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Below is information in relation to Curriculum at Rivers:



Maths studies at Rivers ESC KS4

All students undertake a baseline assessment upon enrolment to ascertain their current working grade. This will help identify any gaps between what a student has actually mastered and what is expected at their particular grade level, thus supporting future planning and learning. We understand that competence in using arithmetical and mathematical processes plays an important part in giving young people confidence to play a full and effective part in society. The mathematic department’s vision values and aims are parallel to those of the whole school.

Visions and aims:

• to encourage independent learning through scaffolding and support

• to develop essential numeracy skills, including arithmetical skills which allow our young people to participate fully in society

• encourage students to take pride in their progress in mathematical understanding

• to collaborate with stakeholders and encourage positive relationships with parents/carers

Examinations undertaken throughout Yr 10 and Yr 11:



Maths at KS4

KS4 Mathematics Yearly Overview




KS4 English at Rivers ESC

English studies at Rivers ESC KS4 compromises of:

❖ AQA GCSE English language

❖ EDEXCEL and AQA GCSE English literature

❖ AQA GCSE Spoken language endorsement

❖ Pearson Functional skills English – Level one and two

Course Specifications

❖ AQA GCSE (9 -1) English language: Linear course - No coursework – two exams

❖ Speaking and Listening: No longer a percentage of the qualification for the GCSE  Language, this is recorded and certified separately – Pass, Merit or Distinction

❖ AQA GCSE (9 -1) English literature: Linear course - No coursework – two exams


KS4 - Biology

The AQA Biology GCSE curriculum aims to develop, maintain and stimulate learners’ curiosity, interest and enjoyment of biology. 

We study living things and how they react with each other and their environment. 

The course is broken up into seven areas: 

  • Cell Biology 
  • Organ Systems 
  • Infection and Response 
  • Bioenergetics 
  • Homeostasis and Response 
  • Inheritance, Variation and Evolution 
  • Ecology 

The course covers many of the recent advances and issues in science such as genetically modified foods, cloning , IVF treatment , drug testing and immunotherapy for cancer. 

Students experience the subject as a mix of theory and practical work. The course includes 10 required practicals. 

We hope that students begin to develop an understanding of biology in its widest context and to appreciate how it relates to them outside the classroom. 

The GCSE exam comprises of two papers; each 1 hour and 45 minutes long. 

Cambridge Nationals Creative iMedia – Level 1/2


Creative and Digital Media plays an important part in many areas of our everyday lives and is an important part of the UK economy.  There is a demand from employers for an increasingly skilled and technically literate workforce as more and more media products digitally.  Creative iMedia provides pupils with specific and transferable skills and a solid foundation in understanding and applying this subject, whether it is in employment or higher education.

In this course, pupils will be working towards the completion of four units of work.

The first unit is Creative iMedia in the Industry (Unit R093). This is a mandatory paper based exam.

The second unit is creating a Digital Graphic (Unit R094). This is a mandatory coursework-based unit.

The third unit is creating an Interactive Product (Unit R097). This is a mandatory coursework-based unit.




“Every Child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” -Pablo Picasso

The Aims of Art Education

  • To produce creative work, exploring ideas and recording experiences.
  • To become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques.
  • To evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design.
  • To know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Curriculum Intent

  • The intent for our Art Craft and Design curriculum clearly sits within the holistic vision of the school. “At Rivers, we believe that we are here to grow in confidence and show pupils from all backgrounds that art is accessible to all . At Rivers, we believe we are here to develop our natural-given talents”. It is our belief that all students have an entitlement to a creative experience that fully contributes to the well-rounded individual, and in so doing we can enhance aspiration, work within a shared climate of endeavour and a willingness to strive

At KS4 we aim to further develop those skills and work with students in a climate of growing independence. Best practice offers a bespoke and adaptable curriculum for the individual that is co-crafted and co-owned by staff and students. The creative journey to this point clearly equips the individual to look beyond the immediate, and naturally consider their next steps into a possible further education in a creative industry/environment. 

GCSE ART - Pupil Study Support Area
Possible Starting Points/Themes

Pintrest Link
Tate Link
Artnet Link
National Portrait Gallery

Jenny Leo - Art Lead

Food Technology


Throughout this academic year pupils will look at various areas of food nutrition, healthy eating, hygiene (both personal and environmental), malnutrition and the impact of a poor diet. They will also have the opportunity to produce various savouries and sweet dishes and enhance their current cookery skills such as baking, grilling, frying, boiling, simmering as well as preparatory skills including slicing, grating, chopping and peeling. 

They will also partake in a visit to a local Bakery as part of their Carbohydrates module, to see how bread is made and have the opportunity to make their own.

The qualifications that the pupils will complete are:

❖ City and Guilds - Food Safety and Catering - Level 2

❖ BTEC Level 1 and 2 - Food Technology

NCFE Sports Education - Level 2


NCFE Sport - Level 2

This qualification is suitable for learners aged pre-16 and above and is suitable for use within a Study Programme.

It will give leaners the introductory skills to either start a career in sport or progress within employment in the sector. This qualification can also prepare learners for higher or further education and gives a good introduction to the sport vocation.

What is a nested qualification?

This qualification is nested. Qualifications within a nested suite allow learners to be topped up to a qualification that is the same level and subject within the Certificate and Diploma structure. 

Employability Skills


City and Guilds Employability All pupils are entered for a Level 2 City and Guilds Employability certificate.

As part of this qualification; pupils prepare a CV, complete an application form, carry out work experience, visit local colleges and do a range of work-related activities that will prepare them for their next steps after KS4.

BTEC Enterprise - Level 2 Award in work skills


This is a portfolio based course, where pupils research the mind-set and skills of what makes a successful entrepreneur. The pupils compete one unit of work; The Entrepreneurial Mindset. This unit focusses on the attributes of successful entrepreneurs, and learners are encouraged to consider these attributes in terms of their own development. The unit focusses on the ability and capacity all learners have to develop into successful entrepreneurs.

Helpful Links:
Peter Jones - How I Made My Millions

Buzz Animals - Careers Quiz
16 Personalities Quiz
GCSE Bitesize Business Studies

Prince's Trust 

KS4 - City & Guilds Level 1 Award/Certificate

Prince's Trust Achieve Award is personal development course that provides a unique offering for pupils; a practical approach to learning which supports young people to fulfil their potential

The Achieve programme provides an opportunity for pupils to try out new activities, boost their confidence and gain

A recognised qualification.

 As part of the programme, pupils will explore the following:

  • Personal and social development: By working in small groups, pupils are able to meet new people and make new friends
  • Life skills: Through fun and interactive sessions, pupils can learn how to manage money, be healthy and stay safe
  • Active citizenship: Pupils work as part of a team to make a difference to your local community
  • Preparation for work: Create a tip-top CV, practice for future interviews and explore your skills and talents

Personal Development


Personal Development

The course comes under the Employability qualification, and covers all aspects of Personal Health and Social Education, to support students understanding of the world around them. They will explore the risks and issues they, and others may face. Students will cover areas of:

Personal Safety UNIT 410 (3 Credits)

•            To identify what the risks are in social situations and how to avoid such risks looking at our own ‘Personal Safety’

•             Discuss and demonstrate understanding of the risks to young people associate with sexual activity, and how to avoid these risks

•             Identify the signs of grooming, how to avoid it and the support available

•             Understand and identify the signs of Radicalisation and the support available.

•             Understand and identify the signs of Extremism and the support available.

•             Identify ways to minimise risks to different groups (2.1) such as (Children, young adults, older people, vulnerable adults) through discussion

•             State the risks involved when using the internet, especially when using social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, chat rooms, forums, dating sites) (1.5) and the support available (3.1)

•             State the risks involved when using the internet (1.6)  and identify ways to keep identity & personal information safe (2.3) through examining key ideas (GDPR)


Crime and Punishment in society UNIT 445 (3 Credits)

•             To identify why people might offend and the effects on both the offender and the victim

•             Identify support to offenders and victims of crime

•             Understand the history and role of the police force in Britain and both the rights of the police and the suspect

•             To explore the Judicial system and the difference between Magistrate and Crown court

•             To understand the term Democracy and how it works in today’s society; how it affects young people

(Alcohol Awareness Unit 442 – 3 credits)

•             To understand the risks associated with alcohol, be aware of symptoms of alcoholic poisoning and the support available.

(Drug Awareness Unit 444 – 3 credits)

•             To understand the different types of drugs in society; identify the risks associated with the use of drugs, and how to avoid such risks.

Duke of Edinburgh Award


The Duke of Edinburgh Award is designed to stretch and challenge pupils in a variety of areas, the award is run as an extra curricular activity and with assistance from adult Leaders, participants select and set objectives in each of the following areas:

Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community.

Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.

Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests.

Expedition: planning, training for, and completion of an adventurous journey

Pupils can achieve sectional certificates as well as a completed award certificate depending on the amount of work they complete.

Young Health Champions - YHC


The Level 2 Award for Young Health Champions (YHC) is a qualification mapped to a number of frameworks in both education and employment, in order to improve both the learning experience and the future opportunities for those taking part.

Benefits for the pupils:

• Young people are more likely to listen and approach peers for information

• Understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle

• Learn the skills to make healthier choices

• Develop skills for the workplace

• Increased knowledge of the risks of unhealthy  behaviours

• Linked to the key local and national support services

• CV development (for YHCs)

Topics covered:


To achieve the qualification, learners must pass four of the units: the 3 mandatory ones + one optional. It is at level 2 which means it is an equivalent level to GCSE grade A-C.

Unit 1: Principles of health improvement

Unit 2: Research health improvement

Unit 3: Deliver a health improvement message

Unit 4: Understanding alcohol misuse


YHC Home Learning Unit 8



Team Work and Personal Development


The Pearson BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community have been designed

for learners who are working in the community or are looking to work in the community, either in a voluntary capacity or through employment.

These qualifications can be taken alongside training provided within the voluntary sector or within uniformed organisations.

Many who enter the voluntary sector will have had limited success in formal qualifications in the past. These qualifications will allow them to work towards a nationally recognised accredited BTEC qualification alongside training and development in a specific context that they have chosen. It will allow many young people opportunity to progress to level three qualifications and beyond – something they would not otherwise have been able to achieve.

These qualifications have been designed to give learners the opportunity to:

● develop knowledge related to the voluntary sector

● develop skills that are valuable for those working in the community, many of which are the skills valued by employers

● achieve a nationally-recognised Pearson BTEC Level 2 qualification

● develop own personal growth and engagement in learning.

There are three Pearson BTEC Level 2 qualifications in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community the certificate is the qualification that we do:

● Certificate (15 credits)

BTEC Fire and Rescue


The BTEC Level 2 Award is mapped directly to Fire Cadet Award 1 and the BTEC Level 2 Certificate can be achieved by completing Fire Cadet Award 2, with some additional optional units. Learners can expect to study units involving: Teamwork and leadership skills used in the Emergency Services.