, machines and equipment in the coursework element of each course. Students are encouraged to be innovative when problem solving to ensure that they design and make products that showcase their creativity.

A Level

What will be studied?

The two-year National Diploma is worth the equivalent of two A Levels. In total, 10 units are studied exploring the skills and techniques, personal attributes and attitudes essential for successful performance in working life and vocationally-recognised experience in the media sectors.

Units include:

  • Digital Media Skills
  • Responding to a Commission
  • Media Enterprise
  • Website Production
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Writing Copy
  • Image Manipulation Technique
  • 2D Digital Graphics
  • Page Layout and Design for Digital Media

How will I be assessed?

Two units are externally assessed: Digital Media Skills and Responding to a Commission. These are tasks set and marked externally within a vocational context. Students are issued the task and given a preparatory period before completing it independently under supervised conditions. All other units are internally set, assessed and verified and then externally sampled.

To support and contextualise all units, students take part in a number of vocationally relevant off-site trips and seminars/ workshops from visiting professional practitioners and are encouraged to engineer their work experience placement to enhance their experience in this industry.

What next?

Digital Publishing incorporates a large proportion of the creative media industry, including web design and publishing, digital graphics and design for digital publications e.g. interactive e-magazines. It is particularly valuable in careers in media production, writing copy and proof reading/editing, illustration, graphic design, web design, digital journalism, marketing, advertising, animation, photography, media production management and many more. In a fast-paced and visually stimulating world where digital communication, the internet and social media are key to mass-marketing and international exposure, employers are always keen to employ people with a creative outlook and skills. This course is a well-respected and rigorously assessed course that offers a clear progression route into media-based creative courses at college and universities around the country.

GCSE Business Studies (Exam Board: Edexcel)

This qualification reflects the demands of a truly modern and evolving business environment and enables students to develop as commercially minded and enterprising individuals.

Students are assessed by two externally-examined papers. Students will study:

  • Theme 1: Investigating small business – topics in this section will include business revenue, costs and profits; the marketing mix; business stakeholders and the impact of technology.
  • Theme 2: Building a business – topics in this section will include methods of business growth, international trade and business ethics.

Each written examination is 1 hour and 30 minutes and worth 50% of the qualification.

Useful Links


GCSE Sociology (Exam Board: AQA)

This qualification helps students to gain knowledge and understanding of key social structures, processes and issues through the study of families, education, crime and deviance and social stratification.
Students will develop their analytical, assimilation and communication skills by comparing and contrasting perspectives on a variety of social issues, constructing reasoned arguments, making substantiated judgements and drawing reasoned conclusions.
Students are assessed by two externally-examined papers. Students will study:

  • Paper 1: The sociology of families and education – topics in this section will include how family forms differ in the UK and within a global context; changes in the pattern of divorce in Britain since 1945 and the consequences of divorce for family members and structures; and factors affecting educational achievement.
  • Paper 2: The sociology of crime and deviance and social stratification – topics in this section will include formal and informal methods of social control; factors affecting criminal and deviant behaviour; and different views of socio-economic class.

Each written examination is 1 hour and 45 minutes and worth 50% of the qualification.

Useful Links


Level 2 Award in Child Development and Care

This qualification provides the opportunity to gain a vocational qualification that gives a basic introduction to the child care sector. It includes the knowledge and understanding of child development and well-being necessary for working with children in a variety of settings. It is aimed at a range of learners who wish to be introduced to childcare and development for children aged 0-5 years.

Students will study a variety of topics and issues including-

  • Safeguarding the welfare of children and young people.
  • Signs and symptoms of childhood illness
  • Parenting and healthy lifestyles.
  • Supporting children and a young person’s development.
  • Exploring diversity and inclusive practice.
  • How to support children through periods of transition and change.
  • Supporting children’s play and learning.

Assessment is via;-

  • Course work;-Two internally assessed units of study to include a variety of written tasks and activities/role plays/creative academic posters etc.
  • Examination;-Externally assessed Synoptic Multiple Choice Question Paper.

Useful Links


Contact Us

Bluecoat Aspley Academy
Aspley Lane

E-mail: office@bluecoataspley.co.uk
Tel: 0115 929 7445

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