Art & Design Department

Mrs Whittle – Subject Leader

For queries about Art please contact the school on


One very large specialist Art room with digital white board. Fully operational kiln room for ceramic firing.

GCSE Virtual Art Exhibition 2021

Welcome to Holy Cross Art Gallery July 2021.

Visit our virtual exhibition by clicking here.

Year 11’s samples displayed from component 1. Coursework final pieces covering the four assessment objectives detailed sketch books required for both theme’s. Identity / Relationships & Natural Forms.

A big well done to all the hard work, commitment and talent achieved over the last two years.

Best wishes Mrs Whittle, In Charge Of Art & Design.

Disciplines offered

  • Art, Craft & Design which can include 2D/3D and Textiles. YEAR 10/11


All work is marked according to National Curriculum guidelines and is awarded a grade (from 1-9) Verbal and written feedback is on-going throughout each project – key stage 3. – 8 weeks on a carousel. Key stage 4 – two year course written assessments and reports are on-going throughout the two years. Homework is a must to enhance the work achieved in class for both key stages.

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

Year 7 - Portraits:

Pupils will take a baseline assessment covering the formal elements of Art and Design for the first two lessons in order to set their target level.

All work is based on the artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo.

Pupils will be designing a 2D portrait working in the style of the artist’s painting.

Pupils will be marked on the following criteria;

EFFORT & ATTAINMENT LEVELS 1 - 9 for all key stage 3 pupils
Research, presentation, colour, imagination, connections and understanding, primary/secondary studies using a variety of mixed materials, annotations, experimentation, initial designs, final design, evaluation.


Year 8 - The Jungle - Cakes / Masks

Pupils work will be based on the artist Henri Rousseau.

A band pupils will be creating a cake based on the jungle using a variety of materials showing connections and understanding to the artist’s work

B band pupils will be designing a mask again using a mixture of materials for their final outcome.


Year 9 - Identity / Pop Art

Final outcomes to design two plate ideas based on the Pop artist’s work and their own Identity refine and then produce a final design showing connections and understanding.


Various competitions are held. Here is the 2016 winner:

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

Examination Board - AQA years 10/11

Specification and Assessment:

  • Component 1
    • No time limit
    • 96 Marks
    • 60% of GCSE
    • The component is compiled during Years 10 and 11, to be completed by May in Year 11.
    • Two projects will be set during this time.
    • What’s assessed: A portfolio that in total shows explicit coverage of the four
  • Assessment Objectives
    • It must include a sustained project evidencing the journey from initial engagement to the realisation of intentions and a selection of further work undertaken during the pupils’ course of study.


  • Component 2 - Externally Set Assignment
    • Preparatory period followed by 10 hours of supervised time
    • 96 Marks
    • 40% of GCSE
    • This component begins from January of Year 11. The assessment criteria are the same as the bullet pointed portfolio criteria, although the timescale given is very different as outlined below:
      • Pupils are introduced to the question paper containing seven project briefs/topics from which they must choose one. Pupils are given until April to gather the research, drawings, experimentation, designs etc.
      • When all the prep work is complete they should have a design completed in preparation for the controlled assignment aspect of the task. Pupils will take all their prep work and designs into a 10 hour exam (taken over two days).
      • Pupils will use this work to aid them in completing their final outcome.
        The controlled test is completed under strict AQA exam conditions.
    • The pupils are given task sheets containing deadlines and success criteria to help them to plan, but it is worth noting that this course involves a substantial amount of commitment and hard work.

Career opportunities

Art as a subject offers a different type of learning and skills to pupils. It can give more academic pupils a break from subjects who rely heavily on remembering facts and it is essential to many careers. With new advances in technology, creative skills can be useful in TV and media, animation, advertising, game design, engineering, architecture, hairdressing, clothes design and many more.


Further information is available from Mrs Whittle

GCSE Art & Design Exhibition June 2020

A celebration of Year 11's creative talents for GCSE Art & Design.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

After school classes are run on Tuesday– Wednesday 3.20 – 4.20.

Useful Websites All topics All topics Natural Environment Tate Gallery National Portrait gallery Pop Art

English Department


Miss Shiels – Head of English

The English Department is committed to developing a love of English for all students through engaging lessons that are designed to equip them with the skills they will need in later life.  There are eight subject specialist English teachers within the English Department and we benefit from a suite of seven rooms; additionally, we have access to a set of Chrome Books and two class sets of Kindle Fire tablets.  Ultimately, we aim to foster a love of English in each and every pupil so that they are able to fully achieve their potential at the end of Year 11

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

All pupils in Years 7 to 9 have four hours of English per week and within this they have one hour a fortnight timetabled in the Library.  This time in the Library enables students to engage with the Accelerated Reader programme and have a chance to browse both fiction and non-fiction texts before a period of silent reading.  Pupils in Year 7 and 8 also engage with the Bedrock Vocabulary programme weekly.

Throughout Key Stage 3, pupils are assessed five times a year on both reading and writing skills.  In addition to these assessments, they are also encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills through a final unit of work in the summer term.  We feel that this encourages pupils to build the confidence to communicate clearly and effectively both in and out of the school environment.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

All pupils in Year 10 and 11 study GCSE Language and Literature under the Eduqas specification.  Therefore, every student leaves Holy Cross Catholic High School with two GCSE English qualifications.  Pupils are regularly assessed at the end of each unit in order to inform teaching across the department; any pupils who are struggling with a particular skill or unit of work are offered targeted intervention sessions as final examinations approach.

During Key Stage 4 pupils are also regularly assessed by their class teacher, however summative assessment points are also integrated throughout the academic year at the end of each unit of work. Mock exams are also utilised at appropriate points in the academic year.

Useful Websites

Geography Department

Mrs Parkinson – Subject Leader

Geography is an integral part of the rich and diverse curriculum here at Holy Cross. Geography has always been a popular subject at both KS3 and KS4. It is an ever evolving subject due to its very topical nature and we believe it can help play an important part in helping  our young children develop a sense of place and identity in the world and understand the many processes that shape it.


Geography is taught in two main specialist rooms (Room 30 and 31). They both have interactive whiteboards and a store of current resources and textbooks which are designed to promote and engage the teaching of Geography at KS3 and KS4.

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3


  • Unit 1- What is Geography?
  • Unit 2- Rivers and Flooding
  • Unit 3- Settlement
  • Unit 4- Ecosystems
  • Unit 5- Economic Activity
  • Unit 6- Weather and Climate


  • Unit 1- Exploring the UK
  • Unit 2- Alternative Hazards
  • Unit 3-  India
  • Unit 4- Antarctica
  • Unit 5- Getting to know Uganda
  • Unit 6- Coasts


  • Unit 1- Tourism
  • Unit 2- Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • Unit 3- China
  • Unit 4- Environment and Resources
  • Unit 5- Globalisation
  • Unit 6- Ice Landscapes


Pupils undertake a series of Formative and Summative assessment tasks in each unit focussing on Geographical skills.  Opportunities present themselves in a number of topics for end of unit tests such as ‘What is Geography’ and ‘Volcanoes and Earthquakes’

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

Y10 Topics:  Restless Earth, Ice on the Land and Living World
Pupils take a 1.5 hr. exam which incorporates three 25 mark questions on the topics above (37.5%)
Y11 Topics: Tourism, Population and Changing Urban Environments
Pupils take a 1.5 hr. exam which incorporates three 25 mark questions on the topics above (37.5%)

Controlled Assessments: - An investigation into Tourism in Hawkshead and Tarn Hows in the English Lake District.
Pupils produce a 2500 word limit report on Hawkshead as a Honeypot  (25%)

Extra Curricular Opportunities

Fieldwork at KS4 to Hawkshead, Lake District as part of data collection towards their controlled assessments

Useful Websites

History Department

Mr Murray — Head of Department

Students at Holy Cross Catholic High School study 3 lessons per fortnight in Year 7, 4 in Years 8-9 and 5 in Years 10-11. History develops a wide range of analytical, communication and citizenship skills and ultimately aims to give students a sense and appreciation of how the past has moulded our present.


There are two specialist History rooms that are well-equipped and maintained. A teaching resources store and consumables cupboard provide adequate storage. The Department has a range of textbooks, paper resources, topic and depth study boxes, a suite of laptops and a shared network for electronic lesson materials. Both rooms have Smartboards and two conventional whiteboards. We also have access to three computer areas.

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

Year 7

Students undertake a chronological study of key periods of British history from the legacy of Rome to the end of the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell. Key topics include the Middle Ages, Tudors and Stuarts.

Year 8

The focus is on important themes in the development of the United Kingdom and the British Empire. Courses include how the UK was formed, the British Empire, crime and punishment and the Industrial Revolution. An in depth investigation into slavery and the history of black peoples of the Americas completes the year.

Year 9

Students investigate key 20th Century topics such as the World Wars, the Holocaust, modern America and the Vietnam War.


Our exciting new AQA GCSE History course covers the modern topics of Germany 1890-1945 and World War I, but also a depth study of Elizabeth I and the chronological sweep of Medicine through Time.


Students in Years 7-9 are formally assessed five times per year. These take the form of exams, essays and independent research projects.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

GCSE candidates are given a range of exam and controlled assessment coursework tasks to reach their potential. These include past exam papers, formal essays and weekly exam question homework.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

The History Department runs a range of extra-curricular activities, including a Y7 trip to Warwick Castle, Y8 trip to Liverpool Slavery Museum, Year 9 tour of the battlefields of World War I and GCSE tours of Berlin and Auschwitz. The Department leads whole-school commemoration of Remembrance and Holocaust Memorial Week.

Useful Websites

ICT & Computing Department

Mr Washington – Head of Department

All pupils study ICT and Computing on the carousel. They get one block for ICT and one block for Computing at Key Stage 3. We aim to provide pupils with the necessary skills to become confident and competent users of ICT. Pupils will use a range of software and develop their skills in application packages as well as computer science. Pupils are assessed at regular intervals and are encouraged to accept responsibility for their learning by formal and informal reviews of their progress and performance.


The department has three specialist ICT rooms each containing 20-25 computers with access to many industry standard packages such Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Access), Macromedia Studio MX (Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Flash), 2D-design, Acoustica Mixcraft sound editing, Sony Vegas Movie Creation, Win logo and Serif Creative Suite.

Curriculum Plan

Computer Science

Creative iMedia

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

Year 7

  • Unit 7.1 Presenting information: Using multimedia products: text, images, sound and video, pupils produce a comprehensive and informative product that develops their skills and understanding of how to present information to a wider audience.
  • Unit 7.2 Internet searching and gathering information: Pupils learn about the internet and how to search effectively and efficiently as well as creating forms and questionnaires to gather information.
  • Unit 7.3 Creating a leaflet on cyber bullying: Pupils develop a threefold brochure for pupils on the impact of cyber bullying and how to stay safe.
  • Unit 7.4 Modelling using spreadsheets: Pupils develop a spreadsheet model to analyse income and expenditure and look at ways of modelling scenarios in order to maximise profit.
  • Unit 7.5 Data handling using databases: In this unit pupils use a database to solve a murder mystery. They will use filters, sorts, queries and reports to present their findings.
  • Unit 7.6 Programming: Pupils learn some basic programming skills to control everyday devices and create a program a simple electronic game.

Year 8

  • Unit 8.1 E-safety and social networking: Pupils look at the benefits and hazards associated with using social networking sites and mobile devices and learn how to keep themselves safe.
  • Unit 8.2 Website creation: Pupils will develop a website using computer software, HTML coding and Java script.
  • Unit 8.3 Information reliability and bias: Pupils develop their information finding skills by carrying out research into various topics and learn how to manipulate images and videos.
  • Unit 8.4 Modelling using spreadsheets: This unit develops their skills in using spreadsheet software using functions, formulas, validation, conditional formatting and goal seek as well as analysing graphs.
  • Unit 8.5 Integrating applications Starstruck band management: A variety of software is used to develop, promote and organise the formation of a new band. This will include promotion using video, sound and graphics, word processing and mailmerge as well as creating a spreadsheet to model their accounts.

Year 9

  • Unit 9.1 Gruesome Grange Theme Park: Students will design, create and program a new theme park ride. They will also model the costs and revenue for the project producing a report of their findings.
  • Unit 9.2 Video creation: Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of how to review, design, produce and evaluate a video clip which is fit for purpose.
  • Unit 9.3 Organising a school trip: Students have the task of organising a school trip. They must provide all the necessary documentation to parents and pupils as well as organising all the relevant activities.


All pupils at Key Stage 3 are assessed at the end of each term. Assessment will take the form of summative assessments (specific pieces of work) and formative (practical and online written tests). These assessments inform teaching, progress and setting arrangements.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

Currently, all year 11 pupils study one lesson of ICT each week. This is the Cambridge Nationals qualification and is equivalent to one GCSE.

From this year, ICT is an option only subject. Pupils may opt to study GCSE ICT for three additional lessons per week and follow the Edexcel Course in ICT. Another option available is Computer Science. This follows the OCR exam board.


Written paper (25%) - Unit R001 Understanding Computer Systems: This unit will give students a solid base to develop knowledge and understanding of computer systems and the implications of working with data to enable them to use computers effectively. Coursework (75%)

Unit R002 Using ICT to Create Business Solutions: Students will refine their existing knowledge of computers to reflect the working practices of the commercial world. This includes using a wide range of software efficiently.

Unit R003 Handling Data Using Spreadsheets: Students will process and present data into meaningful information that can be used to support the decision-making process in real-life scenarios, including budgeting, cost modelling, reporting, trend analysis and forecasting.

Unit R005 Creating an Interactive Product Using Multimedia Components: Students will be able to develop and demonstrate their creative flair by combining multimedia components to create a vibrant, energetic or stimulating webpage or interactive product.


Written Exam (40%) Externally marked

Unit 1 Living in a Digital World: students explore how digital technology impacts on the lives of individuals, organisations and society.

Controlled assessment coursework (60%) Teacher assessed and Edexcel moderated

Unit 2 Using Digital Tools: In this practical unit students broaden and enhance their ICT skills and capability. They work with a range of digital tools and techniques to produce effective ICT solutions in a range of contexts.

Optional (OCR Computing)

Unit 01: Computer Systems (Exam worth 40%. Written paper)

  • Systems Architecture, Memory. Storage
  • Wired and wireless networks, Network topologies, protocols & layers
  • System security & system software
  • Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns

Unit 02: Computational thinking, algorithms and programming (Exam worth 40%. Written paper)

  • Algorithms & Data Representation
  • Programming techniques
  • Producing robust programs
  • Computational logic
  • Translators and facilities of languages

Unit 03/04: Programming Project (Coursework 20% Programming Project)

  • Programming techniques
  • Analysis, Design, Testing, Evaluation & Conclusions
  • Development

Extra Curricular Opportunities

The ICT rooms are available at lunchtimes and after school for pupils to develop their knowledge and skills as well as giving them the opportunity to complete work for other subject areas. There are plans for pupils to experience ICT in the world of work with trips to Media City in Salford and New York City. There are also two specialists clubs running after school. The computer club allows pupils to study the science behind building a computer and programming. The photography club allows pupil to develop their artistic flair and photo editing skills.

Useful Websites

Learning Support Department

Mrs T Wilson – Senco

“The school has a special educational needs policy which demonstrates a supportive and proactive approach to pupils. There are currently students with a range of disabilities on roll who are fully integrated into the life of the school. Great emphasis is placed on the individual support and encouragement of students as and when appropriate.” Ofsted.

Learning Support Department

At Holy Cross, we pride ourselves in providing first-class support for our pupils’ learning within the classroom.  Our experienced team of Teaching Assistants have expertise in all areas of need, and we can offer quality support for a range of Learning Difficulties, including:

  • Specific Learning Difficulties like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autistic Spectrum Condition
  • Moderate Learning Difficulties
  • Physical Difficulties
  • Visual Impairments

Our package of interventions is excellent, and we always strive to provide a personalised approach to our pupils’ requirements, to help them cope in and out of the classroom. We currently provide support with IDL (Indirect Dyslexia Learning), Reading Interventions like Read, Write Inc., Rainbow Readers and Accelerated Reader. Also, we offer Numeracy Support with Numeracy Workout and bespoke packages for numeracy. Our support for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health issues is a strength of the school, and we can provide personalised Social Skills programmes and support for all Social and Emotional difficulties, be this through expert TA guidance, or via external agencies.

We are very proud of our Routledge Centre, the school’s nurture centre, named after a very valued and well-respected past member of our school community. Many of you may well remember Mr Routledge- former Assistant Headteacher, Head of Year and Teacher of English, and the ethos of the Routledge Centre mirrors Mr Routledge’s vision for all; that everyone deserves the chance to be happy and flourish. Therefore, the Routledge Centre is an area in school which welcomes pupils who, due to emotional, social or learning difficulties, may find the transition to secondary school daunting, or may find the daily stresses of a vibrant high school too much to manage without support. This includes pupils who may be dealing with personal issues and may need a helping hand in their time of need. The staff in Learning Support are on hand in the Routledge Centre to ensure all members of the Holy Cross community feel safe and supported, and are able to learn at whatever pace is appropriate.

On entry to Holy Cross in Year 7, all pupils complete CAT tests. If the scores show a need for further investigation, we will do screening to ascertain any learning issues, and we will input a package of support for pupils, to assist them with their learning. This is usually well underway by October of Year 7. We also liaise closely with all our feeder primary schools and, should it be necessary, we can facilitate a bespoke package of support with transition from primary to secondary school. This may include extra visits after SATs, continuation with programmes of intervention, or a recommendation to attend the Get Set Programme or Summer School. Our SENDCO will attend meetings at the primary school, or will invite parents and carers in to meet, to ensure as smooth a start as possible for our pupils who may need that extra support.

Our staff in Learning Support liaise closely with external agencies such as CAMHS, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Educational Psychologists and specialist teachers. We also work closely with our Careers Adviser, Ms Easterbrook, who provides quality advice for our young people with Special Educational Needs. 

PDF’s & Links

Holy Cross Local Offer

SEND Information Report 2021-2022

For further information on Lancashire’s Local Offer, follow this link:

Mathematics Department

Mrs Z Coyle – Head of Department

Our Vision

Our vision is to inspire, encourage and motivate pupils to appreciate and value the importance of mathematics. Pupils will enjoy coming to maths lessons and leave Holy Cross having achieved their potential.


Our mission is to develop in pupils:

  • An appreciation of maths around us.
  • A curiosity to want to learn more about maths.
  • A thirst for knowledge.
  • Self-belief, confidence and resilience to tackle problems with positivity.

During maths lessons, pupils should:

  • Have respect for others.
  • Have high expectations of themselves.
  • Proudly take ownership of their work.
  • Be driven to succeed.
  • Be independent learners who think for themselves and enjoy challenges.
  • Develop subject knowledge and understanding.


The department has a suite of six rooms, each of which contains a projector screen, mini whiteboards and a variety of other resources to enhance pupils’ learning. We subscribe to the ‘MyMaths’ and ‘MathsWatch’ websites to enhance learning opportunities both in school and at home. Pupils are expected to regularly access the wealth of resources at home from these sites.

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]


In years 7 - 10 pupils follow a scheme of work based on stages. The stage on which pupils begin depends upon their KS2 SATs result, CAT scores and assessment results throughout each year. The curriculum is divided into 32 topic areas. Not all topic areas are covered in every stage. The topic areas covered at each stage is as follows;

Maths Curriculum

In year 11 pupils follow the GCSE AQA course. Further information can be found on the ‘AQA All About Maths’ website. For more information about the SOW please contact Mrs Coyle.


In years 7 - 10 pupils complete topic based assessments at the end of each topic area. Pupils also complete a Progress Test towards the end of the summer term based on the topics they have been covering in lessons.

In Year 11 pupils complete a mock exam in December and another in March.

Pupils are given verbal and written feedback and guidance on how to improve their results. Learning within lessons is continually reviewed and modified to cater to the needs of individual pupils as appropriate. We use many AFL techniques in lessons to carefully assess pupils and give instant feedback. Assessment results, together with homework and classwork evaluations are used to inform the setting of pupils.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

  • UK Schools’ Mathematics Challenge – Junior & Intermediate level entries (run by Leeds University)
  • Runshaw Mathematics Challenge
  • Edge Hill University Mathematics Challenge
  • Edge Hill University Master Classes
  • University of Liverpool Master Classes
  • National Cipher Challenge
  • Puzzle of the Week
  • STEM Club
  • GCSE Revision Classes
  • KS3 Maths Doctor
  • World Maths Day and World Pi Day activities
  • Annual visits to Maths Inspiration events

Useful Websites

Modern Foreign Language Department

Mrs Gaughan — Head of Department

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way”. Frank Smith (Contemporary psycholinguist)

Modern Foreign Languages Department

The MFL department at Holy Cross aims to deliver rich and diverse learning opportunities which inspire students to embrace the challenge of learning a foreign language and discover the academic advantage it brings in this increasingly competitive and challenging marketplace.

Students are encouraged to be independent and creative in their learning, questioning and exploring their own language whilst learning to cope in a variety of contexts in another. Students are given opportunities to express their ideas, opinions and thoughts as well as responding to others, which is underpinned by the development of solid communication, linguistic and grammatical skills.

Language learning allows students to open their minds to other cultures, promoting tolerance and understanding, ready for them to take up their place in our multi-lingual, multi-cultural global society.

In Year 7 pupils study four lessons per fortnight of French.

In Year 8 A Band pupils study three lessons of French per fortnight and two lessons of a second foreign language (German or Spanish). B Band pupils deepen their understanding of French with five lessons per fortnight.

In Year 9 A Band pupils continue with their studies of French (three lessons per fortnight) and the same second foreign language they studied in Year 8 (increased to three lessons per fortnight). B Band pupils continue with five French lessons per fortnight which culminates in the awarding of the AQA FCSE qualification at the end of Year 9.

All students are offered the opportunity to study French up to GCSE level. Those students who studied two languages at Key Stage 3 are offered the choice of the two languages at Key Stage 4, but are encouraged to continue the learning of both languages up to GCSE level. Each language has five lessons per fortnight timetabled teaching time during Key Stage 4.

The Modern Languages Department is housed in three modern, comfortable, specialist classrooms, each equipped with Surface Pro technology, facilities for aural work and a conventional dry wipe board.

Curriculum Plan





[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: French Key Stage 3

Year 7

Pupils build on KS2 knowledge following the Dynamo 1 course which fully covers the Framework for Modern Languages.

Year 7 Topics

  • Greetings and classroom language
  • Describing self and others
  • Family, friends and pets
  • Where people live
  • House and home
  • Ordering food

Year 8

Pupils follow the Dynamo 2 course

Year 8 Topics

  • Holidays
  • Customs and Festivals
  • Free time activities
  • Digital Technology
  • Home and local area
  • Injury and illness

Year 9

Year 9 follow a tailored programme of study based on the Dynamo 3 course.

Year 9 Topics (A Band)

  • School and education
  • Future plans and earning money
  • Environmental problems and solutions
  • Pros and cons of new technologies
  • Healthy living and lifestyle

Year 9 Topics (B Band –leading to FCSE qualification)

  • School and education
  • Future plans and earning money
  • Environmental problems and solutions
  • Describing where you live
  • Healthy living and lifestyle
Curriculum: Spanish Key Stage 3

Pupils follow the Mira Express course which fully covers the Framework for Modern Languages.

Year 8 Topics

  • Basic greetings
  • School
  • Free time activities
  • Spanish speaking countries

Year 9 Topics

  • Family and descriptions
  • Where people live
  • House and home
  • Opinions
Curriculum: German Key Stage 3

Students follow the Stimmt! course which fully covers the Framework for MFL.

Year 8 Topics

  • Introducing self and family
  • Free time activities
  • School
  • Holidays

Year 9 Topics

  • Where people live
  • Healthy Lifestyles
  • German Speaking Countries
Curriculum: MFL Key Stage 4

MFL Key Stage 4 Curriculum

All language courses follow the AQA syllabi leading to a full GCSE qualification at the end of Year 11. Course content includes:

  • Theme 1: Identity and Culture
  • Theme 2: Local, National, International and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment


At Key Stage 3, pupils are formally assessed in all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) throughout the year, typically once per half term.

At Key Stage 4, assessment in all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) is by formal examination at the end of Year 11 at either Foundation or Higher Level. Internal assessments are administered at least once per half term.

Useful websites

Passwords are available for the above sites for current pupils for use at school and home. Ask your language teacher for details.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

We run a range of local trips and foreign visits. We provide opportunities for pupils to explore language learning and to further develop cultural awareness. Opportunities include:

  • Lunchtime language clubs for beginners and intermediates.
  • Opportunities to communicate with a penfriend in the target language country.
  • Visits to language departments at local universities and tertiary colleges.
  • Theatre visits to watch foreign language plays.
  • Entering national writing competitions.
  • Participation in the annual European Day of Languages celebrations.
  • Targeted revision and intervention sessions.
  • Recent visits to Boulogne (France), Berlin (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain).

Links abroad are continually developing and evolving.

Performing Arts Department

Mrs Harrison – Head of Performing Arts

Music and Drama are popular subjects at Holy Cross and our school productions and concerts are highly successful and are valued by the whole school community.


The music department is spacious and well-equipped. There is a main teaching room, a music technology suite, two practice rooms and a drum room. Pupils are able to use the practice facilities at lunch times to rehearse. Numerous extra-curricular activities and clubs are available.

Drama is taught in a brand new purpose drama and dance studio with sound, lighting and fully equipped dressing rooms.


Curriculum Plan



[ Click image above for full size version ]


At Key Stage 3, pupils are taught for 1 hour per week in years 7 and 9 and 1 hour per fortnight in year 8. The curriculum focuses on the three main skills of Performing, Composing and Listening & Appraising. Pupils use electronic keyboards in their music lessons as well as a variety of percussion instruments, band instruments and music technology. They also sing regularly in all years. The curriculum is tailored to give pupils access to a wide range of musical experiences including jazz and blues, world music and hip-hop as well as more traditional genres.

Musical Futures plays a strong part in the curriculum and pupils are encouraged to perform in groups. In Year 9, all pupils work in rock groups and learn basic skills on keyboard, vocals, electric guitar, bass guitar and drums. This allows them to develop their independent learning skills and progress at their own speed. Pupils learn to perform a number of well-known tunes and also compose their own songs in their bands. This culminates in a Battle of the Bands at the end of the year which is highly celebrated by the year group.

In Years 10 and 11, music is an option subject and pupils follow the OCR syllabus. They receive five hourly lessons per fortnight. The weightings are 30% performing and 30% composition (which take the form of coursework) and 40% listening and appraising (which is a terminal exam). All pupils are expected to be regularly receiving lessons on an instrument and developing their own practical skills outside the classroom. Pupils regularly attain above national averages at GCSE and many of these pupils achieve A*-A grades.


All pupils in Key Stage 3 study Drama via the carousel system. Drama is allocated a single period each week for a ten week block during each academic Year 7, 8 and 9.

Drama is traditionally a popular choice at GCSE and pupils currently study the Eduqas syllabus and are taught for three periods per week.

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

Year 7

Year Seven study Fairytales, incorporating G.C.S.E concepts such as; Still Image, Freeze Frame, Body as Prop and Thought Tracking.

Year 8

Year Eight begin to explore physical theatre, slow motion and further drama techniques through script work. This invites the pupils to blend and experiment with established structures whilst using G.C.S.E concepts such as; Plot and Action, Climax and Anti-climax and Pitch, Pace and Pause.

Year 9

In order to prepare the pupils for the rigours of KS4 Drama and to test their ability to work well collaboratively and with maturity, the year nine course asks them to explore a ASBO – ascripy written specifically with this age group in mind. Tackling issues such as bullyinh, anti-social behaviour and community. The pupils use concepts that they will need if they choose to take drama as an option at G.C.S.E.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

Pupils who study drama at Holy Cross currently follow the Eduqas syllabus at KS4. The syllabus involves devising, practitioners, performance and a study of a set text.

Extra-curricular activities

The school has a long tradition of producing outstanding productions. Last academic year undertook a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat featuring a live professional band. Previous shows include Buddy, Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar and Oliver!

There is a school choir, school band, woodwind group. There is also a brass band where pupils are taught to play a brass instrument in a band setting with a specialised brass coach (who is a member of the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band). Pupils are loaned the brass instruments to improve their individual skills.

Pupils perform regularly at events throughout the school year, including Presentation Evening, Christmas celebrations and Battle of the Bands. Music also plays and important part in the liturgical life of the school and the outstanding school choir is central to this. The end of the academic year is celebrated with a Summer Serenade Concert showcasing the musical talent in school.

At Christmas, pupils perform in the Christmas Carol Service which involves a band consisting of current pupils, ex-pupils and parents, making links with the wider community. Pupils also perform at a Christmas carol service for the whole school which takes place at St. Gregory’s church.

As well as Drama and Musical Theatre performances throughout the year, there are trips to the theatre each year that are open to all students, along with theatre groups visiting the school to perform to our students.

Instrument Tuition

Peripatetic instrumental teachers visit the department on a weekly basis providing tuition on piano, strings, drums, woodwind, guitar and voice. Lessons take place during the school day and are rotated to avoid missing other subjects. Parents are asked to pay a contribution towards the cost.

Why we study Performing Arts

  • To create successful, independent learners, who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve their best.
  • To create confident individuals, who are able to perform, listen and compose safely and find healthy fulfillment from discussing creative ideas.
  • To develop responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to an increasing creative society.

Useful Websites

Physical Education Department

Miss Dent — Head of Department

Vision and our aims

We are an inclusive and innovative department that allows all of our pupils the opportunity to succeed and reach their potential. We provide pupils with a curriculum and the extra-curricular opportunities to challenge and motivate them to develop lifelong love of physical activity.

Holy Cross PE 5 Year Learning Journey


  • 3 grass football pitches
  • 1 rugby pitch
  • 1 400m athletics track
  • 1 long jump pit
  • 1 sports hall
  • A fitness/dance studio
  • MUGA
  • 1 floodlit astroturf
Curriculum: Key Stage 3

We offer a broad and balanced curriculum offering a uge variety of different sports including, but not limited to:

  • Invasion games (football, netball, rugby)
  • Aesthetics (gymnastics, trampolining, dance)
  • Striking/Fielding (rounders, cricket, softball)
  • Net/Court (badminton, table tennis)
  • Athletics
  • OAA
  • HRF


Pupils in KS3 are assessed in three different areas throughout the year. This includes their physical ability, leadership ability and cognitive ability. As a PE department, we are committed to developing the holistic child and assessing in all three of the above strands allows each child to achieve.

Each child will continually be assessed against each performance indicator. Pupils in KS3 will receive an EoY grade that is created dependent on where they fall on the PI table.

Please see assessment criteria for KS3 pupils attached below:

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

Core PE

Each child in Year 10 and 11 will still be involved in CORE PE lessons. At KS4, pupils will be given the opportunity to choose their own pathway, typically a games pathway, individual sport pathway and fitness pathway. Our key aim at KS4 is to benefit pupils mental, physical and social health and give pupils the opportunity to access physical activity that they are able to continue as they leave school and enter adult life.

Examination Pathways

We offer two examination pathways to pupils at KS4 including GCSE Edexcel Physical Education and Cambridge National Sports Studies L2.

An outline of each is included below.

GCSE Edexcel PE

60% Theory and Examination:

Topics include, but are not limited to; the musculo-skeletal and cardio-respiratory system, physical training, movement analysis and socio-cultural influences.

30% Practical:

Pupils will be afforded the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of sports over the two years they study GCSE PE. They will take forward their highest scores from three different sports. These sports will be a combination of individual and team sports.

10% PEP Coursework

Pupils will be assessed of a Personal Exercise Programme that they create. This is a centre assessed piece of coursework that is sat in exam conditions.

CNAT Sports Studies

75% coursework and 25% examination

The Cambridge National Sports Studies course is made up of four separate modules that all hold an equal weighting of 25%. 3 of these modules are coursework based (with some practical elements) and the other an exam.

Exam: R051 – Contemporary Issues in Sport


R052: Developing Sports Skills
R053: Sports Leadership
R054: Sport and the media

Extra Curricular Provision

Extra-curricular opportunities is something, as a department, we pride ourselves on. We offer a multitude of extra-curricular clubs each week that include both inclusive and competitive sport. Past pupils have been highly successful in many areas and many pupils are in elite development squads for a variety of sports throughout the North West.


Please follow our Twitter account to find out everything we are doing both in and out of PE lessons: @holycrossPEchor

Religious Education Department

Ms Devlin — Head of Department

All pupils receive five 60 minute lessons of RE over a 2 week timetable and our faith is at the centre of our school.  Our mission statement “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” is lived out in the RE department through our academic success at GCSE level and through our spiritual support and guidance for pupils as they progress through their faith journey.


The department has a suite of 4 teaching rooms and a chapel.  The chapel is used by RE classes throughout the week for meditations and focused prayer activities.  The wider school community use the chapel for tutor masses (weekly), tutor time collective worship, ‘Breakfast with God’ (staff prayer Fridays 8.30 a.m.), Reconciliation services and many more occasions.

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

In accordance with the directive of the Archdiocese of Liverpool pupils follow the PEOPLE OF GOD framework:

Year 7:

  • Unit 1 – Who is God?
  • Unit 2 – Who is Jesus?
  • Unit 3 – What is the Kingdom of God?
  • Unit 4 – Lent and Holy Week
  • Unit 5 – What are the signs of identity for Jewish people?
  • Unit 6 – What are the Catholic signs of identity?

Year 8:

  • Unit 1 – What does it mean to be Covenant People?
  • Unit 2 – How do we live out Reconciliation?
  • Unit 3 – Do faith and science conflict?
  • Unit 4 – How do we live as Covenant People?
  • Unit 5 – What are the Hindu signs of identity?
  • Unit 6 – How do we meet the challenge to live justly?

Year 9:

  • Unit 1 – What are the signs of identity for Muslim people?
  • Unit 2 – How do we respect the Sanctity of Life?
  • Aspects of the GCSE syllabus are taught from January of Year 9


All pupils at Key Stage 3 are assessed at the end of each unit of work. Assessment will take the form of summative assessments (specific pieces of work / projects) and formative (written tests). These assessments inform teaching, progress and setting arrangements.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

In accordance with the directive of the Archdiocese of Liverpool pupils follow:

Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies Syllabus A


Area of Study 1 – Study of Catholic Christianity

  • Beliefs and Teachings
  • Practices
  • Sources of Wisdom and Authority
  • Forms of Expression and Ways of Life

Area of Study 2 – Study of a Second Religion-Judaism

  • Beliefs and Teachings
  • Practices

Area of Study 3 – Philosophy and Ethics based on Catholic Christianity

  • Arguments for the Existence of God
  • Religious Teachings on Relationships and Families in the 21st Century

*We subscribe to ‘Kerboodle’ which enables pupils to access the course textbook on line

Assessment overview-3 formal exams are taken at the end of Yr 11

  • Area of Study 1 – 1 hour 45 minute paper
  • Area of Study 2 – 50 minute paper
  • Area of Study 3 – 50 minute paper

 (More detail is available on the Edexcel website)

Extra Curricular Opportunities

  • All the department are involved with the development of the spiritual wellbeing of the pupils outside lessons such as day retreats, educational visits, SVP, CAFOD 
  • We have close links with Cardinal Newman College who run workshops for our GCSE classes
  • Our pupils regularly contribute to the local community through the SVP group
  • As a school we raise money for a number of charitable causes including Nugent Care and CAFOD
  • We celebrate weekly mass (Tuesday lunchtimes)
  • A number of our pupils are Eucharistic Ministers.

Useful Websites

Science Department

Miss Brown – Head of Department

Science is a core subject in schools and its importance is reflected in the number of lessons that pupils study in a week. At KS3 all pupils receive seven lessons of one hour a fortnight, and at KS4 they have ten lessons of one hour. We believe that pupils should be encouraged to question, investigate and then evaluate their work; consequently the study of Science at Holy Cross is very practical. We believe that lessons should be fun, and enjoyment of science is the key to ensuring that we develop the pupils into the scientific citizens of the future. Science is a successful subject at Holy Cross and we pride ourselves on the large numbers of pupils who extend their scientific studies at college enabling them to follow a scientific career path in the outside world.

Accommodation & Resources

There are eight fully-equipped laboratories complete with interactive surfaces and specialist software. We use the AQA Trilogy software supplied through Kerboodle to support the pupils at KS4 combining it with in-house schemes of learning. All KS4 pupils use the on-line homework package to aid their learning and revision. Practical work is incredibly important to us and so the department has a dedicated full-time technician who services the laboratories.

Curriculum Plan

[ Click image above for full size version ]

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

We teach a two year Key Stage 3 believing that we can give a thorough and detailed grounding of the scientific knowledge needed to enable pupils to progress to GCSE in this time. We use the fully resourced Activate scheme published by Oxford publishing, with pupils all having access to a digital textbook. This we feel is the best of the available published schemes and combined with a unique blend of our own skills, enables pupils to develop their understanding and knowledge to be fully prepared for the GCSEs in Science. We cover the full National Curriculum and fully address How Science Works.

Topics covered in Key Stage 3 are:

Year 7

  • Cells – How we observe cells and the use of microscopes, the different types of cells and their specialisation, how substances move in cells and unicellular organisms.
  • Body Systems – How we breathe, gas exchange and the movement of gases, the skeleton, movement of joints and how muscles are used and attached to the skeleton.
  • Reproduction – The changes in humans during puberty and adolescence, the menstrual cycle, human reproductive systems and how fertilisation and implantation occurs in our bodies, pollination and germination in plants and the mechanisms of seed dispersal.
  • Particles – The particle model and how it links to states of matter, state changes and the effect of temperature, diffusion and gas pressure.
  • Elements, atoms and compounds – The differences between all three terms with experimental evidence of this, chemical formulae and what they tell us.
  • Reactions – Chemical reactions including burning, thermal decomposition and how mass is conserved in reactions. Different types of reaction to include exo- and endothermic reactions and how these are displayed in word and symbol equations.
  • Acids and Alkalis – The differences between them, how we use indicators and pH as a measure, reactions involving them to include neutralisation, the production of salts and reaction with metals.
  • Forces – Drag and friction, stretching and squashing, forces at a distance and balanced and unbalanced forces.
  • Waves – Sound and the energy transfers associated with it, loudness, pitch, and how our ears work, echoes and ultrasound. Light and the eye, reflection and refraction, how cameras work and how we see colours.
  • Space – The Universe and the stars we see our Solar system and the Earth’s place in it, the Moon and how it affects the Earth.

Year 8

  • Health & Lifestyle – Food, diet and bacteria involved in digestion, drugs and alcohol and their effect on our systems, the danger of smoking on the body.
  • Ecosystems – Photosynthesis, leaves, plant minerals and chemosynthesis, the two types of respiration and how the body uses them, food webs and chains, and human’s effect on these within ecosystems.
  • Inheritance and Adaptation – Competition and how animals adapt because of this, types of variation within species and how we measure these things, how you can inherit traits and Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
  • The Periodic Table – Groups and periods within the table, the classification of metals and non-metals, the alkali metals, the halogens and the noble gases.
  • Separation techniques – The definition of a mixture, solutions and solubility, filtration, distillation and evaporation and the technique of chromatography.
  • Metal Reactions – Reacting metals with acids, oxygen and water, how we extract metal from the Earth, types of materials to include ceramics, polymers and composites.
  • The Earth – The atmosphere around the Earth, different types of rocks and the rock cycle, other natural cycles to include the carbon cycle and it’s affect on the climate.
  • Electricity and Magnetism – current, voltage and resistance, different types of circuit, how we make electromagnets and where they are used.
  • Energy – Fuels and food, temperature and it’s measurements, how energy is transferred through conduction, convection and radiation, energy resources and the power derived from them.
  • Motion and Pressure – Speed and graphs associated with this, pressure in solids, liquids and gases, moments and turning forces and calculations to do with all of the above topics.

Year 9

This consolidates the skills taught at Key Stage 3 that are needed for GCSE. We cover various topics with a very analytical eye on data and evaluative skills. After an initial introductory module we progress onto the GCSE.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

All students study the AQA Combined Science Trilogy GCSE with a number of pupils opting to study in extra detail and convert this to three GCSEs in the separate Sciences. Class sizes in KS4 are normally limited to approximately 24 pupils.

Topics covered across the Sciences are:


  • Cells and Organisation – How microscopes are used, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, specialised cells, diffusion and osmosis.
  • Cell Division – mitosis and meiosis, the cell cycle, stem cells and their use.
  • The digestive system – enzymes, the structure of the digestive system, how the digestive system works, efficiency of the digestive system.
  • Organisation in animals and plants – Blood and blood vessels, the heart and how it works, breathing and gas exchange, transport systems in plants, transpiration and how it can be affected.
  • Disease – communicable diseases, pathogens, viruses and bacteria, fungi and human defences.
  • Preventing disease – Vaccination, antibiotics, painkillers, how we make drugs.
  • Non-Communicable Diseases – Cancer, smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol and other carcinogens.
  • Photosynthesis – How it works, how we change the rate of photosynthesis, how plants use the products of photosynthesis.
  • Respiration – Aerobic and anaerobic respiration, the differing products, use of fermentation, metabolism and the liver.
  • Nervous system – Homeostasis, structure and function of the nervous system, reflex actions and how they help us to survive.
  • Hormones – How they help us, control of blood glucose, diabetes, negative feedback loops, reproduction, the menstrual cycle, infertility and its treatment.
  • Reproduction – types of reproduction, DNA and the genome, inheritance and genetics, inherited disorders.
  • Variation – Variation and evolution, natural selection, selective breeding, genetic engineering, ethics.
  • Ecology -  Importance of communities, distribution, competition, adaptation in plants and animals.
  • Ecosystem – Feeding relationships, recycling, the carbon cycle, human populations, pollution on land and in water, air pollution, deforestation, global warming.


  • Atomic Structure – Atoms, chemical equations, separating mixtures, fractional distillation, history and structure of the atom, ions, atoms and isotopes, electronic structures.
  • The Periodic Table – Development of the periodic table, alkali metals, halogens, trends in the table.
  • Structure and Bonding – States of matter, ionic bonding, giant ionic structures, covalent bonding, simple molecules, giant covalent structures, fullerenes, graphene, bonding in metals and metallic structures.
  • Chemical calculations – RAM and masses, equations and calculations, balancing equations and concentrations.
  • Chemical Changes – Reactivity series, displacement reactions, extracting metals, making salts, neutralisation and the pH scale, strong and weak acids.
  • Electrolysis – Introducing electrolysis, changes at the electrodes, extraction of aluminium, electrolysis of aqueous solutions.
  • Energy Changes – Exothermic and endothermic reactions, energy transfers and reaction profiles, bond energy calculations.
  • Rates of Reaction – Collison theory and the effects of temperature, surface area, concentration, pressure and catalysts, reversible reactions and dynamic equilibrium.
  • Crude Oil – Hydrocarbons and fractional distillation, burning fuels and cracking hydrocarbons.
  • Chemical Analysis – Substances and mixtures, chromatograms, testing for gases.
  • Earth’s Atmosphere – History of atmosphere, greenhouse gases, global climate change, atmospheric pollutants.
  • Earth’s resources – Finite and renewable resources, potable water, treating waste water, extracting metals from ores, life cycle assessments, recycling.


  • Energy Conservation – Work, GPE, kinetic and elastic energy, energy dissipation, efficiency, electrical appliances, power.
  • Heating – Conduction, specific heat capacity, insulating buildings.
  • Energy Resources – Demand, wind and water energy, solar and geothermal energy, big energy issues.
  • Electric Circuits – Current and charge, potential difference and resistance, component characteristics, series circuits, parallel circuits, alternating current, cables and plugs, power and potential difference, currents and energy transfer, efficiency.
  • Molecules and Matter – Density, states of matter, changes of state, internal energy, latent heat, gas pressure and temperature.
  • Radioactivity – Atoms and radiation, discovery of the nucleus, changes in the nucleus, alpha, beta and gamma radiation, activity and half-life.
  • Forces – Vectors and scalars, forces between objects, resultant force and centre of mass, parallelogram of forces and resolution of forces.
  • Motion – Speed and distance-time graphs, velocity and acceleration, velocity-time graphs, analysing motion graphs.
  • Forces and Motion – Forces and acceleration, weight and terminal velocity, forces and braking, momentum, elasticity.
  • Waves – Nature and properties of waves, reflection, refraction, diffraction.
  • Electromagnetic waves – the EM spectrum, light, infrared, microwaves, radio waves, communication, UV waves, X-rays and gamma rays, X-rays in medicine.
  • Electromagnetism – Magnetic Fields, magnetic fields of electric currents, the motor effect.


Key Stage 3

All pupils at Key Stage 3 are assessed at the end of each module. Assessment will take the form of summative assessment based on past SATs-style questions which are then assessed and formative (investigative and more open-end tasks involving practical and evaluative skills). These assessments inform teaching, progress and setting arrangements.

Key Stage 4

Pupils are taught in module blocks and at the end of each module there is an in-house summative assessment task based on past GCSE examination questions. In addition to this all students must complete the required practicals which are set by the examination board and are completed in school hours.

The GCSE consists of six externally assessed examinations (each is worth 16.7% of the final mark), two from each separate Science, sat as terminal examinations at the end of year 11.

Each externally assessed unit is tiered and the head of department will decide which is most appropriate for individual students.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

Revision classes are offered to students preparing for examinations and there are always teachers on hand to give support with required practicals and preparation for assessment tests in KS3. The STEM club is thriving; it is a place where pupils can take part in exciting and innovative science that is not normally covered in the normal curriculum and as pupils design their own experiments it can change every single week. We endeavour to get as many pupils as willing to achieve their bronze, silver and gold CREST awards which involve scientific investigation both at home and in school.

Science trips and lectures on scientific topics are attended by many pupils. We run a Year 5 competition and all staff undertake work with the feeder primary schools with the pupils attending Holy Cross for a full day of Science each year. The science staff also assist in school productions and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Pupils have taken part in numerous activities relating to science and sports. The Science staff have developed the schools ecological approach and have spearheaded the campaign for recycling and sustainable schools. We are currently educating pupils and staff on how to reduce carbon emissions both at home and within school. The department has the use of a purpose-built wet classroom and glasshouse which is extensively used during the school year as part of the curriculum.

Useful Websites