Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

Subjects studied in year 9

The content below is designed to give a brief summary of the contents of subjects studied in year 9.

The subjects are arranged by the department responsible for their teaching. At the beginning of each group of subjects is the name of the department responsible and the contact details for the director of achievement who will be able to answer any questions about the content of a subject. 

Subjects which are GCSE have the acronym GCSE in their titles. These subjects will be studied into year 10. Where subjects are GCSE, the name of the examining board is included; if you prefer to find details direct from the board responsible for setting the content and examining it, you can find all the details about the subject in the course specification which can be looked up on the website links at the bottom of this page.

Teachers very often adapt teaching plans and strategies in response to progress and therefore it is not always possible to publish in advance exactly what will be taught in each week or month of the course. These details, however, are available from the director of achievement mentioned above. and will be made available free of charge.

English and Media

Core English

GCSE Media Studies

Achievement Director:



Core English


Course Content:


In Year 9, students continue to focus on the 4 main skills of English and Literacy:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening

They will be preparing for their SATs exam at the end of Year 9 whilst also laying the foundations for a smooth transition into GCSE English.

Aspects of the Year 9 English curriculum also introduce literary heritage and contemporary fiction.


GCSE Media Studies

Length of course:  2 years

Level:  GCSE A* - G

Examination:  40%

Coursework:  60% controlled assessment

Choice: 1

Begins: Yr. 9 or 10

Completion: Yr. 10 or 11

(AQA 4812)



Course Content:

This course attracts students as it makes learning interesting, challenging, creative and fun.  It offers rigorous but accessible learning on a subject of key importance for young people’s understanding of the world.  Students study the codes and conventions of a variety of media, including the following: comics, magazines, quiz shows, films, news and the popular press.

The study of each medium will focus on audience, representation, institution and language, and will be of interest to students who are keen to explore new technologies.

There are three controlled assessments and each is chosen from a variety of possibilities made available by the examination board. There is also a terminal exam at the end of the second year of study.

The course offers:

  • The media in theory and in practice
  • Practical work
  • Production from a choice of assignments
  • Opportunities to learn about real products and industries
  • Opportunities for progression to courses such as a Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Media Studies


Questions to ask yourself:

Do I have an interest in reading magazines, comics or newspapers?

Am I interested in films and in television?

Would I like a career in media?


WRL links (applied learning):

Students who follow this course should find it supportive of careers in journalism, media, education, publishing and research.


Core Maths

Achievement Director



Core Maths


Course Content:

In Year 9, students continue to follow the Key Stage 3 Maths curriculum in preparation for their SATs exams at the end of the year. Students will focus on the key Numeracy topics of:

  • Algebra
  • Data Handling
  • Space
  • Number
  • Shape
  • Measure


These topics will lay the foundations for GCSE Maths in Year 10.


Core Science

Achievement Director


Core Science



Course Content:

In Year 9, students continue to follow the Key Stage 3 Science curriculum in preparation for their SATs exams at the end of the Spring term. Students will focus on the key Science topics of

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • How Science works

These topics will lay solid foundations and a clear transition into GCSE Science which begins during the Summer term of Year 9 and continues into Year 10.



Information & Communication Technology


ICT/computing curriculum

Achievement Director:



GCSE Computer Science AQA

Course Content:

Computer technology continues to advance rapidly and the way that technology is consumed has also been changing at a fast pace over recent years. The growth in the use of mobile devices and web-related technologies has exploded, resulting in new challenges for employers and employees.  Students studying this specification will learn how to create applications that run on mobile devices, operate in a web enabled environment. In addition they will, learn how to create simple computer games, gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts around creating software applications, and have opportunities to work collaboratively.

Students are assessed at the end of each milestone and are provide with detailed instructions on how to improve each piece of work. This is regularly made available to them on Moodle. Pupils are given the opportunity to improve their work based on this assessment during lesson time.

The course is made up of two components:

Component 1 – Practical Programming

Approximately 50 hours of controlled assessment (2 tasks of 25 hours each). This is worth 60% of the total marks (126 marks) - 63 marks for each of the two tasks. These tasks are internally assessed and externally moderated. Different tasks will be provided by AQA each year. Each pupil should complete two tasks from a choice of four. Working independently pupils demonstrate their ability to code a solution to a given problem. The tasks will be set in engaging and relevant contexts, e.g. gaming, web, mobile phone applications.

Component 2 – Computing fundamentals

This is an exam that lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the marks. All questions will be compulsory and will be taken from across the subject content. This component will include a range of types of questions from very short to extended answer.

Questions to ask yourself:

• Do you enjoy a challenge?

• Have you investigated programming before?

• Are you willing to investigate a problem until you have found the solution?


ICT and Computing

Course Content:

ICT and computing skills are in demand by service and user organisations alike, in a range of different sectors.

This course helps students to develop both their ICT skills and computing skills. In terms of ICT skills, it equips students with the necessary skills expected in the modern day workplace. This includes spreadsheets, presentations and word processing. All of these skills are invaluable in the workplace and be appreciated by any employer.  ICT and Society is also covered and this will prepare students for GCSE ICT as an investigation into ICT in education, the workplace, use of mobile phones, effects of social networking etc. will be undertaken. ICT support will also give students the practical skills to fix software and hardware problems that regularly occur when working with computers.

Do you fancy yourself as the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? 

This course also gives students a taster of Computing as they will have the chance to learn a programming language called “Python”- this same language that YouTube and NASA use. They will also learn advanced Graphic Design skills using the industry standard software Adobe Photoshop to create music album covers and they will have the opportunity to create their own website also using the industry standard software Adobe Dreamweaver.

This is a unique and exciting course as it has the perfect balance of ICT and Computing. Exceptional students who excel at the Computing element within this course may be eligible to select GCSE Computing in Year 10 depending on performance throughout the year. 


Questions to ask yourself:

• Do you want to develop your general ICT skills?

• Do you want to understand the range of functions available to you on industry standard software?

• Do you want to be able to fix common computer problems?

• Would you like to learn a new programming language and develop your own applications?


Physical Education

Core Physical Education


GCSE Dance

Achievement Director:



Core Physical Education


Length of course:  1 year

Level:  Non examination course

Choice: 1




Course Content:

You will participate in a variety of activities including:

  • Invasion Games - e.g. football, hockey, rugby, netball, basketball
  • Net Games - e.g. badminton, tennis, table tennis, volleyball
  • Striking and Fielding games - e.g. rounders, cricket, softball
  • Aesthetic - Gymnastics, Trampolining
  • Athletics
  • Fitness & Cross Country


You will complete short blocks of work each half term (approx 6 weeks) and rotate activities throughout the year.


GCSE Physical Education


Length of course:  3 years

Level:  GCSE A* - G

Examination:  Theory 40%

Coursework:  Practical 60%

Begins =  Yr  9

Completion = Yr 11



Course Content:

The areas covered in the theory include:

Knowledge of bones, muscles, the circulatory and respiratory systems

Reasons for participation in sport

Health and fitness, training, diet

Injuries, first aid and drugs

A whole variety of sports will be covered in the practical and students must be willing to participate in all areas that the practical covers.  40% of the final grade is based on the theory aspects of the course therefore equal effort must be given in practical and theory.

One hour per week will be practically based and one hour per week will be theory based, although this sometimes may be taught through a practical session. 

There is also a practical exam which takes place over three days in the Spring Term of Year 11. This is moderated externally and is worth 60% of the overall grade.


Questions to ask yourself:

Are you competent in a variety of practical activities?

Are you willing to learn the theory involved, which involves a lot of science?

Are you willing to be involved in extra curricular PE activities?

Are you organised?  You will need the correct PE kit every lesson.

GCSE Dance


Course Content:


GCSE Dance focuses on the artistic qualities of dance movement as a way of expressing and communicating themes and issues through performance.

Students will be introduced to a variety of dance styles focusing mainly on contemporary dance and the different varieties within this style. Students will have the opportunity to study professional dance companies, the work they have done and the social and cultural issues surrounding them.


Questions to ask yourself:


Are you open minded about trying new things?


Do you have an interest in the Performing Arts?


Do you enjoy working as a team?


Are you creative? Do you enjoy expressing your ideas through an art form?


Are you capable of transferring themes and issues from one context to another?


European Culture & Languages

Year 9 Choices:





 Achievement Direct – a.ashwoord@harrischaffordhundred.org.uk


French/ Spanish/ Mandarin in Year Nine


Length of course:  1 Year

Level:  GCSE Preparation

Examination:  None

Coursework:  None

Choice = 1

Course Content:

In Years 9, students begin to explore their chosen language in greater depth.  They learn to describe their daily lives, as well as getting to know more about the experiences of those who live in the countries where the languages are spoken. 

Students develop their core skills in four areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

They lay the foundations required for GCSE in Modern Languages.

You must choose a language in Year 9 if you plan to study it at GCSE.


Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you enjoy learning something new in every lesson?
  • Do you want to know more about the world?
  • Have you enjoyed learning a language in Years 7 and 8?
  • Do you like the variety of activities that a language lesson offers?
  • Do you like meeting and talking to different people?
  • Do you like learning about new cultures?
  • Do you want an international dimension on your CV?
  • Do you enjoy communicating with other people?



Year 9 Choices:





GCSE Sociology

Achievement Director:



 If you choose to study History in Year 9, you will develop your existing knowledge and understanding of some of the major events that occurred in the twentieth century. For example:

  • Hitler and Stalin – a study of tyranny
  • The Second World War and the Holocaust
  • The Cold War

Your curriculum will be planned to include field trips to sites of particular interest, and visits to the school by people and personalities who lived through some of these times. However, you will be encouraged to evaluate these events and debate the cause, effect and aftermath with your fellow students.


In Year 9 Geography, you will study how the earth was formed and its composition today. This will encompass natural disasters which include earthquakes, volcanoes and flooding, and how the nations of the world are affected. We will examine:

  • Tectonic plates
  • Rivers and coasts
  • Settlement and population

There are many outstanding local features which display evidence of these natural occurrences, some dating back several thousand years and visits to these as well as self-investigation will be encouraged.


This important and topical subject is offered as an option for Year 9. We only have to open a newspaper, switch on the television or radio to see how these issues affect us all. You will investigate the reasons behind and the outcomes of many cases both locally and nationally. Areas covered will include:

•           The British Justice System

•           Changes in society and politics

•           Multiculturism and diversity

To enhance and stimulate your awareness, local councillors will visit the school and you will have the opportunity to debate with them and organise your own curriculum based political campaigns. A visit to the Houses of Parliament will take place in Year 10 as you progress onto GCSE.

Religious Education

If you choose to study this subject in Year 9, you will develop a greater understanding of the ethical dilemmas that face human beings in a modern world and the ways in which both religious and non religious groups would respond.  Areas covered will include:

  • Medical ethics including genetic engineering, abortion and cloning.
  • Crime and punishment including capital punishment

The course will also explore some of the ultimate questions that face humanity such as life after death and why suffering and evil exist.  The second topic will include an exploration of the holocaust and the religious and non-religious responses to this great tragedy.  Your curriculum will be planned to include field trips to places of particular interest and visits to the school by people and personalities who can provide a perspective on the issues explored.

GCSE Sociology


Length of course:  2 years

Level:  GCSE A* - G

Examination:  100%

Coursework:  0%

Choice = 1

Begins: yr 9 or yr 10

WJEC 500/4431X

Course Content:

Sociology seeks to teach us about the varied forms of human society and examine the impact of culture and social organisations on individual lives. It does this through the study of two core-compulsory topics and then giving you a chance to study from a selection of optional topics. Topics covered within GCSE Sociology include:

  • CORE: Understanding Social Processes - Looking at how we gain our culture and learn our society’s norms and values
  • OPTION 1: The Structure of the Family - How the structure of the family has changed and is this a good thing or a bad thing?
  • OPTION 2: Education-Do we need education, does it help us to help ourselves or does it help the government control us?
  • CORE: Understanding Social Structures: We will be looking at stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination
  • OPTION 3: Power & Participation - What is democracy? What alternatives are there to democracy? Why is it important to know who you are voting for?
  • Crime and Deviance - What makes people turn to crime and what can be done to prevent it?

This course is designed to make the students think about the world they live in and understand why it is the way it is. It also encourages pupils to take an active part in their own social, political and economic lives and to question the social reality they find themselves in.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you curious about the world we live in and why we have certain structures?
  • Do you want to know more about how society works?
  • Are you the kind of person who likes to know what and why things happen rather than just accepting what you are told?

WRL links (applied learning):

Personnel Management; Recruitment; Social Work; Youth Work; Play Work; Health Service; Legal Work;  Social & Market Research ; Journalism; Local Government; Marketing; Advertising; Media, National Government & Charity Organisations.


Expressive Arts



Achievement Director:



Year 9 Choices:

Introduction to GCSE Art

During this introductory course, students will have the opportunity to experience a variety of contemporary art works. They will develop an understanding for art within industry. This course will prepare students for the GCSE years if they choose to continue in Year 10.

Introduction to GCSE Drama

This year is dedicated to preparing students for the GCSE qualification undertaken in Years 10 & 11.  Students will learn new dramatic techniques throughout this year as well as be exposed to a variety of different texts. They will experience a variety of Drama styles through project based ensemble performance work


It is advisable if you are considering Art and Drama that students opt for their chosen subject in Year 9.

Design Technology



Product Design

Achievement Director:



In Year 9, students will build upon the Textiles skills they have learnt in previous years and develop these further.

There will be three projects, one per term. One will be fashion based, one geared towards making an interior textile product and one of a more art based nature.

All three will require a willingness to do independent research and turn ideas generated by this research into practise. Written work will include analysis of existing products and markets as well as ongoing evaluations based on the work being undertaken. This course will act as an introduction to GCSE Textiles.


In Year 9 students will build upon the food skills they have learnt in previous years.

The main topics covered in the course are as follows:

Food choice and Health, Diet, Consumer Information, Value for Money, Investigating and Observing Food, Technological Developments in Food and Equipment, Eating Patterns and Family Meals, Food Preparation and Presentation of Food, Safety, Health and Hygiene – this concept would be reinforced throughout the course.

Students must be organised and prepared to bring in ingredients each week for the lesson. Written work will involve activities linked to the theoretical aspects of the topics above. This course will act as a introduction to GCSE Hospitality and Catering - Single Award.

Product Design

Over the course of Year 9 you will study aspects of Product Design that you have not covered before.  These will include, CAD CAM, Engineering, Plastics and work on the properties and uses of materials.

Students will work through two GCSE style projects. In the first half of the year, students will have a choice of projects from five different design briefs.  During the second half of the year students will work on developing the skills that will be needed at GCSE in Years 10 and 11.

Both of these projects require a willingness to do independent research and turn ideas generated by this research into practise. Written work will include analysis of existing products and markets as well as ongoing evaluations based on the work being   undertaken. This course will act as an introduction to GCSE Product Design.

It is advisable if you are considering GCSE Textiles, Catering or Product Design that students opt for their chosen subject in Year 9.


Useful websites and contacts


Our Careers Advisor is Stephen Mason from the Harris Federation and he is available at:




Other useful sites you may wish to visit to find information on subjects; content and suitability for careers or further education are;














Title Date  
Subjects studied in year 9 30th Oct 2015 Download