(I)GCSE study

This page offers you all you need to understand the (I)GCSE system, the subjects that are on offer and ways in which you can gain support in order to perform at your best. 



In Year 9, we want to ensure that the students are challenged in a manner that prepares them for Art at GCSE level should they wish to opt for this subject. We introduce a GCSE-style theme that closely follows the expectations of GCSE Art and Design and ensures that all aspects of that course are covered and that the students have a real understanding of the expectations of GCSE Art & Design by the time the options process begins.

Skills in Drawing and Painting are explored in depth with emphasise on more advanced critical/written skills and a mature understanding of Artists work, relating to their own ideas.

The second unit of work is an open brief allowing students to express themselves through the completion of multimedia artwork aimed at stimulating curiosity, interest and enjoyment in the creative process.

In Years 10 and 11, our students are entered for the EDEXCEL GCSE course in Art and Design. This GCSE offers “endorsed” courses in Fine Art (Drawing and Painting); Printmaking; Sculpture; Photography; Graphic Design; Fashion and Textiles and Ceramics / 3D design, however, we opt for the “unendorsed course” in Art & Design, which ensures that the students can work in a variety of media over the two years. This approach allows students to discover their strongest style and media in preparation for their examination in Year 11.

For past examples of student work please visit http://enews.shatincollege.edu.hk/gallery/gcse-art-work

Our students at GCSE level produce work in a variety of media that includes Drawing and Painting; Printmaking; Mixed Media; Ceramics; Photography; Digital Media and much more. The process leading up to their final outcomes are emphasised both in our teaching and through the awarding of marks. This process builds on all that they have learned in the earlier years. The GCSE in Art & Design is an excellent preparation for the IB Visual Arts in Years 12 and 13.


In Year 9 students study the great tragedy of Macbeth and stage Scenes and Acts using techniques from a range of performance theorists including Suzuki from Japan and the ideas of Anne Bogart. Wherever possible, students are given chance to operate lights and sound whilst developing performance concepts that might affect choices of costume and props. These concepts which influence their staging ideas might include modernising or locating the play in a different context such as the world of big business.

After this work from Shakespeare, we introduce a new unit on the Italian tradition of Commedia Dell’Arte. This masked style of physical comedy is the forerunner to much of modern comedy and the students learn just how rewarding it is to possess the skills with which to make an audience laugh.

The Year 10 and 11 syllabus is the Cambridge Board IGCSE that allows students to develop their acting and directing skills over six varied performances before culminating in a challenging but interesting written exam that tests what they have learned over the two years. The performance work involves solo performance of monologues, group scripted work and group devised work. It is excellent watching the young performers becoming accomplished Drama practitioners as they improve their skills in group work; devising and interpreting script. Recent groups have performed extracts by some of the finest modern writers such as Pinter, Michael Morpurgo and Carol Ann Duffy, to name a few.


All students in Year 9 have a weekly one hour Music Lesson in which they perform as a soloist, in groups, create music, listen, analyse and learn about the theory of Music. In Year 9, the topics that we study are:
• Jazz
• Blues and Ragtime
• Music Technology
• Pop Song Structure and Writing
• 20th Century Western Classical Music

Students can be assessed in a range of skills including practical performing skills, listening skills and written investigative assignment skills.

Students may opt to study IGCSE Music (Cambridge) in Year 10 and 11, where they will have five lessons over the two-week cycle. The IGCSE Music Course for Year 10 & 11 requires students to:
• give solo and ensemble performances (30% coursework)
• produce two original compositions (30% coursework)
• and sit a listening paper (40% formal examination) covering musical theory, history, concepts, terminology and the study of a prescribed western classical set work and one area of world music focus.

Beyond the classroom, students in are welcome to take part in our STC Orchestra, Choir and Chinese Orchestra, as well as many bands and ensembles, that can perform at our Young Musicians Festival, School Production, the Chinese New Year Assembly, Spring Concert, Scottish Opera CAS Week and many other events. Students studying IGCSE Music are strongly recommended to participate in the wider life of Music at Sha Tin College through these events to offer and enhance their musical experience and skills.

We have two classrooms, several practice rooms, a band room with recording facilities, all with a range of instruments including Pianos, Keyboards, Guitars, Drum Kits, Tuned and Untuned Percussion. Students will also make full use of their laptop using a range of recommended music software and the schools site license of Sibelius 7 software.


Design and Technology

Designing and making quality solutions, objects and products are common to all of the design based courses that are offered in design and technology. Design and Technology as a subject is unique as it provides excellent opportunities for students to express their creativity, work experientially as well as providing opportunities for personal, authentic and contextual learning. A significant motivating factor for students in Design and Technology is the opportunity and challenge of developing a designed object that is creative, innovative, and has personal relevance and application.

Students will learn to think and work like real designers and in doing so develop a fantastic portfolio that demonstrates their creativity and design capabilities. The portfolio is an incredibly useful document as it can be used in conjunction with their application to university, not only for design-based courses but as proof that they have developed the project management skills of working with human and non-human resources.

Food Technology

In the Middle School the projects become increasingly complex as students are responsible for their learning and development, as they build on knowledge and skills such as; research and development to create recipes. This prepares them well for GCSE classes.
The GCSE focus is for them to create a food product that would be similar to how it would happen in a real life situation in the the food manufacturing.


Online and offline media has developed into a powerful and persuasive language all of its own which students learn to interpret and so understand the influence it has on their everyday lives. They learn to use this fast-developing language to create advanced solutions, using video technologies such as green-screen, motion graphics and special effects of the type seen on television, the web and the cinema every day. Students really appreciate seeing their work come to life and when they discover that they can fine tune and control their creations with the addition of dedicated programming and coding it opens up whole new worlds of possibilities. Add to that the ability to 3D print what they had only previously seen on screen or on paper and students really start to see ICT come alive and the relevance it has to the way they interact with their online worlds.

When the time comes to choose examination courses, students can take an advanced diploma course in ICT where they really learn to take control of the technology in their lives. The course was specially developed by ESF teachers for the examination board, going beyond the standard A* at GCSE with opportunities to move outside of the classroom into the real world to extend student knowledge, skills and experiences. Students get to work with a client to develop real-world, ICT solutions based on what they enjoy and have discovered they excel at. Students have the chance to work in any area of ICT they choose; advanced coding through to professional quality media. In the past students have created online, shopping sites for their parent’s business whilst others were sponsored by a world renowned composer travel to Korea and present their multimedia video installation which they created as part of the world premiere of his latest musical composition.

English Language and Literature

Middle School : Years 9-11
At STC, all students study Edexcel IGCSE English Language and IGCSE English Literature in Years 10 and 11. Whilst each of these is a subject in its own right leading to a separate qualification, the courses are taught alongside each other and are interdependent. A very small number of students will, in addition to the above, undertake the Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language programme at the end of Year 10.

Year 9 builds on the skills taught in Years 7 and 8 and prepares them for their two year IGCSE English courses. Typical texts studied in Year 9 include:
• a range of poetry
• advertising from the last 50 years
• Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’
• Graphic novels
• and at least one class reader, book box or selection of short stories.

Students undertake a range of written tasks, both creative and literary, and participate in a range of oral tasks. Once a cycle, students have a timetabled Library lesson and a timetabled grammar lesson. The focus is on more in-depth literary analysis, the ability to empathise with characters, more sustained and sophisticated writing, being aware of changing attitudes, and widening the range of authors and genres students read.
In Years 10 and 11, students follow the two year IGCSE programme of study. Both IGCSE English Language and IGCSE English Literature are assessed through coursework and end-of-course examinations. Both develop students’ skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing; provide students with qualifications that are essential for university entrance and employment; and prepare students for the English component of the International Baccalaureate that is studied in Years 12 and 13.

IGCSE English Language (Specification A) (Edexcel 4EA0)
The examination is designed as a two-year course requiring students to undertake a breadth of reading and writing activities, a range of specific oral and written coursework assignments and preparation for a written examination. Integral to the above is the study of an Anthology related to both coursework and the examination.

IGCSE English Literature (Edexcel 4ET0)
The examination is designed as a two-year course requiring students to undertake the study of prose, drama and poetry. The literature derives from a range of different cultures and the nature of the course and the examination allows students to make informed but personal responses to the texts studied. The course encourages the reading of literature from different social, historical and cultural backgrounds; allows for the study of world literature in translation; and offers a variety of question types in the examination.

Individuals and Societies


A successful business person must be able to understand the many competing and changing demands of suppliers, customers, employees, shareholders and governments. The IGCSE Business Studies (CIE 0450) course aims to give students opportunities to:
• apply their knowledge and critical understanding to current business issues and problems in a wide range of international contexts
• distinguish between facts and opinion and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data, to help build arguments and make informed judgements
• appreciate the perspectives of a range of stakeholders in relation to the environment, individuals, society, government and enterprise.
The course is divided into six areas of study:
• Understanding business activity
• People in business
• Marketing
• Operations management
• Financial information and decisions
• External influences on business activity

The IGCSE Business Studies course is intended for students who have an interest in how the real world of business operates.
Students studying the course should ideally be internationally minded and have an interest in current affairs.


In Years 10 and 11 students of IGCSE Economics (Edexcel 4EC0) learn how the basic principles of economics influence the everyday decisions of individuals, businesses and governments. All societies have resources that are scarce and cannot meet the many competing needs of their citizens and Economics is therefore the study of choice and the consequences of decisions. The IGCSE Economics course encourages students to:
• interpret and evaluate economic data in order to make reasoned arguments and informed judgements
• develop an awareness of economic change and its impact on developing and developed economies
• understand economic issues, problems and possible solutions that affect our economies
• participate effectively in society as citizens, producers and consumers.

Course Content
• The Market System: demand and supply, the role of the market in solving the basic economic problem, the labour market
• Business Economics: production, competition, public and private sectors
• Government and the Economy: macroeconomic objectives, policies, relationship between objectives and policies
• The Global Economy: exchange rates, international trade, globalisation

The IGCSE Economics course is intended for students who have an interest in how real life economies operate on a local, national and global scale. Students should ideally be internationally minded and have an interest in current affairs.

This subject develops students’ ability to form reasoned opinions and make judgements based on a range of evidence.

Global Thinking Skills

In Year 9 the students will study the following topics:
• Child Labour: The focus is on thinking about global issues and caring about the injustices and inequalities in the world. Essay writing skills or presentation skills. Researching a real life issue and presenting well balanced arguments with justified conclusion.
• Morals and Values: To encourage students to reflect on what they value and why and how this links to their behaviour and choices.
• Raising Awareness: In this unit students will be planning an action to raise awareness (not raise money) about an issues of their choice. This links to the CAS program by reinforcing the ideas that as well as thinking about your moral views it is important to act on them.

In Year 10 the students will study the following topics:
• Media: In this topic they will learn how to think critically about the information in the media, with a focus on gender inequalities. They will also reflect on the role of media in their daily lives and consider how to use it effectively and responsibly.
• Relationships: Students will learn about different types of relationships and how to stay safe within relationships, including sexual relationships and attitudes toward homosexuality.
• Future Focus: Students will learn about revision techniques and how to plan for exams as well as how to write a letter to ask for work experience.

In Year 11 students will study the following topics:
• Introduction to Theory of Knowledge: The objectives of this series of lessons is to introduce critical thinking skills, presentation skills and the language and concepts of TOK.
• Post 16 choices: Lessons allow students to use the tools and tasks set in Naviance to help them make informed and carefully thought through decisions about what to study post 16.
• Study Skills: This is a reminder of good revision and time management techniques before your GCSE study leave.


The course in Year 9 studies a number of topical issues affecting students and the world in which they are growing up. It builds upon the skills and the key concepts that have been studied in the Lower School and provides a solid foundation for those students who choose to continue with the subject at IGCSE.

Students plan and carry out a pollution study in Hong Kong, investigate ecotourism and sustainability in Fiji and explore some of the geographical issues facing modern day Japan. Assessment is varied and includes group investigation, presentations, persuasive writing, case studies and skills based tests.

In Years 10 and 11 students follow the Edexcel IGCSE Course. The options they study are:
• River Environments
• Urban Environments
• Hazardous Environments
• Economic Activity & Energy
• Fragile Environments

There are field trips each year. Students design and carry out their own investigations of environmental quality and urban land use in Sha Tin and river processes along the Sha Tin Pass River. They also visit Hong Kong Science Park and Fo Tan industrial area to compare and contrast two very different economic landscapes.

The course is designed so that students will develop knowledge and understanding of geographical concepts, global issues, and places and environments from a local to global scale, applying their learning to the real world through fieldwork.


In Year 9 students will study the following units:
• The Second World War – they answer thought provoking questions such Was Dunkirk a triumph or a disaster? Did the Soviets pay too big a price? Why did Hong Kong fall so quickly? Was Dresden a war crime? Was the dropping of the atomic bombs justified?
• A personal inquiry. This allows students to select a period of history, an event or historical figure who they have not studied in Years 7 – 9. It also allows them to study the history of a country that we do not cover.
• The world post 1945 – looking at key events such as the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and life in Mao’s the People’s Republic of China. This is important as these events have shaped the modern world that we live in.

In order to understand the world we live in, it is necessary to be aware of the events of the last 100 years. The IGCSE History syllabus helps students to appreciate the complex political and social changes of the twentieth century and how they have shaped society today.
They will develop the following key skills;
• Chronology: understanding what happened and when
• Description: using a variety of sources and your knowledge to describe what happened
• Explanation: explaining the causes and consequences of what happened
• Analysis and Evaluation: to construct a balanced argument in extended writing
• Source analysis: making inferences and cross-referencing sources.

Students study the EDEXCEL iGCSE Modern World History and cover the following units:
Paper 1:
• Development of dictatorship: Germany, 1918-45. We explore the constitution of the Weimar Republic, the attempts to overthrow it and the “Golden era” of Stresemann, the events that led to Hitler becoming Chancellor, how he consolidated power and what life was like in Nazi Germany.
• Dictatorship and conflict in Russia, 1924-53. We explore the power struggle that followed Lenin’s death, Stalin’s domestic policies and the methods he used to keep power and how the Second World War affected Stalin’s rule and the USSR.

Paper 2:
• The origins and course of the First World War, 1905-18. We explore the causes of the First World War, what it was like to be a soldier in the Western Front and the key battles of the Somme and Gallipoli.
• Conflict, crisis and change: The Middle East, c1919-c1995. We explore why Israel was created in 1948 and how this has affected the region, the conflicts of 1948 – 49, the Suez Crisis, the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War. This leads into discussion on the involvement of the Superpowers in the Middle East.

“An individual stripped of memory finds the world a confusing place; a society with no sense of history is unaware where it has come from or where it is going” – Russell Tarr

Philosophy and Religious Studies

The Year 9 curriculum concentrates on some complex and thought provoking questions. It provides many skills and key concepts which provide a foundation for those students who choose to continue the subject at IGCSE. Each unit encourages students to evaluate a variety of perspectives as well as being able to create a convincing justification of their own personal opinion. Students are assessed in a variety of ways which include, creating podcasts, group inquiry and presentation and video.

The topics in Year 9 are:
• When does life begin?
• Why is there suffering?
• An investigation into acts of Genocide
• “A world without religion”

In Y10 and Y11 students follow the Edexcel IGCSE Religious Studies course.
Students look at topics from religious and non-religious points of view to understand how beliefs influence the ethical decisions made by different people, societies and cultures. The course provides an excellent foundation for all higher education courses because of its relevance to contemporary society and the skills of critical thinking it develops in students.

Here is a list of some of the topics the course covers:
• The universe, human beings and their destiny: free will and determinism, death and the afterlife. The environment and animal rights.
• Ultimate reality and the meaning of life: the problem of evil and suffering, the sanctity of life, science and religion. Does God exist?
• Relationships, families and children: marriage and partnerships, divorce and remarriage, celibacy and genetic engineering.
• Rights, equality and responsibilities: human rights, racial harmony, wealth and poverty. Global citizenship.

IGCSE PRS students students are also given the opportunity to take part in the STC Philosophy and Physics day with an influential Philosopher.

Language Acquisition

We are undergoing a period of change in our Language Acquisition courses. This is principally to respond to changes associated with the implementation of MYP and the need to phase these changes in over the coming years.


In the latter part of Year 9 and all of Years 10 and 11 students prepare for the IGCSE Cambridge Mathematics syllabus, which supports the academic rigour and coursework components of the International Baccalaureate. Mathematical modelling and investigational practice are a key part of the IGCSE course, and one full paper of the final examinations in Year 11 is devoted to these important skills. The course is split between Core and Extended though most students are entered into the Extended syllabus, a decision made in Year 11. To further support students who wish to pursue Mathematics at Higher Level or Standard Level at IB we offer IGCSE Cambridge Additional Mathematics for the top 30 percentile of our students.

The learning of Mathematics increasingly reflects the changing world, and the use of technology has been incorporated into the IGCSE program. All students will be taught to use the graphical display calculator (TI-Nspire) and modelling software is used in Years 9 through to 11 to support further mathematical understanding. We give students opportunities to excel in Mathematics and each year students in Year 10 and 11 volunteer to enter the UK Maths Trust Challenge and take part in the South East Asia Mathematics Competition. This year for the first time we will be running a day trip ‘Maths trail’ for all students in Year 9.

Our students are set according to their ability and are regularly assessed after each module of learning. The key modules are:
• Number
• Algebra
• Functions
• Geometry
• Transformations
• Mensuration
• Coordinate Geometry
• Trigonometry
• Sets
• Probability
• Statistics

All teaching groups follow the same topic outline and sequence though these may be taught at varying depths to match the student’s ability.

Physical and Health Education

In Year 9, students continue with the modular based format from years 7 and 8. This takes place through four core topics, Badminton or Table Tennis, Basketball, Water Polo and Trampolining. The final module is an optional topic that introduces the students into the flow of Physical Education in Year 10 & 11.

In Year 10 and leading into year 11, students have the option to take their Physical Education studies further by electing for the IGCSE in Physical Education. This is an exciting course that has both theoretical and practical aspects. The students will eventually submit their four best grades from their practical studies. There are 3 main topic areas the students all study:
• Factors affecting performance
• Health safety and training
• Reasons and opportunities for participation in physical activity

All Year 10 and 11 students will also study the core PE programme. In Year 10, students follow the sports/activity’s route laid out in Years 7 to 9, however, they now have the opportunity to specialise and choose their four preferred activities.

In Year 11 a diversified programme is offered, focusing on life skills such as First Aid, Personal Survival and Personal Fitness. This is to help induce lifelong and lead into the options choice programme in Years 12 and 13.


In Year 9 students begin studying for the Cambridge IGCSE Coordinated Science (Double Award). This is a rigorous course and is recognised world-wide. The three areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics are studied and assessed simultaneously leading to a double IGCSE qualification. It is the ideal preparation for students wishing to study a Science subject at IB Diploma level or beyond. In addition to preparing students for further study we believe the curriculum we offer at Sha Tin College also enables our students to become scientifically literate and so able to make informed and ethical choices in the future.

Many of the topics covered lower down in the school are revisited but in much greater depth. In Biology the subject of reproduction is revisited but this time there is an emphasis on transmission of genetic data. In Chemistry the topic of chemical reactions is revisited but now with an emphasis on the nature of the bonding involved. In Physics magnetism is revisited but with an emphasis on electromagnetic induction and the role of transformers.

Whilst there is a heavy emphasis on the more formal and academic side of Science we also like to challenge our students to be as creative as they can. To this end we hold an extremely popular Year 9 Science competition where the students compete in groups to successfully carry out a scientific investigation.

Assessment is continuous and is both formal and informal. Approximately six times per year students are tested using IGCSE criteria and a grade is awarded.

For more information about Science at Years 9,10 and 11, please contact Mr Paul Drew.