Preparing for GCSEs

guidelines for home-schooling parents
keen to secure a Christian classical education for their children


Study recommended: 4 years, 6 hours per week (incl. lesson time).

Exam board: OCR. View specification for the new 9-1 GCSE syllabus. The Entry Code for our students sitting this exam in 2020/1 is J282 F.

Henle First Year Latin Preliminary textbooks: The best introduction to Latin for Catholic students aged 11 upwards is Henle First Year Latin (with accompanying Grammar) by Fr Robert Henle SJ. Although the focus is on classical Latin, it provides a useful introduction to ecclesiastical Latin as well, including a line-by-line presentation of the Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Perfectly paced and packed full of exercises, its 500 pages normally take two years to complete. Take a peek on Amazon. Don't be put off this superb series by the American ordering of the grammatical cases. It takes only a few minutes to learn how to read the layout in a British manner, and pupils learn this simple skill right at the beginning of our course. Cover all four volumes if you really wish to get to grips with Latin. Broadly speaking, they map to the British exam system as follows:

NB. These books can also be purchased in digital form from Google Books.

Exam-preparation textbooks: In their final year, students will prepare for the GCSE exam (course J281) using the following texts:

Set Texts: Students for the 2020/1 exam study the following set texts, the first taken from the Cambridge Latin Anthology:

Classical Greek

Study recommended: 4 years, 5 hours per week (incl. lesson time). It's best to wait until children have completed at least one if not two years of Latin before starting Ancient Greek. This will allow them to grasp the novelties of classical grammar (conjugations, declensions, etc) before embarking on a new language. Don't be deterred by the strange-looking Greek alphabet; children love learning the Greek letters and will quickly master them.

Exam board: OCR. See the specification for the new 9-1 GCSE syllabus. The Entry Code for our students sitting this exam in 2021 is J292 A.

Textbooks: We use the following textbooks, for which both paperback and Kindle editions are available.

Students should also download the Defined and Restricted Vocabulary.

Set Texts: Students for the 2019 exam prepare Anthology texts from the following authors:

Typing Greek: Type Greek is a free online tool for typing Greek. Enter one of the symbols ( ) \ / = | after letters to add breathings, accents or iota subscripts. Copy the text into a word processor to preserve it. Lexilogos is an alternative online tool for students who have difficulty typing.


Study recommended: 4 years, 6 hours per week (incl. lesson time). Students should have mastered basic arithmetic and know their multiplication tables thoroughly by the age of 11.

Exam board: Edexcel. You may choose either the well-established International GCSE or the new 9-1 GCSE (Higher), which is now just as challenging.

Textbooks: We use the following textbooks, which can be purchased in either hardcopy or Kindle version.

Mathematics for Edexcel IGCSE has been used in the past, but we may cease using this in 2019.

Calculators: Each pupil will require a scientific calculator. Suitable models are the Casio FX-85GTX and the Casio FX-991EX (aka Classwiz). To learn how to use the latter, students should watch these Help videos. Graphical calculators are also permitted in the GCSE exams, the recommended model being the Casio CG50 (aka Prizm); see the Maths section in our A Level page for further details.

Further Mathematics

Study recommended: 1 year, 8 hours per week (incl. lesson time). Before commencing with this course students should have completed their ordinary GCSE Maths studies and have obtained (or be expected to obtain) at least a grade 7 (or A under the old scheme).

Exam board: Edexcel. See Specification.

Textbooks: We use Ali Datoo's Further Pure Mathemathics book (see right). Also useful is this IGCSE Further Mathematics website.

Calculators: For students who hope to go on to study A Level maths, this would be a good time to invest in a graphical calculator. I highly recommend the Casio CG50 (Prizm). See our A Level page for further details.