In this section

    An Inspiring Curriculum

    To foster the development of individual academic interests and talents, younger pupils follow a broad curriculum that exposes them to the widest possible range of subjects.

    During the first year, teaching in English and mathematics is in ability-based sets. For other subjects teaching is in mixed-ability forms.

    In the second year teaching in English, Latin, mathematics and science is in ability-based sets. For other subjects teaching is in mixed ability forms.

    Initial placement into sets or bands is based on entrance examination results and on the school report. Any subsequent changes are based on internal examination results and on general progress. Parents are contacted prior to proposed changes.

    Class sizes are small.

    As they progress to GCSEs and A levels, pupils are guided through a process to select subjects that best fit individual interests and aptitudes. This is accompanied by a structured programme of careers and pastoral advice.


    Art – Overview

    The aim of the Art Department is to develop skills and imagination in drawing, printing, sculpture, ceramics, digital imaging and video production. We aim to guide pupils through the formative years which set a good foundation for the GCSE Exam. AS and A level are a natural progression and offer the further opportunity of developing digital imaging skills within the endorsed area of Photography. At all times the subject is aware of career trends and adapts to the needs outside the school.

    The department is concerned with the personal development of students. At GCSE, AS and A level, students are encouraged to recognise their own strengths; this is achieved by discussion encouragement and individual teaching. The department has an open door policy which gives students the opportunity to continue work in their free time.

    The aim of the Art Department is to provide students with an excellent art education which will be of benefit to them in later life. The second aim is to give students who have opted for the subject the resources and knowledge to fulfil their potential.

    The unendorsed AS/A level approach allows students to be flexible in their choice of study areas. This gives the student the opportunity to be examined in areas which are regarded as their strengths. The exam is designed to mark strengths not weaknesses.

    The endorsed approach (photography) allows pupils without the traditional art skills to perform to excellent standards using the modern medium of digital imaging.

    The department aims to provide a stimulating atmosphere which is a breeding ground for creative work of the highest standard.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    1st to 3rd form art concentrates on the basic skills of drawing, painting and printmaking and involves basic development into 3D sculpture and ceramics. Pupils will learn the fundamental skills required to develop creative thinking and the foundations upon which to build an academic future in this subject. Pupils are encouraged to study the work of artists and produce their own pieces of work inspired by these.

    1st , 2nd and 3rd year level
    Pupils homework and coursework should be marked as follows-
    A 90-80
    B 80-70
    C 70-60
    D 60-50
    These can be marked as a %

    Note: Homework is not set in 1st and 2nd form.

    Homework should be regularly marked and if possible with the pupil present. Marks should be explained with written encouragement wherever it is needed. Each pupil will receive a mark out of 100, a grade, a positive comment and a target when their homework/classwork is marked.

    Pupils have the opportunity to subscribe to a variety of extra-curricular activities depending on their personal preferences.

    Photography and Textiles clubs are offered and the department has an open-door policy for any pupils looking to develop their skills.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    At 4th and 5th form pupils are encouraged to take ownership of their own projects and carry out more self-guided research into the work of artists. 4th form involves more in depth experimentation into skills and techniques to build up a portfolio of work and in preparation for the GCSE exam in 5th form. 5th form consists of consolidating portfolio work and completing an exam project. Marks are separated into 60% coursework, 40% exam.

    4th and 5th year

    These pupils are mainly involved with ongoing coursework. Marking of a project will occur formally at the end of a project.

    A* 100-90
    A 90-80
    B 80-70
    C 70-60
    D 60-50

    The new Art GCSE specification uses the new 9-1 grading system. Therefore pupil grades translate to the new 9-1 grading system as highlighted below. This new grading system will be introduced to the marking of homework/classwork after the Michaelmas term 2016:

    A*        8/9 or 9
    A*/A    7/8 or 8
    A         7 or 7/8
    A/B    6/7
    B         6
    B/C     5 or 5/6
    C         4/5 or 5
    C/D    3/4
    D         3

    Work is scrutinized and yellow slips placed on appropriate pages. There should be a log sheet in the back of the book. This should detail the date, comments on the work and advice. This should be referred to next time to see if instructions have been acted upon.

    Key Stage Five (A level)


    AS Art and photography is now a separate qualification to the full A-Level. The course is still defined by two components: Personal Investigation and Externally Set Task. AS is split equally 50% coursework and 50% exam. The full A level is split 60% coursework, 40% exam.

    If a pupil studies the full A-level they will again be marked on two components: Personal Investigation and Externally Set Task, a 15 hour controlled assessment. The weighting of marks will be 60%/40% respectively. There will also be an essay element of the course which is marked separately from both coursework and exam project. This will form 12% of the 60% marks allocated for coursework.

    Marking should be done at the end of the project. In the interim there should be a series of marks which indicate the progress of the students. At all times staff must be aware of all practical work done by the students, as daily indications, formal assessment and advice are needed at this level

    Marks should roughly follow GCE boundaries but for familiarity be the same as the Middle school and Lower School.
    A 90-80
    B 80-70
    C 70-60
    D 60-50
    E 50-40

    Books should be looked at during lesson time. Marks and encouragement must be recorded. Yellow slips should be used and a log kept in the back of the book detailing date, comments and other advice. This should be looked at next time to see if action has been taken.

    The sixth form is currently formed of 2 photography groups and 1 art group in both lower sixth and upper sixth. The sixth form occupy their own studio space and computer suite situated in the new art and design building completed in 2017. Pupils also have access to a ceramics studio, a dark room and a gallery space.

    The strong sixth form base influences younger pupils as they are positioned at the hub of the open plan building. The department is run like an art college encouraging sixth form pupils to attend outside lesson time where if possible teachers will offer encouragement and advice. This is of great benefit to the more talented pupils as they can continue their work and be encouraged to go above and beyond the exam syllabus.

    Beyond the Classroom

    The department is always eager to involve other departments. Previous years have seen collaboration with English, History and Biology on an off timetable Crime Day. We have also amalgamated trips in the past and consistently help other departments with display areas, pupil homework’s and photography/video requirements.

    Annual trips are organised to London for the 6th form and to Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the 4th form. Overseas trips to Paris and Barcelona have previously provided inspiration for artwork and photography.

    Life drawing is encouraged whenever possible. Pupils are given excellent support with portfolio advice and interview technique for any member of the sixth form wishing to study art/photography at Further Education level.


    Biology – Overview

    Biology is the study of the living world, its diversity, processes and development. Few other subjects hold more scope for the excitement of discovery. As life itself is complex, its study is demanding, requiring scientific discipline and rigour.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    In years 7 and 8 pupils study a broad science curriculum, in which all three sciences have an equal weighting. The lessons are practically based and incorporate the use of interactive material through ICT. Our aim is to enthuse and develop a strong foundation for GCSE and beyond.

    To give every individual the best chance of success, we start our GCSE programme in year 9.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    At GCSE, the department follows the EDEXCEL IGCSE. Students study either separate biology or biology as part of a double award programme. Either programme forms a good basis for further study in the sixth form.

    The course for both separate and double award students is linear, with two examinations at the end of year 11 for students following the separate award and one exam for the double award. There is no examined coursework component, although practical work is regarded as an important component of both courses.

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    At A level, the department follows the OCR specification. All students are taught by two subject specialists.

    The course is taught in a linear fashion, with three exam papers at the end of the two years. Students not on the linear programme, sit the AS level exam at the end of year 12.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Pupils are offered the opportunity to attend talks and lectures at schools and universities in the immediate vicinity.

    Year 12 pupils have the opportunity to carry out field work. This year we are going to the Blencathra Centre near Keswick.

    Junior Science club has proved extremely popular and we have now made this available to both years 7 and 8. Science teachers are helped by members of the sixth form and vets etc. often run sessions.

    Guest speakers are invited into school. This targets the sixth form, but when appropriate, it is made available for pupils from lower years.

    In years 7 and 8 we also take part in science competitions, run by various external bodies.


    Business – Overview

    A Level Business Studies


    Everything in life involves Business. Think about that new top you bought last week and then think of what businesses made it possible for you to be wearing it right now? The obvious ones are the Shop and the Manufacturing plant but what about the Cotton growers? the Label makers? The Delivery company? Health & Safety? Perhaps more important, the companies that manage the finances of all those businesses. Thinking about all those processes and people allows you to begin to understand what A Level Business is about.

    A level Business Edexcel the course:

    Theme 1: Marketing, people and global businesses

    Theme 1 explores marketing, people and global businesses in a local, national and global contexts.

    Theme 2: Business activities, decisions and strategy.

    Theme 2 explores business finance and operations, business decisions and strategy. Questions apply to the local, national and global contexts.

    Theme 3: Investigating business in a competitive environment.

    Content across all areas of the course are used to explore a specific industry. Questions will be drawn from local, national and global contexts. Areas studied in previous years have included sport and leisure and confectionary market.

    A new context will be given to centres each year and will relate to the examination series for the following summer. The context will focus on a broad context, such as an industry or market in which businesses operate.

    Business as a qualification for Further Study and Career

    Careers and further study in business are diverse, with job roles covering everything from marketing and agriculture to retail and banking. Depending on your area of interest, studying business will help you develop analytical skills and useful life skills valued and respected by employers and universities alike.

    Course Entry and Qualifications

    The emphasis is on the reading, application and analysis of data in order to come to reasoned conclusions based upon business case studies. The course suits both arts and science students, and will be most accessible to those with good analytical skills. Academic qualifications for the course are the same as the school requirements.

    Beyond the Classroom

    The school is a member of the Young Enterprise scheme and some students enter the company programme where they have the opportunity to set up and manage their own business, meeting weekly to plan their route to success. We also attend business conferences that offer support and guidance towards the final exam.

    A Level Economics


    Economics is about choice and the impact of our choices on each other. It relates to every aspect of our lives, from the decisions we make as individuals or families to the structures created by governments and firms. The economic way of thinking can help us make better choices, it is also a theoretical discipline which involves the rigorous use of theory to analyse economic problems.

    The Edexcel A level Economics course:

    The course is structured into four themes, themes 1 and 2 are studied in the first year and themes 3 and 4 in the second:

    Theme 1: Introduction to markets and market failure

    This theme focuses on microeconomic concepts. Students will develop an understanding of:

    ● nature of economics

    ● how markets work

    ● market failure

    ● government intervention

    Theme 2: The UK economy – performance and policies

    This theme focuses on macroeconomic concepts. Students will develop an understanding of:

    ● measures of economic performance

    ● aggregate demand

    ● aggregate supply

    ● national income

    ● economic growth

    ● macroeconomic objectives and policy.

    Theme 3: Business behaviour and the labour market

    This theme develops the microeconomic concepts introduced in Theme 1 and focuses on business economics. Students will develop an understanding of:

    ● business growth

    ● business objectives

    ● revenues, costs and profits

    ● market structures

    ● labour market

    ● government intervention.

    Theme 4: A global perspective

    This theme develops the macroeconomic concepts introduced in Theme 2 and applies these concepts in a global context. Students will develop an understanding of:

    ● international economics

    ● poverty and inequality

    ● emerging and developing economies

    ● the financial sector

    ● role of the state in the macroeconomy.

    Economics as a qualification for Further Study and Career

    Careers and further study in economics are diverse, with job roles covering everything from food and agriculture to business and banking. Depending on your area of interest, studying economics will help you develop analytical skills and useful life skills valued and respected by employers and universities alike.

    Course Entry and Qualifications

    The intellectual emphasis is on the reading, application and analysis of data in order to come to reasoned conclusions based upon economic theory. The course suits both arts and science students, and will be most accessible to those with good analytical skills. Academic qualifications for the course are the same as the school requirements, however, the department would expect all candidates to have gained a minimum grade B in mathematics at GCSE

    Beyond the Classroom

    The school is a member of the Student Investor Challenge and some students compete by setting up their own investment portfolio, meeting weekly to plan their route to success. We also attend business conferences that offer support and guidance towards the final exam.


    Chemistry – Overview

    Chemistry is a dynamic, thriving and exciting practical subject. Pupils are able to express and develop their scientific ideas. Their further learning is then inspired by the opportunities to check their ideas against experimental evidence; it is through experience that they best challenge or confirm their beliefs. They then begin to understand currently accepted scientific theory.

    Whilst we believe in a practical-based focus, we expect formal, traditional write ups. These enable the children to develop many analytical skills and provide a rigorous test of the knowledge they have gained from their practical work.

    We have three very well resourced chemistry labs and five specialist chemistry teachers to ensure the children have the highest quality lessons. In addition to lesson time, our specialist teachers run both formal and informal regular ‘drop in’ sessions to support pupils further.

    The aim of chemistry is simply to inspire the pupils with a passion for the subject.

    A level results are excellent with over three quarters of students achieving a grade A*-B each year; many pupils proceed to science based degrees (including engineering, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science) with many gaining places at top UK universities.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    In order to achieve good science qualifications, our pupils need a good understanding of science and how science works in Years 7 and 8. Great care is given to science teaching in these early years (our in-house scheme of work broadly follows National Curriculum, key stage 3). By Year 9, chemistry is taught as a separate subject by a specialist teacher; pupils begin to study for the Edexcel IGCSE Triple or Double Award specification.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    The IGCSE Certificate in science (Edexcel) adopts a practical approach for the teaching of most of the topics within each section and during the course pupils will develop skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works. The scheme is taught over three years. The paper is examined in the summer of year 11. 
    The content includes:

    • Principles of Chemistry
    • Inorganic Chemistry
    • Physical Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry

    A small number of pupils in year 10 and 11 follow the slightly reduced scheme of work, leading to Double Award certification. 

    Key Stage Five (GCE)

    A significant number of pupils choose to continue studying chemistry to A level. The AQA GCE specification is followedfor both AS (7404) and A level Chemistry (7405)

    For AS level Chemistry, the students explore fundamental principles that form the basis of chemistry.  This includes atomic structure, bonding, energetics, kinetics and an introduction to organic chemistry.  The students develop thier mathematical skills, through problem solving and practical skills by following the practical endorsement programme.

    The full A level course enables students to develop the concepts and principles introduced in the Lower Sixth by studying further topics including equilibria, thermodynamics, aromatic chemistry and polymers, electrode potentials and inorganic reactions.

    To be awarded the AS level Chemistry, the students sit two written exams of 1hour 30 mins at the end of the course.  

    For A level Chemistry, the students sit three written exam papers, each two hours, at the end of the two year course.  All aspects of the course will be examined including practical skills.

    Beyond the Classroom

    There are many opportunities to attend a wide variety of outside lectures and visits.
    In-house there is a symposium which hosts visiting speakers, including the Royal Society of Chemistry and there is a popular and thriving science club at key stage 3. At key stage 4 pupils take part in the RSC ‘Top of the bench’ heats and our younger scientists attend the Salters Chemistry Festival, culminating at key stage 5 in the most able A level students sitting for the Olympiad. We have had several Gold Awards and Silver Awards in recent years.

    Design & Technology

    Design & Technology – Overview

    Mission Statement

    We aim to help our students develop the aptitude and skills they will require to enjoy a successful future in a rapidly changing technological world.
    We aim for our students to think and work like professional designers and produce innovative and exciting products using a range of materials, skills, equipment and processes.
    Design and Technology Aims and Objectives


    Through problem solving and technological activities, the pupils should build up their skills and confidence to enable them to approach a man-made world as active participants in the future developments of their environment.

    • To give all pupils of both genders the opportunity and confidence to tackle and solve problems which are related to the needs of individuals.
    • To create a learning environment where the attributes of creativity, equality and cooperation and resourcefulness are developed and pupils are interested and actively participate in the project work.
    • To encourage an open-minded and investigative approach when tackling problems.
    • To encourage clear communication techniques whether oral, written or graphical.
    • To encourage the use of IT as a means of communication, learning and as a design tool.
    • For the pupils to develop an understanding of how they can control products and systems and how the products can be developed further to improve them.
    • To make pupils aware of health, safety and environmental issues.
    Key Stage Three

    The curriculum is based upon the guidance given by the National Strategy for education and skills linked to the National Curriculum. During each year pupils tackle a variety of Design and Make tasks as well as focused capability tasks to ensure coverage of the NC programmes of study.
    The resource and capability tasks are aimed at building up the pupils’ experience, knowledge and basic skills to support their DMT project work.
    Students have two periods of Design and Technology per week at Key Stage 3; where possible these are arranged as a double lesson.

    Key Stage Four

    At key stage 4 the work is based upon the requirements of AQA GCSE Full Course Design and Technology: Resistant Materials.
    Michaelmas Term
    theApprentice: Minimalist chess set

    • Pupils will spend all of your Michaelmas D&T on the theApprentice, a project designed to give them the skills and knowledge they require to successfully undertake the controlled assessment task and the written examination.
    • Pupils will use a variety of tools, machinery, equipment and processes including hand, machine and CAM to produce a chess set inspired by the philosophy and work of the Bauhaus. They will be required to keep a detailed journal of their learning, skills development and progress.

    In the Lent term they will then begin their controlled assessment-based coursework worth 60% of their GCSE grade.
    Students have four periods of Design and Technology per week at Key Stage 4; three periods on project work and one period of theory.

    Sixth Form

    At key stage 5 the work is based upon the requirements of AQA A2 Full Course Design and Technology: Product Design (3D Design).
    AS consists of a written paper and a coursework portfolio and product currently based on chair design; each component being 50% of the AS.
    A2 consists of a written paper and a coursework portfolio and product currently based on the students own chosen brief; each component being 50% of the A2.
    Students have eight periods of Design and Technology per week at Key Stage 5; three periods on theory and five of project work.
    The theory exam is 2 hours long and contributes up to 50% of the final grade.
    The project contributes up to 50% of your final grade and consists of 5 assessed criteria:

    • Investigating and clarification of problems
    • Developing of design proposals
    • Making / Modelling
    • Evaluation and testing
    • Communication and presentation
    Beyond The Classroom

    Arkwright Scholarship: named after the innovative engineer Sir Richard Arkwright, the ‘father’ of the factory system, the Arkwright Scholarship Trust runs one of the most prestigious Awards schemes in the Country. It is offered to exceptional students who follow a GCSE in Design and then AS maths and intend to take up Engineering at degree level. The department fully supports students who wish to apply for this.
    Open workshop sessions are provided at lunchtimes, after school and in sixth form pupils’ free lessons to provide the support required to make high quality products at GCSE and A Level.


    Drama– Overview

    The Drama Department has two complementary sections: curricular and extra-curricular. The aims given below apply to both sections with weighting usually stated.

    We see ourselves as privileged to be working in this field and in this theatre and have a knowledge of, and a passion for, the subject which translates into work of the highest quality in both curricular and extra-curricular fields. We are never satisfied with anything less than the best and encourage our students – and our department members and support staff – to share this view.

    But Drama is a difficult and unusual subject. Practical work can’t be taught entirely from a book, nor can any pupil succeed at it who doesn’t discover how to work with others. It requires initiative from pupil and teacher, a willingness to take chances, a readiness to give and to surrender power and always a clear and certain sense of what you are trying to achieve. It is a pre-requisite that you think creatively whether as a pupil or a teacher or a technician because the way in which one person may unlock their hidden creativity will be different from that taken by another. It would be very nice if one could simply re-use practical lesson material each year, but the reality is that it has to be re-invented according to the needs of the group. The aims of the Unit may be the same but the route by which they are attained can be variable.

    Written work, fortunately, is more predictable but the staging of a production for the public is a logistical and creative challenge as it has to reach standards far higher than school expectations yet involve a range of pupils. Teacher quality is revealed as effectively through the public performances as through exam results.

    We always praise success here, but our view is that personal, non-academic attainment is also measurable. Sometimes this is in general terms (‘her confidence has grown’ ‘their sense of unity has improved’), sometimes in specific ones (‘his triumph in debating was down to his sense of timing learned through drama’), sometimes in highly personal ones (‘thank you for changing my life’ – as a recent student said), and sometimes in reports from outside school (‘my daughter has won a place at university and I write to express my gratitude for the outstanding work of the drama department in giving her the self belief to achieve this’ – a quotation from a recent letter). However, here are a few specifics:

    • Our A Level performances have been praised repeatedly as among the very best nationally.  Examiner comments tend to be along the lines of; ‘outstanding’, ‘extraordinary’, ‘utterly original’.
    • Everyone who auditions for a Drama School or University place receives tuition if requested. We have had alumni graduate from all the major Drama Schools including RADA, Rose Bruford and Central.
    • Several ex students currently work in professional theatre and film, backstage and onstage including in the West End.
    • We also teach LAMDA through Speaking Verse & Prose, Mime and Acting. Our two recent Gold Medal Acting candidates both scored the highest level of Distinctions.
    • Our public performances are treated as professional shows and all aspects – from lighting through direction and Front of House – are geared to this. We don’t do ‘school plays’ here, in the amateurish, awkward, cheap and unimaginative sense that is.
    • Our staff are absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of excellence.
    • We believe in the value of creativity.

    The aims of the department therefore shift between the precise and the imprecise. We believe that academic, measurable success is the reason why we are here – but that this is too literal a yardstick for the subject. The imprecision of ‘confidence building’ ‘imagination’, ‘social ability’ ‘understanding’ ‘creativity’ and ‘empathy’ do not devalue them as attainments.

    Essentially, we believe in empowering the students, releasing their creativity within a disciplined environment. They learn how to believe in themselves and carry these qualities through – and for – the rest of their lives.

    Beyond the Classroom

    We stage around 25-30 performances each year. Some are internal, some open to all. For example:

    School plays by 4th year upwards have recently included:
    Animal Farm
    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Nathan Field: A Woman Is A Weathercock (performed in original staging for the first time in 400 years)

    By Lower School:
    Peter Pan
    Around The World in 80 Days
    By 6th form:
    Oedipus Rex
    Wolf Lullaby
    Dr Faustus

    In July 2018 we shall be presenting The Last Judgement in The York Mystery Play Cycle in the streets of York

    Theatre trips have included War Horse with over 70 attending and happen regularly, visiting London, Manchester, York, Leeds, Sheffield and locally

    We offer training for auditions for those who wish to go on to careers in performance.

    There is a Technical Theatre club for those interested.

    All lighting and sound for shows are controlled by the pupils themselves, following training.

    The wardrobe dept and Front of House all benefit from pupil participation.

    Rehearsals happen every night of the week and many lunchtimes.

    Workshops are held by professionals for exam groups regularly.

    Companies are invited to perform at the theatre. 

    Pupils are encouraged to develop their understanding and their experience by participating in shows or backstage. Everyone is welcomed.


    English – Overview

    English is vital for communicating with others in school and in the wider world, and is fundamental to learning in all curriculum subjects. In studying English, pupils develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing that they need to participate in society and later employment. The English Department plays an integral part of the life of Pocklington, with strong literary and linguistic traditions; opportunities for creative writing; lively debate and a love for and critical appreciation of literature and language in all its forms.

    Our curriculum has been developed to motivate and stretch all pupils. The intention is that the department will fully support the school’s commitment to provide an education which is humane, broad and characterised by a healthy mixture of rigour and enjoyment, to contribute to fullness of life for every pupil. The department especially seeks to develop the relationship between literature and language skills as synergised content at all Key Stages. We fully subscribe to the ethos of enriching as well as supporting at all levels of attainment and offering opportunities for extension and independent learning, wherever possible.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    The curriculum at Key Stage Three is broad and varied, enabling students to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts, gaining access to the pleasure and world of knowledge that reading offers. Looking at the patterns, structures, origins and conventions of English helps pupils understand how language works. Using this understanding, pupils can choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations as well as appreciate and interpret the choices made by other writers and speakers.

    For more details about the KS3 curriculum, including relevant documents, resources and online content, please visit the English department’s Firefly pages.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    At GCSE, the department follows the Edexcel IGCSE specification for both English Language (A) and English Literature. All students take both subjects in an integrated programme of five lessons per week.

    Assessment of both subjects is through a combination of coursework and final examination. In English Literature, students are given the opportunity to study novels and plays from a range of periods and backgrounds and develop their appreciation of poetic forms and structures through a comparative coursework assignment. In English Language, students develop an understanding of how word, sentence and text level features can contribute to the construction and manipulation of meaning through the study of non-fiction texts and the construction of their own pieces of discursive, persuasive and imaginative writing. Students’ speaking and listening skills are also assessed as part of English Language coursework, through individual, pair and group work tasks. (This applies to the current 5th year – see below)

    Please note: the current 5th year are the final cohort to sit the ‘old’ or ‘legacy’ specifications, and will be awarded grades A*-G.

    The current 4th Year are the first cohort to sit the revised IGCSEs in English Language and English Literature and will be awarded grades 9-1.

    For more details about the specifications, and relevant documents, resources and online content, please visit the English department’s Firefly pages.

    Sixth Form

    At A level, the department offers a vibrant programme, with English Language A level (Eduqas) and English Literature A level (OCR) both on offer. Students enjoy the flexibility which these routes provide, with several opting to take both A levels each year.

    English Language offers students the opportunities to unravel text and investigate speech, searching for layers of meaning and tracking changes and trends in language usage. Students learn to deconstruct fragments of language as well as forming their own original pieces as the course develops their ability to speak and write for different purposes and audiences.

    The A level course in English Literature offers an extensive and varied set of texts for study with scope for students to pursue their own particular areas of interest. For those who will select it, the AS exam is assessed entirely by external examination; the full A level retains a 20% element of coursework.

    For more details about the specifications, and relevant documents, resources and online content, please visit the English department’s Firefly pages.

    Beyond the classroom

    The English department organises a wide and varied range of extra-curricular events which support and extend the opportunities provided in the classroom for students to develop their appreciation of English language and literature.

    As a department, we deliver a lively programme of 6th Form Symposium sessions on diverse topics, such as ‘What is literature?’ and Forensic Linguistics as well as a Question Time-style panel format discussing topical issues.

    The Lectern Society sees students presenting on a given theme, quizzed by their audience and judged by a panel of independent adjudicators.

    The Debating Society operates at Lower School and Sixth form level, allowing students to partake in debates on a range of topics and hone their communication skills.

    The English Clinic is an informal drop-in session for students seeking extra support in any area of English.

    The department enters pupils of all ages for the annual UK Linguistics Olympiad, which tests students’ problem-solving and grammatical skills in a multi-layered paper. We submit applications for Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced Levels.

    The department plays host to distinguished guests, enjoying visits from authors such as Chris Ryan and Louis de Bernières and speakers from specific areas of career application, such as speech therapy and forensic linguistics.

    Externally, the department regularly organises visits to theatrical productions – such as a recent trip to Of Mice and Men at the West Yorkshire Playhouse – and visits to areas of vocational interest, such as an A level English Language trip to literary agents in London.


    Geography – Overview

    Geography is an interesting and diverse subject that helps pupils to understand the complex and changing world in which they live, and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to become the decision-makers of the future. Their “bigger picture” view and their range of transferable skills make geographers among the most employable graduates in a variety of fields.

    The Geography Department at Pocklington aims to enthuse and challenge all pupils, fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world and helping pupils to understand their place within it. A broad curriculum and a variety of teaching approaches build on pupils’ existing knowledge and experiences to help them to explore places at a range of scales from the local to the global, understand how landscapes are formed and investigate the interconnectedness between people and their environments.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    Our Key Stage 3 curriculum allows pupils the opportunity to study a broad range of human and physical geography topics from coasts to weather, as well as developing place knowledge and key geographical skills including map skills and fieldwork.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    At GCSE, we follow the AQA specification which is an exciting course based on a balanced framework of physical and human geography. It allows pupils to investigate the link between the two themes, and approach and examine the battles between the man-made and natural worlds.

    Assessment is through three exams at the end of Year 11 - Living with the Physical Environment and Challenges in the Human Environment, each worth 35% of the GCSE and Geographical Applications, worth 30% of the GCSE.

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    We use the AQA specification for the A level exam. This engaging and flexible course gives students the opportunity to:

    • engage with the relationship of human populations to each other over space and time
    • study the relationship between human populations with their physical environment at a variety of scales from the local to the global
    • consider their own role in relation to themes and issues being studied and the roles, values and attitudes of others including decision makers

    This  specification has been brought up to date with new exciting case studies reflecting the world today, challenging perceptions and stimulating students' investigative and analytical skills.

    Assessment is through two exams at the end of Year 13 - Physical Geography and Human Geography (each worth 40% of the A level).  The final 20% is from an individual fieldwork investigation.  Fieldwork plays an intergral part of the assessment and a residential field trip is taken to Malham, the cost of which is met by the Geography Department.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Fieldwork is a fundamental part of studying Geography and we aim to provide at least one fieldwork experience for each year group. Recent destinations include Malham, Flamborough Head and Snowdonia besides using the extensive school grounds.

    Pupils are encouraged to take part in a range of activities including national competitions such as the Young Geographer of the Year Award, and 1st to 2nd Year pupils are welcome to join our Junior Geography Club. An in-house GA quiz is also held towards the end of the Michaelmas term.

    History AND POLITICS

    History – Overview

    At Key Stage 3 we follow a pattern of two depth studies and one overview study per year. Most of our units are taught using integrated workbooks and we harness the use of wi-fi and new media alongside the traditional study techniques. This not only makes for a more enjoyable and varied learning experience but allows skills preparation for GCSE.

    • 1st Year: Native Americans and Manifest Destiny; the Norman Conquest; Medieval Life and Times
    • 2nd Year: The English Civil Wars; The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era; Britain and Empire, 1815-1918
    • 3rd Year: World War Two and the Holocaust; The Slave Trade and The American Civil War; Options: Jack the Ripper, the Middle East, the War on Terror, the 1960s, the Cold War, Current Affairs, Ireland and others…

    4th Year:

    • The Origins and Course of the First World War, 1905-18
    • Development of Dictatorship, Germany 1918 – 45

    5th Year:

    • Civil Rights in the USA, 1945-74
    • Conflict, crisis and change: China, c1911-c1989
    Cambridge International AS/A2


    Beyond the Classroom:

    History Society – HISTORIA
    The History Society meets occasionally each term in the Gruggen Room. Visiting speakers usually speak on topics outside of the curriculum. Attendance is usually by sixth form and GCSE historians, but some members of the lower school attend as well as other staff and outside guests.

    Junior History Society – TREBUCHET
    Junior History exists to promote Historical enquiry amongst members of Year 7-9. Activities range from constructing Norman weaponry to filming a Wild West movie!

    Trips – A Mark of Excellence
    The Department is extremely proud of its wide and varied trip programme.

    1st Year
    Summer Term- visit to Helmsley or Pickering Castle and Rievaulx Abbey: At Pickering students assess the castle as place to defend, attack, build and live, while at Rievaulx, in addition to a historical tour, pupils undertake cross-curricular exercises- creative writing, soil analysis for medieval vegetables, art work, a maths trail.

    2nd Year
    Summer Term- visit the Royal Armouries at Leeds or the IWM North at Manchester.

    3rd Year
    Introduced in 2010 was a 5 day Easter Holiday visit to the Battlefields of the First World War. In 2010 the focus was on the first day of the Somme and the 3rd battle of Ypres and in 2011 a new day was added to study the 1914/15 campaigns. 2013 incorporated a WW2 D-Day theme. Subsequent trips rotate between WW1 or WW2 focus. This trip is open to members of the 3rd and Upper 6th year with places offered to 4th and 5th and L6th year if available.

    The ‘Big’ One

    Russia – January 2010: 54 GCSE/A Level students spent a week in Moscow/St Petersburg

    USA – December 2011: 50 GCSE/A Level students spent a week in New York/Washington.

    USA Deep South – December 2013: 46 GCSE/A Level students headed to Georgia/Alabama/DC.

    USA – December 2015: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.

    USA December 2017: Washington D.C. Gettysburg and Mount Vernon

    Government and Politics – Overview

    Politics is central for constructing and communicating a critical argument with others and is fundamental to careers such as Law and Business. In studying Politics, students not only develop skills in reading and writing that lead to producing a sound argument, but also to understanding an opponent’s viewpoint so that you can either successfully challenge it or embrace it to amend your own. Students are taught that the world is not ‘black and white’ and that they must appreciate the nuances of the adult world in order to improve diplomatic skills when handling people and in communicating in a manner that cannot be misinterpreted. The subject is not current affairs-based but an interest in political events is useful to enjoying as well as fully understanding the subject – in this way we hope that students will be motivated and stretched. The intention is that the Politics department will fully support the school’s commitment to provide an education that will prepare students for the adult world.

    Key Stage Five (A level) – Sixth Form

    Content of course for the full A Level (Examination Board:Edexcel)

    Component 1 – UK Politics

    ● democracy and participation

    ● political parties

    ● electoral systems

    ● voting behaviour and the media

    Plus Core political ideas: conservatism, liberalism, socialism

    Component 2 – UK Government

    ● the constitution

    ● parliament

    ● Prime Minister and executive

    ● relationships between the branches

    Plus one (teacher selected) idea from the following: anarchism, ecologism, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism.

    Component 3 – USA – Comparative Politics

    ● US Constitution and federalism

    ● US Congress

    ● US Presidency

    ● US Supreme Court

    ● Democracy and participation

    C ● US Supreme Courtivil rights

    Beyond the Classroom:

    The department has good links with the University of Hull and attends their annual conference which gives students the opportunity to hear arguments from leading academics as well as members of the House of Commons, Lords and local government. The department also attends the annual British Association for American Studies (BAAS) conference to give all students the opportunity to hear more about American Politics than that taught in the classroom. Such debates and interactions with those in political life often inspire and enthuse the students.

    ICT/Computing/Computer Science

    ICT/Computing & Computer Science – Overview

    The government made some important decisions in 2013 to move away from what we know as “traditional” ICT and towards a new stream of “Computing and Computer Science”.

    Within this new remit, exciting changes are taking place that includes a great deal of investment into pupils learning to code the programs rather than simply “use them”.
    Computing technology is fast becoming a vital tool and skills base in the world outside of education and here at Pocklington School we pride ourselves on being awarded “Lead School – Network of Excellence in Computer Science”.

    In addition to this we also incorporate the important Information Technology skills base throughout Key Stage 3, GCSE and A Level.

    Studying Computing and ICT allows pupils to develop skills in a range of software from word processing to databases as well as developing programming skills in machine code, games programming, web design and multi-media skills that they will certainly benefit from in society and employment. They also learn the valuable e-safety skills that allow us to keep them safe when exploring their on-line lives both inside and out of school.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    In years 7 to 9 Computing is delivered to all pupils (an option block is assigned in 3rd year). We offer a broad and exciting programme of study for all 3 year groups encompassing a range of Digital Media, Programming Skills, Computational Thinking, General Software Skills (Spreadsheet, Database and DTP) and theory work including a range of topics from E Safety, Laws, Hardware and Software, Storage and Memory.

    Pupils will be able to explore and develop their skills to a high level by the end of key stage 3; there are many opportunities for pupils to go beyond the set curriculum if they wish.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    ICT/Computing GCSE

    At GCSE we currently offer the WJEC ICT course over 4 lessons per week. Assessment is through a combination of controlled assessment (60%) and final examination (40%).

    The Controlled Assessment is made up of one unit of work in the 4th year focusing on DTP Skills, Database, Spreadsheet and written evaluations (30%). The 5th year then follows on with a more Multi Media based unit of work incorporating Web Design and HTML, Video design and Editing, Game Design and Creation (30%). The Controlled Assessment is undertaken in the lessons only under exam style conditions and requires the pupils to be able to work independently and develop their own units of work.

    The Examination is made up of 2 exam papers (20% each) and covers a range of topics from new technologies, memory, inside a computer, laws and legislation and many more.

    It is hoped that pupils who opt to undertake GCSE ICT have a serious interest in this subject and
    are able to work independently on the practical coursework tasks which take up a predominant
    amount of the 2 year course.

    In addition to the GCSE ICT course, from September 2013 we have introduced a pilot GCSE Computer Science course (AQA) which will run for 3 years. This has allowed us to be ahead of the game and retain our lead school award.

    Computer Science GCSE

    At Pocklington School we recognise that proficiency in Computer Science will be important in the market place of the 21st century. The Computer Science department aims to give pupils the ability to become critical and effective users of Computer Science. We seek to make pupils responsible citizens with regards to their usage of Computer Science and other related technologies.

    This Computer Science qualification will, above all else, be relevant to the modern and changing world of computer science. Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. It is an intensely creative subject that involves invention and excitement. The Computer Science GCSE will value computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems and design systems that do so. These skills will be the best preparation for learners who want to go on to study Computer Science at AS or A Level and beyond. The qualification will also provide a good grounding for other subject areas that require computational thinking and analytical skills.

    The course is split into three components:

    Component 01 – Computer Systems (1 hour 30 mins examination)
    This is an examined unit focusing on Systems architecture, network topologies, system security and the moral and ethical issues concerning Computer Science. This unit makes up 40% of the assessment total.

    Component 02 – Computational Thinking, Algorithms and Programming (1 hour 30 mins examination)
    This is a written exam, focused on computational thinking and algorithms. Students will be tested on the elements of computational thinking and logic. They are principally assessed as to their ability to write, correct and improve algorithms. This unit makes up 40% of the assessment total.

    Component 03 – Programming Project (non-exam assessment)
    This component is the non-exam assessment where candidates will be challenged by a range of exciting and engaging tasks to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned. This unit makes up 20% of the total GCSE.

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    A level ICT/Computing

    At AS and A Level we currently offer ICT using the WJEC examination board. This specification is divided into a total of 4 units, 2 AS units and 2 A2 units.

    The AS course is split into coursework (40%) and examination (60%)

    The examination consists of a written paper of two sections, A and B, presented in a question and answer booklet. There are no optional questions. Quality of Written Communication is assessed in two questions. Candidates will be required to prepare a spreadsheet on a specific topic, defined by WJEC, in advance of the written paper. Hard copies of the spreadsheet are taken into the examination and used to answer questions in Section B. This spreadsheet is submitted with the completed examination paper.
    The coursework unit sees candidates undertake DTP and multimedia tasks. This includes the use of Visual Basic programming skills as well as Video Editing and Design. The final unit is internally assessed and then moderation by WJEC.

    The A2 course is split into coursework (40%) and examination (60%) (this is combined with the AS module)

    The examination is a written paper of two sections, A and B, presented as a question paper requiring a separate answer booklet. Candidates answer all questions in Section A and one from two in Section B.
    The coursework unit sees candidates create a system for a real end user which allows them to analyse, design, implement, test and evaluate a solution to a problem of their choice requiring the use of a relational database. This is a substantial piece of work, undertaken over an extended period of time. It is internally assessed and moderated by WJEC.
    Students should have an aptitude for independent problem solving, interpersonal skills, be able to think logically and analytically about situations. They should also have an awareness of the role of ICT and the economic, social and ethical implications of the use of ICT. Practical computing skills are also essential at both AS and A2 level.

    It is hoped that pupils who opt to undertake AS/A2 ICT have a serious interest in this subject and
    are able to work independently on the practical coursework tasks which take up a predominant amount of the course.

    Academic qualifications for the course are the same as the school sixth form requirement. It would be highly beneficial for students to have completed the GCSE ICT course and gained a Grade B or above in this subject.

    A level Computer Science

    At Pocklington School we recognise that proficiency in Computer Science will be important in the market place of the 21st century. The Computer Science department aims to give pupils the ability to become critical and effective users of Computer Science. We seek to make pupils responsible citizens with regards to their usage of Computer Science and other related technologies

    Computer Science qualifications will value computational thinking, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems. It is an intensely creative subject that involves invention and excitement. The course will be the best preparation for students who want to go on to study Computer Science at a higher level and will also provide a good grounding for other subject areas that require computational thinking and analytical skills.

    The qualification will be focused on programming and will emphasise the importance of computational thinking as a discipline.

    There is a maths focus, much of which will be embedded within the course.

    The AS will consist of two components – 1.Computer systems 2. Algorithms and programming both 1 hour 15 minutes examinations. These will be externally assessed and weighted at 50% each.

    The A Level will consist of three components, two components – 1.Computer systems 2. Algorithms and programming both 2 hour 30 minutes examinations of which will be externally marked making up 80% of the qualification.

    The third component makes up 20% of the course and will be the coursework project that has a main emphasis on coding and programming with a simple assessment model.

    Beyond the Classroom

    ICT/Computing and Computer Science is a popular department within the school, offering a variety of extra-curricular clubs to allow pupils to excel in areas such as app design and games programming beyond the classroom that allow pupils to explore their interest further and mix with a range of year groups in these clubs.

    The department regularly organises trips to a range of venues for a mix of year groups to local businesses, National Media Museum, York and Hull University.

    The department also plays host to visiting speakers on a regular basis, having enjoyed visits from guest speakers about Social Media in Advertising, Security in Networks, The Revolution of Fibre Optic Cables to name a few.


    Mathematics – Overview

    Mathematics is the abstract science of number, quantity and space. Mathematics provides support for many related disciplines and its logical basis and rigour permeate many other subjects. Mathematicians use their skills to pose questions and explore solutions in a diverse range of problems, both abstract and real-world.

    All pupils study mathematics up to GCSE level, and it is one of the most popular choices for A level study.


    Mathematics is taught in 4 lessons per week and the text books used are published by Oxford. These are complemented by the MyMaths online resource. There are three assessment points through the year, and a formal examination in the summer term.


    The course followed here leads to the Pearson IGCSE 4MA1 qualification, taught in 5 lessons per week. There are five sets and the usual pattern is for pupils to have the same teacher for the two years of the course. Pupils in the top set are entered for the level 2 Further Mathematics OCR qualification. Results on this have been consistently good, and the course acts both as a support for the IGCSE and as an excellent preparation for A level.


    Between 25 and 30 pupils elect to take mathematics in L6, and they are taught in three sets, each of which is shared by two teachers, each teaching 4 lessons per week. The course is weighted with two papers in pure maths, and one paper in applied maths, and this paper is further divided between mechanics and statistics. The two teachers normally share the pure teaching and one teacher takes the statistics topics and the other the mechanics topics. Between 5 and 10 pupils take further mathematics, covering the full A level specification in L6 and taking four more units in U6 to complete the second A level. There is some scope for choice of units in U6.

    Additional preparation and coaching is offered for those applying to Oxbridge and other universities where demanding entrance papers and interviews are required.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Around 150 pupils take the UKMT maths challenges every year, at Junior, Intermediate and Senior level. The best placed finishers qualify to compete in Olympiad competitions at the appropriate levels, and several medals have been won in recent years. Two pupils have been invited to UKMT summer schools and one to further training in Oxford and Hungary as a potential member of the British team at the International Mathematical Olympiad.

    We enter the regional final of the UKMT Team Maths Challenge annually, and we have been regular winners to qualify for the national final in London. Our best finish was 10th place in the Senior Team Maths Challenge National Final in 2017.

    Modern Foreign Languages

    Modern Foreign Languages – Overview

    The Modern Foreign Languages Department have an excellent record of producing able and talented linguists, many of whom have gone on to study languages at University level. The study of a foreign language is vital in the modern world, and here at Pocklington, students have the chance to study French, German and Spanish to a high standard, whilst experiencing the culture and life in other countries where those languages are spoken.
    Our aims are:

    • To create an environment which allows maximum participation, regardless of ability or natural aptitude for the subject.
    • To foster enjoyment, aspiration and achievement in all areas of language learning.
    • To provide opportunities for all pupils at Pocklington School to fulfil their language learning potential and succeed in communicating in the target language.
    • To bring about enjoyment through learning language skills, thereby fostering a positive attitude to leaning other languages.
    • To encourage our students to look beyond the confines of the syllabus and to develop a desire to visit the countries where French, German and Spanish are spoken and to develop a greater awareness and appreciation of the culture and history of these countries.
    • To buck the national trend of a decline in take up for modern foreign language study. We also aim to buck the national trend of languages being taken up at A level mainly by girls. Recent results at both GCSE and AS have shown the boys doing equally well as the girls.
    • To encourage the use of a variety of resources, including new technology to develop language learning.
    • To offer students a variety of languages on entering the school to enable them to choose their first language for further study, and encourage students to study two or more languages.
    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    At Key Stage 3, all students will have the opportunity to study French, German and Spanish, and to lay the foundations for their language learning in Key Stage 4, Key Stage 5 and beyond.
    In Year 7 and Year 8, students will study all three languages in a carousel system, giving them a sound basis, for when they choose the main language they will study to GCSE level.
    The curriculum is varied and students will have the opportunity to use the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, and also have the opportunity to understand how language works. They will also have the opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and life in French-, German- and Spanish-speaking countries.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    Modern Languages


    All pupils will study a core Modern Foreign Language at Key Stage 4, with the choice of studying French, German or Spanish. They will also have the option of studying a second language at the same level.
    In the 21st century world, it is vital to be able to communicate with others, and the ability and willingness to use other languages is invaluable in all walks of life, especially business and commerce. The study of modern foreign languages increases awareness of other cultures and encourages students to listen, read carefully and to express oneself with great clarity. These skills can be exploited in other curriculum areas, and the study of languages should be very rewarding and enjoyable.
    You might choose French, because it is the language spoken in our closest neighbours’ country, and is the language of culture and literature, as well as being widely spoken throughout the world. It is a language which can open doors to many other languages and cultures, and is the foreign language most widely taught in UK schools.
    You might choose German, as it is the most frequently spoken native language in Western Europe, as well as being the most common second language in most of Eastern Europe. Germany is the third biggest industrial nation worldwide, as well as the most important country for scientific research. German is the mother tongue of Einstein, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as the most closely related language to English.
    You might choose Spanish because it is the third most widely spoken language in the world and is the principal language of much of South and Central America, as well as the most important minority language in the U.S.A. Spanish is also the fastest growing language used on the internet, and has many similarities with other romance languages, such as French.
    As part of your languages study, you will have the opportunity to participate in school trips and exchanges, such as the French Exchange with a school in Besançon, and the German Exchange with a school in Alfeld in Northern Germany, as well as study trips to Spain and Germany. These give students the opportunity to practise their language skills and broaden their knowledge, as well as experience another culture and way of life.


    Each course aims to develop the four skill areas of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The 4th Year will study the new AQA GCSE specification.  This is split into three themes:

    Theme 1: Identity and Culture

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

    Theme 3: Current and future study and employment


    There are 4 papers, each worth 25% of the total mark. They are all externally assessed.

    Paper 1: Listening
    Written exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)
    Questions in Target Language and English.

    Paper 2: Speaking
    7–9 minutes (Foundation Tier) + preparation time
    10–12 minutes (Higher Tier) + preparation time
    Role-plays, stimulus cards and general conversation.

    Paper 3: Reading
    Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier)
    Questions in TL and English and translation from TL to English.

    Paper 4: Writing
    Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier)
    Questions include brief messages, short texts and translations, and longer writing tasks.
    The 5th year will follow the Edexcel Certificate specification which requires that skills are practised in the following Topic Areas:
    A. Home and abroad
    B. Education and employment
    C. House, home and daily routine
    D. The modern world and the environment
    E. Social activities, fitness and health

    The method of assessment is the same for all languages, and is laid down as the Edexcel Certificate in French, German and Spanish.
    The examinations will all be held at the end of the course and consist of 3 papers, and no dictionaries are allowed.

    Paper 1 – Listening
    This is an externally assessed paper which lasts for 35 minutes approximately.
    Questions will be in a range of verbal and non-verbal styles, and require some answers in the Target Language.
    Students’ answers will be assessed for communication only.

    Paper 2 – Reading and Writing
    This is an externally assessed paper which lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes.
    The Reading section of the paper will have a range of verbal and non-verbal questions, and some will require answers in the Target Language.
    The Writing section of the paper will require students to write two pieces in the Target Language, with a choice of topics in the longer piece of 140 – 150 words.

    Paper 3 – Speaking
    This is an externally assessed test which will last a maximum of 10 minutes.
    The Presentation and Discussion section will require students to give a presentation and then discuss a picture.
    The conversation section will require students to have conversations with the examiner on two of the five Topic Areas, neither of which are discussed in the Presentation and Discussion section of the test.
    Candidates are assessed for a variety of skills such as fluency, accuracy, spontaneity as well as content.

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    The study of language is an ideal opportunity to develop skills of communication and awareness of other culture. Personal confidence is enhanced by the study of a language, and study at an advanced level is often a springboard to opportunities in many areas, in the modern jobs market. The discipline and analytical skills necessary for advanced level language study is a boon to all students, and, with so much technology now at our disposal, languages studies are forward-looking, absorbing and innovative. The study of a language is an excellent complement and contrast to other A level subjects, and makes for a more complete student.

    Students may follow courses leading to AS and A2 qualifications in French, German and Spanish, and the courses follow on naturally from the mixed skills approach of the Certificate, whilst encountering a much wider range of interesting topics and themes, suitable for young people in the 21st century.

    It is assumed that young people studying languages would spend, where possible, some time in a country where the language studied is spoken. The MFL department has organised successful student exchange programmes and study trips to France, Germany and Spain. In addition students of all languages would be expected to take advantage of the opportunity to attend me

    etings of Pock-Lingua, the school’s languages society.

    Course Content
    French and German at A2 level follows the OCR syllabus.
    All languages at AS level follow the new AQA AS/1st Year A level specification.

    AS Level
    Core content
    • Social issues and trends
    • Political and artistic culture
    • Grammar

    • 4 Works: Literary texts and films

    A2 Level
    • Environment – pollution, energy and protecting the planet
    • The Multicultural Society – immigration, integration and racism
    • Contemporary Social issues – Wealth and poverty, law and order, and the influence of scientific and technical progress
    •  Cultural Topic

    Beyond the Classroom

    The greatest part of learning a language is the opportunity to put one’s learning into practice, by using it in a real-life context. The department organises regular trips in Year 8 to Paris, and has a well-established and flourishing exchange with Alfeld in Germany. We have also organised very successful 6th form study trips to Spain and Germany and in 2017, will have study trips to Spain, Germany and hopefully, France. We believe that links with and visits to other countries form a vital part of our learning.

    The department also encourages students to take part in national competitions, and this year has entered students in 1st Year for the MFL Spelling Bee, as well as the Linguistics Olympiad. We also arrange visits to 6th form Languages Days, which give students the opportunity to mix with fellow linguists and experience more about the life and culture of other countries.

    Students have the opportunity to use the IT facilities within the department, both as part of their curriculum, but also to experience the wider world of language learning.

    They can use the department’s varied resources, in the library and department, and also have the chance to practice their speaking skills with our Foreign Language Assistants. There will be regular MFL sessions at the 6th Form Symposium, and we have visits from OP linguists to encourage students to develop their MFL learning.


    Music – Overview

    Music plays an extremely important part in the life of the school. Almost half of the pupils receive individual tuition and some 11 groups rehearse weekly. These are wide-ranging in their appeal, ranging from a chamber group to the Junior Orchestra and Swing Band. Two choirs provide structured singing for pupils of all ages and the vibrant Muscial Theatre Society enables students to combine the performing arts. The Swing Band undertakes a foreign tour every two years. In July 2017 they spent one week in Holland. Previous tours have visited Italy, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Belgium and the Benelux countries.

    The Music Department aims to maintain and stimulate pupil curiosity, interest and enjoyment in Music. We aim to enable pupils to be familiar with a body of composers, styles, practical skills and vocabulary, and to enable pupils to see Music in the context of other curriculum areas and as part of their world as a whole. This is done by following a course which develops skills through practical music-making. Facilities for music are extensive. The department is housed in its own building with a large number of small rooms available for individual practice, as well as a keyboard laboratory and a large recital room.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    At Key Stage 3 students are taught to perform on tuned and untuned percussion instruments, electronic keyboard and to sing. They are taught the discipline of ensemble performance, how to show awareness of others, and to fit their own part within a group/class texture. They are taught to compose, developing musical ideas within set structures, using different textures, and exploiting the musical elements and a variety of resources. They are briefed to compose music for specific purposes and use notation and, where appropriate, information technology, to explore and revise musical ideas. Students are taught to respond to music, identifying conventions used within different styles and traditions. They analyse changes in character and mood and evaluate the effect of music. They critically appraise their own work, taking account of their intentions and the comments of others. They compare music across time and place, recognising those characteristics that stay the same and those that change. They are taught to use a musical vocabulary appropriately.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)


    The aim of the GCSE is to stimulate and develop an appreciation and enjoyment of music through an active involvement in three musical activities: Composing; Performing; Listening and Contextual Understanding. In addition to helping students acquire subject knowledge, following a course in GCSE Music:

    • provides students the opportunity to gain self-confidence through performing to others
    • develops team-working skills through performing with others
    • extends students’ creative skills through composing music
    • encourages the understanding of the importance of continuous evaluation and refinement in any process
    • provides a solid foundation for progression to music related courses, including A-level Music, and a career in music professions.


    Listening skills are developed throughout the course focusing on a range of styles of music, and questions tend to require short answers. Contextual understanding is based around ‘study pieces’. These pieces will be drawn from the Areas of Study: ‘Western Classical Music’ (study piece – Haydn, Symphony 101) and ‘Western Classical Music since 1910' ( study piece - Copland, Rodeo). Questions will require an in depth knowledge of the pieces, gained through listening and studying scores.


    Two pieces must be performed; one solo, one involving ensemble skills. The pieces are chosen by the candidate, and may be performed on any instrument or voice. Pieces which are of grade 5 standard will gain the highest marks possible. The examination is assessed by staff at school and moderated externally.


    During the course a collection of pieces are composed, ranging from short melodies for solo instrument, to songs and computer-generated compositions. One free composition, completed during the 4th Year, will be submitted for assessment. As this is coursework, numerous revisions of the work are allowed. A second composition, to a series of briefs set by the exam board will be completed during the 5th Year.


    The department follows the AQA specification. Performance work is assessed as coursework in that it can be recorded as often as the candidate desires at any time during the course. Compositions are completed as coursework, submitted for assessment in May of the year of accreditation. The terminal exam tests listening skills and contextual understanding.

    Key Stage Five (A level)


    The course is aimed at:

    • Students who have studied music at GCSE and wish to develop their skills and understanding
    • Students wishing to study music, popular music or a combined arts subject in higher education
    • Students wishing to have a complementary subject within their sixth form study
    • Students wishing to pursue a vocation in music and/or the arts.

    COURSE CONTENT (Examination Board: AQA)

    The course offered is a linear A level. Students will not take an AS in the subject due to the large amount of coursework required. Therefore students opting for the subject must be aware that they will follow the full two-year course. Pupils embarking upon the course should be of a minimum Grade 5 standard on their instrument/voice. A Grade 5 theory qualification is an advantage.

    Lower Sixth:

    Component 1 Appraising Music
    Area of study 1 Western classical tradition 1650–1910
    Set works strands:
    • 2 The operas of Mozart (Analysis & Listening)

    Area of study 4: Music for theatre (Listening & Essay)

    Component 2 Performance
    Candidates develop performance skills through independent instrumental/vocal lessons with regular informal assessments to check progress.

    Component 3 Composition
    Students must compose two pieces over the two-year course:
    • Composition 2 – free composition.
    • No requirement for supervised time stated by the regulatory authority.

    Upper Sixth:

    Component 1 Appraising Music – 40%
    Area of study 1 Western classical tradition 1650–1910
    Set works strand:
    • 1 Baroque solo concerto (Analysis & Listening)
    • 3 Piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg. (Listening)

    Area of study 3: Music for media (Listening & Essay)      OR
    Area of study 7: Art music since 1910. (Listening & Essay)

    • Two and a half hour paper 120 marks
    • Externally marked.

    Assessment will be by written paper with some questions using an individual CD of musical excerpts.

    Component 2 Performance – 35%
    • Candidates perform a minimum of 10 and maximum of 12 minutes.
    • Must be taken between 1 March and 31 May in the year of certification.
    • If the student’s performance is less than the minimum time it will not be accepted
    • Music should be of approximately grade VII or VIII standard.
    •  Externally assessed

    Component 3 Composition – 25%
    Students must compose two pieces over the two-year course:
    • Composition 1 – composition to a brief
    • Briefs released on or as near as possible to 15 September in the year of certification.
    • Externally assessed

    Beyond the classroom

    Music is an integral part of the education offered at Pocklington School and in addition to the curricular music lessons, we offer tuition on the whole range of musical instruments, as well as singing lessons. Lessons are taught on an individual basis by a friendly and highly competent team of peripatetic music teachers. If children have never had the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, we do strongly encourage them to try as 11-13 is the ideal age to begin.

    In addition to individual lessons, every pupil is encouraged to join one of the many ensembles that take place outside of classroom time. This gives them the enjoyment and essential musical experience of playing and performing with others. The School’s ensembles include: Junior Orchestra; Swing Band; Concert Band; Chamber Choir; Junior Choir; Flute Ensemble; Guitar Group; String Group and Music Theatre Society.

    The department provides a full and varied programme of concerts and recitals throughout the year, giving all students the opportunity to perform in ensembles and also allowing many the chance of performing solos. The renowned Swing Band gives numerous concerts in the wider community, as well as going on tour every two years.

    One of the most well-supported events of the year is the House Music Festival. This event involves around half of the school population, as each House organises and performs a 20 minutes concert. The standard of vocal and instrumental work is consistently high, and the competition for the House Music Trophy, fierce.

    Physical Education

    Physical Education – Overview

    Enjoyable physical education as a matter of course now. Physical activity for life later.

    Our core theme is a sport for everyone for a healthy adult life and getting into good lifestyle habits now so that they run effortlessly throughout adult life. KS3 pupils enjoy twelve varied activities whilst examinable PE is successful and growing, seeing many pupils move into sports-based higher education and careers.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    In years 7 – 9 pupils are taught a double period of PE a week. Two classes are timetabled at the same time and wherever possible there are three staff delivering a wide variety of activities (twelve in total). These cover as many National Curriculum areas as possible and include as diverse activities as swimming and cross country, table tennis and basketball and gymnastics and softball.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE) – Examination Board: iGCSE

    The GCSE Physical Education course covers all aspects of sport and physical recreation. It is split into the practical and theoretical aspects of sport.

    Course Entry
    The course is most suited to students of high sporting ability. Ideally, they should be good swimmers, ‘A’ team games players and athletes. Potential students should get in touch with the Head of P.E. to check their suitability. This is especially important for new pupils joining the school at the beginning of Year 10, or at any stage throughout the course.

    Key Stage Five (A level) – Examination Board: OCR

    Physical Education at A level combines practical sporting skills with a wide range of associated academic study. The range of opportunities following on from the study of PE is considerable and growing. PE is thus an exciting, modern subject in which to be involved.

    PE as a Qualification for further study and career PE can lead to many different options, being best suited to sports, leisure and recreation based university courses.

    Course Entry and Qualifications
    Academic qualifications for the course are the same as for the school sixth form requirement. Students should normally:

    • Have taken PE at GCSE
    • Be a strong performer in at least one sport
    • Have interest and commitment to cope with the strong academic demands of the course

    Students new to the school should liaise with the Head of PE to check practical suitability.


    Physics – Overview

    Physics is a multi-discipline subject which aims to bring the outside world into focus within the laboratory. Lessons deal with the theory behind the many and varied aspects of Physics we see in the world around us, explaining them in a practical and exciting way. The subject seeks to bring an understanding to the real world and the Physics that is all around us.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    In Year 9 students build on the skills learnt in Junior science in Years 8 and 9 as they begin the Edexcel iGCSE course in earnest, covering topics such as waves and energy. This is, in fact, a three year course hence the need to begin in Year 9. Lessons will be a balance of theory, practical and investigative work. Mathematical processes needed to attempt numerical problems are also taught.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)

    Years 10 and 11 continue the preparation for the final exams. Further topics including electricity, motion and light are studied and further practical skills are introduced. There are two final exams which are prepared for with regular testing of students’ knowledge and understanding. The first paper is a pure theory paper covering the whole specification, whilst the second seeks to test an understanding of the nature and purpose of practical work.

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    At A level the stretch and challenge of Physics is further extended as students embark on the OCR A course. Topics covered at GCSE are studied in greater depth and new areas such as Medical Imaging also appear. Two written exams are taken and a further practical investigation is also undertaken, both at AS and A level.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Visiting speakers and the Sixth form Science society, the Allen Society, enhance the curriculum, while visits to places of scientific interest locally are also undertaken such as Boulby Potash mine where the search for the Higgs Boson is being undertaken.

    High-flying students are entered for the Physics Olympiad to enhance their University applications and to challenge their knowledge of this truly pivotal subject.


    Psychology – Overview

    Psychology encourages students to think deeply about the world and people around them. It develops critical thinking skills and helps students to see that there is often more than one conclusion that can be drawn from a piece of evidence.
    The fact that Psychology bridges the arts and sciences means that it fits in with a wide range of other sixth form subjects so we have students with a breadth of interests and knowledge in our classes, engendering interesting and lively discussions. Studying psychology requires an enquiring mind and an enthusiasm for people. It develops skills of analysis and debate, both orally and on paper. Students are required to put forward their arguments coherently in essays of increasing length as the course progresses.
    We aim to provide students with an excellent grounding in Psychology in preparation for their AS and A2 examinations. We aim for excellence in teaching and learning, adapting our teaching styles for specific teaching groups. We use a wide range of teaching styles including: discussion, debate, note-making, presentations, videos and practical activities. Our marking is aimed to be constructive and informative, helping our students to achieve higher grades.
    We want every Psychology student to achieve to the best of their ability, and we encourage and advise them in order to reach this goal.

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    We follow the AQA(A) specification, which is examined at the end of AS and A2 level.

    AS level:
    Paper 1 (11/2 hours): Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods
    Paper 2 (11/2 hours): Physiological psychology, Social Psychology and Individual Differences
    Topics include:
    Memory and the reliability of eyewitness testimony
    Child development, parenting and the suitability of day-care
    The causes and effects of stress, and how to deal with it
    The causes of psychological disorders and how to deal with them
    Human obedience to authority and conformity in group situations
    How to design and interpret psychological investigations

    A2 level:
    Paper 3 (11/2 hours): Topics in Psychology: Aggression, Gender, Biological Rhythms and Sleep
    Paper 4 (2 hours): Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods
    Topics include:
    Explanations of aggression, genetic and hormonal influences, jealousy
    Gender development, androgyny and gender dysphoria, hormonal and genetic influences, peer pressure and media influences
    Jet lag and shift work, sleep states, sleepwalking, narcolepsy and insomnia
    Characteristics, explanations and treatments of schizophrenia
    Addictive behaviour, explanations for smoking and gambling, prevention of addiction
    Scientific method and process, designing investigations, data analysis and scientific report writing

    Beyond the Classroom

    The Psychology department hosts visiting speakers to talk to Psychology students about a wide variety of topics. The talks are not focused purely on the exam specification and the aim is to give students from the Psychology department, and others, a broader view of Psychology in the real world. Some recent topics have included chimpanzee language, autism and speech therapy.
    We organise a trip for our upper sixth students to visit a prison for a day to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of institutionalisation as covered by the Module three specification.
    All students are offered the option of subscribing to Psychology Review magazine which is ordered through school at a discount to students.

    Religious Studies

    Religious Studies – Overview

    The Religious Studies Department: Heather Young (Head of Department), Reverend Dr Jan Goodair (School Chaplain) and Martin Davies (also the Pastoral Director).

    Religious Studies is taken by all students from years 7 to 9 and in those three years the Department provides the students of Pocklington School with a broad, engaging and challenging Religious Studies curriculum. Religious Studies is a popular option subject at GCSE and at A level and considerable academic success has been achieved consistently over many years. Many of our A level students have gone on to study at Oxbridge and other top universities to study a range of related disciplines; Medicine, Law, Psychology and of course Theology and Religious Studies courses. The subject is taught non-confessionally and in a way that is accessible to those of any religious faith or none.

    Key Stage Three (Years 7-9)

    After a brief introduction to the significance of the study of religion, Year 7 students examine Christianity through its beliefs and practices. Over the year students gain an insight into the foundations of Christianity, paying particular attention to how more challenging and abstract concepts are conveyed through symbology. The life of Jesus of Nazareth is studied in relation to the festivals practised today by over two billion Christians worldwide.

    In Year 8 students learn about other major world faiths; contrasting another Abrahamic faith, Islam, with Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. In a multi-faith world where around 86% are practising believers, this year’s course opens students’ eyes to the diverse and vibrant beliefs and practices that make up our UK and global societies.

    In the third and final year of compulsory Religious Studies, students have the opportunity to contend with Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. This year we look at ‘Ultimate Questions’: Why are we here? Is there a God? Can religious beliefs be maintained in light of scientific developments? What is ‘right’ and what’s the point of worrying about it? Here the focus is on debate and developing the ability to convey one’s own opinions and respond to other people’s views critically and compassionately.

    Over their first three years in the Senior School, students will have encountered varied aspects of what Religious Studies has to offer. Whether or not they continue to study Religion into GCSEs and beyond, students will have had the opportunity to broaden their spiritual and cultural understanding and reflect on their own beliefs and attitudes.

    Key Stage Four (GCSE)


    Why Religious Studies?

    Religious Studies provides an opportunity for students to engage with a variety of topical questions around belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth. Students will be able to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in light of what they have learnt. We will study a range of relevant and contemporary themes that will promote awareness of modern-world issues.

    The work requires a mature and open-minded attitude to diverse religious beliefs, practices and ethical perspectives. You do not, however, have to have a personal religious faith to be interested in and academically challenged by Religious Studies.

    Students will be challenged and inspired, whilst developing valuable skills sought after by higher education and employers. Recent students have gone on to read such subjects as Medicine, Law, English, Architecture, Philosophy and Theology.


    Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teachings and practices (50% of GCSE)

    We cover two world religions; Christianity and Judaism. We examine the key religious beliefs of both faiths, the nature of religious teaching and how these factors are reflected in religious practices. No prior knowledge is required but by the end of the course students will have an excellent grasp of these two related but very distinct, great and colourful religions.

    Topics include: the nature of God; beliefs about life after death; key religious figures; worship and festivals.

    Component 2: Religious, philosophical and ethical studies (50% of GCSE)

    In this component, students are introduced to four distinct themes:

    Religion and life: the relationship between scientific and religious beliefs about creation; differing perspectives on the nature and value of human life in relation to issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

    Religion, peace and conflict: the causes of conflict; different religious and philosophical perspectives on whether war can ever be ‘just’; terrorism and violence; concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation.

    Crime and Punishment: Causes of crime; responses to crime; differing religious and ethical perspectives.

    The existence of God and revelation: an examination of arguments for the existence of God; atheist positions; revelation and non-religious responses.


    • Each component is examined separately in a written exam at the end of the two year course.

    • Each exam is 1 hour 45 minutes.

    • There is no coursework element in Religious Studies GCSE

    Key Stage Five (A level)

    As of September 2016, students will be taking the new A Level Religious Studies, following AQA’s Syllabus.

    There are two Components to this course: Component 1- ‘Philosophy of Religion & Ethics’ and Component 2 ‘Judaism and the Dialogue between the Jewish Faith and Philosophical/ Ethical Issues.

    Component 1: Philosophy of Religion & Ethics
    • Arguments for the existence of God
    • Evil and suffering
    • Religious experience
    • Religious language
    • Miracles
    • Self and life after death
    • Normative Ethics
    • Meta Ethics
    • Free Will and Moral Responsibility
    • Conscience
    • Bentham and Kant

    Component 2: Judaism

    • The Nature of God
    • Life after death
    • Expressions of Religious Identity
    • Good Conduct and Key Moral Problems
    • Judaism – Gender and Sexuality
    • Judaism and Science
    • Judaism, migration and religious pluralism
    • Judaism and the challenge of secularism
    • Sources of wisdom and authority

    for further information visit the AQA website by following this link.


    A Level= 2 x 3 hour written examinations (Component 1& Component 2) taken in the summer of the upper sixth course.

    AS Level = 1 x 2 hour paper for Component 1 1x 1 Hour paper for Component 2. Written examinations taken at the end of the Lower Sixth year (as per components above but reduced content)

    All questions require essay style answers in which students are expected to present structured and cogent explanations and arguments. A key aspect of the Religious Studies course is the development of these skills.

    Studying this subject requires an intellectual and emotional maturity as many of the issues covered in the ethics section of the course are emotive and complex. Much is expected in terms of independent learning and there is a great deal of background reading and research. Students are also expected to keep a watchful eye on developments reported in the media. This is especially the case in the field of medical ethics where technological breakthroughs serve as a constant reminder that an ethical response needs to be considered before emergent technology becomes an established part of society.

    Course Entry and Qualifications

    Academic qualifications for the course are the same as the school sixth form requirement. It is not necessary to have studied GCSE Religious Studies, but please bear in mind that this A level requires a good standard of essay writing.

    Religious Studies as a Qualification for Further Study/Career

    Religious Studies is a highly respected academic discipline and there are excellent Religious Studies courses available at the most prestigious universities. Students in the recent past who have gone on to study Medicine, Business Studies and Law have found the legal, philosophical and ethical aspects of the course particularly helpful in broadening their understanding of relevant issues.

    Religious Studies is not just a fascinating subject, it has real relevance to the workplace and its value is perhaps greater today that it ever has been. As science develops so must our ability to understand the issues and debate the morality of the changing world in which we live. The skills learnt and developed through both AS and A Level Religious Studies are invaluable both in higher education and the workplace.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Biennial trips to Krakow Poland for A level students studying Judaism. Students visit the Kazimierz district and its synagogues and enjoy a Jewish meal with Klezmer music. Visits are made to the Schindler Museum and also Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, reflecting on Holocaust Theology as part of the A level course.

    Rabbi Jason Kleiman visits the school to talk with AS and A level students about Judaism from the Orthodox perspective and students will also visit Reform and Orthodox synagogues in Leeds as part of their course.

    A level RS students also have the opportunity to go to public lectures at York University’s Philosophy Department.