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Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, all students follow a broad and balanced curriculum to ensure that they further develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to succeed in life, whilst allowing them to pursue their interests and to choose subjects that will ensure that they are ready for the next stage of their education and employment.  In addition to the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, students have the opportunity to follow subjects that allow them to fulfil the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications (History or Geography as well as a Modern Foreign Language).

Whilst as a school we predominantly offer GCSEs, there are some other qualifications which we offer because they better suit particular types of learners and our experience shows that they also better motivate and interest students. All these qualifications have equivalence. To view the details of the subjects on offer as part of the Key Stage 4 curriculum please follow the link to our options page where you will find the options booklet.  

We have taken the decision to focus three years of study at Key Stage 4 rather than the traditional two years. This is to meet the greater demands of the new curriculum. We firmly believe this is the right decision to support our students in achieving their best by ensuring that they can continue to follow a broad and balanced curriculum whilst achieving success in a new and more rigorous assessment regime.

Students’ work will reflect the continued focus on strategies to aid knowledge retention and evidence of revisiting concepts and content.  This will be supported by Knowledge oragnisers and Personal Learning Checklists (within each subject). This will be backed up with the use of 'low stakes' testing to support students in learning the content as well as increasing their skills competence. 

See each subject area for the Curriculum Map and a range of resources to support students in their studies, including Knowledge Organisers, PLCs  and revision resources. For any further information relating to the curriculum please contact the relevant Subject Leader. Email addresses can be found by clicking here.

The majority of lessons at Key Stage4 are taught in mixed prior attainment classes. Evidence suggests that, for most subjects, the impact of being taught in classes with only students of similar prior attainment has a negligible impact overall. In the core subject (English, Mathematics and Science) there are some classes which are ‘set’ across Key Stages 4. This supports teaching to target specific ‘in-class’ intervention for some students. 

Key Stage Four


In Year 9 students are all taught in mixed prior attainment classes and all cover the same curriculum. As both of the GCSE papers for English Language and English Literature are not tiered, all students are able to access the full range of GCSE grades.

Most students are taught in mixed prior attainment classes in Years 10-11. Both year groups are divided into two sides (this is related to timetabling and is not based on attainment). On each side of the year group there is one class which includes those with the highest prior attainment. This is reviewed following key assessment points throughout the year.



Key Stage 4 students are taught in six groups on each side of the year group. Three of these groups study for the Higher Tier where grades 3 to 9 are achievable and three groups study for the Foundation Tier where grades 1 to 5 are achievable. Students are placed in their Year 9 groups based largely on their Key Stage 3 Maths results alongside their teacher's judgement. There may be some adjustments to groups after the bi-annual assessments.

In addition to the GCSE, students in one of the Higher Tier groups on each side of the year group have the opportunity to study for the Further Maths Level 2 qualification. Students in one of Foundation Tier group on each side of the year group have the opportunity to study for the Functional Skills Entry Level and Functional Skills Level 1 qualifications. 


Year 9 are taught in 12 mixed prior attainment groups. Attainment in Year 9 determines which students are offered the Triple Science qualification, which starts in Year 10.

Year 10 students are taught in groups depending on the type of GCSE Science qualification they are studying. There is one group for students taking Triple Science on each side of the year group. Additionally, there are three classes on each side of the year in which all students are deemed to be eligible for entry in the Higher Tier qualification, based on their prior attainment. In the other two groups on each side of the year, most students will be entered for the Foundation Tier qualification. Foundation groups are significantly smaller than the Higher Tier groups. 

In Year 11, there is one Triple Science group and the other five groups are based on students' prior attainment.

If you have any questions or would like to know more please book onto our KS4 parental learning walk (you can do this by contacting or contact the relevant Head of Year. Email addresses can be found by clicking here.