English, Languages & Humanities
English is studied by all students in Years 7-11. There is a strong emphasis on core skills such as reading and writing, with students groups by ability from the start of their time at Downend. This enabled us to provide a suitable blend of support and challenge for every student. From Year 10, the more able students follow separate GCSE courses in English and Literature.
Students in Years 7 to 9 follow at least one language, with the more able linguists adopting a second language from Year 8. French, German and Spanish are taught at Downend, and many students participate in overseas visits and exchanges to develop their practical language skills. Languages can be studied through to A-level. In 2011 our Languages a staff attracted national recognition for their pioneering work in the teaching of languages through story-making.
History, Geography and RE are studied by all students in Years7-9 and are very popular options at GCSE and A-level. Students develop an awareness of their rights and responsibilities as citizens through educational visits which enhance their understanding of the world around them.
Downend offers a wide range of Applied Learning courses to students in Years 10-13. Business is a popular option which is now offered at BTEC and GCSE/A-level, and a number of students follow social science courses including GCSE Child Development and A-level Psychology.