GCSE Subjects


Academic Life

Oak Heights has a philosophy of developing a genuine love of learning. This is achieved though a commitment to good teachers and good pupils.

All students follow a broad, extended and enriched curriculum using the National Curriculum as a foundation.

We constantly question the way we operate, as we believe only by constantly questioning and re-assessing, can we hope to improve the academic opportunities we present to our pupils.

Our teachers are expected to use a variety of methods to reach out to every individual student. A structured environment ensures that effective learning takes place through lessons that address the abilities, aptitudes and learning styles of every pupil.

The school day at Oak Heights is built around five one-hour academic lessons every day together with current affairs and recreational time

We encourage every student to work hard, as this is the key to success enabling the whole community to celebrate academic achievement. We are mindful that every student has specific skills that enable them to shine inside and outside of the education we offer at Oak Heights. We want to know of every success so that we can share and celebrate it at every opportunity with other members of our community.


The aim of the Biology Department at Oak Heights is to nurture and encourage our students to develop a strong understanding and appreciation of, and an interest in the science of life.

Biology is taught in a specialist well equipped Biology laboratory. It is a practical subject and therefore a large proportion of the course at all levels is taught through theory and eventually experimental work.

This helps students develop an understanding of scientific method, bringing with it skills which are transferable to many other situations..


To supplement the work in the laboratories, our older students will help encourage students from the lower year to be more involved in practical work. This provides our younger boys and girls with good role models and enables the senior students to develop their leadership responsibilities whilst bringing the school community together.

At GCSE level, students will cover the following topics. Bonding, metals, crude oil and its products, plant oils, earth sciences, reaction rates, intermolecular bonding, energy in reactions, electrolysis, salts, The Periodic Table

English and English Literature

English is vital for communicating with others in school and in the wider world and is fundamental to learning outcomes in all curriculum subjects. In studying English, students develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing that they need to participate in society and employment. Students learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others confidently and effectively.

Whatever age you are at the School, we aim to develop in you a love of reading.


The Mathematics Department expects the highest of standards. We encourage students to participate on the Einstein Programme which aims to enable students to see the relevance of the subject in everyday life. The programme enables those students who we classify as the Talented and Gifted to take their GCSE early and then follow the AS programme for Maths.


Physics is taught as a discrete discipline from Year 7 onwards. Lessons also take place in the specialist Physics laboratory and students have access to the ICT Suite. We aim to provide an insight into the role of Physics in the world as experienced by today’s young people.

The subject is taught through experimentation and application of basic ideas. These range from very small atoms to the very large cosmology. Students revisit these ideas during the course building on previous knowledge.


The study of history will enable students to make sense of their own experiences by being able to place them in local, national and international contexts and help them to understand the society and world in which they live. History makes a significant contribution to preparation for citizenship through the consideration of a wide range of societies and political systems. In addition, it contributes to economic and industrial understanding through the study of different ways of managing economies and factors influencing economic and industrial development, or stagnation and decline.

Religious Education

Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops students’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam and other principal religions, other religious traditions and other world views that offer answers to these challenging questions. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances students’ awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, as well as of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.

Religious Education encourages students to learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions, whilst exploring their own beliefs and questions of meaning. It challenges students to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.


French is currently taught as the core modern language two periods a week. It is compulsory for all up to GCSE other than in special circumstances.

A Beginners’ class may be provided for pupils with little or no exposure to French but who are judged capable of taking it as a GCSE subject.


The cross curricular aspects of the curriculum allow students to reflect on some of the major ideas and challenges facing individuals in the 21st Century. This provides themes which give learning relevance and helps King’s students to make more sense of the world they live. Therefore, Oak Heights PSHEE education curriculum enables pupils to:

  • Develop their well-being, self-esteem and belief in their ability to succeed and to take responsibility for their learning and how they are developing;
  • Develop practical knowledge and skills to help them live healthily and deal with the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues they face as they approach adulthood
  • Understand and manage responsible a wider range of relationships as they mature and to show respect for the diversity of, and differences between, people;

In the 3rd Form students study the following themes:

  • Relationships in society – bullying/harassment, racism, figures of authority, marriage and family
  • Drugs and smoking – reasons why people take drugs/smoke, the physical impact of these and campaigns for anti-smoking/drugs and their effectiveness
  • Sex education – effective sex and relationship education is crucial to developing and maintaining emotional and physical health
  • Careers – personal skills and GCSE options
  • Research study skills – how to develop effective research skills which are applicable cross-curricular

In the 4th Form students study the following themes:

  • Careers – constructing C.V.s, writing letters of application and career choices
  • Stress management – identifying stress, managing stress and relaxation techniques
  • Study skills – styles of learning, effective study skills, time management and preparation techniques for exams
  • Citizenship – the role of democracy, the Law, Human Rights and refugees and asylum seekers

In the 5th Form students study the following themes:

  • Stress management (For the academic year 2008/9 only; a new scheme of work for the academic year 2009/2010). As per 4th form
  • Student finance – developing personal financial responsibility and capability
  • Nutrition – the importance of healthy diet and exercise
  • Careers – the academic future

This scheme of work is undergoing a rolling programme of amendments to make the syllabus even more relevant to the students and the challenges that they face in the 21st century.

General Studies

General Studies will appeal to you if you like to combine knowledge from a range of subjects to into an overall view of how they relate to one another and the issues being studied. It will help you see that there are different ways of interpreting information and that it should not always be trusted. You will learn to understand the strengths and limitations of different ideas and opinions and express your own as effectively as possible.  A key focus is on developing skills that will help with your other subjects, such as communication, handling data and thinking andarguing logically.