We believe very strongly that one of the core purposes of secondary school is to equip all students with the highest standards of literacy and numeracy, which are developed throughout the curriculum. These key skills enable Kingdown students to successfully progress at the age of 16 to Sixth Form study, to a vocational course at another provider, or into an apprenticeship or job with training. Therefore, the Key Stage 4 curriculum at Kingdown School is designed to provide a rigorous academic core for all students, alongside a range of curriculum options which enable students to specialise in the subjects they enjoy the most.

We organise our curriculum into two halves:

The Core Curriculum (approx. 60% curriculum time)

  • English – all students study English Language and English Literature GCSE. English Literature GCSE is taken in Year 10.
  • Maths – all students study Maths GCSE; many students also take GCSE statistics, or Additional Maths (also known as Further Maths). Statistics GCSE is taken in Year 10.
  • Science – all students study either double award Science (leading to 2 GCSEs), or the separate sciences (leading to separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
  • PSHE – non-examined. Students take a discussion-based approach to key themes from the personal, social and health education curriculum.

The Optional Curriculum (approx. 40% curriculum time)

Alongside the core curriculum, students can opt in to study for 3 or 4 additional subjects. To help guide students’ choices appropriately, students are classified into one of four ‘routeways’:

Red Route – our most academic routeway. Students select 4 single options from a choice of around 20 available subjects.

Purple Route – our most flexible routeway. Students select either 3 or 4 options from the available subjects. Students opting for 3 options select one ‘double option’, which is given extended curriculum time.

Green Route – our routeway which offers a number of vocational options. Students select 3 options from the subjects available, which place an emphasis on work-related and more hands-on learning.

Blue Route – our routeway for students who benefit from working in a smaller group environment. Options and curriculum time in different subject areas are varied according to the needs of the individual, with a key focus on cross-curricular literacy and numeracy.

For further details on the subjects offered within our curriculum model, please refer to our Key Stage 4 Option Pathways (internal link)

Assessment in Key Stage 4

Our Trajectories assessment system, used at Key Stage 3, continues into Key Stage 4. All students undertake a series of key assessments in each subject area, which are used to form an accurate picture of the GCSE potential of a student by the end of Year 11. Guidance is given, following assessments, on the steps needed to be taken by a student to improve. Research shows that if teacher feedback is acted on effectively, grades will improve significantly over time.

We also hold a formal exam week in June of Year 10. Year 11 will experience mock exams in December and March.

Who to contact

If you have any questions about Key Stage 4, please contact:

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