Years 10 and 11

These are the GCSE years, also known as Key Stage 4.  All pupils have a timetable which includes core subjects and their option choices.

Core Subjects

Almost all pupils take English Language, English Literature and Mathematics.  In Science, all pupils begin studying Physics, Chemistry and Biology as separate subjects, with some reducing their programme to two sciences in Year 11.

Other Compulsory Subjects

These give students a breadth of experiences in addition to their GCSE courses.  PE and PSHRE are compulsory for all pupils.  PSHRE includes aspects of Citizenship.

Optional Subjects for 2016

Pupils choose one of three possible routes:


This is the “English Baccalaureate (EBacc)” Route. The EBacc is a term that describes the following group of 6 GCSE[1] subjects: English, Maths, 2 Sciences, a Humanity subject and a Language. To qualify for the EBacc, pupils must gain at least grade 5 in English (either Language or Literature) and Maths, and grades A*-C in the other subjects. Pupils opting for Route 1 must…

choose a Humanity (either History or Geography)

and a Language (either French or Spanish). Spanish can only be chosen if it has been studied in Year 9.

then choose 2 additional subjects from the list of optional subjects.

Because the EBacc is the established academic “gold standard”, the majority of pupils are encouraged to follow Route 1, particularly if they are expected to gain grades 5-9 or A*-C in the 6 EBacc subjects.


This Route is for those pupils who find languages or humanities (Geography/History) particularly difficult and who are unlikely to achieve grades 5-9/A*-C in the 6 EBacc subjects but either want to study all GCSEs, or one BTEC course that is an alternative to GCSEs. Here pupils must choose 4 subjects from the list of optional subjects.


This Route is designed for those pupils who are less likely to achieve high grades in traditional GCSEs. The courses available are more vocational, with a focus on practical work and skills development. There are BTEC courses, Entry Level Pathway (ELP) and the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE). Here pupils must choose 1 double BTEC course and then 3 other subjects from the list of optional subjects.

A few pupils will be following individually-tailored programmes of study and activities. These may include work experience placements, practical activities in school, as well as studying basic subjects.

Optional subjects

These are available as GCSEs (unless indicated otherwise):

Art, Business Studies, Certificate of Personal Effectiveness, Child Care, Drama, Economics, Electronics, Engineering, BTEC Engineering, Environment & Land-based Science, Food, French, Geography, History, Geography & History Entry Level Certificate, Music, Religious Studies, Resistant Materials, Physical Education, Spanish, BTEC Sport, Textiles, BTEC Travel & Tourism and BTEC Workskills.

In offering this broad range of subjects, every attempt is made to accommodate the individual’s own choices, and groups are organised so that the work is aimed at a level and pace right for the group.

Almost all pupils follow GCSE courses, unless it is appropriate for them not to.

[1] GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education

There are 8 different pass grades: Higher grade passes: A*, A, B, C; Lower grade passes: D, E, F, G. This will change for new GCSE courses introduced for first teaching in September 2015 to a scale of 1 to 9, where 9 is the highest grade.