ILLUMINATE

Course Choices

Art

Art Level requires students to demonstrate ability in GCSE/BTEC art, or an equivalent subject. Students work on a range of themes and are encouraged to develop an independent and individual approach to their work. A wide range of materials and techniques are used.

Students have access to a range of materials and processes as well as a printing press, digital SLR cameras, Photoshop and a photography studio. They will be able to experience visits to The Baltic, The Hatton and The Laing Gallery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as well as locations for workshops and research for their chosen theme.

Photography

A two-year course that is made up of 60% coursework (Component 1) and 40% Externally Set Assignment (Component 2).

Students have access to digital SLR cameras, Photoshop and a photography studio, but can use the camera on their mobile phone to access this course. Throughout the course, students will be able to experience visits to The Baltic and The Side Photography Gallery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as well as suitable locations for workshops and photoshoots for their chosen theme.

Course participants are encouraged to investigate relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to a range of art, craft and design. This research is an integral part of the investigating and making processes. They respond to these investigations through practical experimentation and critical activities. The aim is to demonstrate understanding of different styles, genres and traditions, through the medium of Photography. 

Students applying to study Photography this subject require a keen interest in visual arts with a natural creative flair. They should ideally have studied GCSE Art.  

Biology

If you are interested in how the natural world works; from what is going on inside your own body, to how animals act in the wild, then A-Level Biology is for you. We follow the AQA A-Level Biology Course and study topics such as Cells, Genetics and Ecology.   

Practical investigations are conducted both in the lab and outside; including a field trip to study coastal habitats. You will learn about the latest scientific discoveries, e.g. epigenetics, and will use a variety of biological equipment.

The course builds on GCSE knowledge and skills but goes into much greater scientific detail, so be prepared to work hard. There is also a significant mathematical content, so students need strong mathematical depth.  

Many of our students have gone onto study one of the wide varieties of University degrees that A-Level Biology gives access to; including Medicine, Marine Biology and Sports Science, whilst other students are now part of the local scientific community.

Chemistry

The A-Level Chemistry course is based on using theory and experimentation to provide an excellent foundation for science-based university courses and careers.

A qualification in chemistry is highly valued and leads to a wide variety of careers. If you are undecided about a degree course or your future career direction, your options are kept open by studying chemistry. We currently follow the AQA A-level Chemistry course. It is based on using theory and experimentation to provide an excellent foundation for science-based university courses and careers. It covers the three basic areas of chemistry namely, Organic, Inorganic and Physical. The course requires mandatory practical skills to be completed and evidenced and there are three final examinations.  

Due to their enjoyment and success in chemistry, many of our chemistry students have gone on to study science or chemistry-based courses at Russell group universities, such as medicinal chemistry, biomedical science, engineering, medicine and pharmacy. This has led to them entering professional careers. Others have entered chemistry-based degree-apprenticeships. Some students have used chemistry as a stepping stone to other professional careers such as law, software design and accountancy.    

This is a quick paced course with a steep learning curve so be prepared to be challenged! The mathematics content requires application of existing GCSE skills in a scientific context, hence we need students to enter with strong mathematical depth.    

BTEC Level 3 in National Applied Science

Choosing to study for a BTEC Level 3 National Applied Science qualification is a great decision to make for lots of reasons. Employers are looking for well qualified people to work within the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. The applied sciences offer a wide variety of careers, such as: 

• Forensic scientist 

• Drug researcher 

• Medical physics technician 

• Science technician and many more. 

The BTEC course will sharpen your skills, both academic and practical, for employment or further study. The course has been developed in the science sector to focus on giving students the opportunity to acquire technical and employability skills.   It is primarily designed to lead into employment or can support applications into careers such as nursing, engineering apprenticeships or university degree courses such as food science. Former students have moved into dental nursing, medical practice management, and even primary school teaching.     

This two-year course comprises of four units. 58% of the course is examined, with the remaining being coursework-based.  For this course you must be committed to your learning both inside and outside the classroom. You need to be interested and enthusiastic about how science is used in the workplace and be able to work to deadlines.

English Language

A-level  English Language offers opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by engaging creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses. Students will create texts and reflect critically on their own processes of production, while analysing texts produced by others.

The specification explores the study of English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, debate different views, and work independently to research aspects of language in use. Language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition. The study of language as a symbolic system used to assert power in society is also fundamental to the scope of this specification. 

The methods of analysis appropriate to the fields of English language/linguistics underpin all the elements of this specification, and these are applied to distinctive topic areas. There is also scope for students to pursue their own independent lines of enquiry and topics for writing, with support from their teachers, in the non-exam assessment. They will study a range of topics, starting with language basics and moving on to exploring different varieties of language. In their final year, students will explore specialised areas such a Children’s Language Acquisition and Historical Language Change.  

The route you take will be tailored to your personal needs and discussed in progression interviews during the first term of the course. Students with a real passion for English can take both English Language and English Literature to give two A levels in the subject.

English Literature

In Literature students will follow the AQA English Literature B course, which offers the opportunity to delve into a range of famous and popular literary texts from the 16th to 21st centuries. In Year 12 students follow Aspects of Tragedy, studying King Lear (1605), Death of a Salesman (1949) and John Keats 1795-1821. In Year 13 students move on to Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing which includes study of The Kite Runner (2004), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and the work of William Blake 1757-1827. 

 in Year 13, students complete a non-examined assessment (coursework) on two texts of their choice. For which they will select the question based on a range of literary criticism techniques they will have studied in Year 12.  

Students will also learn how to construct, present and offer an academic argument through the development of essay-writing skills, which will be of crucial importance in later study at university level.  

English Literature is highly valued by universities during the application process.  

French

Competence in French can help you standout in the workplace with both British and European companies actively recruiting competent linguists.

French A-Level is a linear course with three examinations at the end of Year 13. The course has three core strands:

  • Social Issues and Trends
  • Political and Artistic Culture
  • Grammar

Students continue to develop the language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. These are learned through the study of varied topics including:

  • Features of a Diverse Society,
  • Life for the Marginalised
  • Treatment of Criminals
  • Political Engagement of Young
  • People, the Role of Demonstrations
  • Strikes & Politics and Immigration

Students also closely study both a film and a piece of French literature. They are expected to translate in and out of French,  write essays and speak fluently about a range of topics and current issues. Students are expected to achieve Grade 6 in GCSE French to progress onto this course.

Geography

A-Level Geography can lead to amazing careers in the travel business, conservation, pollution and risk analysis, flood management and planning. It can also help to prepare you for senior management positions in numerous sectors. The wide range of transferable skills makes Geography one of the most-employable graduate degrees. 

Topics studied include: Coastal Systems and Landscape Contemporary Urban Environments Carbon and Water Cycles Global Systems and Global Governance Students learn from real examples with a commitment to fieldwork that means students spend at least four days outside the classroom in nearby locations and further afield.

The fieldwork is a vital part of the course. It equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to conduct the independent investigations that account for 20% of their final grade. This investigation will be on a topic that personally interests them and is related to the units we study. The other 80% will be comprised of marks from two examinations at the end of Year 13.

History

A-Level History gives students the knowledge and skills required not only in Higher Education but also useful in their own right and in numerous careers including teaching, journalism, law, social work and public services.

This course has been designed to develop an understanding of the value and significance of world events in the past in order to gain a deeper understanding of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity and of events happening today.

We will study:

  • Britain Transformed, 1918-97. The developments and changes over a broad timescale. The USA Boom, Bust & Recovery 1920-55 covers the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition and the rise of organised crime, the Great Depression.
  • British Experience of Warfare 1790-1918, which examines not only the military aspects of the French Wars, Crimean War, Boer War and WWI but also the political. Social and economic dimensions.
  • There will be a great deal of discussion and debate, in-depth reading and essay writing, examining contentious and sensitive issues which will strengthen your understanding, presentation ability and persuasive argument skills.
  • Coursework is an evaluation of the influence of Martin Luther King and how various contemporaries and historians have interpreted him.

Mathematics

A-Level mathematics is a prestigious and well-respected course that shows strong technical ability, independent learning skills and creative problem solving to prospective Universities or employers. A Level Maths provides a stimulating and challenging course. Throughout, students will develop key employability skills such as problem solving, logical reasoning, communication and resilience. The course itself will increase knowledge and understanding of mathematical techniques, which will in turn, support the study of other A Level subjects.

The structure of the course is a mix of pure (core) mathematics (4 units), and applications of mathematics (2 units). The core units cover topics such as algebra, graphs, calculus and trigonometry. The applied units will include mechanics and statistics. This is a linear course and therefore, there will be no single units; all examinations will be taken at the end of the year.   

Core Maths

Core Maths is a brand new Level 3 qualification enabling students to develop their mathematics to gain UCAS points towards an application to university. The course sits within the A-Level programme and is equivalent to an AS Level qualification.

The course is particularly suitable for those students who may not be considering A-Level Mathematics, but are looking to study the following A-Level subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Business Studies, Psychology or Economics. The course has a more problem-solving approach with real-world maths applications. Some examples include analysis of data, maths for personal finance, statistics and probability.

Another benefit of Core Maths is that some universities have lowered entry requirements given that you achieve a good grade.

Physics

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences, with its ultimate goal being to understand any and all aspects of how our universe, from the apparently simple (e.g. the motion of a dropped object) to the highly complex (e.g. the search for the Higgs Boson at CERN). 

This AQA physics course builds on GCSE topics and includes traditional modules of mechanics, electricity, light and waves. We also look at the latest ideas about sub-atomic particles as well as turning points throughout the history of physics.  Students studying physics A-level have gone onto traditional engineering courses at University as well as computer science and accountancy. Engineering apprenticeships often require A-level physics.  

Physics or Additional Science GCSE with at least Grade 7 is required to study Physics at A-Level, along with Maths GCSE Grade 7. This is due to the significant mathematical components of the course.

WJEC Eduqas A-Level DESIGN TECHNOLOGY

A two-year course that is made up of 50% three-hour written exam (component 1) and 50% coursework – a design and make project (component 2).  

Students have access to well-equipped manufacturing workshops, CAD drawing and modelling software such as google sketch up and 2D design as well as CAM manufacturing facilities such as 3D printers and CNC routing machines.   

Throughout the course, students will develop their knowledge and skills through completion of a range of tasks and workshops throughout year 12 and year 13.  

Component 1:  Students will be tasked to investigate a range of possible contexts to realise and identify problems to solve with a design and make solutions. Students are expected to engage with a live client to create real-world links, solutions and feedback for further development.the project can be tailored to meet the need of the student for further education development or to suit their likes and interests.  

Component 2:   Students will undergo a minimum of two hours of theory study every fortnight to allow for exam content to be covered and delivered.  Students will receive regular homework to support learning and undergo a range of exam practice to develop and improve exam performance.

Level 3 Vocational Qualifications

Cambridge Technical in Business

The BTEC Business Studies course has five units taught over two years. There are two examined units worth around 60% of the total grade with two coursework units worth around 40% of the total grade.

The ‘Exploring business’ unit gives students a broad oversight of major business theories and concepts. ‘Personal and business finance’ and ‘developing a marketing campaign’ offer a more in-depth, specialist insight into how businesses operate. The class selects a further unit of study such as ‘recruitment’ or ‘customer service’.

There is an opportunity to complete a work experience unit for students to get real-life insight into how businesses operate.

Fashion

This BTEC Level 3 Nationals Art & Design qualification is a two-year course that takes a unit-by-unit approach and uses a combination of assessment styles. This gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and apply your knowledge in an appropriate, work-related context. It also provides evidence of what you can do when you apply to enter higher education or employment, possibly in the creative industries.

Students have access to a range of materials and processes as well as a printing press, sewing machines, a knitting machine, digital SLR cameras, Photoshop and a photography studio. Throughout the course, you will be able to experience visits to The Baltic, The Hatton and The Laing Gallery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There are also visits to suitable locations for students to complete workshops and research their chosen theme.

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Art & Design we offer is equivalent in size to one A-Level. It is made up of four units, of which three are mandatory and two are external. Mandatory content (83%). External assessment (58%).

The units we complete here at JCSC are:

  • Unit 1 – Visual Recording & Communication – Mandatory / Externally assessed
  • Unit 2 – Critical & Contextual Studies in Art & Design – Mandatory / Externally assessed
  • Unit 3 – The Creative Process – Mandatory
  • Unit 14 – Textiles Materials, Techniques & Processes – Optional or
  • Unit 15 – Fashion Materials, Techniques & Processes – Optional

Learners develop Fashion & Textile projects and gain an understanding of the creative process. They study visual recording and communication, as well as critical analysis and production skills to produce fashion and textile outcomes.

Health and Social Care

This course prepares the student to meet the challenging needs of the care sectors, as well as prepare them for the challenges they could face in higher education or employment. Students choose a pathway based on career aspiration. The pathways consist of Working with Children and Young People, Social Care and Support or Health Science and the units of work studied are then specific to the pathway chosen. 

The A-level has six units with three exams and three pieces of coursework. 

  • Coursework – Unit 1 – Building relationships
  • Unit 13 – Sexual Health Unit 24 – Public Health Exams
  • Unit 2 Equality and Diversity 
  •  Unit 3 – Health and Safety 
  • Unit 4- Anatomy and Physiology.

JCSC has links with local care homes for visits and practical coursework.

This is a varied and interesting course. Students will learn about dissection and how to carry out physiologcal tests such as heart rate, blood pressure, BMI, and measuring peak flow.  Course leavers go on to careers in nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, and public services.

The course is available at AS-level, comprising of three units. Two are examined with one piece of coursework. The A-level has six units with four exams and two pieces of coursework.

Cambridge Technical in IT

Students develop their IT knowledge and understanding by applying the skills they learn to business-related contexts.

This vocational qualification is broken down into two parts. The first part is a Technical Certificate in IT (equivalent to an AS level qualification). The second section of the qualification (taken in Year 13) is called the Extended Certificate in IT, equivalent to an A-level. There are three examined units and two centre-assessed ones. Each unit is graded Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction Star.

Exam Units are: Fundamentals of IT, Global Information and Cyber Security .

Coursework Units

Project Management This unit will provide you with the opportunity to understand and use various project planning skills and techniques, thereby enabling you to become more effective in the workplace.

Internet of Everything This unit is about the use of the internet and how it is impacting people and society. You will learn about the Internet of Everything (IoE) and how it is used. Using your knowledge, you will carry out a feasibility study for a potential idea. You will pitch your idea to potential stakeholders and use their feedback to revise your proposal.

Students have used the skills gained in this qualification to study computing, games design, system analysists and due to the flexible skills that students develop in IT these can be applied to a wide range of other qualifications. 

Food

This course builds on GCSE and is an opportunity to study the theory and practical side of food. It looks at materials and components, food science, and aspects of industrial and commercial practice. It also includes a project in the form of coursework. This course not only links to careers in the immediate food industry but also sports, nutrition, dietetics, food hygiene and environmental health. 

Students wishing to take this course should have Grade 5 in GCSE Food Technology. 

Cambridge Technical in Sport and Physical Activity

This Level 3 Cambridge Technical provides opportunities to develop skills demanded by employers and prepares students for progression to higher education. You can take a one year AS Certificate, two year A-level Extended Certificate, or a double A-level, which is known as Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma. The course combines compulsory and optional units some of which are assessed by an externally set exam. There are also some centre-assessed, coursework units. 

Compulsory units are: investigating human body systems, sports coaching, sports organisation.

Optional units include: performance analysis, sports psychology, sports nutrition, sports injury and rehabilitation.

There are opportunities for students to complete a coaching qualification with Northumberland Sport. Students can gain experience as a sports coach and complete employer-based learning. The progression rate to degree level sports courses is high.

GCSE English

Obtaining a Grade 4 at the equivalent of GCSE English is one of the most important factors for future study and career prospects. All students who do not achieve a Grade 4 in Year 11 are expected to complete this course if they wish to remain at JCSC in Years 12 and 13.

GCSE Mathematics

Holding a Grade 4 or above at GCSE Mathematics is a key measure referenced by any prospective employer. Students who do not achieve Grade 4 at GCSE Level in Year 11 must improve this by studying this one year linear GCSE Mathematics course, with the majority of students taking their exams in the following Summer.

EPQ at JCSC

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an exciting opportunity for students to take charge of their own learning. It is designed to contrast the normal experience of studying in the A Level classroom. The student picks the subject focus based on their own interests. The end product can also be chosen by them. It could be:

  • ‘traditional’ academic report (5,000 words)
  • an artefact
  • a film
  • a concert
  • a painting
  • a website – accompanied by a written report (1,000+ words)

The process of planning, researching, recording and reviewing is deemed just as important as the result, so roughly half the marks available are awarded for the process and half the marks for the finished project. The EPQ is a standalone qualification.

Students have timetabled sessions in which they are taught key skills, ranging from note-taking and time management, to referencing and presentation skills. These are then implemented in their own projects.

Students are also assigned a teacher-supervisor to provide support throughout the project. As this is an independent project, it is not the role of that member of staff to teach any of the subject matter within the student’s choice of project. The role is one of facilitator and advisor.

The EPQ requires candidates to identify, design, plan, manage and complete a project that is independent of any of their A-level subject content. Candidates will have to problem solve and think creatively as well as evaluate their learning and present their findings to an audience. This will usually be composed of parents, teachers, governors and their peers.

Our students tell us that completing the EPQ is a very rewarding experience and we know it is also seen as an attractive addition to UCAS applications. To succeed in the Extended Project will indicate to universities that the individual in question is an independent learner, an essential quality for success as an undergraduate and in the world of work. A successful project will also mean that the student will be able to talk with some real expertise about their chosen subject matter if called for interview at the universities of their choice.


“We welcome the Extended Project and would encourage applicants to undertake one as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.”

University of Cambridge:
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