All CCEA A Level subjects are modular. They consist of an AS (Advanced Subsidiary) Level with external exams at the end of Lower Sixth followed by A2 Level with external exams at the end of Upper Sixth. The AS exams count towards 40% of the final A Level grade.
The following CCEA A Levels were offered for courses starting in September 2019.
- Art & Design
- Business Studies
- Environmental Technology
- Government & Politics
- Health & Social Care
- Life & Health Sciences
- Moving Image Arts
- Food & Nutrition Sciences
- Religious Education
- Technology & Design
Pupils opting to study Art and Design as an A Level subject follow the revised CCEA specification. In the first term of L6, students follow a broad pathway through Unit 1 – The Experimental Portfolio for the Art, Craft and Design Combined Studies - undertaking a range of practical workshops and self-directed research, experiments and drawing in a range of styles and techniques. We do not believe in a house style, encouraging our pupils to explore individual ideas arising from a theme set by CCEA, released in August prior to the start of the AS course. They begin to develop ideas for the Unit 2 – Personal Response – from February of the L6 year, leading to an outcome completed entirely in school and finished under formal examination conditions in 2 x 5-hour sessions. An exhibition of work is mounted for a visiting moderator and families and friends are invited to celebrate the work of the students.
In the U6 year, in the first term, students work on self-directed research for the Personal and Critical Investigation, arising from the theme set by CCEA in August prior to the U6 year. In addition to the practical work, students are expected to produce a 1,000-2,000 word Written Investigation, which is externally assessed. They develop ideas for the Unit 2 – The Thematic Outcome - leading to an outcome completed entirely in school and finished under formal examination conditions in 3 x 5-hour sessions. Students are expected to demonstrate an awareness of how audiences would engage with their proposed outcomes in a real-world context. An exhibition of work is mounted for a visiting moderator and families and friends are invited to celebrate the work of the students.
We also aim to support our students as they take steps to moving to potentially studying an area of art, craft or design in further or higher education courses. In recent years, many of our 6th form students have gone on to study in prestigious universities including the Bartlett School of Architecture in UCL, Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow School of Art, the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins, to name but a few. We are grateful that many of our former pupils have been generous with their time, returning to Methody to talk to current pupils about their studies and subsequent careers. In recent years, 6th form students have heard from past pupils who have gone on to study Fashion Design, Costume Design, Architecture and Graphic Design and Illustration.
Alumni of the department include Paul Henry, Basil Blackshaw, Colin Davidson, Eleanor Wheeler and Sarah Longley in the field of Fine Art. Former pupils such as Jennifer Zheng (nominated for a BAFTA for her student short film ‘Tough’, which also won many awards at film festivals), Angela Barry (working as a producer at The Mill in London), Steven Haren (editor for film and television), Emma Hardstaff (womenswear designer for Burberry), Niall Sloan (Global design Director for Escada), Lab Ky Mo (film producer), Chris Sutton (photographer, designer and stylist for brands such as Chanel) and Sarah McGovern (costume designer for film and television) have achieved success in a wide range of careers.
However, it is not just past pupils who have inspired with their success. We have been fortunate in recent years to be represented annually at CCEA’s True Colours showcase in the Ulster Museum at GCSE, AS and A Level, with two of our students receiving the AADE’s (Association for Art and Design Education) award for Most Promising A Level artist, and one receiving their award for Most Promising GCSE artist.
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.
In AS Biology we study two theory modules:
Molecules and Cells
Organisms and biodiversity
In A2 Biology we study two theory modules:
Physiology and ecosystems
Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends
There are also Biology Prefects who engage in activities such as looking after the greenhouse plants, producing cuttings and caring for the welfare of any animals in the department.
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.
Pupils can study Business Studies at, AS and A2. Professional Business Services is a new course offered at AS and A2 Level.
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.
Curriculum AS/A2 level
The Examination Board is CCEA. The modules studied are:
AS - 3 modules:
AS1 Basic Concepts in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
AS2 Further Physical and Inorganic Chemistry and an Introduction to Organic Chemistry
AS3 Basic Practical Chemistry
A2 - 3 modules:
A2 1 Further Physical and Organic Chemistry
A2 2 Analytical, Transition Metals, Electrochemistry and Organic Nitrogen Chemistry
A2 3 Further Practical Chemistry
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 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
The comfortable twenty-first century lifestyle that we enjoy in the developed world comes with a heavy price. We rely on a supply of fossil fuels that is finite. With a world population set to exceed eight billion by 2025, our appetite for natural resources is increasingly unsustainable.
If you are interested in how our current use of fossil fuels for pharmaceuticals, transport, fibres and plastics is leading to global warming, habitat degradation, air quality reduction along with land and water contamination, then you will enjoy the Environmental Technology Alevel.
Environmental technology addresses the challenge of developing and adapting our scientific knowledge to support a more sustainable world. It investigates the potential of renewable energy sources to meet our global energy needs. It also considers how to conserve our resources by redesigning the built environment. Environmental technology is about solving problems while striking a balance between environmental concerns and technological progress. In L6 you study the Earth’s Capacity to support human activity and in U6 how to build and manage a sustainable future.
Increased awareness of the impact human activity has on our world means that environmental technology is an expanding learning area. Despite the global recession, the green economy continues to grow. This presents significant opportunities for employment in areas such as engineering, planning, manufacturing, technical support and management. It also develops planning, problem solving and independent study skills that are highly valued in the world of work.
The AS specification builds on, but does not depend upon, the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in GCSE Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Technology and Design. The A2 specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in the AS course.
Here is a breakdown of the AS and A2 assessments. Notice that both have one external examination in June with a substantial piece of coursework.
- Unit AS 1 introduces students to a range of sustainable technologies. Students examine the urgent need to move towards producing energy and materials from renewable sources. They explore in detail the use of wind, solar and biomass technologies to generate power.
- In Unit AS 2, students produce a technical report based on a real-life scenario by investigating the installation and use of renewable energy sources.
- Unit A2 1 looks at a range of new and existing technologies and management systems that have the potential to support society’s move toward a more sustainable way of living, including waste management processes and using low-carbon sources for transport. They also consider the theory and practice behind enhancing the environmental performance of buildings.
- In Unit A2 2, students choose a local building to assess, using the nine elements of the Code for Sustainable Homes. They produce a technical report, including a commentary on how to improve the energy efficiency of the building
If you need any further information, speak to Mr Mallon or Mr Thompson in Technology or to Mrs Greig in Physics.
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 and AS / A2 level. 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 google classrooms 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
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.
Sixth Form students follow the AS and A2 French course AQA coursebook. This text book and supplementary texts form a sound base from which AS and A2 Level students can further their linguistic skills. Pupils are also encouraged to use the variety of supplementary material available in the College Library in addition to internet resources.
Trips and Exchanges
Sixth Form students can participate in an exchange with a lycée in St Germain en Laye. This initiative, which is open to both AS and A Level students, is extremely beneficial and enjoyable. It allows students to clarify their values and attitudes towards France and also to develop their language skills.
Pupils in Lower and Upper Sixth follow the CCEA GCE Geography Course. http://ccea.org.uk/geography/
Pupils study Human and Physical Geography through the following topics:
- Fluvial Environments
- Global Biomes
- Weather and Climate
AS pupils get the opportunity to participate in fieldwork. They travel to Portstewart Strand to survey the sand dune ecosystem. This is assessed in Unit 3 at AS through a Fieldwork and Skills Paper.
- Plate Tectonics – Theory and Outcomes
- Dynamic Coastal Environments
- Ethnic Diversity
A Level Geographers are often offered the opportunity for further study abroad. Most recently in 2019 Sixth Form Geographers and Geologists travelled to the USA for a field-trip that included study in San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon.
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.
Pupils in each Form have access to Kerboodle (www.kerboodle.com) - a new, interactive language course which makes excellent use of technology to teach German. This is supplemented using other technology such as Quizlet, Quizizz and Kahoot!
Learning German encourages pupils to develop their ICT skills alongside their language skills.
Opportunities to speak German in Methody
2010 saw the first combined German/ History/ Moving Image Arts trip to Berlin for pupils in forms L6 and U6. This trip, to one of the most intriguing cities in Europe, now takes place every 2 years, in the year that the German exchange does not take place. The next trip was planned for April 2021, but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is unfortunately unable to take place.
Methody has been very successful in the post 16 NI German debating competition and we hope to continue to be able to enter a team in this very worthwhile competition. It takes place every year and allows pupils with an interest in German AND debating to combine their interests and debate against other schools … aber auf Deutsch natürlich!
Should you study German to A level you will have one timetabled conversation period per week with a native German speaker. Not only will this allow you to become more confident in your spoken German, but will allow you to learn more about the culture, history and civilisation of the German speaking countries.
We are very grateful to have the support of the Goethe Institut and the UK German Connection, who provide help in promoting German. Many of our pupils have benefitted from their initiatives.
The Friends of the Goethe-Institut London is a charity which focuses on social mobility projects and provides young people from the UK with a first-hand experience of Germany. One of their projects is a Work Shadowing Programme in Schwäbisch Hall. Abbie Fitzsimmons was fortunate to be selected for the programme in October 2019, following a competitive application.
UK-German Connection is a bilateral government initiative for school and youth links. It was established in 2005 and is funded and governed by the UK and German governments, British Council and the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst. Bringing young people together lies at the heart of their work. They offer a dedicated linking service and offer complementary funding for UK-German activity as well as a range of bilateral programmes, trips and seminars. Networks and virtual activities facilitate the active involvement of young people in the development of UK-German youth relations. A number of pupils from Methody has been selected for language courses in Germany, seminars in Northern Ireland and Germany and, this year, webinars.
I believe there's something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it's the government! Woody AllenNever has there been a more pertinent time to understand politics. The subject is offered to students in Sixth Form and incorporates a study of a range of political concepts and issues. In Lower Sixth, the democratic credentials of pressure groups, the functions of the House of Commons, the difficulties in achieving and sustaining devolved government in Northern Ireland, the relevance of an unelected House of Lords and the implications of Brexit are amongst the topics encountered. In Upper Sixth, political ideas and the politics of the USA are major components.
We are not makers of history. We are made by history.Martin Luther King
History is at Sixth Form focuses again on Modern World History. As at GCSE we follow the CCEA specification and study Russia 1914-1941 and Germany 1919-1945 at AS level. At A2 the focus is on local history and we look at Ireland under the Union 1800-1900 and then continue into the Partition of Ireland 1900-1925 course. There are usually 3-4 As classes and a similar number at A2. Apart from the science subjects, History is one of the most popular subjects for studying at A Level. The teaching of these courses is much more discursive, with class debates and group work common. Special visits from lecturers or historians feature and we have in the past organised a day trip to Dublin for the U6 pupils to help them walk in the footsteps of those they are learning about.
Life and Health Sciences is offered as an alternative to A Level Biology and Chemistry, with a coursework element being important. It is an innovative science qualification developed with key industry partners to foster the essential skills required by this growing sector. Its aims include:
- To develop an interest in further study and careers in research science,
- To appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society,
- To develop competence in a range of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills,
- To develop advanced study skills that help you prepare for third level education.
So what is Life and Health Science? Related industries make up over 25% of Northern Ireland’s total economic output and generate £800 million a year in the economy. They include a diverse range of businesses and employment opportunities, from pharmaceutical and chemical (through companies like Almac and Randox) to the National Health Service.
This course aims to develop your advanced practical skills and knowledge, preparing you for employment or third-level study and a career in the life and health sciences including biomedical science and nursing.
At AS level, units include Human body systems (including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and nutrition and physical exercise in maintaining good health) and Aspects of Physical Chemistry in industrial processes (including volumetric analysis, energetics, kinetics, equilibrium and industrial processes).
At A2 level, all students must complete units on Organic Chemistry and Genetics, Stem cell research and cloning.
At AS there are 2 x 1½ hour written exams and internal assessment (a portfolio of 12 investigation reports of 1000 words each on experimental techniques) each worth 33.3% of the AS grade (40% of the A2 total marks), while at A2, there are 2 x 1¾ hour written exams and internal assessment (Scientific Method, Investigation, Analysis and Evaluation consisting of a scientific investigation to include a 1500 word essay, 2500 word report and a lab book) each worth 20% of the final marks (60% of the A2 total marks).
The specification builds on the skills developed in the GCSE Sciences. You should achieve at least a C* grade in Biology or Chemistry and the knowledge and understanding developed in GCSE Mathematics is also very relevant.
You should however be aware that this subject cannot be taken in conjunction with A Level Biology or Chemistry and it is not an acceptable qualification for medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy courses at University.
More information is available on the CCEA web-site and you should check university web-sites to ensure that this subject meets the entry requirements for each course you are interested in.
- AS / A2 Mathematics [CCEA]
- AS / A2 Further Mathematics [CCEA]
- AS modules are sat at the end of L6th.
- A2 Modules are sat at the end of U6th.
All pupils study Pure and Applied modules.
Emphasis is placed upon the consolidation of material problem solving and extended use of exam questions.
Those selecting Further Mathematics complete their AS / A2 Maths during L6th.
- UKMT Senior Maths Challenge
- UKMT Senior Team Challenge
- QUB Maths Team Competition
Sixth form students follow the CCEA specification in Moving Image Arts. They build on GCSE course to develop their practical skills as film makers. At AS level, students study Realist and Formalist Techniques and the Classical Hollywood Style before going on to produce a series of pre-production materials leading the production of a live action film or animation. They then sit an online examination with questions on clips from set study areas. (Section A – Alfred Hitchcock and the Classical Hollywood Style, Section B – Formalism: Early European Cinema and American Expressionism).
At A2 level, students produce an illustrated essay and pre-production materials leading to a narrative film or animation. They then sit an online examination with questions based on clips from set study areas and an unseen script. We have enjoyed great success over the years with a number of our GCSE and A Level MIA students being shortlisted for awards at the annual CCEA/Cinemagic/Foyle Film Festival showcase and being placed among the top students in their qualification across Northern Ireland.
We have also had a long tradition of success with many of our pupils successfully gaining places on the BFI Film Academy courses and residential programmes, where pupils undertake workshops and masterclasses with industry professionals and produce a short film. MIA students have also undertaken a series of educational visits linked to their courses such as a tour of internationally renowned 16 South Studios, cinemagic events, BBC studios, talks on courses at the University of Ulster and screenings in the nearby Queens Film Theatre.
In recent years, many industry professionals have spoken to the MIA students about their own work and careers in the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland and beyond. This programme has included Matt Johnston of Digital Circle, Colin Williams (founder of Sixteen South), Joel Simon of Flickerpix Studios, film and television editor Stephen Haren, representatives from Into Film, writer, director and actor Tim Loane and cinematographer Damien Elliott. We have had regular visits from representatives of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCA), here both to promote their courses to our students but also to offer practical workshops.
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.
Music is studied to AS and A Level, with most candidates attaining A Grades in external examinations.
In Sixth Form, pupils have the option of taking part in the Senior Chorus. Large-scale choral works are learnt throughout the term in a timetabled singing class. The Senior Chorus, along with the Senior Choir, performs at Prize Day, College Carols and the Easter Concert in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. In recent years the works have included Karl Jenkins Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria and Carl Orff Carmina Burana.
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 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.
Food & Nutrition Sciences is a highly relevant, vibrant subject offered to pupils at AS & A2 level.
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.
Curriculum AS/A2 level
Why choose Food & Nutrition Sciences?
Currently high in the public's perception given current global and national food issues.
An important part of ensuring we lead a healthy lifestyle helping to reduce the risk of chronic illness promoting overall health and well-being.
All students 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 A Level students.
Physics A-level is classed as a "facilitating subject" by the Russell Group of Universities, which means it can be useful for getting onto a wide range of university courses.
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.
Pupils in school study the CCEA GCE Physics Specification.
The specification has three AS units and three A2 units:
This specification has six units: three at AS level and three at A2. The AS units make up 40% of the full A level qualification, and the A2 units make up 60%.
Students can take the AS course as a final qualification or the AS units and the A2 units for a full GCE A level qualification.
Unit AS 1: Forces, Energy and Electricity investigates physical quantities and scalars and vectors, which are required in all branches of the subject. Students explore Newtonian mechanics and electricity.
Unit AS 2: Waves, Photons and Astronomy examines ideas about waves and introduces quantum theory and the concept of wave-particle duality.
Unit AS 3: Practical Techniques and Data Analysis gives students the opportunity to develop practical techniques, including analysis, evaluation, design and communication.
Unit A2 1: Deformation of Solids, Thermal Physics, Circular Motion, Oscillations and Atomic and Nuclear Physics builds on the mechanics foundation in Unit AS 1. Thermal Physics connects the properties of gases to the basic principles of kinetic theory.
Unit A2 2: Fields, Capacitors and Particle Physics shows students how action-at-a-distance forces arise between bodies that are separated from one another.
Unit A2 3: Practical Techniques and Data Analysis builds students’ essential practical techniques.
In Sixth Form all students have the opportunity to participate in work-shadowing placements and this gives them valued insight into how knowledge of their subject can be applied. Many students also enjoy the opportunities to share knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject throughout pupil mentoring and at Open Evening demonstrators.
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;
Following the CCEA specification, we study the following modules:
- New Testament Texts
- Ethics in Society
The New Testament module investigates the development of the early church, as detailed in the Acts of the Apostles. There is a focus on key people, particularly the apostle Paul. At A2 level the areas for study include three of Paul’s letters, Galatians, Ephesians and I Corinthians.
Ethics in Society involves studying ethical theories such as Utilitarianism, Natural Law and Virtue Ethics. The practical application of these theories are considered in relation to issues such as bio-ethics, suicide, the environment, war and peace and capital punishment.
Facilities and Resources
Religious Education makes use of ICT facilities regularly in the teaching of the subject.
There exists a vibrant Christian Union, divided into three age groups, each with regular meetings and varied activities. Highlights of the year include residential weekends, social outings and BBQ.
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.
The AS / A level pupils use the AQA Spanish text book and CDs and various other authentic articles, language newspapers, websites, videos and literature set texts. All pupils have a timetabled period with the 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.
CCEA for AS/A level.
Educational Trips and Exchanges
In recent years the Spanish Department has taken trips to Andalucía in southern Spain, with pupils visiting Granada, Malaga and Sevilla, and also several trips to Barcelona. There is also an exchange scheme with Granada College in the south of Spain and many pupils have stayed with Spanish pupils and hosted them in return.
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, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth.
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.
All pupils who have decided to study technology to AS level will study the CCEA specification. There are eight periods of Technology per week at this level. The main thrust of AS level is product development, as well as building upon skills and knowledge developed at GCSE level. We also offer AS level Electronics (AQA Board).
All pupils who have decided to study technology to A2 level will also study the CCEA specification. There are eight periods of Technology per week at this level. An electronic system based design and make project is the main basis for assessment at this level. At MCB the specialist area of development is electronic systems.
Engineering Education Scheme
The Technology and Design Department run this scheme in conjunction with NIE each year. It is for Lower 6th students who are thinking about a career in Engineering. Each year NIE provides the team with a real problem that they are facing and our students try to come up with a solution. The Methody teams in the past have always been very successful and some students have gained work placements with NIE through the scheme.
However, subjects which follow an English examination board specification are linear. For these subjects the AS is a separate qualification and as such does not count towards the final A Level grade at the end of Upper Sixth. It is our policy that students who are taking linear courses will not be entered for AS examinations but only for the full A Level and so will sit all of their exams at the end of Upper Sixth.
- Classical Civilisation & Latin
- Computer Science
- Drama & Theatre Studies
- Media Studies
Classical Civilisation and are available as A Level options. The OCR specifications are followed in each case (https://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/classical-civilisation-h008-h408-from-2017/ and https://ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce/latin-h043-h443-from-2016/)
Students who study Classical Civilisation have three areas of study, The World of the Hero (Homer Odyssey and Virgil Aeneid), Democracy and the Athenians and Imperial Image (Augustus). Endorsed textbooks are used for each topic.
Those studying Latin continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of the Latin language and study both prose and verse set texts. A wide range of textbook are used over the two years of the course.
Edexcel AS Drama and Theatre
The A Level Drama and Theatre specification is Linear meaning that students will sit all components in their Final Year of Study.
Component 1: Devising
40% of the qualification(80 marks)
- Devise an original performance piece.
- Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as stimuli.
- Centre choice of text and practitioner.
There are two parts to the assessment:
1) A portfolio (60 marks)
The portfolio submission recommendations are:
- Can be typed evidence between 2500–3000 words or recorded/verbal evidence between 12–14 minutes or
- Can be a combination of typed evidence (between 1250–1500 words) and recorded/verbal evidence (between 6–7 minutes).
2) The devised performance (20 marks)
Component 2: Text in Performance
20% of the qualification(60 marks)
- A group performance of one key extract from a performance text.
- A monologue or duologue performance from one key extract from a different performance text.
- Centre choice of performance texts.
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes
40% of the qualification(80 marks)
Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation
Section B: Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text
Section C: Interpreting a Performance Text
- Live theatre evaluation–choice of performance.
- Practical exploration and study of a complete performance text – focusing on
- How this can be realised for performance.
- Practical exploration and interpretation of another complete performance text, in light of a chosen theatre practitioner – focusing on how this text could be reimagined for a contemporary audience.
- Centre choice of 15 performance texts from two lists on the next page.
- Choice of eight practitioners.
A level pupils are taken to professional theatre productions every year.
Geology is studied at GCSE, AS and A2 Level and provides the pupils with a wide range of practical activities linked to the earth’s surface and structures.
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 and A Level 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.
At AS and A2 Level the syllabus used in Northern Ireland is from OCR –The Oxford and Cambridge and RSA Examinations board.
At AS Level, modules include: Global Tectonics and Geological Structures; The Rock Cycle- Processes and Products and a 3rd Module that is examined by using evaluative and fieldwork tasks (20%). The 3rd module replaces a Coursework component and is examined in the classroom and on a field work day. This is completed in Ballintoy.
At A2 level modules include: Palaeontology, Environmental Geology and Geological skills. A similar format exists for the Geological Skills where the pupils will be assessed on a field work day and they no longer have to complete a lengthy piece of coursework. This is completed in Waterloo, north of Larne.
Geology Practical Skills assessments at AS and A2 the assessments account for 20% 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.
AS students begin their fieldwork in the first term and look at a range of areas such as Ballintoy and Portmuck. A2 students complete an investigation of the geology of Murlough Bay near Fairhead, Ballycastle and look at a wide range of sites along the East Antrim Coast.
As the school has a National Trust membership we also visit the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede.
All Geology classes study the use of resources in Northern Ireland: many of the Sixth form pupils have taken part a Gold Planning Public Inquiry in W5 which has proved to be an invaluable experience. They have also taken part in a mock public inquiry with the Environmental Technology class. This was based on a real inquiry into the siting of an Underground gas storage facility in Islandmagee.
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.
The College has offered Psychology as an academic subject to Sixth Form students for almost twenty years. It has become increasingly popular over this time and is at present one of the fastest growing academic subjects.
Psychology aims to stimulate an interest in the topics studied and their wider application to life today. It encourages the development of analytical and practical skills.
Facilities and Resources
Resources used include textbooks, prepared work booklets, specialized magazines and websites. Students can also use PowerPoint presentations and accompanying worksheets accessed through the College’s computer network. Students are given opportunities to plan and conduct their own experiments.
The areas of study are broad and wide ranging. They include topics as diverse as memory, stress and prejudice. A varied range of critical issues, relevant to everyday life are also studied. These include eyewitness testimony, day care and stress management.
The teaching methods are active and varied ranging from group and class work to individual and pair work. Role play and practical experiments also play an important role in the methods used.
Educational Trips and Exchanges
Students attend the following events:
Clinical Psychology Open Day at Royal Victoria Hospital.
APT Psychology Conference
Royal College of Psychiatrists Debating Competition on Adolescent Mental Health Issues.
Extra curricular activities include a Psychology Society that is open to students in Form 4 and above.
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, Tranzit and Kompass at AS and A2 levels. 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.
Emphasis is placed on a thorough knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Selected Russian prose and poetry writers are introduced for study in the original at AS and A2 levels and an appreciation of literature is greatly encouraged. At A level students also study different aspects of Russian society and culture. Source based and analytical essay writing skills are fostered at all levels.
A BTEC in Sport, equivalent to 1 A Level, is also available from September 2019.