Key Stage 4 is a particularly important time for students, as most of them take their GCSE exams at this stage. (GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education) These are often the first educational qualifications that students receive in their lives and really are the baseline for any further advancement. Most employers will ask for 5 GCSE’s and further education institutions will often require more. The main emphasis will be on the core GCSE subjects.
GCSE results and other relevant qualifications affect students prospects for education at College and University. Whether students choose to take a vocational route and learn a trade or set down a more academic path, achieving some solid GCSE grades is still an important stepping-stone.
Schools usually decide, either to teach GCSEs over two years (years 10 and 11) or three years (years 9, 10 and 11). It is worth finding out which is applicable to your child.
The National Curriculum states:
The compulsory national curriculum consists of ‘core’ and ‘foundation’ subjects.
Core subjects are:
English (English language is compulsory in all schools and Englsih literature is compulsory in most schools)
science (this can be split into triple science or double science)
All students must take PE in years 10 and 11 but do not have to take it as a GCSE subject
Foundation subjects are:
Schools must also offer at least one subject from each of these areas:
arts (music, drama, media studies and art and design)
technical subjects (design and technology, food technology and computer science)
humanities (history, geography and RE)
modern foreign languages (most schools offer French, Spanish and German but some schools will have other languages also)
Schools must also provide religious education (RE) and sex education at key stage 4.
In England, there are 3 main exam boards:
AQA (assessment and qualifications alliance)
OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA)
There are a couple of other examining boards, but the above three are the main ones schools use.
Our tutors will be able to discuss your child’s exam board in further detail.
The 9- 1 system
In 2015, the Government started to phase-in changes to the grading system. This was mainly carried out to boost the UK’s international educational reputation and make it easier for institutes of higher education to differentiate between candidates.
This change was not merely reflected in the grading system but was reflected in the content, especially in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Below, is a table breaking down the approximate equivalent grades:
How we can help
We aim to help our students navigate the content at Key Stage 4.
Along with the content, a thorough understanding of each board and how marks are awarded is an essential component of preparing for GCSEs.
At Redbridge Tuition, we place an emphasis on helping children understand the way the real exam works and familiarise them with the types of questions they may get in the real exam. We also try to ensure that they are continuing to develop the skills and confidence that will allow them to take the subject further into A Level if they so wish.
Ensuring that students have a consistent, enjoyable educational experience is important for their development, which is why we are producing our own teaching materials and have subject specialists teaching each subject.