At The Petchey Academy we have always had a 3 year KS4 as we believe it allows students to gain their best possible grades and allows them time to explore and enjoy their subject beyond the exam specification.
For students who are already well advanced in their knowledge and skills, the three year Key Stage 4 allows them opportunities for early challenges and time to access the very top grades. For students who progress at a different rate, the additional third year in Key Stage 4 will help to strengthen their potential to gain the best grades within their capabilities.
Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is broad and balanced, providing all students with interesting and challenging provisions. 

Core Subjects

From Year 9, your child will study five compulsory subjects. These are below. It is compulsory for your child to take Religious Studies GCSE and Core PE, as these subjects focus on essential skills that give a balance to the programme of study.

1- English Language and Literature
2- Mathematics
3- Science
4- Core PE (Exercise, Health and Fitness)
5- Religious Studies

Options Subjects

In addition to these 5 core subjects, your child will also make a maximum of 4 further option choices to start in September 2019 (Year 9); they should choose 1 subject from each of the option blocks below. Subject Leads can advise on the most suitable combinations of subjects at the Year 8 Options Evening on 27th February 2019. 

We encourage our students to leave Year 11 having obtained the English Baccalaureate, or "Ebacc", which means we encourage every student to study either History or Geography and a Language.

Block A: Block B: Block C: Block D:
  • History
  • Geography
  • Spanish



  • AQA Technical Award - Food and Catering L1 & L2
  • AQA Technical Award - Materials Technology L1 & L2
  • History
  • Geography
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • BTEC Level 1/2 First Award in Travel and Tourism
  • Person BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Award in Health & Social Care
  • Art
  • Computing GCSE
  • Sociology
  • Business
  • Food & Nutrition GCSE
  • OCR Level 2 Cambridge National Certificate in Information Technologies OR City & Guilds Level 2 Technical Award in Digital Technologies
  • Business
  • Design & Technology
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Psychology
  • BTEC Level 2 in Performing Arts (Dance)

GCSE Reform

New GCSEs were introduced by the government and sat for the first time in the summer of 2017. The new GCSEs are graded on a scale from 1-9 with 9 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. One of the main reasons why GCSEs are being reformed is to make them more challenging. For example, the new English language GCSE will require better reading skills and good written English.

The new GCSEs are graded on a 1-9 scale that does not entirely match the old A*-G scale. As there is no longer a national system of levels, it is now down to schools to have their own assessment system. All Petchey students have been given a progress tracker which shows the old and new systems, and charts their expected progress from Year 7.

The chart below compares the new GCSE grading structure to the one currently used for the old ‘legacy’ GCSEs. For example, a C sits between a 4 and 5 in the new grading structure:

What are the key features of the new GCSEs?

The Department for Education (DfE) has made a number of changes to the characteristics of the new GCSEs.

Key features include:

  • A new grading scale that uses the numbers 1 – 9 to replace the A* - G scale for identifying levels of performance
  • ‘Untiered’ test papers in most subjects, where students will sit the same test papers at the same level regardless of ability. Some subjects, such as maths, will be tiered where untiered papers do not allow lower ability students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills or do not stretch the most able
  • Students will be assessed at the end of the course and subject content will not be divided into modules
  • Assessment will be made by external exam, except where non-exam assessment is the only way to assess certain skills

Students will only sit exams in the summer. Students will only be able to resit exams in November for English language and maths if they were at least 16 on the preceding 31 August.