The Biology department offers GCSE, A Level and International Baccalaureate courses. The staff have a wide experience of travel, organising expeditions and “biology in the real world”.
The department is well equipped, with an expanding equipment resource. We have links with several universities and expect high standards from our students and from ourselves.
At GCSE we follow the AQA syllabus. This is a standalone GCSE that is taken with AQA Physics and AQA Chemistry. You will study a wide range of biology, including, among other topics, human biology, classification, evolution, genetics, microbiology, transport systems and nutrition in plants and animals, health and disease, ecology, biochemistry and biotechnology.
Practical work is embedded into the syllabus to enhance understanding of each topic, and develop a range of practical skills. This GCSE is a very good preparation for the A Level and IB Biology courses. During the course you will have the opportunity to join in with many extra-curricular biology clubs and activities, including field work and CREST award projects.
We also offer a unique course aimed at students interested in medicine, veterinary science, or dentistry. With increasing demands being placed on aspiring medics, vets and dentists, the Pre-Med programme in Lower Sixth aims to help you understand your chosen vocational profession, and prepare you for the highly competitive application process. To find out more about our Pre-Med course, click here.
In addition to your studies, you will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities and clubs, including CREST, the Nuffield Bursary Scheme, and the International Biology Olympiad. We also run expeditions in the UK, Europe, South America, and, most recently, Ecuador and The Galápagos Islands.
This is a popular department that, over the years, has consistently sought to update and develop the range of courses offered in order to meet the increasingly diverse needs of students. Our department now consists of seven exceptional teachers with a wealth of experience and expertise in business and economics.
In the Senior School, we offer iGCSEs in both Business Studies and Economics.
The iGCSE Business follows the Cambridge syllabus, and the iGCSE Economics follows the Edexcel specification.
Both courses we follow cover all of the topics of the national criteria for the subject, and the textbooks we use have been specifically produced to meet the requirements of the respective iGCSE courses.
The main topics are:
This course provides a foundation in business knowledge that is vital to any entrepreneur, and important to any career.
The main topics are:
This course provides a foundation in economic understanding that forms a strong base for further learning; both within the economics field, or, indeed, in any business/finance related career.
Throughout both courses we would expect pupils to make regular reference to the real world (both domestically and in a global context) and to use information from newspapers and other up-to-date sources. The specification will offer opportunities to develop core ‘key skills’ (IT, Numeracy, Communication) as well as contribute to the understanding of ‘Citizenship’ issues on topics such as the role of the economy and UK relations in Europe.
The courses are taught in an interactive way, using a combination of traditional teaching techniques, technology, interaction and student-led learning. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and to push themselves to a high standard.
In the Sixth Form, students can choose to study A Level Business or Economics, BTEC National Diploma in Business or IB Economics. Pupils explore the ever-changing global economic climate, and the various issues faced by today’s commercial world, through topical and theoretical material, as well as participating in enthusiastic debate.
With a fully refurbished Chemistry Department at their disposal, pupils benefit from excellent facilities in which to explore chemistry to the full. This includes developing their analysis and evaluating skills, and building on their mathematical problem-solving abilities.
All Taunton School pupils study Chemistry until the end of Year 11 as part of the dual award AQA GCSE Combined Science, or as a separate GCSE subject. Chemistry is also a popular choice in the Sixth Form, with as many as 40 to 50 pupils choosing to explore the subject further at pre-university level. Courses offered include A-Level Chemistry or IB Chemistry at Higher or Standard Level.
The AQA GCSE Combined Science and separate Chemistry courses help pupils understand the key role that chemistry plays in the world and their lives. It aims to give a good understanding of the nature of substances, how they react together and an appreciation of how chemistry is relevant in the home and industry. Chemistry is also concerned with how the use of materials to improve our lives can affect the local and global environment. Practical skills and training in how to handle substances safely are emphasised throughout. Students taking Chemistry as part of the dual award Combined Science follow the same course as separate Chemistry, but with reduced content. However, both courses are an ideal foundation for students wanting to study IB or A Level Chemistry.
The OCR Chemistry A Level course aims to give students a challenging, interesting and enjoyable education in the subject at this higher level. It provides an essential foundation for a wide range of university courses, including medicine, physical sciences and biological and environmental sciences, as well as giving a detailed scientific understanding of the nature of matter. The courses are practically based throughout. Assessment for A Level is at the end of the two-year course, through three written exam papers. The course also leads to a standalone chemistry practical qualification known as the practical endorsement. This is common to all A Level Chemistry courses and requires students to demonstrate practical competence over the whole course against a set of criteria covering the full range of practical skills.
IB Chemistry aims to give students a challenging, interesting and enjoyable education in the subject at this level. The Higher Level course provides an essential foundation for a wide range of university courses, including medicine and the physical sciences, while the Standard Level course provides a useful chemical background to courses in biology, physics and geography, as well as being a worthwhile end in itself. The courses are practically based, with an emphasis on developing a good standard of investigative skills. The theoretical side of the course aims to develop the student’s ability to understand the nature of matter. Using a logical approach and the application of mathematics, it is possible to predict and explain the behaviour of materials. The course is completed with an option topic that allows the student to develop their own interests and see how the subject has relevance to biological, environmental or industrial applications. As with all the sciences, chemists contribute to a combined ‘Group 4 Project’ in collaboration with those studying Physics, Biology and Design Technology. The courses are both assessed at the end of the two years through three written exam papers, plus an internally assessed individual practical investigation carried out in the second year of the course.
Covering Latin, Greek and the Classical Civilisation, this GCSE course explores the language, literature and culture of ancient Rome and Greece following OCR’s syllabus.
Classical Civilisation will appeal to any pupils who are attracted to the ancient world, whether that interest stems from mythology, history or literature. The course is open to all, and offers a fascinating range of opportunities. Pupils will need some essay-writing skills but this course is, in itself, a very good way to develop these.
You will learn how to discuss ‘primary source material’, such as wall paintings, graffiti, coins, inscriptions and of course the actual historians who provide the bulk of our evidence. We will study the society, politics and culture of the classical world. Pupils analyse causes, motives and attitudes, and learn to draw comparisons between classical and later times.
Literature is read in translation, and, in line with English or History syllabuses, students will learn to interpret and evaluate their reading, and to fit it into a literary and historical context.
In Year 9, pupils begin to discover the customs, culture and history of the ancient civilisations by covering topics such as Roman entertainment, Greek myths and heroes, Ancient Egypt, the Greek tragedies and the Olympic Games. They also develop their Latin language skills and can study Greek as an additional subject option.
In preparation for GCSEs, pupils continue with their Classical Civilisation studies in Years 10-11. The three modules focus on a wide range of topics including the city of Rome and life in Sparta, as well as relevant literature such as Homer’s Odyssey. Latin studies concentrate on developing grammar and language skills, whilst Greek studies focus on aspects of the culture and the language.
The final examination includes two components:
A Thematic Study: one unit chosen from Myth and religion or Women in the ancient world. Both of these involve a comparative study of ancient Greece and Rome, and combine literary and visual/material sources.
Literature and Culture: one unit chosen from The Homeric World, Roman City Life or War and Warfare. All of these contain two elements: one in-depth cultural study, and one study of related literature.
In the Sixth Form, pupils can study Latin at A Level or IB, and Classical Civilisation at A-Level. During their studies, they will continue to build on their Latin and Greek linguistic skills and continue their exploration of the life and culture of ancient civilisations through the study of ancient authors and literary texts.
Pupils are also encouraged to enrich their studies by attending fun and informative talks given by visiting university lecturers, as well as immersing themselves in literary classics, and watching the many televised dramas and Hollywood blockbusters that feature the Classical World.
We live in a digital age, with computers playing a role in almost every major aspect of life. The use of computers is transforming society, and students studying computer science are at the heart of this change.
Computer Science is an incredibly diverse subject that opens up a vast world of possibilities, including the study of robotics, cryptology, data analysis, data modelling and computer games design. Computer Science at Taunton School enables students to develop an interest in computing, problem solving and computational thinking, as well as allowing students to gain confidence in programming and application development. Students at Taunton School develop an understanding of the main principles of problem-solving using computers. They apply their understanding to develop computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and high-level programming language. They also develop a range of technical skills, as well as the ability to test, document and evaluate computing solutions. Taunton School is currently the only local independent school offering both iGCSE and A Level Computer Science courses. We also offer both a popular co-curricular program of activities and a thriving scholars program.
Taunton School also offers 13+ and Sixth Form scholarships in Computer Science. For more information, please visit the Scholarship page on the website.
During the transition from Prep to Senior School, the Year 9-11 curriculum covers the core subjects, which are Art, Biology, Chemistry, English, Geography, History, Physics, Religious Studies, Computing and ICT, Maths, PSHEE and PE. One modern foreign language from German, French or Spanish must also be studied.
Pupils in Year 9 also choose one subject from each of the additional two study blocks, which include EAL, Extra Maths/English, a second foreign language, Design Technology, Drama, Latin, Classical Civilisation and Music.
In Years 10 and 11, core subjects for GSCE and iGSCE include English Language, English Literature, Maths, Religious Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Modern Foreign Languages.
Pupils are also encouraged to choose at least one Humanities subject, such as Geography or History, and at least one Creative Arts subject, such as Art, Drama, Music or Design Technology.
Other GCSE option subjects include Business, Classical Civilisation, French, German, Computing and ICT, Economics, Latin, PE, Religious Studies and Spanish.
As pupils progress to the Sixth Form, the curriculum offers a wide and varied choice of subjects and courses including A Levels, the IB Diploma and BTECs.
For more information on the Sixth Form qualifications and subject choices view our Sixth Form section.
Unsurprisingly Drama is popular with all ages at Taunton School and its study continues in Year 9, through Years 10 and 11 at GSCE level and into the Sixth Form at A-Level.
With excellent performance areas at their disposal, including a rehearsal room and large, fully equipped theatre and studio, pupils flourish as they explore self-expression, creativity and gain confidence whilst honing their performance skills.
Plus, trips to the theatre and participating in our broad range of school productions, including Informal Dance and Drama Evenings, Parents’ Day, Performing Arts Evenings, the Taunton Music and Drama Festival and the National Schools’ Shakespeare Festival, provide additional opportunities to maximise personal and performance development.
You can expect to take part in:
Students will study AQA Drama GCSE. The emphasis of this new course is on teamwork, whilst allowing for the development of individual interests and skills. Students will have an opportunity to explore a range of Drama experiences through texts, live theatre and performance work. They are encouraged to participate, experience and evaluate.
The course is 60% practical and 40% written exam. The practical component is all about devising drama, the process of creating live drama, performance of scripted and devised drama and a portfolio analysing own work. It is assessed through a devising log and a devised performance. This will be assessed in Year 10 with a chance to re-take in Year 11. There is also a performance of three extracts from one play delivered to an external examiner in term three of Year 11.
The written paper is taken at the end of the course and is based on texts studied and performance seen.
In the Sixth Form, students can go on to study Drama and Theatre Studies at A-Level.
Taunton School offers 13+ and Sixth Form scholarships in Drama. For more information, please visit the Scholarship page on the website.
Centrally located within the heart of the school, the Design and Technology department provides a safe and happy space for pupils to develop a well-rounded education in subject. Students follow a challenging curriculum that is designed to nurture their intrigue in the variety of modern topics that contributes to a world class holistic education. The curriculum in place aims to inspire the next generation of design thinkers, and problem solvers to develop new interests and discover new strengths in the subject area.
The department has an open-door policy for students to take advantage of. Design and Technology runs a number of co-curricular clubs throughout the week for all students. These are very much part of the department, and a chance to explore alternative areas of technology.
We have outstanding facilities which comprise of:
This workshop is divided into five rooms: staff preparation area, metal fabrication and heat treatment area, spray booth, pupil’s store and a multimedia manufacturing space. Equipment includes: 8 x woodworking benches, 2 x metal work benches, circular saw, radial arm saw, planer-thicknesser, 2 x Startrite bandsaws, Slip Roller 2.3m industrial spray booth with drying facility, vacuum forming machine, plastic dip coating machine, strip heater, convection oven, shot blasting unit, 2 x union graduate wood lathes, 3 x metal centre lathes, milling machine, 1 x Boxford pillar drill, 1 x Harrison / Colchester metal centre lathe, sheet metal fabrication equipment, 1.6m metal guillotine, mortising machine, abrasive disc sander, abrasive belt sander, 1 x scroll saw, polishing wheels, CNC plasma cutter, double brazing heath with forge, MIG Welder, TIG welder,, resistance welder (Spot), oxy-acetylene brazing, electronics / soldering equipment and numerous hand / fabrication tools. Donaldson Torit high capacity externally located extraction unit (wood dust) and a separate Donaldson fume extractor with spark arrestors and carbon filter.
Equipment includes: 5 x large woodworking benches, 2 x large metalwork benches, 2 x Startrite 351SB Bandsaws, 1 x Boxford pillar drill, MACC TE250 Metal Chopsaw with coolant, Denford 2600 Router, JET oscillating spindle sander, JET 300mm Abrasive Disc Sander, Sublimation printing facilities, Boxford 250PCi CNC lathe, Oscillating vertical or horizontal abrasive belt sander, table mounted inverted trend router, numerous hand / fabrication tools. Design breakout table, ESTA high capacity externally located extraction unit fitted with 120mm multi-position extraction hood and workshop cleaning kit.
Dimension 1200es 3D Printer, Denford 2600 Router, Boxford 250PCi CNC lathe, Boxford 300VMCi CNC Milling Machine, 1 x A0 size CO² 100W laser cutter and 1 x A2 size CO² 40W Laser Cutting Machine, Wizard CNC PLASMAWIZ 44 CNC Plasma Cutter, XJ1224 8’ x 4’ CNC Router CAMM-1 GX24 vinyl cutting machine plus full AVA facilities, sublimation printing.
17 x Dual Core Dell Optiplex 745 PC’s with 17” LCD Displays (Software includes: Autodesk Fusion 360, Adobe CS5 Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat Professional. Techsoft 2D Design v2.09, MS Office, and Netsupport v9.0), Ultimaker 2+, Ultimaker Original, Bee in school 3D printer, Genie board, A3 CMYK colour laser printer and scanner, 2.2m Octagonal graphics and discussion table.
17 x Dual Core Dell Optiplex 745 PC’s with 17” LCD Displays (Software includes: Autodesk Fusion 360, Adobe CS5 Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat Professional. Techsoft 2D Design v2.09, MS Office, and Netsupport v9.0), Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer, Genie board, Canon plotter, A3 CMYK colour laser printer and scanner, 2.2m Octagonal graphics and discussion table.
15 x Dual Core Dell Optiplex 745 PC’s with 17” LCD Displays (Software includes: Autodesk Fusion 360, Adobe CS5 Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat Professional. Techsoft 2D Design v2.09, MS Office, and Netsupport v9.0), and 1 Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer.
Colour printing up to A3 (AVA Room) in size and a Sony SLR digital camera are available along with full audio visual facilities. A staff timber preparation area contains a circular saw, bandsaw, radial arm saw, and planer thicknesser. An appropriate range of hand and power tools are available.
Taunton School offers 13+ and Sixth Form scholarships in Design Technology. For more information, please visit the Scholarship page on the website.
The EAL Department offers comprehensive, expert support via small-group- and 1-1 tutorials, and delivers a wide variety of curriculum lessons to international pupils across all three Key Stages, as follows:
Pupils in Year 9 have four lessons per week and continue to develop their skills across the four cornerstones of English literacy: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The focus is on building these skills to (CEFR) B2 level; this provides suitable preparation for the IGCSE ESL course whilst also helping students develop both interpersonal language skills and academic language and structures that will benefit them across the curriculum. At the end of the year, all students will take the First for Schools examination, which is part of the UCLES English Second Language suite of examinations. This examination provides a fully accredited and externally endorsed certificate of results, which identifies the student’s English language proficiency across the four aforementioned skills.
Students in Key Stage 4 follow the 2-year EdExcel IGCSE English as a Second Language (ESL) examination course. This course builds on the firm foundations laid in Year 9. The ESL is not an optional subject at KS4, unless a student has been studying an MFL in Year 9 but wishes to change and instead study ‘ESL’ in Years 10 and 11. It is normally studied alongside the separate First Language English (Language & Literature) IGCSE course (taught in the English department).
In the 6th form, students study the IB English B course at both Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL). The course develops skills across all four key areas whilst challenging students to fulfil their responsibilities as IB learners and explore a range of interesting and relevant topics and issues. Many of the students choose to write their Extended Essay in English. The course is fully integrated into the IB programme in Years 12 and 13.
Some students (those studying A-Levels of BTEC courses) are also required to attend weekly lessons in order to prepare themselves for the rigorous IELTS examination.
The English Department is dedicated to helping its pupils develop a passionate interest in English Language and Literature. Reading lies at the heart of the curriculum and we are committed to ensuring that each pupil becomes an independent, enthusiastic and critical reader of literary, non-literary and media texts. We aim to enable pupils to express themselves clearly, accurately and confidently both orally and in their writing. Above all, our aim is to instil in our pupils a lifelong love of the written word.
The Year 9 course of study follows the broad requirements of the National Curriculum, with particular focus being directed towards the teaching of literature. All sets study a Shakespeare text, with the remaining curriculum time given to the study of both pre-1900 and post- 1900 writers. In Year 9, pupils develop their creative and functional writing skills through the production of narrative, descriptive and argumentative responses.
At GCSE, students study the Cambridge (CIE) specifications for both English Language and Literature. This is a challenging and traditional examination, which prepares pupils successfully for Sixth Form study.
At A-Level, the AQA Lit B syllabus is followed. The Department makes a leading contribution to the school’s IB programme, teaching A1 English Literature and A1 English Literature and Language to a significant proportion of the IB cohort each year.
All pupils are encouraged to deepen their interest in the subject outside of formal lessons. The Department runs a number of popular extra-curricular events, including a creative writing group, a Sixth Form lecture society and regular poetry and prose writing competitions. Regular theatre trips are organised to Stratford, Bath and beyond.
Art lets you see the world in colour and in 3D. It is a gateway to the soul. It unlocks part of everybody’s humanity and enriches our lives. Thus, we believe everybody can benefit from studying Art.
We offer a variety of Fine Art courses for Years 9-13. The term ‘Fine Art’ refers to an art form practised mainly for its aesthetic value and beauty (i.e. “art for art’s sake”) rather than its functional value. The purity of this approach enables our students to explore the widest possible range of ideas, materials, techniques and artistic disciplines (e.g. drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media and digital art). The diversity afforded by trips with students drawing and painting on location and visiting museums and galleries, plays a fundamental role in the creation of highly personal portfolios; this in turn helps students to secure places at the most prestigious Art schools both here and abroad.
Our co-curricular activities include Art clubs, master classes, scholar sessions and individual tutorials. They challenge the students practically, theoretically and personally whilst also leaving plenty of room for fun and creativity. Who knows: the next Frida Kahlo, Barbara Hepworth or Grayson Perry might emerge from the art studios of Taunton School.
People and planet, processes and issues, patterns and trends, cause and effect, what lies beneath and what is happening above, the giving and the taking; all of these embody what Geography is, why it is such an important subject and why it is such a popular choice here at Taunton School.
Whether it is the evaluation of an issue, a group presentation as part of the Global Perspectives course at GCSE, the writing of an independent investigation at A Level, or conducting near undergraduate level research for an Extended Essay at IB, Geography will take you places, and teach you many concepts that you won’t forget. Fieldwork will be carried out along the way from the urban (Bristol) to the rural (South Devon coast) and from the local (Porlock Bay, Somerset) to the global (the world is our oyster!). Our Geography Department consists of four eager, talented, highly qualified and personable individuals.
At GCSE we offer two courses: AQA Geography and Cambridge IGCSE Global Perspectives. In the Sixth Form two Geography pathways are available namely A Level (OCR) and IB Higher Level and Standard Level (International Baccalaureate).
The fun does not end in the classroom as out of it we run a book group (have you read ‘Prisoners of Geography?’) and a Geography Society (GeogSoc) which publishes a termly journal (the GSJ).
Henry Ford said that ‘all history is more or less bunk.’ He may have known a lot about the production line but here Mr. Ford was himself talking bunk. Without an understanding of the past, how can anyone comprehend the present or make informed decisions which will affect the future? As Arthur Marwick sagely observed, ‘A society without a history is like a man without a memory.’
History is multi dimensional and rainbow coloured. Again, disappointing for Henry who declared of his Model T, ‘you can have any colour you like as long as it’s black’. History can be examined through various prisms: the social, political, economic, cultural and many others. It plays an essential role in helping us realise what it means to be human.
At Taunton School we achieve enviable GCSE, AL and IB results in History; moreover, the Department has an unrivalled record when it comes to Oxbridge. But what matters most is that we help mould sentient, thoughtful and reflective young people, able to consider events and developments of the past in order better to understand the fast changing world around them. The history which we teach provides signposts and assists with their decision making. We strive to cultivate independent minds able to chart an enlightened course through the choppy waters of the 21st Century.
The History Department has four dynamic and experienced full-time members with a broad range of expertise. The Department houses an excellent library which is exceptionally well-resourced.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is an integral part of the world we live in and consequently plays a key role in the education of all Taunton School students. In line with today’s continuously evolving technology, students cover a wide curriculum which aims to encourage the exploration and study of ICT in a variety of contexts: home, community, business, industry, recreation and education. In any given situation, students will be given the opportunity to acquire competence, ability and critical skills through the implementation, use and evaluation of a range of ICT systems which develops students interest in, enjoyment of, and critical reflections about ICT as an integral part of modern society. Much of the ICT process actually relies on creativity and problem-solving. This field provides students with the unique opportunity to use the skills they have developed to come up with innovative solutions to problems faced by the ever changing world around them. Taunton school is currently the only local independent school offering both iGCSE and A Level Information Technology courses and also offers both a popular co-curricular program of activities and a thriving scholars program.
This exciting subject enables pupils to get a real taste of life in ancient Roman Britain through the exploration of the language, literature and culture.
Pupils follow the WJEC Level 2 Certificates in Latin Language and Latin Literature. The syllabus we follow builds on the Cambridge Latin Course, but there is no reason why pupils who have studied a different textbook should be at any disadvantage.
Latin teaches you to think, to analyse and to be succinct. The literature is fantastic and you will learn more about the Roman world. Talk to a current pupil or the teachers to get a stronger flavour of what is on offer. These are approachable courses which provide a strong foundation for further study but are an excellent addition to any CV!
Year 9 sees Senior pupils continuing to develop their Latin language skills. In Year 10 we continue with Unit 4 of the Cambridge Latin Course which focuses on Rome under the Empire. We also use a range of other textbooks and learn about many of the famous episodes in the history of Rome and the most famous myths they shared with the Greeks: Horatius defending the bridge, the geese who save the Capitol, Romulus, Remus, Theseus, Hercules and many more. We begin to study literature in Year 10 and continue this into Year 11.
This course leads to two Level 2 qualifications, in Latin Language and in Latin Literature. The WJEC Certificates are full GCSE equivalents with the same status as IGCSEs. You will take four units: two for Language and two for Literature.
The Core Language paper uses the grammar from the first three books of the Cambridge Latin Course, plus a few extra topics. The grammar for the Additional Language paper is taught during Years 10 and 11. You will study two literature texts, one verse and one prose. The option for Controlled Assessment gives us the opportunity to be very flexible with the choice of text and this can be tailored to the class’s specific interests.
The educational journey continues in the Sixth Form with A Level and IB Latin, designed to deliver a deeper learning and understanding of the Latin language through the study of ancient authors and literary texts.
Mathematics has a central role to play in any academic study. The skills developed through the study of Mathematics are not just relevant to studies of the Sciences, or Business Studies and Economics. It also helps to develop logical reasoning and methodical habits which are important to the study of any subject.
For some, the study of Mathematics will be a matter of developing skills and techniques they can take to their other studies. But for others the study of mathematics at school will begin a life long passion with a subject which offers absolute certainty.
Mathematics at its core is an exploration of the limits of the logic. Starting from a very small set of initial assumptions it is possible to derive all the mathematics currently known through the strict application of logic!
As a department, it is our hope that our students will come to find some of the beauty and joy we find in the study of Mathematics for themselves.
At Taunton School, we follow the Edexcel iGCSE course. We divide our pupils into sets by ability, with typically six sets in each year. All sets work towards the iGCSE Higher syllabus, although some pupils may be entered for the foundation tier examination if we and they think that this will give them a better chance of achieving a grade 5.
The iGCSE is an interesting and challenging course that suits our most able pupils, and provides excellent preparation for further study of mathematics in the Sixth Form whether studying A-Levels or the IB. The iGCSE syllabus also has some advantages for the less mathematically inclined as it consists of two calculator papers meaning those students whose numerical skills are weaker are not disadvantaged. The highest possible grade is a 9 at higher tier. The top sets would be expected to study for Level 3 Edexcel Algebra in Year 10 which supports the iGCSE in Year 11. This course provides a stimulating introduction to post-iGCSE mathematics and is an excellent foretaste of higher mathematics.
The iGCSE course covers Algebra including equations, formulae and identities; Number including number systems, calculations and solving numerical problems; Shape & Space including geometry and vectors and Data Handling including statistics, with over half of the course being related to the study of algebra. Key additional topics in the iGCSE include the study of elementary Calculus, Set Theory and Functions.
The iGCSE course offers a course which is very highly regarded by universities and employers, whilst also being more accessible to those for whom English is not their first language.
The course is supported through the use of the Longman Edexcel Mathematics for iGCSE textbooks.
Many pupils go on to study Maths in the Sixth Form either as A-Level Maths or Further Maths or IB Maths.
Understanding and nurturing a love and appreciation for other cultures around the world is a key part of the Taunton School education and an important component of the global outlook we seek to nurture. We believe that a in a multilingual world a modern language has enormous benefit to offer all students, regardless of their age, aptitude, their starting point and including those with special educational needs. Being able to understand and engage with real people who speak and use other languages on their own terms is more important than ever. To this end, we are an enthusiastic and forward-thinking department, valuing innovation, dynamism and creativity in our teaching.
We are proud to offer our students a broad range of languages to study across the whole-school pathway, starting with a choice of one of two from French, German or Spanish in Year 9. Students then choose which one or two of their Year 9 languages they will continue with to iGCSE level, where students have enjoyed excellent public exam results.
Beyond iGCSE, our students have an impressive amount of choice available to them to continue their language studies in the sixth form. At A Level we offer French, German and Spanish, and at IB the options are French (B), German (A and B), Spanish (B and ab initio) and Italian (A and ab initio). We are incredibly proud of this wide offering and of the success and enjoyment our students get from their studies.
As a department we place enormous value on the enriching extra-curricular experience of languages and not solely on what happens during timetabled lessons. We realise that there is more to learning a language than an exam syllabus and are enthusiastic in running trips abroad in order to bring the classroom-based learning even more alive. Particularly in the sixth form, we also run enjoyable evening events for linguists.
Our pupils get the opportunity to take part in concerts throughout the year, often performed in the beautiful surroundings of our school chapel.
Pupils embrace music from a very young age at Taunton School and follow a broad and varied curriculum as they develop their musical abilities and master a variety of musical instruments.
Courses available to Senior pupils include, Music GCSE, Music AS and A2, Music IB, as well as Music Technology AS and A2.
Pupils benefit from the expertise and experience of 27 highly qualified visiting music teachers, professional master classes and recitals and often go on to study music at conservatoires, universities and performing arts colleges.
Our Music School comprises of exceptional facilities including a state of the art music studio and technology classroom, dedicated Sixth Form teaching room, percussion studio, chamber music suite, recital room, keyboard room, numerous teaching and practice rooms and provides the perfect platform for budding musicians to explore their capabilities.
And with approximately 40 School concerts and recitals a year, pupils enjoy regular solo and group performing opportunities whilst showcasing their talents to live audiences. Our excellent music venues include The Theatre Foyer, School Chapel and Gwyn Williams Room and provide the perfect stage for performance.
Music GCSE follows the EDEXCEL syllabus. The course comprises of three sections – weighted as performance 30%, Listening and Appraising 40%, Composing 30%.
Pupils will learn to be more aware of what is happening in the music they listen to, hearing the subtleties of rhythm, harmony and instrumentation. The course will broaden musical horizons and improve pupil’s technical knowledge and performing skills.
The core PE curriculum is wide and varied, giving pupils the opportunity to experience many types of physical activity in Years 9-11, including athletics, basketball, badminton, handball, gymnastics, climbing, swimming and volleyball. We also offer an introduction and familiarisation to the Fitness suite, health related fitness and functional movement skills.
PE is offered in Year 10, either as a GCSE or BTEC Award and challenges pupils to reach their full potential, whilst developing the necessary skills required for study at the next level.
At Taunton School we follow the iGCSE syllabus for the full award in Physical Education. The course is divided into two sections: Practical (50%) and Theory (50%).
The Practical element assesses four activities from a wide range of activities. It is important to note that ability in a number of practical sports is vital.
Theory comprises of a study of the factors affecting performance and participation in physical activity:
There is a 1hr and 45 minute written paper comprising of questions from each of the three units of study.
Physical Education at GCSE level has continued to grow in popularity and a large number of students have achieved a consistently high percentage A*-B and pass rate.
For the BTEC Award, we offer the Sport course with 25% exam based and 75% coursework based assessment.
The Fitness for Sport unit is assessed at the end of Year 10 and comprises of 1hr and 15minutes using an onscreen test.
The coursework based assessments are on the following units:
At A Level, pupils follow the Physical Education OCR Syllabus. Topics include Exercise and Sports Physiology, Sports Psychology, Historical Studies, Practical Performance and EAPI.
The A-Level programme consists of 3 examinations contributing 70% of the total marks and the non-examination component contributing the remaining 30%.
We also offer BTEC Sport and Exercise Sciences at Sixth Form, a popular pathway with outstanding achievement rates.
We also offer vocational qualifications in lifeguarding and NGB coaching qualifications in a variety of sports.
Taunton School offers 13+ and Sixth Form scholarships in Sport. For more information, please visit the Scholarship page on the website.
At the end of year 9, students can choose to take RS as a GCSE option. If they do, they will begin the Edexcel Religious Studies IGCSE, where they will continue their study of PRE, and will begin to examine Buddhism.
Choosing the RS Full Course GCSE will mean starting a different course in year 10; the iGCSE Religious Studies. You will then take two exams at the end of year 11.
There will be some overlap in topics between Yr9 work and the new IGCSE course, but a lot of new material too (see next page).
The Physics department at Taunton School is a busy and popular department. Situated on the ground floor of the science block and run by four full-time physicists and one specialist technician, you can often find this area ringing with the sounds of experimental work and investigation.
The department offers both the AQA Combined Science Trilogy course and AQA GCSE Physics but continues to offer breadth in years 12 and 13 with AQA A Level Physics and the IB Diploma Higher and Standard Level courses. All courses are well resourced and the department has been undertaking a renewal and replacement programme of experimental equipment in recent years bringing a more modern and hands-on approach to investigations.
Keen and eager minds are encouraged to further their exploration of science in the various clubs and events that we run. Recent years have seen Space Club, Astronomy Club, Physics Beyond the Syllabus and Engineering Club all being offered and several students have also successfully challenged themselves in the British Physics Olympiad and Challenge tests. With the breadth of expertise in the department encompassing Oceanography, Astrophysics, Physics and Engineering we are happy to adapt our extra-curricular offerings to suit the wishes and demands of the current student cohort.
Personal, Social, Health and Economics Education (PSHEE) is delivered weekly to students in Years 9 – 11. In Years 12 and 13, students cover PSHEE topics during Enrichment.
At Taunton School, we aim to challenge, nurture and inspire students to succeed in a global community. PSHEE underpins everything we do. Our engaging programme covers the Government’s statutory topics through a varied series of lectures, workshops and lessons. In addition, our programme responds to the needs of our students. In every year group, students cover topics ranging from Politics to Sex and Relationships Education. Our primary focus is teaching young people to make good choices, live healthy lives and succeed in their endeavours. Students hear from a number of external speakers. This programme changes every year, but often includes Bob Tait (Drugs Education), Shannon Jones (CSE) and 2BU Somerset (LGBTQ+). Statutory topics are revisited in more depth as students get older and they leave us with the courage, knowledge and skills that they will need in adult life.
Studying human and animal behaviour and the way we experience the world around us are just a few of the areas of exploration covered in A-Level Psychology at Taunton School.
Following the AQA Syllabus and through a series of practical assignments, pupils cover all the major areas of Psychology including social psychology and research methods, biological psychology and individual differences, plus cognitive and developmental psychology.
Students can study Science at GCSE as a Combined Science Trilogy (Double Award Science) or as separate subjects, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
The trilogy incorporates core material from the separate AQA GCSE Physics, Chemistry and Biology courses. This is an ideal course for aspiring scientists who wish to release time to increase the breadth of study as well as for pupils who find science harder or who do not feel that science is likely to be a main focus for them in the Sixth Form. There is a reduction in the amount of material to learn but not the detail that is required.
Less confident pupils may benefit from the availability of foundation level in these exams. The decision about which pupils follow the double award course is made by the science department following summer exams in Year 9, using the accumulated performance data across the whole academic year.
The course is assessed in a linear format by six terminal examinations. This means the papers are sat at the end of Year 11. There are two papers to examine the content of each of the science subjects. The overall grading weights all these papers equally and the double GCSE award will report paired grades on a scale from 1-1 to 9-9. All papers require knowledge of the whole course content and foundation tier entry is available. Strong maths skills are important for high grades.
Studying double award science prepares pupils for entry to IB or A-Level courses.