Newport Girls' High School

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Subjects we offer

1st February - Some additional videos have been added in the subject menu below. Hear from our Subject Ambassadors about why they love their subjects.

Students at NGHS usually study 3 A-levels plus the EPQ qualification. Alternatively, students can study AS Physical Education in place of EPQ. Students who are achieve an average of more than 7.75 in their GCSE examinations may elect to study four A-levels. We also offer the option of trialling four subjects with a definite decision required by the end of September each year. 

At NGHS, there are no option blocks. Students select their three/four subjects and we will do our best to timetable these for all students. We are usually able to accommodate most subject combinations.

Please take a few minutes to find out about each of the courses we offer at NGHS6 using the accordion menu below. For those who want in-depth information, there is a link to the exam board specification for each course, too.

  • Art
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7202
    Teacher Contact: Mrs A Benoit (
    Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% external assignment
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Art or Portfolio

    While it is an advantage to have studied Art at GCSE level, the A level course requires a questioning mind, and a student who is not afraid to experiment and ‘try things out’. Enthusiasm for the subject is paramount as well as an interest in and enjoyment of Art and Design. The intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive powers will be developed during the course as well as aesthetic understanding and critical judgement. Students will be given opportunities to visit galleries to increase their knowledge and first-hand experience of Art from other cultures and societies past and present. They will be encouraged to visit local galleries collections of Art independently throughout the course.

    There is an element of producing work from studying the human form, where a life-model poses for students during both years. Students achieve and benefit greatly from these life drawing lessons.

  • Biology
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7402
    Teacher Contact: Mrs Dainty & Mrs Narasimhan (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Biology or Grade 7,7 in Science

    The course builds on concepts and skills that will have been developed in the GCSE Science courses. It encourages students to:

    • further their knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm for Biology;
    • develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods;
    • develop competence in practical, mathematical and problem solving skills;
    •  gain an appreciation of the effects of biology on society.

    Practical assessment does not count towards the A-level. However, during the course students will be assessed and at A level this will result in a separate endorsement of their practical skills. Assessment of practical skills will also be tested via the written papers.

    Many of the students studying biology have gone to a variety of courses including:

    • Medicine
    • Pharmacy
    • Veterinary Science
    • Biomedical & Biological Science
    • Genetics 
    • Agriculture
    • Environmental Science
    • Teaching

    The department also works closely with Harper Adams University to promote the Gold Crest Awards, allowing students the chance to work alongside academics on personal studies.

  • Chemistry
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7405
    Teacher Contact: Mr A Carey (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Chemistry or Grade 7,7 in Science

    Chemistry A-level is a specific requirement for many courses at university and can lead to careers in chemistry, medicine, pharmacy, biological sciences and other less obvious areas such as law. Chemistry is an exciting subject; it is also of enormous  importance for the well being and advancement of our civilisation. You have only to consider how the chemicals industry provide for your food (fertilisers, agrochemicals, preservatives), clothing (fibres, detergents), shelter (construction materials), transport  (fuels, lubricants) and health (drugs, pharmaceuticals) to realise that life as we know it would stop almost overnight if the fruits of past chemical research and development were not available. Chemistry also has a major part to play in environmental issues.

  • Computer Science
    Specification: OCR
    Course Code: H446
    Teacher Contact: Mr M Ley (
    Assessment: 80% Examination, 20% Project
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Computing

    To succeed in this course, it is essential to have achieved a good grade in Computer Science at GCSE. A keen interest and enthusiasm for this subject, especially programming is also required. Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the  academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It’s an intensely creative subject that combines invention and  excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism.

  • Economics/Business Studies
    Specification: Edexcel
    Course Code: 9EC0
    Teacher Contact: Mrs L Kearne (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Maths & English

    The course contains covers both Business Studies and Economics. It is awarded as A level in Economics but it is possible to study the AQA Business Studies specification and there is significant content overlap. These courses provide students with the best of both –the dynamic nature of Business and the academic rigour of Economics.

    NGHS will offer either A-level Economics or A-level Business Studies dependent upon demand.


    Business Studies is a broad social science subject, which has a number of facets such as accountancy, finance, production, human  resources management and marketing.


    Economics is the study of how people choose to use resources. Resources include the time and the  talent  people have available as well as the land, buildings, equipment and the knowledge of how to  combine these to create useful products and services.

  • English Literature
    Specification: Edexcel
    Course Code: 9ET0
    Teacher Contact: Mr D Postle (
    Assessment: 80% Examination, 20% Coursework
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE English

    Students who make excellent progress in English Literature at A-Level have a genuine interest in reading, the arts and culture. You  will need to be able to think independently and creatively, as well as having a methodical approach to your studies. Debate and
    discussion play an important role in the course and we expect you to share and discuss your ideas freely and openly.


    Students studying A-Level English will complete one coursework essay worth 20%, with terminal examinations at the end of Year 13  counting for 80% of the final mark. Students will study prose, poetry and drama from a range of periods and countries. There
    will also be opportunities to attend theatre visits (the school has a Royal Shakespeare Company membership) and lecture days. In addition, there are many extra-curricular opportunities within the department, such as the literary society; the film society; the performing arts society and an opportunity to compete in a public speaking competition.

  • French
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7652
    Teacher Contact: Ms D Branson (
    Assessment: 70% Examination, 30% Speaking Test
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE French

    To study French you should have a high grade in GCSE French and feel confident using GCSE grammar. You will also need to enjoy communicating and discussing and challenging yourself!

    There are many opportunities open to students after studying French at A level. Many employers see languages as a great advantage  and consider communication skills as vital to the vast majority of careers. A degree in French may lead to careers in business, law, the Civil Service, publishing, journalism, librarianship and teaching, as well as more obvious language-based professions like translating and interpreting.

    The course involves a wide range of topics. Please click on the gold button below for more information.

  • Further Maths
    Specification: OCR
    Course Code: H245
    Teacher Contact: Mr A Heighway (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 8 in GCSE Mathematics for Further Maths

    Further Maths is only open to students taking A-level mathematics. It is taken in order to both extend and deepen your knowledge beyond the standard mathematics A level. It provides the opportunity to explore more challenging new and more sophisticated  mathematical concepts. Studying further mathematics also helps consolidate and reinforce your standard A-level mathematics work. Many students find it beneficial to study further mathematics if going on to read mathematics at university as it smooths the transition to degree level. You will also find it advantageous if you are wishing to go on study a STEM subject, computing, economics or other mathematical related subjects.

  • Geography
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7037
    Teacher Contact: Mr J Pimm (
    Assessment: 80% examination, 20% investigation
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Geography or another Humanity subject

    Geography tackles the big issues such as environmental responsibility, our global independence and cultural understanding. It is a bridge between the arts and sciences but has its own transferable skills such as data analysis and evaluation, report writing and research. Team work and problem solving skills are developed through a range of field trips. 

    It is desirable, but not essential, to have studied Geography at GCSE. A keen interest and enthusiasm for this subject is required. Geography post 16 offers scope for personal and academic development, actively involving students in the process of learning through enquiry into questions, issues, challenges and problems of relevance in the world today. In particular it investigates the inter-relationships of people and their environment.

  • German
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 2660
    Teacher Contact: Mrs L Payne (

    70% coursework, 30% speaking test

    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE German

    To study German you should have a good grade in GCSE German and feel confident about GCSE grammar, however the grammar will  be covered again right from the basics. There are many opportunities open to students after studying German at A-level. Many employers see languages as a great advantage and consider communication skills as vital to the vast majority of careers. A  degree in German may lead to careers in business, law, the Civil Service, publishing, journalism, translating, librarianship and teaching. Naturally languages open up opportunities for exciting careers abroad. The course leads to the A-level of the AQA Examination Board and involves a wide range of topics.

  • History
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7042
    Teacher Contact: Ms A Davies (
    Assessment: 80% examination, 20% coursework
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE History or other Humanity subject

    Previous knowledge of the subject is not a requirement, as some of the topics are new to all students. Instead, a genuine interest and enthusiasm, initiative, critical thinking and debate are more valuable skills.


    History is a subject that encourages students to critically evaluate and interpret evidence from the past in order to develop reasoned  hypotheses and form balanced judgments. With such transferable skills, History therefore provides an excellent foundation for various higher education courses, as well as increasing employability in a range of career areas, especially those that require developed communication skills. Some examples include: Journalism, Law, Politics and Management.

  • Mathematics
    Specification: OCR
    Course Code: H245
    Teacher Contact: Mr A Heighway (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics (ideally 7)

    The A level is a two year linear course with three exams taken at the end of Year 13. The course consists of three areas: pure mathematics, mechanics and statistics. Paper 1 will consist of pure mathematics. Paper 2 will consist of half pure mathematics and half statistics. Paper 3 will consist of half pure mathematics and half mechanics. All papers have equal weighting.

  • Music
    Specification: Eduqas
    Course Code: 601-8146-1
    Teacher Contact: Mrs A Chapman (
    Assessment: 35% Performing, 40% Appraisal, 25% Composition
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Music or Grade 5 Music Theory

    In order to do well in A-Level Music, you must have at least grade 6 standard on one or more instruments (or voice) and a level 6 at  GCSE. You will demonstrate a high level of musicianship with a real interest in a range of musical genres and idioms.
    You will need to have a real love for both the practical and theoretical elements of music and be able to show commitment and dedication to your wider listening and general studies. Students who are successful musicians ensure they are performing regularly in a range of ensembles and are responding to feedback on a regular basis. 

  • Physics
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7408
    Teacher Contact: Dr S Catalan(
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Physics or Grade 7,7 in GCSE Science

    The A-level course is a two-year linear course, with all assessments taking place at the end of two years. Year 1 focuses on forces, dynamics, energy, materials, electricity, waves, particles and radiation. In Year 2 we study circular motion, simple harmonic motion, nuclear physics, thermal physics, and explore the concept of force fields in gravitation and electromagnetism. There is also an  optional topic, one from Astrophysics, Medical Physics, Engineering Physics, Turning Points in Physics and Electronics. 

    The approach will be to develop good thinking and problem solving skills while gaining a solid understanding of the various topics.  There will be numerous opportunities to carry out experiments to link theory to reality. Practical and evaluative skills as well as data analysis will be developed throughout the course and assessed via structured tasks. 

  • Product Design
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7552
    Teacher Contact: Miss T Wells (
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Technology subject

    This new creative and thought-provoking qualification will give students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers, especially those in creative industries. Students will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by designing, manufacturing and evaluating products of their choice. Students will develop their intellectual curiosity about design
    and manufacture of products and systems, and their impact on daily life and the wider world. Students will gain a real insight into the creative, engineering and/or manufacturing industries. The course will appeal to students who have an enquiring mind. The course encourages innovation, takes account of the varied interests of the student and enables students to learn about design in a design-make-test-evaluate context. The course has clear links with maths and science. 

  • Politics
    Specification: Edexcel
    Course Code: 9PL0
    Teacher Contact: Mrs K Griffin (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Humanity Subject

    Students taking this course are expected to have demonstrated an ability to research widely, analyse evidence and reach balanced conclusions. Students also need an enquiring mind, a passion for current affairs, be willing to engage with debates and have an ability to reason and think independently. This exciting specification offers considerable breadth for students who are interested in politics, whilst still retaining the level of depth that students achieve currently. 

    Over the two year course, students will study the political processes and institutions in both the United Kingdom and in the U.S.A. There will also be a comparative section to enable students to synthesize and demonstrate their learning.


  • Psychology
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7182
    Teacher Contact: Mr O Pointon (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: GCSE Grade 5+ in Maths, English & Science

    The focus is on learning about Psychological theories and studies as well as considering their application to real world situations. Research methods teaching is integrated throughout the two years and there will be some opportunities to carry out small projects.

    Year 1 – all compulsory units

    • Social Influences
    • Memory
    • Attachment
    • Approaches in Psychology
    • Research Methods
    • Psychopathology

    Year 2 – units

    • Biopsychology
    • Issues and Debates
    • Relationships
    • Eating Behaviour/Stress
    • Aggression


  • Religious Studies/Philosophy
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7062
    Teacher Contact: Mrs J Barker (
    Assessment: 100% Examination
    Typical Entry: Grade 6 in GCSE Humanity subject

    The AQA course provides the opportunity for students to explore ultimate questions about existence and morality. It covers a variety of relevant and contemporary themes that will inspire engaging classroom discussion and help students to develop the independent  thinking, critical and evaluative skills sought by higher education and employers. Students will become familiar with the responses  philosophers and religions have made to ultimate questions and are encouraged to formulate their own responses to such questions.

    Throughout the course emphasis is placed on critical analysis and the construction of balanced, informed arguments within the context of religious, philosophical and ethical awareness.

  • Physical Education (AS-level)
    Specification: OCR
    Course Code: H155
    Teacher Contact: Miss H Clarke (
    Assessment: 70% examination, 30% non-examined assessment
    Typical Entry: Grade 5 in Science & keen on PE!

    This is an enhancement course to complement 3 A-levels at NGHS.

    The course is planned to be delivered in two theory lessons per week over two years and is an AS qualification. The practical section of this course will be delivered during a further one hour per week in the enrichment PE lessons that all Year 12 students will undertake.

    The course will build on concepts that have been taught in Biology and Science at GCSE, but will allow students to develop wider  skills and understanding relating more specifically to:
    • Anatomy and physiology (links to Biology)
    • Biomechanics (links to Physics)
    • Sports Psychology (Links to Psychology)
    • Analysis of practical performance (PE)

  • Extended Project (additional course)
    Specification: AQA
    Course Code: 7993
    Teacher Contact: Mrs L Kearne (
    Assessment: 100% Assignment
    Typical Entry: Grade 5 in GCSE English (school entry requirement)

    The Extended Project Qualification is an extremely useful additional qualification and is proving to be an important factor in preparation for university.

    The skills developed, such as critically selecting information from a range of sources, analysing data and demonstrating  understanding of linkages, connections and complexities of a topic provide ideal preparation for all undergraduate courses and research is suggesting that completion correlates with degree success too. 

    Some universities now offer a reduced offer to students predicted an B, A or A* grade in EPQ.