What is Key Stage 4?
Key Stage 4 begins at the start of Year 10 and is one or two years of study (dependent upon the subject) leading to GCSE or equivalent qualifications. Students may go on from Key Stage 4 to study A-Levels at Sixth Form, go to college or begin employment coupled with training. Whatever our students decide to do, the choices they make now are very important.
Why do students have to choose?
There is not enough time in the curriculum to enable students to continue studying all their Year 9 subjects to GCSE level therefore, they must opt and reduce the number of subjects studied.
Why do students only have 4 choices out of the 9 subjects they study in Key Stage 4?
Some subjects are classed as core which means it is a statutory requirement to study them up to GCSE level; this includes English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, and Science. Schools are also encouraged by the government to ensure students take at least one other subject from the English Baccalaureate to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.
What is the English Baccalaureate?
This is a performance measure for schools that reports on how many students have achieved a good pass in 6 specific subject areas. Those subjects are as follows:
Does this mean extended option subjects and those not included in the English Baccalaureate are less important?
Absolutely not. We value all subjects as highly as each other and are particularly proud of our high achieving practical subjects. Students are strongly recommended to use their extended options to pursue their passions and the subjects they are most interested in.
Why are GCSEs graded 9-1 now instead of A*-G?
The government has reformed all GCSE and A-Level qualifications over a 3-year period. Reformed qualifications at GCSE are now graded from 9-1 as well as being more challenging and having most of their assessment at the end of the course (see individual subject pages for more information). The new grade 9 is highly aspirational and will only be achieved by a small percentage of students across the country.
Why is there a reserve option on the options form?
BTECs and Technical Awards are alternative qualifications to GCSE that are equally as challenging but offer a different approach to learning. The final qualification (if passed at Level 2) is equivalent to a pass at GCSE.
What if students change their mind?
Despite our best efforts, we cannot offer an infinite combination of subjects. Sometimes, students’ option choices will clash, and we will have to ask them to study their reserve instead. Furthermore, if there are insufficient numbers of students selecting the course, it may not be financially viable to run it. With this thought in mind, we advise students to put as much thought into their reserve choice as they do into their other choices.
Final suggestions for students to consider when making
We would hope this does not happen! Students will all have received high quality guidance and input as part of the options process with the aim of reducing anxiety or questioning choices. Once the course has started, students will have to have a very strong reason for changing and no requests will be considered after the end of September. Please bear in mind that students can change their year 11 options.