One-Year GCSE Course for International Pupils (Germany only)

Are you aged 15+ and would you like to study at an English boarding school? Would you like to gain 5 GCSE qualifications?

To provide a one year GCSE course for pupils aged 15+ in Year 11, which satisfies the criteria of the German education authorities such that, on completion and with suitable convalidation, the pupils may return to Germany to continue their education without repeating a school year. Pupils on this programme, who remain in Downside School for at least one year, will take a minimum of five GCSEs:

One separate science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics)
Economics (studied as a Humanity)
Two languages from: German, English (either First Language or Second Language), French, Spanish and Latin

We are providing a one year GCSE course for pupils wishing to stay for one whole academic year and be entered for GCSE examinations.

This course would be most suited to academically able pupils because they will have missed half of the GCSE course taught in Year 10. They will need to undertake preparatory work in the months preceding their start so that they are able to make progress and succeed in their final GCSE examinations at the end of Year 11. The pupils and families need to realise that the programme will be academically stretching, given that the course will be completed in a little over two school terms.

GCSE Curriculum
A decision regarding the GCSE examinations, which a pupil will take, will be made after the GCSE mock examinations at the end of the Michaelmas Term. For pupils seeking to return to Germany to continue their education, the decision regarding GCSE examinations will take into account the education requirements of the pupil’s German state. We will recommend that pupils sit GCSE examinations in subjects in which they can succeed and which will benefit their long-term education prospects. It must be clear to the School that the pupil is likely to achieve a minimum of Level 6 (Grade B) in each subject for which they are to be entered at GCSE level.

At Downside, we aim for all pupils to fulfil their learning potential. We will ensure that each pupil receives the support and guidance they need in order to make an informed decision about which combination of subjects they will study.

We envisage most pupils starting in Year 11 will study at least 7 subjects:

German: pupils will not need to attend normal timetabled lessons. Extra lessons will be provided to help pupils prepare for the German GCSE.

Geography, History and Physical Education: the structure of these courses means that it is not possible for a new entrant to start Geography, History and PE at the beginning of Year 11 except in exceptional circumstances.

Option Blocks
The table below shows the option blocks, which will be in place for Year 11 entrants for entry in September 2022.

This table does not include the core curriculum subjects of English, Mathematics, Religious Studies or the Sciences, which are taught outside of the Option Blocks.

Pupils can only opt for one subject in each block. (I.e. one from each column.)A one-year GCSE Economics course will be run for one-year international pupils. We will write to you as soon as the placement of Economics within the timetable has been finalised.

Pupils who do not study a subject in one or more of the option blocks will either have supervised study lessons or English as an Additional Language (EAL) lessons, if required, during those times. The cost of all EAL lessons, whether 1:1 or group, is in addition to the school fees.