Key Stage 4 Curriculum Structure
The Curriculum is in two parts which fill up the 26 period week.
THE CORE CURRICULUM
All students must take these subjects
[4 periods a week]
[4 periods a week]
Science – choice of Double or Triple Award courses
[5 periods a week]
Core Physical Education
[1 period a week]
Core Religious Education
[1 period a week]
Personal Development including Citizenship, sex and careers education
[1 period a week]
Information and Communications Technology
[1 period a week]
THE OPTIONS SUBJECTS
Students may opt for one of the following pathways:
A full range of GCSE or other Level 2 courses – 3 GCSE/Level 2 subjects, plus an optional twilight GCSE
Intermediate route two option subjects plus a humanities subject which will be taught through auditory processing
Core & Vocational Learning Programme including an NVQ course
GCSE subjects are studied for 3 periods a week.
The Compulsory Core Subjects:click to view
Students Choose 3 Option Subjects
(GCSE /Level 2 Pathway)
Core & Vocational Learning Programme
Work based students will take Core Science and Cambridge Progression Mathematics
Evaluation of how recent Key Stage 4 students have managed their courses, alongside new legislation and guidance from the Government, have led us to adapt our curriculum offer in Years 10 and 11 in the following ways:
Additional time has been given to the study of English and mathematics.
It is the norm for students to take English Literature as well as English Language qualifications.
Additional time has been given to the study of each selected option subject.
The number of open options which can be taken during the normal College day is three.
It will not be a requirement but, unless there are clear reasons for not doing so, we strongly recommend that at least one of the options be taken from the group of English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects, namely: Computing, French, Geography, History, Latin or Spanish.
There is a twilight provision to enable stretch and challenge across a broader range of subjects for those with the ability and organisational skills to cope with extra lessons after 3:00pm. These will remain entirely optional.
The growing importance of securing a GCSE grade 4 (grade C on the outgoing system) or above in English and Mathematics is clear. Failure to do so can be a barrier for entry onto many courses or careers after College. It is now compulsory for all students without these qualifications to continue to study English and/or mathematics for as long as they are in education. Reducing the number of options available has enabled us to allocate more time to these subjects, as well as increasing the time spent on their options, in order to give students the best possible chance of achieving good grades.
Without twilight subjects, students are still able to take GCSEs in up to 9 subjects, alongside additional qualifications in ICT, physical education and religion. This will not disadvantage any student; even the top universities are looking for quality rather than quantity. However, the option of taking another subject in twilight time enables those students who wish to broaden their choices or take a greater number of GCSEs to do so.
The College’s curriculum offer allows students to make 3 free option choices from a list of 22 subjects. For most students, this allows for a wide range of subjects to be studied and enables progress onto their desired choices in Post 16. However, some students may have strong reasons for wanting to take a fourth option. To enable this to happen, we include a twilight option which takes place after 3:00pm, across two days in the week, typically Tuesdays and Thursdays. To match daytime options, each subject is studied for three hours per week. For religious studies the three hours will be composed of two twilight hours and one daytime core religion lesson.
For September 2017, the subjects on offer in twilight time are:
By selecting one of the subjects above as a twilight option, students may find that they have extra flexibility to take three other subjects of their choice during normal College hours.
All twilight offers are subject to sufficient numbers of students opting. Any of the subjects listed above may be chosen during the normal College day and do not have to be selected in twilight time.
Only ONE subject may be selected in the twilight option.
Twilight lessons are entirely optional and do not suit all students. Before choosing a fourth option, students need to consider carefully what other commitments they have after College as, once chosen, attendance will be compulsory. Students also need to think about how they will manage the extra workload of three extra hours of lessons as well as additional homework and reflect on their personal organisation. The College reserves the right to decline requests to take a twilight option in cases where a student has not shown:
a good attendance record
a good homework record
Key Stage 4 Options
Advice for Students and Parents
Firstly, you will need to decide upon your learning pathway:
A full range of GCSE or other Level 2 courses
Two GCSE courses and a modified History/Geography Course (Intermediate Programme)
The Core & Vocational Learning Programme
You will be able to choose 3 option subjects*
Most combinations are possible but care is needed to give a broad and balanced curriculum. Although we endeavour to give all students their first choices, this is not always possible. Subjects that attract very small numbers of students may not run. Other courses have a limit to the number of students they can take.
You will have the opportunity at your 1:1 interview to indicate any subject you wanted to take but which is not available to you.
*It is strongly recommended that one or more of these subjects is selected from the list of EBacc subjects – computing, French, geography, history, Latin or Spanish.
Students no longer need to make a choice about which science course to take. All students will have begun work towards the Double Award Combined Science course in Year 9. The topics covered are common to both the Double and Triple Award. Those students who show a high academic achievement and good work ethic will be given the opportunity to work towards the Triple Award Separate Sciences in Year 11.
It is possible to extend your range of options by studying an extra subject after 3pm on two days of the week – a twilight option.
Making your choices
There is a great deal to think about when deciding which subjects to take:
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What subjects interest you most?
How are the different subjects’ type of assessment and style of learning likely to match your strengths?
Would you cope well with more or less coursework?
What sort of career or Further Education plans do you have?
A question of balance...
You will follow a course including GCSEs or their equivalent in English, mathematics and science. There are also compulsory programmes in physical education, personal development, ICT, and religion. To complete your course of study you will need to choose at least 3 subjects from the open choice entitlement subjects. These are summarised on the forms at the back of the booklet. Details of each course can be found in the coloured sections of this booklet.
Your choice depends very much on your individual skills and strengths, hopes and plans. However, you should think very carefully about keeping a balance of subjects to ensure that you have a wide range of skills and experiences: this is especially important if you are not sure at this stage what you want to do after Year 11.
Make any choice sensibly and carefully, based on information and not just on ‘likes and dislikes’
Discuss your choice with several people, but make your own decision
Think about yourself as a student
Have good reasons for your choice of subject
Information: Changes To The Grading Of GCSEs
September 2015 saw the introduction of the first new GCSE courses, starting with English Language, English Literature and Maths. September 2016 brought in new GCSEs in many other subjects including sciences, performing arts and EBacc subjects and other new courses begin in September 2017.
Alongside the new subject syllabi will be a new method of reporting results, moving from a lettering system of A*→G to a numerical scale of 1→9, where 9 is the highest grade and the bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.
The table below shows in more detail how the numbering system relates to current grades. Grade 4 or above will be approximately equal to currently achieving a grade C or above. The Government expects that the proportion of students gaining the higher grades will remain similar to present.
Students in the current Year 9 will have all of their GCSE grades on the 1à9 grading system.
There is no direct equivalence between the number grades on the new system and the letter grades on the old system, but for comparison purposes the table below, based on information from Ofqual, may be useful.
New 1 -
Old A* -
A* / A
B / C
E / F
F / G