Students study a wide range of core and foundation subjects during their time at the school.  Details of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 subjects can be found below.  For the Key Stage 5 curriculum, see our Sixth Form Pages.

Key Stage 3

Students at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) take the following subjects across a two-week timetable:

English: as it is a core subject, all students have 7 hours of English teaching across the fortnight from Years 7 to 9.  

Maths: again, as a core subject, all students receive 7 hours across the fortnight.

English and Maths take the greatest share of time across Years 7 to 9 – for each subject it is only an hour a fortnight less than the full allocation for GCSE.  This reflects the school’s belief that a child’s confidence and competence in these areas will impact on their performance across all other subjects.  It also reflects the importance of these subjects as students transition to education and training post 16.

Science: this core subject has the next highest allocation with 6 hours a fortnight for Years 7, 8, and 9. Students will cover key topics in Physics, Biology and Chemistry to prepare them for the rigours of GCSE study.

Physical Education: all students will have 4 hours of compulsory physical activity across the two week timetable.  3 hours of this is delivered within the PE faculty and focuses on fitness and competitive sporting activities.  The remaining hour a fortnight is delivered within the Performing Arts faculty and addresses the compulsory national curriculum requirement for students to perform dances using advanced techniques in a range of styles and forms.

Religious Education: students receive 1 hour a fortnight of RE teaching.  Under Section 71 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 parents have the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons.  If you do not want your child to study RE, please send a request in writing to gjd@josephrowntree.york.sch.uk

Citizenship is delivered in 1 hour per fortnight.  In addition to its taught hours, the whole school follows a Citizenship programme that takes key themes in each half term and is developed through tutor time “Thoughts for the Week” and through assemblies.

Modern Foreign Languages.  We aim for all students to study a foreign language during their time in Key Stage 3.  This is something that the school views as central to being a citizen in today’s world.  MFL is allocated 5 hours a fortnight in Years 7-9.  In Years 7 and 8 students study French and German side-by-side.  At the end of Year 8 they will go through a departmental option process and then concentrate exclusively on their chosen language in Year 9.  Spanish is offered in Year 9 as an extra curriculum subject taught after school to give students the option to choose it as a GCSE option in Year 10.

History and Geography both have 4 hours a fortnight each.  These will be studied by all students in Years 7 to 9.

The Art and Design faculty includes Resistant Materials, Graphics, Textiles, Art and Food Technology (including nutrition and healthy eating).  In Year 9 this is extended to include Electronics.  These form part of a rotation system that allows students to spend a half term working in each specialism across the year.  Students spend 6 hours a fortnight in the faculty.

Information Technology is delivered across 2 hours a fortnight from Years 7 to 9 and now includes Computer Science units in which students learn programming skills.

The performing arts faculty delivers two key subjects: Drama, Dance and Music.  Music has 2 hours a fortnight across Key Stage 3. Drama and Dance as a combined subject has 2 hours a fortnight within that allocation in which it supports the Speaking and Listening aspect of the English curriculum as well as delivering the Dance component of Physical Education.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, call students follow a core curriculum that makes up 60% of their timetable. The remaining subjects are Option subjects – four GCSEs drawn from the student’s own choice. 

Core subjects: 

All KS4 students follow a Core Curriculum which, over a two-week timetable, includes: 

8 hours of English, leading to one GCSE in English Language and another in English Literature. 

8 hours of Maths, leading to the GCSE. 

10 hours of Science leading to at least two GCSEs. 

3 hours a fortnight of Physical Education – dropping to 2 hours in Year 11.  This is statutory for all learners but not leading to a qualification – students may take Sports Studies as a GCSE option). 

1 hour of Religious Education. For current Year 10 students this will contribute to them achieving the Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders Award (short course).

Citizenship is covered in Year 11 with students following a ‘curriculum for life’ that includes a unit on teenage mental health provided by the University of York, a scheme of work on careers and destinations post-16 as well as money management.  Students will also follow the whole school  the whole school Citizenship programme through tutor time and assemblies. 

Option Subjects: 

In addition to the core curriculum, The Joseph Rowntree School offers a wide range of GCSE Options to all students. The GCSE courses currently taken by students – and that will be offered to the Year 9 cohort in 2014-15 – are: 

  • Art
  • Business Studies
  • Computing
  • Drama
  • Electronics
  • Food Technology
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Graphics
  • History
  • Health and Social Care (double or single award)
  • IT
  • Hair and Beauty (a Level 2 VTEC qualification)
  • Media
  • Music
  • Resistant Materials
  • RE
  • Science – including Core, Core Additional, Triple, and BTEC courses.
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Sports Studies
  • Textiles 

Students select four options to take to GCSE in addition to the core curriculum.  Each option is taught across 5 lessons a fortnight.  

We offer students a free choice of options but make a strong recommendation that they study at least one English Baccalaureate subject (History, Geography, Computer Science, German, French, or Spanish) as an option subject to ensure they maintain variety across their choices.

If you would like more clarity on any of these subject areas, please browse through our subject information pages under the curriculum tab on our website or send an email to gjd@josephrowntree.york.sch.uk where your query will be directed to the appropriate department. 

Many thanks, 

Gareth Davies 

Deputy Headteacher – Curriculum and Teaching