Subject Choices

plan your future

Port Shepstone High School is fortunate in being able to offer a wide variety of subjects.  For timetabling purposes subjects have been grouped together. Learners will be able to choose one subject from each group. 

Compulsory Subjects

There are four subjects which are compulsory:

A combination of Life Skills and Physical Education

Either English or isiZulu (learners may only select the HL  of their choice if a minimum of  Level 4 (50% +) has been achieved in Grade 9.

Either English or Afrikaans or isiZulu (depending on Home Language choice).

Learners must choose a Home and a First Additional Language, one of which must be English

Core Mathematics or
Mathematical Literacy


A subject package will only be feasible if there are sufficient  learners who wish to take it.  If a subject is uneconomical in terms of  numbers, it might fall away.  Class sizes must be from 30 to 35  learners.  Too few (e.g. only 24 learners have chosen a particular  subject) and that subject may not be offered for 2021 and too many (e.g. 43) may mean that there will be only one class of 35 and some learners will have to choose an alternative package.

Choices are also subject to the current educator capacity and the timetable capacity to accommodate them.

For these reasons it is important that alternative packages and the order of preference are carefully discussed with your child before the return slip is handed in.

The school counsellors and HODs in charge of Grade 9 will be able to advise learners which subjects are considered suitable for tertiary study.    

All subjects chosen must be taken for 3 years (Grades 10, 11 and 12).

In the FET band (Grade 10-12) a minimum of 7 subjects must be taken for the full three year duration.  Evidence of all learner assessment    tasks for all 7 subjects must be available for moderation and other Department of Education academic processes as per the CAPS (Curriculum Assessment & Policy Statement) Subject Policy.  An incomplete record of learner evidence results in exclusion from writing Examinations and hence progress to the next grade.

In the event that a learner, his/her parents and the subject educator recognise that parts of the original subject package may need to be re-considered – we will follow KZN Education Department Policy in this regard.

  1. All supporting documentation and permission must be in place before any subject changes are considered.
  2. In Grade 10, any subject change must be made prior to the start of Term 3.
  3. In Grade 11, any subject change must be made prior to the start of Term 2.
  4. In Grade 12, subject changes are not permitted. 

Each package consists of the four compulsory subjects and one subject from each of the three groupings.

The subject groupings which have given rise to the different subject packages are as follows:



  • Physical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Business Studies
  • CAT (Computer Application Technology)
  • History




  • Physical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Business Studies
  • Visual Art
  • Tourism



  • Accountancy
  • EGD (Engineering Graphics and Design)
  • Dramatic Arts
  • History
  • Consumer Studies
  • Geography

Double Science

* This is the Double Science package (i.e. the group that takes Physical Sciences and Life Sciences)        

To take Physical Sciences and Life Sciences (i.e. Double Sciences) learners need to have achieved at least 60% in EACH of Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences in Grade 9.

NB: If learners choose Mathematical Literacy or do not fulfil  the minimum requirements for Mathematics, they may not choose Physical Science.

Due to the challenges in drawing up a timetable, learners are asked to give TWO choices in order of preference. If a learner is interested in taking a specific subject, he/she may include it in only one of his/her choices.

your subject choices


Mathematics involves abstract problem solving in the fields of Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Euclidean and Analytical Geometry, Probability, Finance and Statistics.  Its primary role is to prepare learners for tertiary studies in engineering, medicine and commerce.  The vast scope of the two compulsory papers and the complex reasoning required, mean that to achieve a good result  by Grade 12, learners should attain at least 55% in  Grade 9, be interested in mathematics, and be prepared to work hard, independently and consistently.  Only 175 learners, according to rank order, can be accommodated in Mathematics. 


Mathematical Literacy involves applying mathematical skills   needed in everyday situations.  Some tertiary courses require core Mathematics, so Mathematical Literacy learners need to be aware of the course requirements for their particular field of interest.  Outstanding marks in this subject are achievable with consistent work. 


Accounting is an exciting subject that will prepare you for the business world. Whether you are planning to become an Accountant/Bookkeeper, to start your own business or to join someone else in business, a knowledge of Accounting can help you to protect your assets and prevent theft.

In Grade 10, we learn more about debtors and creditors and complete many General Ledgers. The next step involves a Trial Balance with some new adjustments (transactions), then an Income Statement (to calculate net profit) and a Balance Sheet. Ratio Analysis helps us to check the performance of a business and offer advice to business owners.

The course also covers Budgeting (looking into the money future), Manufacturing (making things), Salaries and Wages and Value Added Tax (VAT).

In Grade 9 EMS, we have studied sections of Business Studies and Accounting. The Accounting sections involve the money flows and simple calculations, General Ledger and other topics listed above.

You will need a calculator every lesson for adding and subtracting or calculating percentages and ratios.

Accounting is not a learning subject, it is a doing subject. Accounting requires practice and perseverance, just like learning to ride a motorbike, a bicycle or a surfboard. We hope you’re going to join us in Accounting, where we play with other people’s money.


Business Studies is a commercial subject that informs learners  about the trends in the business environment, the functions of a business, and the various forms of ownership that exist.  It also teaches learners how to write a business plan, and how to behave ethically and responsibly.


Learners who wish to take Computer Applications Technology as a subject must have access to a computer at home. If a learner does not have access to a computer at home, he/she may be required to complete certain tasks after school or at a break. The following information relates to assessments and topics covered for Grade 10,  11 and 12.


  • A Practical Assessment Task (PAT) is to be completed during the school year which forms 25% of the year mark.
  • Practical and theoretical assessments (during the school year) form 25% of the year mark.
  • The year end (final) exam, forms 50% of the year mark.

Solution Development

· Word Processing

· Spreadsheets

· Presentations

· Databases

· HTML (Webpage Design)

Systems Technologies

· Concepts of Computing

· Hardware

· Software

· Computer Management

Network Technologies

· PANs

· LANs

· WANs


Internet Technologies

· Internet

· The WWW

· E-Communications

Information Management

· Access Date and Information

· Process Data and Information

· Present Information

Social Implications

· Impact on Society

· Legal, Ethical and Security Issues

· Health and Ergonomic Issues

· Environmental Issues


Consumer Studies focuses on consumer empowerment.

This subject involved the following:

  • Developing responsible and informed consumers.
  • Producing and marketing quality products by applying entrepreneurial skills that will satisfy consumer needs.
  • Knowledge about food and nutrition, clothing, housing, entrepreneurship and ways of improving your economic  security and well-being.
  • Rights and responsibilities of a consumer.
  • Knowledge and skills to manage your resources and make sustainable decisions.

The topics are progressive from grade 10 to 12 and are as               follows: 

  • Consumer Education
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Clothing
  • Textiles
  • Housing and Furnishings
  • Interior Design and Decorating
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Practical:  Small-scale food production

Employment Opportunities:

  • Consumer services and event management
  • Marketing and management
  • Public relations and media
  • Advertising
  • Product development and quality assurance
  • Journalism and research
  • Dietetics
  • Fashion design, dressmaking and merchandising
  • Interior design and housing consultant
  • Hospitality and catering industry
  • Entrepreneur – food, clothing or housing
  • Formal education – educator /lecturer
  • Adult education – develop programmes, extension work in government services of NGO’s in community development

Due to resources and space, there is a limit of 24 learners per grade.


Dramatic Arts encourages verbal and non-verbal communication and employs the range of register that exists in a multilingual and multicultural society.

Drama, as an art form, is concerned both with the workings of the  imagination and with the discipline of craftsmanship.  A study of the principles and practice of drama provides a means of understanding the nature of people and the world.

 Dramatic Arts provides opportunities for creative expression;  the   development of a critical perception of human situations; behaviour in a variety of contexts; and for encountering group dynamics in a  creative situation rather than just training specifically for the stage.

 Dramatic Arts also provides knowledge and experience of the workings of film sets, television sets, professional theatres and       production planning.

The learners study Plays and Theatre history, speech, movement and acting.  The social skills attained through dramatic arts will assist learners in whatever career path they choose to follow in theatre:   acting, directing, producing or writing.  The development of the    ability to excel in public speaking opens up numerous other career paths such as Law, advertising and tourism.


This is an internationally acknowledged subject that has both Academic and Technical applications within the contexts of Mechanical, Civil and Electrical Technologies.  

 Financial Implications:

  • Drawing Board and Instruments

Engineering Graphics and Design as a subject gives learners  the    opportunity to: 

  • Communicate ideas graphically by using drawing instruments and computer-based tools
  • Explore specific basic concepts and content within Mechanical, Civil and Electrical Technology
  • Develop various instrument and freehand drawing techniques and skills
  • Learn by solving technological problems through graphic drawings in creative ways
  • Carry out projects using the design process: (PAT—counts 25% of FINAL year mark)
  • Use knowledge in a purposeful way
  • Implement ‘CAD’ as a method of producing drawings, develop positive attitudes, perceptions and aspirations to promote        engineering and technology based careers. 

 You will be required to:

  •  Be a problem solver
  • Be creative
  • Produce clean, neat and accurate drawings
  • Be dedicated and self disciplined
  • Be punctual
  • Be respectful
  • Be fully computer literate
  • We recommend a strong 2D and 3D aptitude (learners tested during term three) and taking Mathematics is highly recommended.

 Career Opportunities:

  • Various Engineering fields (Mechanical, Civil, Aviation, Maritime, Agriculture, Mining)
  • Architecture
  • Jewelry designer
  • Artisans
  • Landscape architecture
  • Building Management
  • Land surveyor

Geography in the FET phase is a vibrant, happening subject which focuses on knowledge that is needed on a daily basis and leads to a huge variety of exciting job opportunities.

Have you ever wanted to know why we are experiencing different types of weather and forecast what weather to expect next? The climatology that you will learn in the FET phase will equip you with the knowledge that you need to do this. If you want to become a geologist working in a mine, the studies we do about geomorphology and rocks will allow you to be employed in this exciting, lucrative outdoor occupation. If you are planning a hike in the Drakensberg or are trying to find your way around a city you have never been to before, the map work you will learn will stop you from getting lost. If you are interested in why some countries are richer than others and why some countries have greater populations than others, then our studies of development, economic geography and population studies will give you all the topical answers you need.
Geography is explosive (ask any learner who has studied volcanoes with us) and it is filled with “good vibrations” as we create our own earthquakes in class and learn the art of putting rocks to sleep!!!

Geography is a visual subject where we teach the concepts while we tour the world, physically and virtually.

Join us in our exciting subject, where we aim to teach you information and skills that will equip you to be gainfully employed, have fun and go places!


“A knowledge of History is essential in order to understand the present”

The History curriculum covers periods and events that have shaped our modern world, divided equally between world and South African history.

Grade 10 learners study the period 1500 to 1850 including: Past Kingdoms (China, India, Songhay), the French Revolution, South Africa from 1700 to the Land Act of 1913.

Grade 11 learners concentrate on the period 1850 to 1945 (Russia,   USA and the Great Depression and Social Darwinism leading to the  Holocaust). The South African section studies the rise of Nationalism until the resistance to Apartheid (1964).

Grade 12 learners look at more recent events including: The Cold War and related events up to Globalisation. Local events include the changes in South Africa (1963-1994) and the T.R.C.

Professions with a History degree:

  • Teacher
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Solicitor
  • Archivist
  • Curator
  • Civil Service Administrator

Life Orientation is a compulsory subject from grade 8-12.  It was introduced with the aim of educating learners about the history of South Africa and basic life skills. LO is an excitingly diverse subject, incorporating many aspects of life.  Most people who matriculated years back, will remember life skills, guidance counselling, PT classes and religious studies.

However, LO has evolved to being central in the holistic development of learners. It addresses skills, knowledge and values for the personal, social, intellectual, emotional and physical growth of learners, and is concerned with the way in which these facets are interrelated. LO guides and prepares learners for life and its possibilities.  It also equips young people for meaningful and successful living in a rapidly changing and transforming society.  For example: LO provides a learner with the necessary skills to compile a CV, understand relationships, find a career as well as subjects related to that career, learn about lifestyle diseases and understand why democracy is  necessary in our country (just naming a few).

It’s that time of the year now when Grade 9’s have to make subject choices and it can be a pretty stressful experience.  Dr Felicity Coughlan a director of The Independent Institute of Education once said “This time of the year young people have to make big decisions that have long-term effects on their lives and they are often not really equipped to do this”. Dr Coughlan continues to say the best way to deal with decisions that carry long-term effects is not to panic. Calm down, stay focused and get as much information as possible about the available options.  This is where the LO department steps in. We give grade 9 learners an opportunity to take time during lessons to visit websites of higher institutions of their interest, to find out what type of courses are on offer and what subjects are important for applications. We also encourage learners to do more research on their own because it is important  to look at more than what you already know. 



Introduction:  The standard of Life Sciences is continually rising and the requirements for learners to succeed are, as a consequence, becoming more demanding.

This learning area is inextricably involved with the theory and practice of Physics and Chemistry.  No longer can this subject, on the threshold of tremendous advances in genetics and bio-engineering, be regarded as a purely “learning subject”, and an “easy option”, or a “subject filler”.  Without an underlying interest in biological matters and a logical, inquiring mind, the potential Life Sciences learner will find the course challenging.

It is recommended that the prospective learner, choosing Life Sciences in Grade 10, should have obtained a good pass in Natural Sciences at the completion of the Grade 9 year.

The Life Sciences curriculum is a three year course.  Throughout the course much practical work is carried out.  In addition to the core  syllabus, Life Sciences learners are required to extend themselves,    beyond the scope of the curriculum in investigative research work.  Learners receive guidance from their teachers and/or experts in the specific fields.  Learners are required to present their work independently and/or in groups.

 Requirements for Success:

  • Interest in the subject.
  • Hard work—involving ongoing revision to familiarise oneself with the terminology and its correct usage, as well as extensive reading around the core curriculum and related topics.
  •  A prospective Life Sciences Learner must be prepared to cope with a high content workload.
  • Motivation – Only daily revision and summarising, done mostly independently at home, will allow learners to maintain an effective level of understanding of basic content.
  • Attention to detail – It is not uncommon to be introduced to as many as 20 new items of terminology associated with a complex biological process in just one lesson. Each chapter is in effect a new language.
  • Accurate observation – A practical approach to this subject requires a rapid assimilation of very subject specific skills.
  • Passion for the subject – Will make the work-load much easier to cope with.

The following are just a few areas in the range of careers for which Life Sciences will be a valuable subject:

  • Microbiologist
  • Agricultural – Farming & Tech
  • Bio-kinetics
  • Physiotherapist
  • Forestry Plant Pathologist
  • Game Ranger / Environmentalist
  • Public Health
  • Geneticist Research Scientists
  • Horticulture Educator
  • Lecturer
  • Marine Biologist
  • Veterinary Science
  • Medical Technology

Reasons for taking Life Sciences:

  1. To guide learners to appreciate both the uniqueness and the interdependence of organisms and their relationship to their physical environment and especially to humans.
  2.  To stimulate interest in biological phenomena and to develop powers of observation and imaginative thinking.
  3. To foster a love for South African flora and fauna and to stress the vital importance of nature conservation.
  4. To understand the physiology and complexity of all forms of life.

Physical Sciences in Grade 10 is very different to the Natural Sciences course that learners do in Grade 9. In Grade 10, Physical Sciences is made up of two components: Physics and Chemistry. This subject focuses on investigating physical and chemical phenomena through scientific inquiry. By applying scientific models, theories and laws it seeks to explain and predict events in our physical environment.

Physical Sciences at school level focuses on the following knowledge
areas: chemical change, matter and materials, chemical systems,
electromagnetism and electricity, waves, sound and light and mechanics.

A learner who succeeds in Physical Sciences can embark on a wide range of careers, including: engineers, medical doctors, veterinarians, radiographers, dentists, pharmacists and technologists,.

Physical Sciences is an abstract body of knowledge requiring the use of exceptional mathematical skills, problem solving techniques and higher levels of reasoning and cognitive thinking. This must be coupled with the ability to think in an abstract manner and apply concepts absorbed rather than recited.

A learner doing this subject must be prepared to work extremely hard and develop self discipline. The new curriculum in this subject is difficult and whilst in the past learners had the choice of a Standard Grade option, this is no longer available. Remember that if a learner fails Physical Sciences and say Mathematics, he/she will fail the current academic year and hence will not progress to the next grade. It is due to the difficult nature of this subject that we have admission criteria to guide parents and learners in making the correct decision.

It is mandatory that a learner who chooses to take Physical Sciences also takes pure Mathematics, for which he/she must achieve at least 55% in Grade 9. We also recommend 55% in Grade 9 for Natural Sciences.

NOTE: Learners who intend taking Double Science (both Physical and Life Sciences) need to have achieved at least 60% in EACH of Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences in Grade 9. We have limited space in the double science package and only those learners who meet the requirements will be considered


Studying tourism enables a learner to become self-confident, multi-skilled and able to set up their own business (job creation) or receive learnerships from institutions, as there is a huge shortage of skilled staff in this occupational field.

The Tourism industry offers huge opportunities for students who have studied tourism at school, thus offering the possibility of immediate employment after Grade 12.

Tourism is the study of activities, services and industries that deliver a travel experience to groups or individuals. The subject links well with other areas of learning for example: Mathematical Literacy; Life Science; CAT; Business Studies; History and Consumer Studies.

The subject also comprises a practical component. Tourism accommodates site visits and excursions, where applicable, for hands-on practical experience of the content studied in theoretically.

Learners will study:

  •  Different types of tourists and the purpose of their travelling
  • Different tourism sectors, with special reference to transport, hospitality, travel organizing and support services & the attraction sector
  • Foreign exchange concepts and the buying power of different foreign currencies
  • Map work
  • Influence of world time zones on travel
  • South Africa and the SACD countries as tourism destinations
  • World famous icons and World Heritage Sites
  • Sustainable and responsible tourism (green tourism)
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Customer care and the value of service excellence
  • Tour planning

The tourism industry is the only industry that is growing annually; it is the 2nd biggest industry in the world after oil and is supported by Government as it is a labour intensive industry and will help to lower the unemployment rate.  


Visual Art is a subject in which learners are exposed to a wide variety of options.  We teach drawing, painting, mixed media, sculpture and Visual Culture Studies.

All these components are taught and a natural aptitude for art is not required – only hard work and enthusiasm.

Not only does the subject promote creativity, but also enables the learner to think and work independently and laterally.  There are as many solutions to the same problem as there are learners in the class.  This  skill encourages time planning and self-discipline – essential for anyone whether they become educators or business persons.

It also provides an emotional outlet in a safe and structured environment providing much needed stress relief for learners.