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Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School Horncastle

Humanities Faculty FAQs

Business Studies

Q. When can students study these subjects?

A. Business Studies and Finance are available from Year 10 onwards. The Business 9-1 course from AQA is an option subject whilst the Certificate in Financial Education from the London Institute of Banking and Finance is taken by those students who take the double award Science course. The Business and Economics courses at A Level are taken in the Sixth Form as options whilst the Certificate in Financial Studies is a one year course taken as an option from the enrichment courses available to Year 12 students although a small number of students take this in Year 13.


Q. What are the entry requirements for these subjects?

A. There is no requirement for students to have studied these subjects previously at any level. Many may not have had the opportunity previously and the GCSE and A level courses are taught recognising this. For A level we do find it advantageous for students to have achieved at least a grade 6 in English and Mathematics due to the extended writing and calculations that they will be asked to do in the examinations.


Q. Who do these courses suit?

A. The GCSE and A level courses ideally suit students who have an interest in the world of business and what is happening in the real world. Economics is more closely linked to the very real decisions that society as a whole has to deal with. Both contain examinations that test written and mathematical skills although the latter is not at a particularly high level including at A level. It is worth noting that the majority of university courses for Economics do require students to have studied A level Mathematics.


Q. Should they be studied alongside certain other subjects?

A. The Business and Economics courses work well with other Humanities subjects where they may be some overlap of material but there are no specific requirements other than the one noted above should a student wish to consider Economics at university. Many business courses at university provide a chance for students to combine their studies with other subjects such as languages, mathematics, engineering and others. The Finance courses are valuable in their own right since they introduce students to important skills and information useful to managing their own affairs when they become more independent.



Q. What topics do you study at Key Stage Three?

A. The Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on the foundation knowledge and skills that students require to both make sense of the World in which they live, but also to equip them for their GCSE studies. One of the initial topics that students study in Year 7 is map skills, which is then revisited through Key Stage 3 in other topics to ensure that the skills are embedded, for instance in the Geographic Information Systems unit during Year 8. The topics are split up to vary between human and physical topics and incremental knowledge and detail is built upon year on year for instance the rivers unit introduces the ideas of the processes that take place in fluvial systems, which is then built upon when students study the coasts topic in Year 9. The content progresses through the Key Stage, with more complex topics of weather and climate and climate change being covered in Year 8. Year 9 students will be covering the level of detail required to support them with the GCSE course. Further details of the Key Stage 3 specification can be found on the school’s website.


Q. Which exam board and topics do you study at GCSE?

A. Key Stage 4 students follow the AQA GCSE specification. Topic selection of the ‘option’ subjects reflects the course content previously covered at Key Stage 3, but also the geographical setting of the school, with a focus on coastal landscapes rather than glacial landscapes. Topic progression is interleaved between human and physical topics, with emphasis in Year 10 on the topics required to support the field trips to urban and coastal settings at the end of Year 10 / start of Year 11. Fieldwork is written up during Year 11 and the final part of the course is the preparation of students for the decision-making exercise that forms part of the Pre-Release documentation. Full details of the exam board specification can be found here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/gcse/geography-8035/specification-at-a-glance


Q. Which exam board and topics do you study for A Level?

A. Key Stage 5 students study the AQA A Level and follow the mandatory topics that are required as part of the course, the optional subjects on Hazards and Contemporary Urban Environments have strong links back to previous work that most students will have covered at GCSE. The focus in Year 12 is on globalisation and changes places for human geography and water and carbon cycles and coasts for physical geography. The topic selection in Year 12 allows for synoptic links to be identified through the course and to support the topics covered in Year 13. Year 13 studies also involve a focus on the NEA to support the write-up of this during the Autumn term. Full details of the exam board specification can be found here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/as-and-a-level/geography-7037/specification-at-a-glance


Q. What field trips do students go on?

A. Year 7 students will undertake a trip out to a local farm towards the end of Year 7 to understand more about the rural landscape that the school is located in. This trip also provides an opportunity to see some of the local flood defences which have recently been constructed to protect Horncastle.

Year 10 students will visit the city of Hull to complement their urban studies and to learn about the techniques used in Human Geography fieldwork.

Year 11 students will visit Skegness to evaluate the success of a variety of coastal management strategies as well as learning about the techniques required for a Physical Geography investigation.

Year 12 students will spend 3 days and 2 nights in North Yorkshire on a Residential Field Trip to complement aspects of their A level studies and to prepare them for the Non-Examined Assessment element of the course. The field trip is based in Whitby and involves a variety of human and physical investigations in the local area.

Year 13 students will spend a day in Lincoln investigating socio-economic factors within the city to complement their Changing Places and Contemporary Urban Environments topics.

In addition use is also made of the school grounds to provide other fieldwork opportunities e.g. to support an ecosystem investigation or investigating microclimates around the school grounds.

Students in Key Stage Four and Key Stage Five are also given the opportunity to participate in overseas residential trips, the school has run numerous trips to Italy and Iceland in recent years.


Q. Do you offer any extra-curricular activities?

A. Key Stage Three students are giving the opportunity to participate in a weekly lunchtime Geography Club. This involves a range of activities and quizzes to further promote students’ interest in the subject.



Q. How much History lesson time do students have each week?

A. KS3 – 3 History lessons per fortnight

KS4 – 5 History lessons per fortnight

KS5 – 11 History lessons per fortnight 


Q. Do you have setting at KS3?

A. No, students study the subjects in their form group.


Q. What Exam Board do you use for GCSE?

A. We use the Edexcel Exam Board.


Q. How is the GCSE course assessed?

A. Three examination papers are sat at the end of Year 11 (see details under Q.3).

There is no assessed coursework element.


Q. What are the entry requirements for A Level History?

A. In order to study A level History you should have obtained at least a grade 6 at GCSE in History.  If you have not been examined in this subject at GCSE you should have obtained a grade 6 or higher in a related discipline such as English Language, English Literature, RS or Geography.



Q. Do you offer GCSE psychology/ can it be taken before A Level?

A. We don’t offer GCSE and there are very few Lincolnshire schools that do.  There is no requirement to have studied psychology prior to studying at A Level.


Q. Do you cover forensic psychology?

A. Unfortunately we don’t.  There are a number topics that link with forensics and it can be something you consider as an EPQ topic.


Q. What are the GCSE requirements for the course?

A. 5 GCSE's are required including Maths, English and Biology


Q. What subject does psychology work well alongside?

A. It fits alongside a range of subjects including English (literature and language), Geography (human geography), RS (philosophy and ethics), Biology (biopsychology), Maths (research methods and statistics), the Arts (understanding behaviour and society) and Film Studies (going beyond the ‘every day’).


Q. Will I do any coursework as part of the course?

A. No.  The assessment for the course is taken at the end of the two years.  There are three, two hour exam papers.


Q. Is there a lot of writing?

A. Yes.  You will be expected to complete three, two hour exams, which include extended answer questions (16 mark questions).


Q. If I want to study medicine, will universities accept psychology as an A Level?

A. Yes.  Many universities do accept psychology.  Please do research specific universities first though to check their entry requirements. 


Religious Studies

Q. Which religions do you study?

A. We study a wide range of worldviews, both religious and secular. During KS3 we offer opportunities to explore major world faiths including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, as well as philosophical, ethical and moral issues and giving students the opportunity to reflect on their own views and opinions.


Q. Does my child have to study RS?

A. In accordance with the 1944 Education Act, parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education lessons and provide alternative suitable work for their children, by special arrangement with the Headteacher. However, we plan our curriculum content and delivery so that this should not be necessary and currently all QEGS students attend their timetabled RS lessons without issue.


Q. How many lessons of RS does a student have?

A. At KS3, students have 3 50-minute lessons per fortnight, the same as other Humanities subjects like History and Geography. At KS4, all students have 2 lessons per fortnight, although those pursuing GCSE courses will have more.


Q. Do you offer GCSE and A level RS?

A. Yes, we offer qualifications in RS at both GCSE (AQA Religious Studies A) and A level (OCR Religious Studies) and have done so for many years.


Q. What can you do with a qualification in RS?

A. Religious Studies is really as much about people as it is about anything else, so it is great for careers that require an understanding of how people think and why they behave as they do. It develops skills of analysis, evaluation, reasoning and argument as well as the communication skills required to express knowledge and opinions in an effective and appropriate way. Such skills would be valuable in virtually any chosen career, and a qualification in RS is regarded as a good academic qualification by employers and admissions tutors alike.