Senior Curriculum

On joining Windermere School, students follow a broad curriculum that follows traditional subjects. However, we also engage the natural curiosity and enthusiasm of our students through adventurous learning in our stunning local environment.

We seek to equip students for life in a changing world through a rigorous and balanced academic curriculum that makes the most of our unique environment and membership of Round Square. Our GCSE curriculum is carefully designed to be both challenging and flexible. It allows us to tailor the content and pace of the curriculum to whatever is most appropriate to your child. Delivered by experienced and dedicated staff, our programme of study will guide your children through a series of challenges that develop the skills and confidence needed for academic success. The GCSE Curriculum Guide provides thorough advice and guidance for choosing a Year 10/Year 11 programme which is most suited to your needs.

GCSE/IGCSE Subject Options

All students are encouraged to follow a broad programme of around 9 or 10 courses over Years 10 and 11. We recommend that most students pick 9 courses to allow themselves time for study within the curriculum. Compulsory core subjects are studied over two years, alongside a selection of subjects chosen from option blocks as detailed in the options sheets below. These sheets also detail which subjects are delivered over one or two years.

Year 10 GCSE Option Blocks for Sept 2020

Year 11 Initial Option Form for Sept 2020 entry

Please note that the options currently available may change as students make us aware of their choices. The deadline for the return of the completed option choices sheet is Monday 11 November.

All students in Years 10 and 11 take English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and a Modern Foreign Language (French or Spanish) for examinations at the end of Year 11. Students then choose to follow six additional GCSE subjects (three in Year 10 and three in Year 11); we ask all students to maintain some breadth and balance in their subject choices, so that these choices include at least two sciences and at least one Humanities course. We feel that it is important that students do not close the doors to their future at too early a stage. However, the remaining three choices can be used to add more diversity, or perhaps to specialise towards particular skills or interests. The optional GCSE subjects have double the curriculum time allocated to a core GCSE.  There is flexibility within the option groups to allow students to choose fewer examination subjects and this may ensure a better workload balance for these students. We also offer students the opportunity to study, in conjunction with their IGCSE/GCSE subjects, a BTEC qualification in Outdoor Education.

Options Evening Information:

GCSE Options Presentation 2019

Subject Choices

Art and Design

Students who choose the Art and Design GCSE will develop create and practical skills for communicating and expressing ideas, feelings and meaning in art, craft and design. Students are assessed through a portfolio of work completed throughout the course, along with an externally assessed set task examination

Business Studies

This course is designed to give a broad introduction into the skills and knowledge needed to set up a small business and understand the practices and challenges of larger businesses. The students study a range of concepts in businesses, ranging from small local enterprises to large multinationals. This course is assessed via two 1 hour 30 minute written examinations, containing a mix of multiple choice questions, calculations, short answers and extended written questions based upon business case studies. Students typically progress to study the IBCP or Humanities subjects in the Sixth Form.

Computer Science (Programming – Offered from September 2019)

This carefully planned course gives students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. The fundamentals of computer systems, computing hardware and software, and even designing and writing programs are all covered in this course. Students will use critical thinking and creativity to analyse and solve problems, along with understanding the components that make up digital systems and how they communicate with one another.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Information and Communication Technology is constantly developing in the 21st Century as new technologies are developed and released. The course syllabus encourages responses to those new or emerging technologies to ensure the course remains relevant to this fast-moving environment. Students will learn about the types of computer systems and their components, input and output devices, storage devices and media, computer networks and the ways in which ICT is used. Practical examinations encourage students to use the knowledge and skills gained in practical contexts.

Performing Arts (Drama)

This exciting course promotes involvement in and enjoyment of drama, as performers and/or designers. Additionally, it provides opportunities to attend live theatre performances and to develop skills as informed and thoughtful audience members. In Year 10, students are tasked with creating, developing and performing a piece of devised theatre, using the techniques of a theatre practitioner or genre. They will also perform from a performance text in Year 11, along with completing a written examination, which includes questions on a set text and a live theatre review section, focusing on a live theatre production seen during the course.

Performing Arts at Windermere School

English Language

This subject can either be taken as a two year IGCSE course – for native speakers and international students of a very high proficiency in English, or a one year Pre-IB IGCSE course – for non-native speakers whose English is of a sufficiently high standard. Please note that this is a first language course. Those students whose first language is not English, and who need to develop their fundamental English skills, will take the IGCSE in English as an Additional Language. The students will further develop their reading, writing and speaking skills; participating effectively in classroom discussions, creating imaginative and transactional writing, along with reading and understanding poetry and non-fiction texts. This course is assessed via written coursework and an examination, which both focused on reading and writing proficiency.

English Literature

This is a two year IGCSE course for native speakers and will develop students’ skills in analysing how the language, structure and context of literary texts can create meanings and effects. This course is usually taken in addition to the English Language IGCSE for the majority of native speaking students.

English Language at Windermere School

English as an Additional Language

This course is designed for overseas students whose first language is not English but for whom it is a language of study. The aim is to help overseas pupils improve their English language proficiency to a level where they are able to successfully apply for and be accepted onto a further education course at an English speaking university, apprenticeship or employment of their choice.

Food and Nutrition

The Food and Nutrition course aims to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. The course will cover the skills necessary for food preparation and preservation, along with knowledge about kitchen safety and equipment, kitchen planning and the cooking of food. The course also covers the nutritive value of foods and the composition of foods in the diet, along with the health problems associated with diet. The students learn via both theory and practical lessons to prepare them for the written examination and practical examination.

Food and Nutrition at Winderemere School


The Geography GCSE looks at the inter-relationships between people and their environment. Windermere School is located within a paradise for Geographical study, and students will be given the opportunity to make full use of our world-class resource. Pupils will study a wide range of topics, such as: ‘The Challenges of Natural Hazards’, ‘The Living World’ and ‘The Changing Economic World’. These topics will focus on both the natural and human environment, with a focus on investigative skills.


The History IGCSE looks at major historical figures, changes, and events such as the development of dictatorship in Germany between 1918 and 1945 and the relations between the Superpowers between 1945 and 1962. Students will learn how to critically analyse historical sources and communicate their historical judgements. Assessment for this course is made up of two examinations which test understanding on different historical topics.


The IGCSE Mathematics course enables students to develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematical techniques and concepts, along with giving them the ability to confidently apply these techniques. Students are entered either at Foundation tier or Higher tier, depending on which level is most appropriate for them. The course covers key mathematical concepts such as statistics and probability, geometry, trigonometry, and equations.

Modern Foreign Languages (French and Spanish)

The French and Spanish GCSE courses aim to develop students’ ability to communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers, along with improving their awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries where French and Spanish are spoken. These languages can either be taken at Foundation tier or Higher tier, and the assessment will feature four examinations, assessing Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Topics covered include Culture and Identity, Holiday and Travel, School, Study and Work.


This course focuses on developing candidates’ interest and skills in making music individually and in groups, along with enabling them to evaluate their own and others’ music. Students will study a piece, which is in their capabilities and genre of their choice, in which their instrument plays a significant part. They will study the context of the piece, evaluate the techniques used and the role their instrument plays. This will then lead to a performance of the piece and a composition based upon the techniques they have researched.

Music at Windermere School

Physical Education

This GCSE in Physical Education will equip students with the skills needed to develop and maintain their performance in physical activities. Students will also gain an understanding of how physical activities benefit health, fitness and well-being. The assessment for this GCSE is split into four components: Fitness and Body Systems, Health and Performance, Practical Performance, and the Personal Exercise Programme.

BTEC Level 2 First Award in Sport

This course has been specifically designed to provide an engaging and stimulating introduction to the world of sport. There are four units in this BTEC course: Fitness for Sport and Exercise, Practical Sports Performance, The Sports Performer in Action and Leading Sports Activities. The course content promotes an interest in health and fitness, along with an understanding of sports performance and what makes a successful leader. This course can lead on to the BTEC Level 3 National in Sport, IB Sport and Exercise and Health in Science.

SCIENCE: Biology

The IGCSE in Biology is designed to promote an interest in the Biology, enabling students to understand life around them and teach them to analyse, interpret and evaluate data from experimental methods. The course content includes topics such as: Nature of Variety of Living Organisms, Ecology and the Environment, and Use of Biological Resources. Students will not only learn about biological life, they will learn about the technology used to analyse and understand it. This course is assessed via two written examinations.

SCIENCE: Chemistry

The IGCSE Chemistry course teaches students to conduct accurate experimental work and understand the principles of chemistry. Students will learn about Inorganic and Organic chemistry, along with Physical chemistry. This course is assessed via two written examinations.

Science at Windermere School

SCIENCE: Physics

The IGCSE Physics course will teach students to apply the principles and concepts of physics in a practical manner, using experimental and safe laboratory techniques. Topics in this course include: Forces and Motion, Electricity, Radioactivity and Astrophysics. Students will learn about these fascinating fundamentals of physics and will be assessed via two written examinations.