History

We believe that children are naturally curious about the past. This curiosity has been nurtured at Junior School, where most pupils have followed a ‘patch’ syllabus, exploring subjects like the Victorians, the Greeks and Romans, British life in the Second World War, and medieval castles. By the time they reach secondary school, most pupils are ready to begin placing their existing historical knowledge and new topics into the context of chronology.

In Key Stage 3 (11-14) we focus on British History, broadly following the guidelines of the national curriculum but scaling it down in order to go into fewer topics more deeply:

  • Year 7: English medieval history, 1066-1485
  • Year 8: The Tudors and Stuarts, 1485-1660; the early British Empire
  • Year 9: The First World War, 1914-18; the British Empire, including slavery and the slave trade, and British India

In most years work in the classroom is supported by field trips such as Goodrich Castle (Year 7), and Harvington Hall (Year 8). Every other year the Department runs a residential field trip to Belgium and France (Years 10 and 11) to study the battlefields of the First World War. All pupils in these year groups are welcome, whether or not they study History. Various opportunities exist at A Level to attend conferences and visit sites relevant to our syllabus.

At GCSE we follow the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus in Modern World History. At the present time the subjects studied are drawn from the following:

  • The First World War
  • America in the ‘Roaring Twenties’
  • The Russian Revolution
  • The Cold War
  • The Development of 20th Century Warfare
  • The History of Medicine

There is no controlled assessment at IGCSE. This gives the History Department more time to concentrate on exam techniques such as essay writing skills and the use of source material.

At A Level we study various 20th Century topics. A course in British History looks at political, economic and cultural developments from 1905 to 1951 (AS Level) and then from 1951 to 2006 (A2 Level). Beyond the UK we study life in Nazi Germany (AS) and American Civil Rights (A2).

Geography

KS3

Geography is a vibrant and popular subject at St Edward’s. Our lessons focus on current world issues and integrate videos, computers and the Internet to present information in a wide variety of ways. Field work also provides a way of bringing the subject to life. In a typical academic year pupils will not only use the school grounds and the local area for their studies but also get the chance to visit Bristol Harbourside. Trips further afield have included Iceland and Italy.

Topics covered are:

  • Year 7: Atlas and Mapskills. Use of graphs and general fieldskills. Coastal Processes, Climate Change and theme based Environmental Studies.
  • Year 8: Weather and Climate. World Ecosystems. Tropical Rainforests, Deserts, Savanna.
  • Year 9: Natural Hazards. Volcanoes and Earthquakes. River Processes. Case Study of a megacity: Mumbai.

KS4 (GCSE)

The Geography specification looks at the changing world as it happens and enables pupils to develop observation and enquiry skills that give an understanding of different places.  Much emphasis is placed upon the decision-making processes and the resultant consequences upon the whole environment.  It is the process and distribution of various human activities and physical phenomena that give Geography its distinctive character.

Geographical Information systems (GIS) are now playing a significant role in our daily lives, from broadcast journalism to academics.  Its use along with geographical skills has formed an integral part of the new AQA specification and will enable pupils to study Geography in a 21st Century context.

Paper 1 (35%) Living with the physical environment:

Section A- The Challenge of natural hazards.
Section B- Physical landscapes in the UK.
Section C- The living world.

Paper 2 (35%) Challenges in the human environment:

Section A- Urban Issues and challenges.
Section B- The changing economic world
Section C- The challenge of resource management and energy

Paper 3 (30%) Geographical applications:

Section A- Issue Evaluation, pre-release materials will be studied before the exam.
Section B- Fieldwork, pupils will participate in a one day field trip where they will undertake two geographical enquiries which are examined at the end of year 11.

Psychology

Psychology is offered as a Sixth Form subject and has become increasingly popular with many students choosing to study the subject at both AS and A2 level.

The syllabus followed gives students the chance to study a variety of topics. In the Lower Sixth (the AS course) students study six of the main theoretical approaches including cognitive and psychodynamic psychology; they also complete one piece of coursework, which is of an experimental nature.

Some of the students choose to carry out their coursework using the children at the Junior School but there are many other topics available. The requirement is that any research carried out adheres to strict ethical guidelines.

In the Upper Sixth (A2) the students get the chance to look at the ideas they learned in the Lower Sixth in everyday applications. They study criminological psychology, clinical psychology and child psychology as well as more general topics. This gives the students the chance to see how psychology works in real life and also gives those who are thinking of a career in psychology a chance to study more specific topics.

Religious Studies

Religious Studies offers a fascinating insight into many of the fundamental problems of human existence: into questions which people have pondered and discussed throughout history.

  • Why am I here?
  • Is there a God?
  • Why do people suffer?
  • Will I survive my death?
  • How can I live a good life?

A study of the ways in which thinkers from the past have responded to these (and other) questions can help us to find meaning, purpose and a ‘good life’ ourselves. Dealing with such questions is a life-long task, and there is a wealth of resources from philosophical and religious traditions to help us examine them.

As a Catholic school, RS is both part of the School’s overall Spiritual Life and an academic subject in its own right. All students undertake Religious Studies at St Edward’s.

Our school mission statement gives central position to following RS as an academic discipline.

We seek to:

Instil a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith from the Catholic perspective.

Promote a reverence for the human person as created in the image of God. We also seek to instil an understanding of the Gospels and other sacred texts and their application to everyday life, so that love of God and one’s neighbour are the pivotal features in each young person’s life.

Discover our religious heritage and the contributions that faith communities make to 21st Century life.

All pupils in Key Stage 4 follow the Edexcel GCSE Syllabus in RS. This course is a study of the Catholic branch of Christianity, Judaism and a look at Philosophy and Ethics. The course is examined at the end of Year 11.

Religious Studies is offered at A-level in which Philosophy, Ethics and the Developments of Christian Thought are studied.

OCR GCE Religious Studies Specification

This is an increasingly popular option for and reflects the national trend for popularity of the subject at Higher Education. Recent successes demonstrate this, with a good number of past pupils going on to study related subjects at university, for example – Theology at Oxford, Philosophy at Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham and PPE at Warwick.

Enrichment activities

A level students are taken on study days at Oxford University.

Longer field trips are periodically organised: there tend to be biennial trips to Rome and Florence.

Religious Studies – Theology, Philosophy & Ethics

Religious Studies: Theology, Philosophy & Ethics (OCR)

  • UNIT 1: Philosophy of Religion:
  • UNIT 2: Religious Ethics:
  • UNIT 3: Development of Christian thought

Course aims:

Advanced Level Religious Studies aims to develop an understanding of the principle methods by which religions and spirituality are studied. We aim to foster an interest in and enthusiasm for a rigorous study of religion.

Entry requirements:

A minimum of grade 6/7 at GCSE and grade 6/7 in GCSE English are recommended. An ability to write in-depth critical essays is also required. Adherence to a belief system [religion] is not an advantage nor even a requirement.

Assessment:

In Year 13, the A Level examination consists of 3x2hr papers.

Key features:

  • Promotes progression through AS and A Level and provides a suitable foundation for the study of theology and related courses in further and higher education and for employment
  • Encourages the development of independent learning as well as skills of analysis and textual criticism Promotes an awareness of the impact religious philosophy and ethics can have on modern society
  • Uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance research and study skills
  • Develops an understanding of social, moral, spiritual and cultural values

Higher Education:

Theology is one of the fastest growing choices for undergraduate studies. It is highly respected in the world of employment, valued by the public sector and caring professions as well as highly rewarded in the spheres of law, advertising, news/current affairs and media/ communications. A very suitable foundation for ethical reflection especially in the progressive world of scientific/technological advancements.

Sixth Form

History

History (AQA)

  • UNIT 1: Stuart Britain and the Crisis of Monarchy, 1603–1649
  • UNIT 2: Democracy and Nazism: Germany, 1918–1945
  • UNIT 3: Historical Investigation (coursework) on aspects of Black American Civil Rights

The Course:

Advanced GCE History provides an opportunity for students to extend their knowledge of both British and World History and further develop the skills that the subject teaches. Unit 1 focuses on 17th century British History; the civil War, execution of Charles I and the rule of Cromwell. Units 2 and 3 concentrate on more modern history, namely Weimar and Nazi Germany and the quest for Black American Civil Rights from 1865 up to the present day.

To excel in the subject at A Level, students should have a strong interest in the past, an enjoyment of reading and possess good literacy skills, the ability to analyse and evaluate sources and be able to build and develop a well-supported argument.

Entry requirements:

GCSE History provides the most suitable foundation, with a pass at grade B or above a prerequisite for studying the course at A Level. However, if students have not taken GCSE History they may still be considered, depending on their performance in English and other Humanities subjects.

Higher Education:

The skills that A Level History teaches are highly valued by both universities and employers. History students are often cited as being some of the most employable and in-demand students when they leave university. This is because A Level History helps to develop analytical, evaluative, literacy and argumentative skills. These are crucial to a range of careers, such as Journalism, Law, Business, Politics and Education.

Geography

Geography (AQA)

  • Component 1: Physical Geography: 40% of A Level
  • Component 2: Human Geography: 40% of A Level
  • Component 3: Fieldwork Investigation: 20% of A Level

Course Aims:

The course aims to inspire students by the world around them. It will develop and apply their understanding of geographical concepts and processes. Students will become adept in the use and application of skills and new technologies through their studies both in and outside the classroom. Students will improve as critical and reflective learners, who are aware of the importance of attitudes and values, including their own. They will also develop into global citizens who recognise the challenges of sustainability and the implications for their own and others’ lives.

Entry requirements:

For Geography, a GCSE grade B or above in Geography would provide the most suitable foundation.

Key features:

  • Topics include: Changing Places, Water and Carbon Cycles, Global Systems and Global Governance, Hazards, Coastal Systems and Landscapes and Contemporary Urban Environments.
  • A Geographical Investigation – Students will participate in a field trip to Devon in the March of Year 12 and will base their investigation on the data collected.

Higher Education:

Geographers are highly regarded by employers due to the wide range of skills they possess and their ability to analyse and interpret information. The subject relates well to a range of careers from Civil Engineering, Meteorology, Education, Planning, Management, Tourism, Geology to Environmental Consultancy.

Psychology

Psychology (Edexcel)

  • Paper One: Social psychology, Cognitive psychology, Biological psychology, Learning theories
  • Paper Two: Applications of Psychology
  • Paper Three: Psychological Skills

Course aims:

Advanced GCE Psychology aims to give students an insight into how and why people behave in certain ways. It will explain about the links between people’s behaviour and the environment using a number of theoretical approaches. Students will gain grounding in scientific methodology and an understanding of how Psychology can be applied to real life situations. Provide students with a fundamental understanding of theory, concepts and research in Psychology.

The course will introduce students to the different approaches in Psychology and to encourage critical appreciation. It will allow students to develop a capacity for critical thinking and to apply different aspects of the subject and relate them to contemporary issues. Throughout the course, students will create an understanding of the role of Psychology and its scientific nature as well as develop of critical and analytical skills.

Entry requirements:

Students should ideally have a GCSE grade B or above in Mathematics and English. A grade B in GCSE Biology would be useful but is not essential.

Key features:

  • Students study four approaches during Year 12 to gain a foundation in psychology.
  • At A2, students develop their understanding through a choice of applications including criminology, child and clinical psychology.
  • Students develop a holistic understanding of psychology, from considering conflicting and complementary explanations of clinical issues and major debates.
  • A practical focus is embedded into the syllabus including a series of short experiments and tests which allow students to develop an active knowledge of the scientific aspects of psychology.
  • Only students taking the stand-alone AS in Psychology will take the AS examination in Year 12. All other students will take an internal examination.

Higher Education:

Students can follow a degree course in Psychology leading to a career as a qualified Psychologist in several specialist areas including Clinical, Educational and Forensic Psychology. It is also a useful qualification for HE courses such as nursing, human resources, management, teaching and advertising.

Religious Studies – Theology, Philosophy & Ethics

Religious Studies: Theology, Philosophy & Ethics (OCR)

  • UNIT 1: Philosophy of Religion:
  • UNIT 2: Religious Ethics:
  • UNIT 3: Development of Christian thought

Course aims:

Advanced Level Religious Studies aims to develop an understanding of the principle methods by which religions and spirituality are studied. We aim to foster an interest in and enthusiasm for a rigorous study of religion.

Entry requirements:

A minimum of grade B at GCSE and grade B in GCSE English are recommended. An ability to write in-depth critical essays is also required. Adherence to a belief system [religion] is not a requirement or even an advantage.

Assessment:

In Year 13, the A Level examination consists of 2 x 3hr papers.

Key features:

  • Promotes progression through AS and A Level and provides a suitable foundation for the study of theology and related courses in further and higher education and for employment
  • Encourages the development of independent learning as well as skills of analysis and textual criticism Promotes an awareness of the impact religious philosophy and ethics can have on modern society
  • Uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance research and study skills
  • Develops an understanding of social, moral, spiritual and cultural values

Higher Education:

Theology is one of the fastest growing choices for undergraduate studies. It is highly respected in the world of employment, valued by the public sector and caring professions as well as highly rewarded in the spheres of law, advertising, news/current affairs and media/ communications. A very suitable foundation for ethical reflection especially in the progressive world of scientific/technological advancements.