Curriculum to GCSE
We enjoy an enviable academic reputation with outstanding annual results at A Level and GCSE.
Approximately a third of the Upper Sixth gain offers for Oxford and Cambridge, and almost all pupils go on to prestigious universities in the UK and abroad.
The MCS curriculum is designed not only to ensure this academic momentum within school, but also to maximise success beyond it.
The aim of the early years is to:
- establish good habits of work
- enable pupils to study a wide range of subjects and discover interests and talents
- lay solid foundations for future success.
Pupils are put in sets by ability in French at 11 and in Mathematics at 12. There is an additional intake of pupils from prep and maintained schools at 13 and it is at this stage that boys make their first subject choices.
The core GCSE curriculum consists of:
- English, English Literature, Mathematics (IGCSE)
- the three sciences (following the IGCSE syllabus)
- a modern foreign language (French, German or Spanish), following an IGCSE syllabus
- In addition, boys choose three options from: History (IGCSE), Geography, Theology, Music, Art, Latin, Greek, or additional modern foreign languages, and all pupils follow a programme of PE and Games.
Almost all pupils therefore take ten (I)GCSEs.
Classes are taught by subject specialists and class sizes are usually in the low twenties, although in some subjects they will be much smaller.
From September 2015, first teaching of the reformed GCSE started for English Language and Literature. All other subjects continue with their present arrangements for the school year 2015-16.
Although we gain outstanding public exam results, the real focus is on teaching beyond the syllabus, and the formation of habits of mind for life. In the Sixth Form this philosophy takes on new and powerful expression.
- All pupils study four subjects in the Lower Sixth and at least three subjects to A Level in the Upper Sixth. (Pupils sit AS Level exams in unreformed, legacy subjects (see below) in the summer of the Lower Sixth. Pupils taking reformed, linear subjects (see below) sit an internal exam in the summer of the Lower Sixth; pupils do not take an AS Level exam in these subjects, even if they are dropping the subject at the end of the Lower Sixth.)
- Approximately 50% of Sixth Formers choose to continue with all four subjects in the Upper Sixth, and some study more in accordance with their interests and aptitude.
- Sixth Formers enjoy a bespoke curriculum with the timetable being freshly constructed each year around the academic wishes of the pupils.
- Subjects which might count against an applicant to top universities are generally avoided and there is a considerable emphasis on opportunities beyond the syllabus.
A Levels currently offered are listed below. Those which will be reformed as linear A Level subjects from September 2015 are marked with an asterisk; the majority of the remaining subjects will be reformed from September 2016.
Art*, Biology*, Chemistry*, Economics*, English Literature*, French, Further Mathematics, Geography, German, Greek, History*, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics*, Politics, Spanish and Theology.
Find out more about the A-Level curriculum on our Sixth Form pages.
All Lower Sixth pupils have the opportunity to choose a topic for a personal research project, known as the Waynflete Studies programme, which is unique to MCS.
The personal project is completed by the start of the Upper Sixth under the guidance of a member of MCS staff.
All pupils choose one topic from one of the following:
- Mathematics and Computing
- Biological Sciences and Medicine
- Physical Sciences and Engineering
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Languages and Classics
Tuition initially takes the form of lectures and seminars at school but then, uniquely, moves towards individual or paired tutorials with teachers from Oxford University.
Sixth Formers also attend lectures by a wide variety of high profile visiting speakers, as well as various specialist talks and seminars.
Find out more about the Waynflete Studies programme on our Sixth Form pages.
Full details regarding the curriculum can be found in the school’s curriculum policy in the aims, policies and plans section of the website.