GCSE Subjects

Ashbourne’s GCSE students typically complete a total of nine GCSEs, including core subjects, and go on to study A level at the college.

GCSE core subjects

Ashbourne GCSE students study the core subjects below.

English Language (Edexcel)

Ashbourne’s English students discover how language can shape our everyday lives. Through lively classroom discussions and by examining contemporary forms of text and spoken word our students learn how to analyse and interpret the constant flow of information around them. They are encouraged to embrace their creativity through writing and explore how to express their ideas fluently and effectively by our passionate, expert teachers.

Why study English Language?

Studying GCSE English Language teaches students how to become ‘language detectives’, looking beyond the obvious, reading between the lines and making inferences. Students learn the tools to theorise and support arguments with evidence, as well as to draw connections to broader ideas. Exploring language will help shape students into critical thinkers who are perceptive and empathetic as well as build their confidence and skills as communicators.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE English Language.

Who teaches this course?

Lauren Vanderhurst Moorley

MA English: Issues in Modern Culture (University College London); BA (Hons) English Literature (University of California); PGCE (Institute of Education, UCL)

Lauren’s love and enthusiasm for English inspires her students to find their own passion and embrace all that the subject has to offer. She is one of Ashbourne’s most encouraging and effective teachers who has played a full and active role in the college’s academic and cultural life since joining in 2014.

What is covered in this course?

This course comprises two externally examined components – Fiction and imaginative writing and Non-fiction and transactional writing – and an internally assessed endorsement for Spoken language.

English Literature (Edexcel)

Ashbourne has a vibrant English Faculty whose teachers are passionate about their subject. Students explore drama, poetry and prose in a lively and engaging classroom environment. They are encouraged to experience a range of theatre and offered plenty of opportunities to perform their own work, including at Ashbourne’s annual Revue which showcases students’ artistic talents.

London offers students an exceptional choice of shows, events and exhibitions as well as outstanding libraries and bookshops.

Why study English Literature?

Stories shape the way we think and live. They enable us to share, understand and pass on ideas, beliefs and culture. They can transport you to another world, put you in other people’s shoes, influence your behaviour and connect you with others.

Studying literature will equip you with the skills to analyse, interpret and discuss themes, ideas and contexts within stories, as well as developing your ability to express yourself through dialogue, argument, prose and poetry. It will also teach you how to plan and research as well as expand your understanding of history, culture, philosophy and human behaviour.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE English Literature

Who teaches this course?

Elle Ryan

BA Theology and History with English Literature, Philosophy and Media (Australian Catholic University)

Elle draws on a broad range of fields including history, theology, philosophy and media to enrich and help contextualise English language and literature for her students. She has an excellent rapport with her students who she encourages to develop their own strategies and structures for effective learning making them stakeholders in their own success.

Lauren Vanderhurst Moorley

MA English: Issues in Modern Culture (University College London); BA (Hons) English Literature (University of California); PGCE (Institute of Education, UCL)

Lauren’s love and enthusiasm for English inspires her students to find their own passion and embrace all that the subject has to offer. She is one of Ashbourne’s most encouraging and effective teachers who has played a full and active role in the college’s academic and cultural life since joining in 2014.

What is covered in this course?

Students will read a range of classic literature and poetry and learn how to develop their own responses to texts, analyse language, form and structures, and explore relationships between texts and contexts. There are two components for this course: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature and 19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789.

Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature

Shakepeare’s Macbeth (or the Scottish Play as it’s known among Thesps) exposes how ruthless and bloodthirsty desire for power can lead to tragedy and psychological trauma. The play was originally performed around 1606 during the reign of James 1 (then king of Scotland and England and patron of Shakespeare’s acting company). It is one of Shakespeare’s most often performed plays.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a fable about the events leading to the 1917 Russian Revolution and rise of Stalin. The novel explores the ideas of freedom, rebellion and political corruption. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was deeply skeptical about Stalin’s ambitions and wrote the book in 1945 as a direct and contemporary response to the regime. Britain was in wartime alliance with Russia at the time making the publishing of the book extremely controversial.

19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable old penny-pincher who hates everyone, especially children, until one Christmas when he is visited by three ghosts from the past, present and future. Scared rotten he begins to see the error of his ways and rediscovers the joy of giving.

Charles Dickens was one of the most prolific and well-loved writers of the Victorian era and much celebrated during his own lifetime. Some of his most popular novels include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Great Expectations.

Poetry Anthology
Examining the theme of time and place students will compare language, structure, form and contextual features of two poems selected from a collection of 15.

Mathematics (Edexcel)

Ashbourne’s Maths Faculty is home to a fantastic team of specialist Maths teachers who have helped our students consistently achieve outstanding results. At Ashbourne, Maths is viewed as a key subject equipping students with vital skills they will be able to carry with them throughout their lives.

Why study Maths?

From seemingly basic activities like measuring ingredients to bake a cake or working out how much it will cost for an extra 500mb of data on your phone to detailed calculations for building a house or developing a network that links up millions of people, Maths is an integral part of our lives.

Maths provides us with a language of numbers, symbols and formulae to describe, understand and create the world around us and to predict how things might change over time and circumstance. It is an excellent subject to help develop your problem-solving, analytical and research skills.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE Maths.

What is covered in this course?

Students explore the key elements and principles relating to six topics: number (structure and calculation; fractions, decimals and percentage; and measures and accuracy); algebra (notation, vocabulary and manipulation; graphs; solving equations and inequalities; and sequences); ratio, proportional and rates of change; geometry and measures (properties and constructions; mensurations and calculation; and vectors), probability; and statistics.

They will learn how to answer all types of exam questions and get plenty of past paper practice. Students sit three final exams (1 hour 30 each) covering all topics.

Who teaches this course?

Richard Clark

MMaths integrated masters (Bath University); PGCE Secondary Maths (Oxford University)

Richard has experience teaching Maths from pre-GCSE level all the way up to first year undergraduate. He has taught in both state and private sector schools in the UK and Australia. Richard also worked as a software developer for a company providing services for major UK retailers. He currently teaches GCSE and A level Maths at Ashbourne.

Rupinder Dhillon

BSC Industrial and Natural Resource Chemistry (Brunel); PGCE (Brunel)

Rupinder is a dynamic and passionate Maths teacher who has been working at Ashbourne for many years. Combined with her love for teaching, her positive personality and sense of humour she is committed to encouraging an uncompromising work ethic amongst her students.

Madeeha Saad

MSc Medical Statistics (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London); BSc (Hons) Mathematical Sciences (Open Univeristy); BSc Mathematics (Government Kinnaird College Women, Pakistan)

Madeeha is an experienced Maths teachers of all levels including Further Maths. She has been teaching for many years and has also been an assistant examiner for the Edexcel board.

Science Double Award (Edexcel)

Ashbourne students get a thorough grounding in Biology, Chemistry and Physics in the course we offer, allowing them the opportunity to continue any of these subjects at A level. Students explore a wide range of topics within each subject, receive plenty of practical experience and discuss pressing global issues related to science.

Students learn how to answer all types of exam-style questions from short answers and source based stimulus response to essays and techniques in preparing for and answering compulsory questions. They also get regular exam-condition practice.

Our small class sizes and attention to individual student’s needs enables everyone to keep pace and reach their full potential.

Why study Science

Studying science is one of the few subjects that allows you to truly open your eyes (and have a peak at how they work), blow things up (preferably in the lab under supervision) and feel the force (of the physical universe). It offers you the chance to examine and analyse the world around and within you, see how ideas and inventions have come about and changed over time, and explore ways science may shape our future, from carbon sequestering and energy creation, fighting bacteria and preventing ageing to artificial intelligence and space travel.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel syllabus for IGCSE Science double award.

Who teaches this course?

Philip Arnold

MSc Climate Science and Policy (University of Bristol); BSc Biological Sciences (University of Warwick)

Philip is passionate about environmental issues and not only brings his research experience in this area to his teaching but also in genetics and evolution, animal and plant biology, clinical microbiology and ecology.

Alex Goodwin

BSc (Hons) Medical Science (University of Birmingham); PGDipEd (University of Birmingham)

Alex brings not only his passion for science to the classroom but professional experience and expertise in chemistry and teaching. He believes students should play a pivotal role in their own learning success and has been teaching the subject for more than four years with great results.

Mark Youngman

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry (Southampton University)

Mark teaches Science and Biology at Ashbourne. He has been teaching since 2011 and was head of Biology at his previous college.

What is covered in this course?

This course covers a broad range of topics in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as outlined in the table below. Students will sit a final exam (2 hours) for each science.

  • The nature and variety of living organisms.
  • Structure and functions in living organisms.
  • Reproduction and inheritance.
  • Ecology and the environment.
  • Use of biological resources.
  • Principles of chemistry.
  • Inorganic chemistry.
  • Physical chemistry.
  • Organic chemistry.
  • Forces and motion.
  • Electricity.
  • Waves.
  • Energy resources and energy transfer.
  • Solids, liquids and gases.
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism.
  • Radioactivity and particles.
  • Astrophysics.

GCSE optional subjects

Ashbourne offers a selection of optional GCSE subjects.

Arabic (Edexcel)

Examination only (no tuition offered). Please contact Admissions on 020 7937 3858.

Art & Design (AQA)

Ashbourne students experience a fantastic variety of art and design activities from fine art, print-making, 3D design and textiles in our one-year GCSE programme. They learn a wide range of skills, explore new ideas and experiment with different techniques to build up a successful portfolio of work. Closely guided by our tutors, students choose a project topic to develop that is directed by their own needs, aspirations and exploration.

The college is perfectly located for students to visit the many outstanding exhibitions and galleries London has to offer including The National Gallery, the Design Museum and the Royal Academy of Art. This provides students with inspiration and a great resource for primary research.

Why study GCSE Art?

Art is a visual language that allows us to communicate ideas, convey mood and tell stories. Not only will you learn the skills and techniques to produce powerful artwork, you will also discover creative and fun ways to explore and express your ideas.

Studying Art and Design carves the way for further studies involving creative problem solving and offers an excellent career pathway into art, architecture, fashion, interior design and design.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the AQA specification for GCSE Art and Design.

What is covered in the course?

Ashbourne students follow the Art, Craft and Design programme for GCSE Art and Design. Students build up a portfolio of work developed in response to a subject, theme, task or brief. This constitutes 60% of the overall mark. They also carry out an externally set assessment (40%) on a chosen title

Who teaches this course?

Arianwen Shoring

MA Graphic Design, Fashion and Branding (Nottingham Trent Universtiy); BA Hons Fashion (University of Wales); PGCE Art and textiles (University of Worcester)

Arianwen has been teaching in art and design, and fashion since 2006 and has extensive experience preparing students for the next stage of their arts education. She directs the GCSE Art and Design course.

Beyond GCSE Art

Students may wish to progress onto the two-year A-level Art and Design course, and then subsequently onto Higher Education study – either on a Foundation Course in Art and Design or a University Degree Course in a selected pathway of their choice.

There are many career opportunities: they can include product design, fashion, illustration, animation, interior design, jewellery, furniture, set design, painting, sculpting, printmaking, to name just a few! New technologies are creating a whole new range of courses and careers in which art is being used in innovative and exciting ways.


The Complete Guide to Painting and Drawing Techniques and Materials by Colin Hayes
The 20th Century Art Book by Susannah Lawson
Visual Arts in the 20th Century by Edward Lucie-Smith


Computer Science (OCR)

Computer Science is an exciting and creative subject at Ashbourne. Ruchi Agarwal, Head of Faculty for Finance and Computing, offers our students expert tuition and guidance on developing the technical understanding, skills and language to create computer-based solutions and programs with practical, real-world applications.

Student use the latest iMacs and will become familiar with the industry-standard programming languages including Python, Javascript, HTML and CSS.

Why study Computer Science?

Almost every aspect of our lives is affected by computers, from how we travel to school and manage our social lives to vast networks that control global communication, trade, finance and transportation. In fact, using computers has become so integral to our daily lives it would be difficult to imagine life without them.

Understanding how computing shapes our world and learning the skills necessary to be a part of this digital revolution is vital for everyone. Studying Computer Science is a key pathway for young people to secure their role in a rapidly evolving job market that already demands high levels of computing skill and literacy.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the OCR specification for GCSE Computer Science.

What is covered in this course?

This course covers the computer systemscomputational thinking, algorithms and programming and practical programming.

Students will examine how computer systems are composed, function, what they can achieve, and the data types required to accomplish tasks. They will also learn different techniques to approach computer-based problem solving using high-level programming language like Python.

Students will also examine the pressing issues of cyber security and ethics.

Computer systems

This part of the course constitutes 50% of the final examine.

Students study the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory and storage, data representation, wired and wireless networks, network topologies, system security and system software.

It also looks at ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns associated with computer science.

Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

This part of the course constitutes 50% of the final examine.

Students apply knowledge and understanding gained in computer systems. They develop skills and understanding in computational thinking: algorithms, programming techniques, producing robust programs, computational logic and translators.

Practical programming

Students are to be given the opportunity to undertake a programming task during their course of study which allows them to develop their skills to design, write, test and refine programs using a high-level programming language.

Students will be assessed on these skills during the written examinations.

Who teaches this course?

Ruchi Agarwal

Head of Faculty for Finance and Computing

PGCE (Institute of Education, London); Masters in Computer Applications (MCA, India); B.Com Hons (India)

Ruchi is a key senior member of Ashbourne staff. She began teaching ICT and Computing in the UK in 2001 and completed her PGCE in ICT at the Institute of Education, University of London. She joined the College in 2012. Ruchi continually strives to improve teaching strategies for best outcomes and is passionate about promoting Computer Science.

George Kontos

MRes Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (University of Sussex); PGCE (University of Brighton); BEng Electronic Engineering (University of Surrey)

George has extensive experience as a computer scientist in the private sector developing and testing software as well as teaching software and games development, programming and lecturing in Computer Science. He is fluent in a wide range of programming languages, and is bilingual in English and Greek.

Drama (AQA)

Ashbourne’s dynamic Drama department offers GCSE students a fantastic opportunity to write and perform their own material, direct and design and try out a diverse range of theatre styles such as physical theatre, ensemble storytelling and puppetry. They also get to meet and work with professional actors and companies such as the acclaimed theatre groups Frantic Assembly and Complicité.

Drama students are invited to showcase their talents at the college’s annual performing arts event, the Ashbourne Revue. They will also put on their final exam pieces at the New Diorama Theatre, just off Regent’s Park, assisted by professional technicians and designers.

With such a superb selection of live performance on offer in London, students will get plenty of opportunities during the course to experience some great theatre.

Life of a drama student at Ashbourne

Why study Drama at GCSE?

Drama is about expression and creativity, collaboration, sharing stories and experiences, finding common ground, challenging and changing the way people think and scrutinising your own beliefs and behaviour. The skills you learn from this course go far beyond technique, analysis and writing. You will develop a greater sense of confidence, empathy and adventure that will serve you throughout your life. And it’s so much fun.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the AQA syllabus for GCSE Drama.

What is covered in this course?

This course combines the theory and practice of drama and theatre. It is split into three components: Understanding drama, Devising drama and Texts in practice.


Understanding drama

Students expand their knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre in this component, studying Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers as their main text.


Blood Brothers by Willy Russell
Mikey and Edward, twins separated at birth, reunite at the age of seven and become Blood Brothers. As they get older differences in their social upbringing begin to create deep rifts in their relationship and ultimately lead to their tragic deaths.
Willy Russell’s musical is set in a time of social and political upheaval in 1960s Liverpool and addresses issues of injustice and social inequality.

Building structure, bringing pace and rhythm, exploring character behaviour, creating mood and atmosphere and understanding proxemics (positioning of actors on the stage) are just some of the techniques students will learn in order to create powerful theatre productions.

To bring depth and life to their performances students will draw on the social, cultural and historical contexts and conventions of the period in which plays were created. They will also explore how physical expression, audience rapport, props and effects, and other methods can help tell a story and convey meaning.

By exploring the roles of each member of the production – from playwright and performer to set designer and technician – students get a broader understanding of how a production team works together. They will also get the chance to perform different roles offering them insight into where their professional passions may lie in the future. They will develop an excellent grasp of theatre terminology like upstage, promenade and theatre in the round, and how to use it.

Devising drama

Tragedy, epic theatre, melodrama and physical theatre are just a few of the genres and styles students can choose from to create their own live performance. Taking inspiration from a poem, piece of sculpture or historical event, for example, students explore and develop ideas that they will create into a final piece.

Each student chooses to be either performer or designer (e.g. sound, light, set, costume, puppet) in the production and will showcase their ability to convey meaning, apply their theatrical skills and fulfil their artistic intentions within their chosen role.

Students will carry out their own research, develop ideas and continually analyse and evaluate their own progress in a written log as well as collaborate with others to plan, rehearse and fine tune their production.

The final assessed piece, either duologue or group, will be performed in front of a live audience.

Texts in drama

Things I know to be true by Andrew Bovell

Bob and Fran have devoted themselves to their four children, offering them the opportunities they never had. Just when they are ready to sit back and and smell the roses of their success they are plunged into a family drama of unspoken truths and revelations.

Things I know to be true explores the complexity of family relationships and dynamics and of finding your own place in the world. It is set in Adelaide, Australia and was first performed there as a physical theatre production by Frantic Assembly and State Theatre of South Australia in 2016.

Each student chooses their role as performer or designer (e.g. sound, light, set, costume, puppet), as part of a team, to perform two extracts from Andrew Bovell’s Things I know to be true. This gives them the chance to show off their skills of interpretation, ability to convey meaning and success in achieving what they set out to do.

Who teaches this course?

Olivia Gillman

BA Education with English and Drama (Cambridge University); Undergraduate Foundation in English Literature (Oxford University; dept for continuing eduction)
Liv brings her love and experience of theatre and comedy to Ashbourne drama students.

She is an actor, director and drama teacher with ten years’ industry experience. She was the Artistic Director for theatre at The In The Woods Festival for five years, receiving coverage in publications including The Evening Standard and Teen Vogue and working alongside producer Tom Bevan (SIX The Musical). As actor, she has worked with directors including Dirk Maggs (BBC/Baker St) and as panellist, has been invited to speak alongside Sir Trevor Nunn. She has worked as a producer on films featuring Ruth Wilson, Jude Law and The Belarus Free Theatre. Whilst at Cambridge, Olivia was nominated for the Footlights’ Writing Prize.

Economics (OCR)

Economics is the study of the allocation of scare resources between competing uses

Our society is increasingly defined by scarcity. Citizens are facing longer waiting times in NHS hospitals, shortages of affordable housing and overcrowding on public transport. Even in the fifth richest country in the world, it can seem there is a shortage of these essential services.  As resources become more scare and deciding how they are shared seems more arduous, understanding of economics becomes increasingly useful. Economics studies how these choices are made, ultimately explaining where and how resources are allocated. 

Ashbourne students examine everyday events and activities and discuss how and why they are shaped by economics. This helps them see the practical impact of economics and enables them to develop a theoretical understanding of the subject too. They are encouraged to keep up to date with current affairs to provide depth to their studies and are given plenty of exam practice to help them achieve the best results.

Over the course students become more adept at analysing the world around them, articulating their own views and developing the skills to make better decisions for themselves.

Why study Economics?

Whether you have just bought a Gucci bag for half price, received ‘free’ healthcare from the NHS, borrowed £10 from your friend or have just launched your own app that will make you a millionaire, you are part of the global economic system.

Studying Economics will help you understand why prices fluctuate, where taxes go, how government legislation can push people to change their spending habits (or not), why some companies dominate their market, how global or societal changes like climate change and ageing can have an impact on a country’s economy, why people fight for resources and why certain economies grow faster than others.

You will also learn how to analyse complex issues, think strategically, monitor the political climate, understand commercial incentives, problem solve, interpret statistics and data, explain your ideas clearly and be ready for any eventuality – all highly desirable and transferable skills.

Why Study GCSE Economics at Ashbourne?

Ashbourne offers students individual attention and feedback, with classes typically consisting of between seven and ten students. Active contribution to classes is always strongly encouraged, with student-led discussions developing engagement with different economic schools of thought. Longer two hour lesson periods affords students the opportunity to apply concepts to practice questions straight away, with teacher support on hand to offer clarification and further guidance.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the OCR specification for GCSE Economics.

What is covered in this course?

Students will be introduced to major terms, concepts and players in economics, begin to explore the role of markets and money, examine economic objectives and the role of government, and take a look at international trade and the global economy.

French (Edexcel)

Ashbourne’s thriving Language Faculty has a fantastic team of enthusiastic and expert teachers. We encourage our students to immerse themselves in the language so they can quickly build their confidence and fluency. We use a wide range of materials and take our students’ needs and interests into consideration in order to help them engage in the themes we cover.

Students are invited to join Ashbourne’s lunchtime French Club to practise speaking and have the opportunity to visit the local Institut français (French cultural centre), which offers a great selection of films, arts, theatre and talks.

Why study French at GCSE?

France has an extensive network of cultural centres around the world that offer french language courses helping to make it one of the most widely spoken languages. It is one of the official languages used at the United Nations and European Union institutions as well as many other inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide. French companies operating across the world provide jobs in a wide range of fields including industry, media, sport and tourism, for example.

Learning French not only develops your communication and thinking skills it broadens your perspective and gives you the chance to explore a different culture. You will also find it easier to go on to learn other latin-based Romance Languages like Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE French (higher tier)

What is covered in this course?

The five themes covered in this course are: Identity and culture; Local area, holiday and travel; School; Future aspirations, study and work; and International and global. These themes are explored in the context of the four language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing.

History (AQA)

Ashbourne’s history students travel back more than 800 years, from the signing of the Magna Carter to Elizabethan England and end up with the Second World World, exploring how the events, people and ideas of the past that have shaped our world today.

Students use their detective skills to analyse, evaluate and interpret a wide range of sources so they can build a picture of the past and debate the issues from differing views.

We encourage our students to take advantage of the fantastic selection of exhibitions and events taking place in London, as well as the historic buildings, to help students contextualise their studies and get a taster of what life might have been like in the past.

Students receive plenty of individual help in the class and extensive exam technique practice.

Why study History at GCSE?

Studying History helps us make sense of the world we live in now by revealing how the events and developments of the past have influenced and shaped society, politics, economics and culture.

The huge range of skills you learn studying History – being able to critically analyse information, sifting out what is truly important and drawing conclusions from your research – are highly transferable and will assist you in many aspects of your life, both academically and personally.

History is a very highly regarded subject and excellent foundation for many degree courses.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the AQA specification for GCSE History.

What is covered in this course?

Understanding the modern world: Russia, 1894–1945: Tsardom and communism (period study) and Conflict and tension: The inter-war years, 1918–1939 (wider world depth study). Shaping the nation: Britain, Power and the people c1170 to the present day (thematic study) and Elizabethan England, c1568–1603 (British depth study)

Italian (Edexcel)

Examination only (no tuition offered). Please contact Admissions on 020 7937 3858.

Music (Edexcel)

Ashbourne’s GCSE Music students have fantastic opportunities not only to explore a wide range of musical styles and contexts but also to share and develop their own ideas through composition and performance in the many and varied events we organise throughout the year. This provides our students with the chance to put their knowledge and skills into practice and gives them a taste of life as a profession musician.

Music at Ashbourne

Russian (Edexcel)

Examination only (no tuition offered). Please contact Admissions on 020 7937 3858.

Spanish (Edexcel)

Ashbourne has a vibrant Language Faculty made up of experienced and enthusiastic teachers. Our students quickly build their confidence and fluency through immersive language teaching and a wide range of materials selected to suit students’ needs and interests.

Why study Spanish at GCSE?

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world as well as a vital tool for business and commerce. The GCSE Spanish course allows students to develop key language skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking with accuracy and fluency. It lays the foundation for anyone wishing to continue with a modern European language at A level.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE Spanish (higher tier)

What is covered in this course?

The five themes covered in this course are: Identity and culture; Local area, holiday and travel; School; Future aspirations, study and work; and International and global. These themes are explored in the context of the four language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing.


What topics will be covered?
Identity and culture
  • Who am I: interests, friends and family
  • Daily Life: food and drink, shopping, technology
  • Cultural life: celebrations, sport, music, reading, and films
Local area, holiday and travel
  • Holidays: destinations and experiences
  • Travel and tourist transactions: travel and accommodation, asking for help and directions, activities and attractions
  • Town, region and country: weather, places to see and things to do
  • What school is like: types of schools, a typical school day, subjects and rules
  • School activities: school trips and events
Future aspirations, study and work
  • Using languages beyond the classroom: forming relationships, travel and employment
  • Ambitions: further study, volunteering and training
  • Work: jobs, professions and careers
International and global dimension
  • Bringing the world together: sports and music events, campaigns and good causes
  • Environmental issues: access to natural resources, being ‘green’

Who teaches this course?

Alberto Lado Rey

(MA Hispanic Studies, UCL; BA English Language Studies, University of Santiago de Compestela, Spain; Teachers Training Certificate, University of Santiago de Compestela, Spain)”

Alberto is Faculty Head of Languages at Ashbourne and has been teaching at the college since 2000. He has been an Edexcel examiner since 2004. Alberto specialises in Spanish and Latin American culture.

Beyond A level Spanish

Spanish GCSE is a perfect basis for Spanish A Level, which itself is a necessity if you plan to study Modern Languages or Latin American Studies at university.

Most universities also offer combined degree courses that allow you to study languages alongside other major subjects such as History, Law, Business, Management, Politics and Development Studies.

Progression to A level

Students who complete the GCSE programme at Ashbourne will automatically gain entry onto our A level courses. Ashbourne is one of the best private A level colleges in London and our students consistently achieve outstanding exam results, with more than half attaining A* A grades and almost 60% going on to Russell Group universities.

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