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KS4 Curriculum overview

2016-2017 Information

During the last few years, the Government has been conducting a major review of the secondary curriculum in order to ensure ‘more rigour and greater challenge’ as well as encouraging ‘deep learning’ in schools. At St Bede’s this has led to a number of changes that have been introduced in recent years.

In key stage 4, all students study English Language, English Literature, Maths, double or triple Sciences plus RE to GCSE level. In addition, pupils choose four options and we encourage every child to include one of the Humanities (History or Geography) and a Modern Foreign Language (French, German or Spanish) so they meet the requirements of the English Baccalaureate.

Currently, the older system of A* to G grades is being replaced with a numerical system descending from nine to one (with nine being the highest ‘number’). From this September, those in Year 11 studying English Language, English Literature and Mathematics will be working towards a ‘final number’ with traditional grades in all other subjects. For current Year 10 students, Art, Drama, Food & Nutrition, French, Geography, German, History, Music, PE, Photography, RE, the Sciences and Spanish will follow the new specifications leading to a final number, with other subjects taught for the first time from 2017 onwards. All specifications now place less emphasis on coursework and more on final exams.


Please note there are a number of new performance measures and exam specifications that are being produced. The following is a summary of the changes at KS4:

New GCSEs - the government is introducing new GCSEs in every subject. Those in our current Year 11 are already studying the new style exams in English and maths, and for those currently in Year 10 nearly every subject they take will be examined under the revised specifications. The revised syllabuses put less emphasis on coursework and more account is taken of terminal exams. There is more content to be taught and grades (A* to G) have been replaced by numbers (9 to 1). It is envisaged that a new ‘5’ will eventually be the equivalent of an old ‘C’ (pass) grade.

English baccalaureate - the government wants more emphasis put on traditional, academic subjects and so it is expecting nearly all pupils to follow a set of courses that include studies in five main areas:

  • English (all pupils at St Bede’s will continue to take English language and English literature to GCSE level)
  • Mathematics (all pupils at St Bede’s will continue to take GCSE maths)
  • Science (pupils at St Bede’s take a double award science qualification or the three separate sciences. In addition, computer studies will count as a ‘science’)
  • History or geography
  • A modern or ancient foreign language

Attainment 8 - this measure will become increasingly important as it will provide a single number to demonstrate the attainment of a child across a range of subject areas and will almost certainly be used by colleges, universities and employers when assessing the ability of applicants. The Attainment 8 score will be calculated by averaging the new number grade for English and maths (given the importance of these subjects they will be double-counted) plus the number grade from three English Baccalaureate subjects and the number grades of three other qualifying subjects.

Progress 8 - this measure will be used to judge the performance of schools. Each child will have an expected Attainment 8 score based on primary school KS2 levels and this will be compared with actual performance at the end of the five years of secondary education. Hence a child expected to score an Attainment 8 score of 6.6 who in fact scores 6.9 will have a Progress 8 score of +0.3. All the Progress 8 scores in a school will be averaged to produce an overall score. 
The teachers and senior staff here are working hard to understand the new system and prepare for the new style GCSEs. Please contact us if you have any questions relating to the above.


Please see below for current documents relating to KS4.

Title Date  
KS4 2016-18 Course information (current Year 11s) 22nd Sep 2016 Download
KS4 2016-18 Information for Parents 22nd Sep 2016 Download
Year 10 Homework timetable 2017-18.pdf 18th Sep 2017 Download
KS4 2017-19 Options Talk November 2016 1st Dec 2016 Download
KS4 2017-19 Options Booklet 1st Dec 2016 Download
Year 11 Homework timetable 2017-18.pdf 18th Sep 2017 Download
KS4 2017-19 Information evening Sept 2017 (current Year 10s) 25th Sep 2017 Download