Middle School

Middle School Subjects

Art & Design

Pupils opting to study Art and Design as a GCSE subject follow the revised CCEA specification.  We spend much of Form 4 developing practical skills in a range of media and techniques for Component 1, Part A, the Exploratory Portfolio. We begin the course by undertaking a digital photography workshop in Botanic Gardens, the Palm House and Tropical Ravine, taking advantage of our uniquely convenient location.  

We aim to develop an understanding of different types and purposes of drawing, focussing on working mainly from first hand sources, using traditional and experimental media, tools and processes. We also develop digital skills through digital drawing on IPads.  We return to the Ulster Museum towards the end of the first term, drawing from the specimens in the Nature Zone.

We complete a range of practical workshops inspired by the work and ideas of other practitioners, including painting, printmaking and ceramics.  We build on the literacy skills developed at Key Stage 3 to enable pupils to use the visual language of art and design in the annotation of their own work and ideas. We develop an understanding of colour theory, revising what our pupils learn in the first term of Form 1, and look at how the Fauves used colour in their painting. We further develop digital skills in a Photoshop unit where pupils explore the creative manipulation of their own and found images.

Towards the end of Form 4, pupils begin research as a springboard to their work for Component 1, Part B, Investigating the Creative and Cultural Industries. Pupils are encouraged to explore the broader context and working practices of one or more practitioners, developing an understanding of how artists, craftspeople and designers work in the real world.  Pupils then use what they have learnt to devise ideas for their own practical outcome in a related area of art, craft or design, showing an understanding of how this might be viewed by an audience or used as a product.

From January of Form 5, pupils complete their Component 2, the Externally Set Assignment, working independently in response to a theme set by CCEA, leading to the completion of an outcome in 10 hours under formal examination conditions. An exhibition of work is mounted for a visiting moderator and families and friends are invited to celebrate the work of the students.

Biology

Biology is the science of living things.  A biologist tries to find out more about how plants and animals work.  Biologists like to know more about what goes on inside you, and inside other plants and animals too.  Biology is also concerned with why there are so many different kinds of plants and animals.  To a biologist the natural world is full of questions just waiting to be answered. 

Aims of the Biology Department

  • To develop an enjoyment of, and interest in, Biology.
  • To develop an understanding of scientific methods.
  • To teach the essential knowledge and understanding of some of the main areas of Biology, and also the skills necessary for pupils to be able to make use of Biology in new and changing situations in society.
  • To give pupils a scientific training, either as an end in itself or as an appropriate foundation for further study of Biology or related subjects at KS4, A Level and beyond. 


Curriculum

In Forms 4 and 5 pupils at Methodist College can opt to study Biology as a separate GCSE subject.
 

Business Studies

The Business Studies department uses a range of approaches including analysing events in the news, discussions and debates on policy, speakers from local universities, businesses, brainstorming, internet research and group work.  Regular tests are also incorporated into the schemes of work to ensure understanding and evaluate learning. Widespread use is made of ICT for research, presentation and calculations.

Business Studies continues to be one of the most popular university and career pathways for students leaving Methodist College. It will provide students with an excellent broad based preparation for careers and degrees in management, accountancy, product development, marketing, investment banking, international business, finance, actuary, retail or simply running your own business. Throughout the course, the students will experience guest speakers and the opportunity to visit businesses to see how theory learnt in the classroom can be carried across into the real business world. 

Chemistry

Pupils study GCSE Chemistry, using the CCEA Examination Board specification.  The units studied are:

Unit 1: Structures, Trends, Chemical Reactions, Quantitative Chemistry and Analysis

Unit 2: Further Chemical Reactions, Rates and Equilibrium, Calculations and Organic Chemistry

Unit 3: Practical Skills.

Classical Civilisation & Latin

Classical Civilisation and Latin are available as GCSE options.

The OCR Classical Civilisation specification (www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/classical-civilisation-j199-from-2017/) is followed. The two areas of study are Myth and Religion and Roman City Life. Both topics promote the evaluation of sources. An endorsed GCSE textbook is used.

Pupils follow the Eduqas specification (www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/latin/) in Latin and, as well as continuing their study of the Latin language, explore some Roman writers as set texts. A wide range of GCSE-specific textbooks are used.

Pupils studying Classical Civilisation and Latin have the opportunity to take part in a trip to Italy in the first term of Fifth Form.

Digital Technology (Multimedia)

Our Digital Technology Multimedia is through the CCEA examination board.

This course consists of a core external written examination worth 30% including digital data, software, hardware, networks, cloud technology, ethics and legislation.

This course also involves a written examination and a controlled assessment relating to multimedia applications, where the programming written examination and controlled assessment path relate to programming.

Digital Technology (Programming)

Our Digital Technology Programming course through the CCEA examination board.

This course consists of a core external written examination worth 30% including digital data, software, hardware, networks, cloud technology, ethics and legislation.

Drama

Curriculum

Students can choose to study Drama at GCSE level.

AQA GCSE Drama Assessment

Unit 1: Understanding Drama

  • Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • 40% of GCSE

Unit 2: Devising Drama

  • Devising log (60 marks)
  • Devised performance (20 marks)
  • 40% of GCSE

Unit 3: Texts in Practice (Practical)

  • Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) and
  • Extract 2 (20 marks)
  • 20% of GCSE

GCSE pupils are taken to professional theatre productions every year. 

Economics

The Economics department uses a range of approaches including analysing events in the news, discussions and debates on policy, speakers from local universities, businesses, brainstorming, internet research and group work.  Regular tests are also incorporated into the schemes of work to ensure understanding and evaluate learning. Widespread use is made of ICT for research, presentation and calculations.

Employers place a high value on the quantitative, analytical and problem-solving skills gained by those who study Economics as well as the emphasis on effective communication. Economics provides an understanding of how the world works. Students become more informed citizens who are better equipped to fulfill their role in society.  

English Language

English in Methody has a focus on developing the skills to communicate with confidence and enjoyment at all levels. In all English classes there is strong emphasis on active pupil participation, the practical application of language and the enjoyment of reading and literature in all its types and genres. Group work is very popular and oral activities including discussion, role-play and presentation form a significant part of the pupil experience. The English Department actively encourages the pupils’ abilities to build an argument ‘from scratch’ in support of their own opinions and thoughts on a given topic. We are keen to ensure that literature is not viewed in a vacuum, but is seen in all its contextual relevance (relevance to both its own contemporary audience and a modern-day readership). We work closely with other departments in the College, and are increasingly exploiting the keen links between History and English.

In a bid to increase the idea of relevance in the English classroom, the English Department works hard at providing real-world audiences for the pupils, taking their writing far beyond the confines of the basic teacher-pupil readership. Writing, both fiction and non-fiction, for real audiences is always encouraged and nurtured. Our pupils enter a wide range of competitions and regularly have poems published in anthologies such as Poetry in Motion and Young Writers, as well as the College magazine. The Inter-Schools Creative Writers Network, led by former MCB English teacher and novelist Dr Sheena Wilkinson (assisted by current MCB teacher Mrs Devlin) has seen great success with the publication of another excellent Anthology featuring writing from MCB students, as well as pupils from Belfast INST, Sullivan Upper, Victoria College and Aquinas. Recently, past pupil and regular Writers Network attender Dervla Carroll (2015 leaver) has seen great success, being named by the BBC as the top up-and-coming young poet in Ireland.

Other Senior pupils have enjoyed success in the Christopher Tower Poetry competition and in the QUB / Amnesty International Creative Writing competition. We are also strong competitors in the Poetry Aloud Competition, and our entries into the Royal Mail Letter Writing contest have been wide-ranging in both their content and appeal.

Indeed, the English Department offers one of the widest ranges of Extra-Curricular activities of any subject in MCB: from our Junior and Senior Hewitt Societies for Creative Writing (named after Methody Alumnus John Hewitt), to Junior and Senior Debating Societies. Additionally, we offer a popular Sixth Form Enrichment Class in ‘World Literature’ which meets every week, not mention a successful ‘News Team’ in operation in Middle and Senior school.

When appropriate and relevant to what the pupils are learning, we take English out of the classroom. We are lucky to have a passionate and deeply interested Librarian here in Methody, and all pupils have access to a well-stocked and carefully curated collection of books. Miss Patterson also leads invaluable introductory lessons each year on how to best use the Library to its fullest potential. All pupils have the opportunity to visit the cinema and theatre, and we are strong advocates of the ‘Read-On’ programme.  Junior pupils have enjoyed visits from leading authors such as Alan Gibbons, Cathy Cassidy, Lee Weatherly, Dan Freedman, Darren Shaw and Anthony Horowitz.

The English Department in MCB is keen that ALL pupils have an enriching and rewarding experience of studying English with us. In our well-equipped specialist rooms, we make use of audio-visual and computer facilities, and are particularly proud of our extensive Fronter resources and how these contribute to the independent learning of the pupils in all year groups throughout the subject. In Junior School, we offer spelling programmes in each year which aim to contribute to a growing vocabulary familiarity and consequently add to the effectiveness with which a pupil can express themselves orally and on the page. The English Department operates a thorough support system designed to identify and support those pupils who might be finding aspects of the study of English particularly challenging and frightening, for example our EAL students. Research skills are developed from Form 1 right through to A Level, and pupils will produce projects on a variety of interesting, relevant and engaging topics throughout their time with us.

In the last 8 weeks of teaching prior to External Exams, the English Dept run weekly Revision Lectures and designated Study Clinics for Form 5, Lower 6th and Upper 6th, and each Easter, we run an intensive Easter Study Day for Upper Sixth students. All of this is done to maximise the students’ understanding and confidence in the subject as they approach their final exams.

English Literature

English in Methody has a focus on developing the skills to communicate with confidence and enjoyment at all levels. In all English classes there is strong emphasis on active pupil participation, the practical application of language and the enjoyment of reading and literature in all its types and genres. Group work is very popular and oral activities including discussion, role-play and presentation form a significant part of the pupil experience. The English Department actively encourages the pupils’ abilities to build an argument ‘from scratch’ in support of their own opinions and thoughts on a given topic. We are keen to ensure that literature is not viewed in a vacuum, but is seen in all its contextual relevance (relevance to both its own contemporary audience and a modern-day readership). We work closely with other departments in the College, and are increasingly exploiting the keen links between History and English.

In a bid to increase the idea of relevance in the English classroom, the English Department works hard at providing real-world audiences for the pupils, taking their writing far beyond the confines of the basic teacher-pupil readership. Writing, both fiction and non-fiction, for real audiences is always encouraged and nurtured. Our pupils enter a wide range of competitions and regularly have poems published in anthologies such as Poetry in Motion and Young Writers, as well as the College magazine. The Inter-Schools Creative Writers Network, led by former MCB English teacher and novelist Dr Sheena Wilkinson (assisted by current MCB teacher Mrs Devlin) has seen great success with the publication of another excellent Anthology featuring writing from MCB students, as well as pupils from Belfast INST, Sullivan Upper, Victoria College and Aquinas. Recently, past pupil and regular Writers Network attender Dervla Carroll (2015 leaver) has seen great success, being named by the BBC as the top up-and-coming young poet in Ireland.

Other Senior pupils have enjoyed success in the Christopher Tower Poetry competition and in the QUB / Amnesty International Creative Writing competition. We are also strong competitors in the Poetry Aloud Competition, and our entries into the Royal Mail Letter Writing contest have been wide-ranging in both their content and appeal.

Indeed, the English Department offers one of the widest ranges of Extra-Curricular activities of any subject in MCB: from our Junior and Senior Hewitt Societies for Creative Writing (named after Methody Alumnus John Hewitt), to Junior and Senior Debating Societies. Additionally, we offer a popular Sixth Form Enrichment Class in ‘World Literature’ which meets every week, not mention a successful ‘News Team’ in operation in Middle and Senior school.

When appropriate and relevant to what the pupils are learning, we take English out of the classroom. We are lucky to have a passionate and deeply interested Librarian here in Methody, and all pupils have access to a well-stocked and carefully curated collection of books. Miss Patterson also leads invaluable introductory lessons each year on how to best use the Library to its fullest potential. All pupils have the opportunity to visit the cinema and theatre, and we are strong advocates of the ‘Read-On’ programme.  Junior pupils have enjoyed visits from leading authors such as Alan Gibbons, Cathy Cassidy, Lee Weatherly, Dan Freedman, Darren Shaw and Anthony Horowitz.

The English Department in MCB is keen that ALL pupils have an enriching and rewarding experience of studying English with us. In our well-equipped specialist rooms, we make use of audio-visual and computer facilities, and are particularly proud of our extensive Fronter resources and how these contribute to the independent learning of the pupils in all year groups throughout the subject. In Junior School, we offer spelling programmes in each year which aim to contribute to a growing vocabulary familiarity and consequently add to the effectiveness with which a pupil can express themselves orally and on the page. The English Department operates a thorough support system designed to identify and support those pupils who might be finding aspects of the study of English particularly challenging and frightening, for example our EAL students. Research skills are developed from Form 1 right through to A Level, and pupils will produce projects on a variety of interesting, relevant and engaging topics throughout their time with us.

In the last 8 weeks of teaching prior to External Exams, the English Dept run weekly Revision Lectures and designated Study Clinics for Form 5, Lower 6th and Upper 6th, and each Easter, we run an intensive Easter Study Day for Upper Sixth students. All of this is done to maximise the students’ understanding and confidence in the subject as they approach their final exams.

 The Sheila Smyth Lecture

These lectures are held in memory of Sheila Smyth, and were inaugurated by Michael and Edna Longley in 1997. The College continues to endeavour to bring our Sixth Form students the experience of listening to and learning from a selection of successful writers, critics and broadcasters, all of whom have strong links with Northern Ireland.  To date, our speakers have been:

1997 - Michael Longley

1998 - Glenn Patterson

1999 - Helen Lewis

2000 - Marie Jones

2001 - Jennifer Johnston

2002 - Frank McGuiness

2003 - Bernard MacLaverty

2004 - Colm Toibin

2005 - Seamus Heaney

2006 - Lucy Caldwell

2007 - Carlo Gebler

2008 - Paul Muldoon

2009 - Mick Gordon

2010 - Ian Sansom

2011 - Sinead Morrissey

2012 - Peter McDonald

2013 - Brian McGilloway

2014 - Peter Hollywood

2015 - Ciaran Carson

2017 - Alan Gillis 

2018 - Andy White 

2019 - Marie-Louise Muir

 

 

French

The French Department teaches French as a core subject to all pupils in the first three years. French is one of the modern languages offered at GCSE.  In the French Department we strive to develop the ability of young people to use French effectively and with confidence.

Our aim is to make the study of French an enjoyable experience and to develop an awareness of the French language while encouraging an imaginative, practical and creative approach to it.

Facilities and Resources

Use of ICT is made at all levels. There is a range of audio-visual materials and French ICT packages. Pupils have access to interactive materials and MCB LNI courses which are used as part of their learning and assessment. In addition Grammar and vocabulary drills are available on the College’s computer network, pupils regularly give presentations and the Internet is increasingly used to access background information.  

Foreign Language Assistants

We are extremely fortunate to have the services of two foreign language assistants. The principal contribution of the foreign language assistants is in the sixth form where they conduct well-planned conversation classes, where timetabling permits they may also teach GCSE groups. In addition assistants can participate in language-related cultural activities with all age groups.  The presence of a native speaker brings the subject alive and encourages authentic use of the French language.

Curriculum

Pupils at GCSE lebel they use Encore Tricolore or Equipe as their main textbook. These books are supplemented with linked workbooks and grammar exercises. Appropriate use is also made of educational videos and software.

In Forms 4 - 5 pupils are banded and a course work option is offered to some classes.
 

Food & Nutrition

Food & Nutrition is a highly relevant, vibrant subject offered to pupils at GCSE.

Pupils have regular experience of practical activities in which they are encouraged to develop a range of skills, including food preparation skills, organisational skills, problem solving abilities, working as part of a team and time management. 

Independent learning is important, with teachers providing support through ICT and handouts where necessary. The emphasis is on investigation, acquiring new concepts and community ideas both in written and oral form. By using a variety of teaching and learning strategies pupils engage with key issues in a meaningful way.

Why choose GCSE Food & Nutrition?

The choices we make about food affect our health and well-being, so knowledge of food and nutrition is important. We also need to know how advertising and labelling can influence the choices we make about what we consume.

Food and nutrition is a very relevant subject to study as we have become increasingly concerned about key issues such as food provenance (where food comes from) and food nutrition for good health.

Further Mathmatics

Mathematics is fundamental to life in the sense that its unique language and forms of notation help us to calculate, estimate and problem solve. It also informs many of the choices and decisions we make about real life issues and challenges and the actions we subsequently take.

Through engagement with issues which have current and future relevance to young people, teachers can help pupils to see the relevance of mathematics to real life. Mathematics and Numeracy includes the contributory elements of Mathematics and Financial Capability.

The study of Mathematics makes a significant contribution to the development of personal skills including working logically, independently, co-operatively and promotion of self-discipline.

Mathematics at Methodist College Belfast

The Mathematics Department within MCB is proud of its reputation in the delivery of Mathematics. The staff are committed to supporting pupils of all abilities and enabling all pupils to fulfil their academic potential.

The Department aims include building the fundamentals of Mathematics, seeing the relevance of the subject, enjoyment and challenge of the subject, integration of ICT and success in all internal and external examinations.

Courses Forms 4-5     

  GCSE Mathematics (CCEA)
  GCSE Additional Mathematics (CCEA)

 Other Information

  • ICT resources used (Autograph, TSM, Whiteboardmaths, Fronter)
  • UKMT Maths Challenges (Junior, Intermediate, Senior, Kangaroo, Olympiad levels)
  • UKMT Team Challenges (Junior, Senior)
  • UKMT  Junior Mentoring Scheme
  • Scholarship Classes (Oxford/Cambridge applications, STEP Papers)
  • QUB Team Challenges (5/L6 pupils)
  • QUB (Royal Institution of Mathematics Master Classes)
  • Staff Development (INSET/CCEA)
  • TSM resource (ICT)
  • BELB – ‘Improving learning in Mathematics’

Useful Links

www.ccea.org.uk
www.whiteboardmaths.com
www.tsm-resources.com
www.kangaroomaths.com
www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk
www.thestudentroom.co.uk
www.mathshelper.co.uk 

Geography

Pupils in form four and five follow the CCEA course for GCSE Geography.  This involves the study of Physical and Human Geography. http://ccea.org.uk/geography/

PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY – UNDERSTANDING OUR NATURAL WORLD

  • River Environments
  • Coastal Environments
  • Our Changing Weather and Climate
  • The Restless Earth

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY – LIVING IN OUR WORLD

  • Population and Migration
  • Changing Urban Areas
  • Contrasts in World Development
  • Managing Our Environment

Pupils will then get the opportunity to complete some fieldwork.  More recently this has taken the form of a river study of the Crawfordsburn River. 

There is no Controlled Assessment at GCSE, instead a Fieldwork paper will be undertaken.

Form 4

Geographers have the opportunity to travel to the French Alps on a fieldtrip.  Pupils and staff stay in Chamonix for four nights studying a range of physical and human features, including travelling up to the Aiguille du Midi by cable care, exploring the ice caves of the Mer du Glace, hiking to the Argentiere Glacier, and visiting the lakeside town of Annecy.

Geology

Geology is studied at GCSE and provides the pupils with a wide range of practical activities linked to the earth’s surface and structures. 

At GCSE level, the course helps pupils to understand and appreciate the earth’s diverse structure and composition.  There is an opportunity to study the exploration and extraction of the natural resources and to observe the effects of geological processes and human impact on the earth.
Geology is one of the most interdisciplinary and integrated of the Sciences.  It provides an opportunity to study natural phenomena such as volcanoes and earthquakes.  Environmental issues and geological hazards form an important part of the A-level course.

Facilities and Resources
The Geology GCSE pupils have excellent opportunities to use a wide range of ICT.  There are extensive resources on their VLE – Fronter  and this is used for research for coursework, specific research assessments on Earthquakes and Volcanoes and to encourage students to use the VLE.  

The pupils engage in active learning by having good fieldwork opportunities and practical activities in the class. There is a Twitter site MCBGeology that can be followed and the pupils are encouraged to use the links on it.

The availability of rock and fossil samples gives pupils opportunity to complete a wide range of practical activities. A digital microscope is used in class to help practical work.  Pupils can make their own slides of some of the sedimentary rocks and sand samples.

There are several very god Apps for the iPad that are used regularly in class and TASA have created a very useful interactive App called Puzzling Plates that should be used by all Geology students.  The interactive Whiteboard is also used for smaller groups to aid their revision and learning.

Curriculum
At GCSE level the Welsh Joint Education Committee Geology syllabus is used. At AS and A2 Level the syllabus used in Northern Ireland is from OCR –The Oxford and Cambridge and RSA Examinations board. 

Geology Practical Skills assessments at GCSE makes up 25% of the examination.  These skills include learning how to use a compass and interpret maps together with a very useful range of descriptive and quantitative skills including risk assessments of the field work areas.  These encourage abilities and skills that are useful in every day life and the students also develop good IT skills.  There are also opportunities for the pupils to use GPS devices and to complete GIS activities.

Educational Trips 
Northern Ireland provides an excellent range of fieldwork localities for the Geology field work. Colliery Bay - east of Ballycastle - is the main area of study at GCSE.  However to gain the necessary skills they visit localities in the Mournes, Islandmagee and the North Coast.

As the school has a National Trust membership we also visit the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede.

Professional geologists are invited to give talks in the classroom and the pupils are also encouraged to attend events where they can meet geologists or past pupils that are currently studying Geology
 

German

German is the mother tongue of more Europeans than any other language. It is the first language of some 90 million people in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Northern Italy, and is spoken in many other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Culturally and commercially it is one of the world's most important languages. Who can imagine physics without Einstein or music without Bach?

Germany is a major trading partner of the UK and Ireland. Frankfurt and London are the EU's leading financial centres. German is a valuable asset for careers in science, fashion, communications, business and tourism.

Curriculum

Pupils in Forms 3-5 use Na Klar, a new, interactive language course which makes excellent use of the latest technology (CDs, CD-Roms) to teach German. The course is supplemented with lively language learning videos such as Hennings Haus, Hallo aus Berlin, Deutsch Plus, Extra and Susanne.

Pupils are encouraged to develop their ICT skills alongside their German, through email, internet and online discussions. 

Government & Politics

Our new GCSE Government and Politics course focuses on democracy and international politics in action. Students will develop their understanding of the political world at home and abroad.  They consider the policies of different political parties, the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the role of the media. The students explore a variety of organisations that operate on a global scale and how they respond to issues such as conflict resolution and migration. They gain insight into how the political process works and how decisions made in government affect us all. At the same time students develop skills useful in any context, from analysing data and problem-solving to taking part in debates and justifying their views.

History

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

History at GCSE level provides an opportunity to develop the skills which have been taught in Junior School.  We follow the CCEA specification for history and learn about three different modules of history: America 1920-1933, International Relations including the Cold War 1945-2003 and Changing Relations: Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain 1920-1949.   These modern history courses provide good opportunities for discussion at home, as many of the events and their impact are remembered by parents and grandparents.  History is a popular GCSE subject with 4 or 5 classes in Form 4 every years, and the excellent results achieved by the students demonstrate the hard work and genuine interest that many of them have.  Teaching is again done through a variety of approaches including groups work, carousel activities, ICT and even the odd historical DVD! 

Learning for Life & Work

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

In recently an organisation called Made for More came in to Methody to present workshops to all pupils in form 4 on safeguarding and protecting your mental health.

EMPLOYABILITY

Form 5 pupils, studying LLW for GCSE, went on a workplace visit to the Belfast Wastewater Treatment plant. They discovered how the wastewater and sewage created by a city with 400,000 people is being effectively and sustainably managed. During a tour of the site, we followed the progress of the raw sewage arriving at the site until it was purified enough to be pumped into the sea.

The Form 4 GCSE class also experienced real-life working conditions. In its Kilroot Mine near Carrickfergus, Irish Salt Mining and Exploration (ISME) has been providing rock salt for icy roads since 1965. The pupils had the opportunity to be shown the extensive underground site of the mine and see salt mining in action.

CITIZENSHIP

Form 4 pupils took part in the GCSE programme at Stormont to support their studies. They also had a class visit by investigators from the Police Ombudsman’s Office for Northern Ireland. They learnt about the work of Police Ombudsman and also had the opportunity to try out some riot gear.

Mathematics

All pupils in Forms 4 and 5 will sit CCEA GCSE Mathematics.

No modules are sat early with tiers of entry confirmed by Easter of Form 5.

In terms of resources, we use Higher GCSE Mathematics Revision and Practice [Rayner].

All pupils are given notes and examples with the emphasis on consolidation and practice.

Majority of candidates sit modules M4 and M8.

GCSE Further Maths is offered as a subject choice and is very beneficial for those looking to progress to AS/A2 Mathematics / Further Mathematics.

UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge

MCB Maths Society

Moving Image Arts

Moving Image Arts allows pupils to study films and film making through the process of creating their own short film or animation, as well as learning about film language and theory.  Since its introduction at GCSE in the College, it has been extremely popular, with interest from pupils often exceeding the number of places available. Pupils opting to study GCSE MIA follow the CCEA specification.

The college has a full suite of Apple Mac computers, allowing our students to gain knowledge and hands on experience with industry level technologies, therefore equipping them with all the necessary skills they need to study the subject beyond school level.  With Adobe After Effects and Autodesk Maya now available to students, there are lots of new possibilities in terms of digital animation and special effects using the leading Industry software.

The GCSE course focusses on developing five core film-making skills – storyboarding, camera, editing, postproduction sound and animation. In Form 4, pupils undertake a series of discrete Controlled Assessment tasks and build on these skills in Form 5 to produce a series of pre-production tasks (research analysis, screenplay, storyboard, shot list, shooting schedule, director’s notebook) before producing their own short film or animation. Finally, pupils sit an online examination of 1.5 hours where they undertake a clip analysis based on the 5 areas of film language.

Music

Music has been regarded as important at Methody from the time of the College's foundation in 1868. The central philosophy has always been to involve as many individuals as possible, in as many areas as may be provided, to the highest standard attainable. 
 
The musical life of the College may be viewed as two parallel paths - curricular activities and co-curricular pursuits. There has never been a conscious value judgement claiming that one of these areas is to be regarded as more important than the other. Rather, each tends to complement the other.

Curriculum
In Key Stage Three we try to ensure a progression of skills, which include Listening, Composing, Performing and Appraising.  This gives us a good basis on which to start the GCSE course in Form Four. 

IT is used in nearly all aspects of the music course.  Composition classes are held in a computer suite and most classes have the opportunity to use Sibelius software to create their own pieces.  Form One also uses the internet to research information for their projects on musical instruments.

Facilities and Resources
The Music Department is assigned as "G" Block on the campus. It is a purpose-built unit, added at the rear of the Whitla Hall in the early 1970s. There are two general-purpose rooms for class music, an electronic keyboard room (H6), one smaller room used chiefly for the GCSE and 'A' level courses, three store rooms and several studios or practice rooms which are used by the instrumental tutors.

The College has a stock of instruments which are made available to pupils, on request.  From time to time, as resources permit, additional or replacement instruments are purchased. The College appreciates the value to pupils of the ready availability of instruments from the Belfast Education and Library Board, through the City of Belfast School of Music, and from the South Eastern Board.

The Chapel
The Chapel of Unity is situated at the heart of the campus, very close to the Music Department. Musicians are encouraged to play an active part in the life of the Chapel. As well as the daily assemblies, there are also regular annual services in the School calendar, such as the Remembrance Service, several Carol Services, termly communion services and a Leavers' Service at the end of the summer term. Music plays a central, supporting role in all of these events.

Main Music Groups
The main performing groups in the College are:

- Methodist College Girls’ Choir 
- Methodist College Chapel Choir 
- The Band 
- Irish Traditional Group 
- Senior Orchestra 
- The Methodist College Jazz Band 
- Senior Choir 
- Junior Choir

Please see the extra-curricular section for more information about these groups.

Physical Education

To promote the physical, personal and social well being of all pupils, irrespective of ability, by offering a challenging and enjoyable practical experience through a balanced, progressive and relevant activity-based programme.

  •  To acquire and refine a range of physical skills and develop an awareness of relevant safety procedures.
  • To achieve their potential at their own level of participation.
  • To experience and appreciate the contribution of physical activity and the benefit of exercise towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • To experience enjoyment of physical activity in school and in preparation for continued participation during leisure time and into adult life.
  • To develop an awareness of the aesthetic and creative nature of movement.
  • To develop an ability to plan, evaluate and improve performance in a range of activities.
  • To appreciate the significance of co-operation and competition in physical activity and develop positive social, moral and sporting attitudes.

Physical Education and Games

The vast majority of pupils in MCB (Key stage 3 and 4) benefit from a combination of single PE lessons (50 mins) together with a double lesson of timetabled Games through which the Northern Ireland Curriculum is delivered.  In addition, a limited number of pupils may opt for GCSE Physical Education.

MCB is a ‘split site’ school and it is appropriate in a practical and planning sense to distinguish between PE and Games.  PE is taught on the main school campus concentrating for the most part on Swimming, Gymnastics, Minor Games, Health Related PE, Athletics and Dance.  Games, however, mostly take place off site at Pirrie Park playing fields and several other venues in close proximity to the College, concentrating on the major sports of Rugby, Hockey, Rowing, Netball, Athletics, Cricket and Tennis.

PE is taught by specialists, while Games, although involving the PE Department, is dependent on the additional support of numerous non-PE members of staff, where emphasis is given over to skill development and team building in keeping with the traditional nature of competitive Games within Methodist College.

Key Stage 4 Provision

Form 4 – 1 x PE Lesson/1 Double Games Lesson

Boys Games Choice

Rugby/Hockey/Rowing/ Athletics/Cricket/Rowing/Tennis


Girls Games Choice 

Hockey/Netball/Rowing/Multi-Activity Athletics /Tennis/ Rowing /Rounders

Form 5 – 1 x PE Lesson/1 Double Games Lesson

The PE programme at Key Stage 4 allows for a greater degree of flexibility for pupils with the opportunity also to use the Fitness/Weights areas both for HRPE and personal development.

GCSE PE 

This is available to a limited number of pupils who meet established criteria and runs over two years following the AQA specification.  Currently candidates are assessed in four practical activities which amounts to 60% of the final grade with the remaining 40% theory based and assessed by written examination.   This includes the study of exercise physiology, nutrition, principles of training and the socio-cultural aspects of sport.

Physics

The aims of the Physics Department

  • To stimulate curiosity, interest and enjoyment in Physics and its methods of enquiry.
  • To acquire a systematic body of scientific knowledge and to develop an understanding of Physics, including its power and its limitations.
  • To enable students to acquire sufficient understanding and knowledge to become confident citizens in a technological world, able to take or develop an informed interest in matters of scientific import.
  • To develop skills and abilities with re relevant to the study and practice of Physics, are useful in everyday life, and encourage safe practice and effective communication.
  • To develop an understanding of the nature of scientific ideas and activity and the basis for scientific claims.
  • To develop attitudes relevant to Physics, such as initiative, inventiveness, objectivity, integrity and a concern for accuracy and precision.
  • To promote an awareness of the technological and environmental applications of Physics and their economic, ethical and social implications. 

All pupils have the opportunity and encouragement to enjoy and succeed in Physics. The study of Physics takes everyday experience and common sense as its starting point. Physics is a popular choice for GCSE pupils and in 2019/20 70% of Form 4 opted to continue with Physics in Middle school. In Forms 4 & 5 topics previously covered are revisited in more detail, and new topics introduced.

Pupils in school study the CCEA GCSE Physics Specification.

The specification has three units:

  • Unit 1: Motion, Force, Moments, Energy, Density, Kinetic Theory, Radioactivity, Nuclear Fission and Fusion
  • Unit 2: Waves, Light, Electricity, Magnetism, Electromagnetism and Space Physics
  • Unit 3: Practical Skills.

Religious Education

Religious Education is taught to every pupil in the College through independent research, projects, discussions, developing analytical skills, use of ICT and reflective thought on key issues.

In Religious Education we aim to help pupils:

  • Think for themselves, giving reasons and opinions on moral and religious issues;
  • Explore matters of religious belief, including areas which people of religion disagree;
  • Gain knowledge of the Bible stories. Centring on the life and teachings of Christ;
  • Understand the beliefs and practices of religious traditions other than their own in an open-minded and tolerant way;

Curriculum GCSE 
At GCSE, we follow the CCEA specification, which develops on foundations laid in KS3. 

In Form 4, pupils study Philosophy of Religion. This GCSE focuses on some of the ‘big’ questions in life, for example, Does God exist? Is there an afterlife? Why is there evil and suffering in the world? The course is relevant for pupils of any faith, or none.

In Form 5, we concentrate on Ethics, covering issues such as bioethics, abortion, euthanasia, family issues and human sexuality.

Facilities and Resources

Religious Education makes use of ICT facilities regularly in the teaching of the subject.

Russian

The Russian Department is responsible for the teaching of Russian from Form Two upwards. Through the study of Russian, students are taught listening, speaking, reading comprehension and writing skills.

MCB is the only school in Northern Ireland to offer Russian to its students.

Facilities and Resources

The main text books used for Russian are Novaya Iskra to GCSE. Use is made at all levels of a range of audiovisual materials and subject specific ICT packages. The Internet is regularly used to access background information. Notes for pupils are placed on the Learning Resources area of the College’s computer network.

Curriculum

 Emphasis is placed on a thorough knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Source based and analytical essay writing skills are fostered at all levels.

Spanish

Spanish is spoken by at least an estimated 350 million people around the world and is currently the 4th most commonly spoken language worldwide.  Only Mandarin, English and Hindi have more speakers. Spanish is an official language on four continents and is the mother tongue in 21 countries. The sheer number of Spanish speakers and their rate of growth makes learning Spanish a smart choice.  

The Spanish department aims to promote the learning of Spanish throughout the school.  In learning Spanish, pupils learn to appreciate the culture and ways of life of Spain and the Spanish-speaking world.  

For GCSE, pupils will use the VIVA textbook; a modern and engaging textbook that best prepares pupils for the AQA GCSE examination. The GCSE classes have CDs for extra listening practice and MCB-produced reading booklets which are used at home and in the class. There is the provision of satellite television with a Spanish channel.  Various videos are used to supplement teaching. 

All pupils have the opportunity to converse with our Spanish Language Assistant.  Classes will occasionally visit QFT to see a Spanish film or attend a day of language skill seminars at Queen’s University.

Technology & Design

What is Technology and Design?

To many people, Technology is woodwork and metalwork but this kind of approach to engineering has long since disappeared and the emphasis is now on systems, computers, materials and processes.

Technology is the study of skills and has grown to include the study of practical materials, skills and knowledge. Technology is more than just a study of theory, it is practical. It is the application of technical and scientific knowledge and skills. Technology students study advances made in science and engineering and then use this knowledge to solve everyday problems.

Technology is all about solving problems or developing products to meet a particular real world need.  A Technologist will use engineering skills and ideas to design and manufacture technological products to meet needs.

All pupils in Forms One to Three study technology and then choose it as an option in Form four.

Curriculum

The aims of the Technology and Design curriculum are:

  • To develop and sustain pupil innovation, creativity and Technology and Design capability.
  • To enable pupils to apply the essential knowledge, understanding and skills to the design production process to allow pupils to solve problems successfully.
  • To develop autonomy when taking a project to completion.
  • To be aware of technological advancement and how it can affect our society and environment.
  • To develop and stimulate interest into how technological products work and how they can be improved. Use ICT to enhance pupils’ technological capability. 

G.C.S.E. Level

All pupils who have decided to study Technology to G.C.S.E level will study the CCEA specification.  There are four periods of Technology per week. The main areas covered are:

  • Control
  • Mechanisms 
  • Materials
  • Pneumatics 
  • Processes
  • Computer Control
  • Energy
  • Specialist Option – Electronics

Coursework consists of one controlled assessment task worth 10% and one major design and make project worth 50%.