Key Stage 4

In Year 9 students will decide which subjects they will take for their GCSEs. Most students take 9 GCSEs, but some may be able to take more if they are able to, e.g. an additional language such as Arabic.

From Year 10, your child will study five compulsory subjects including Religious Studies GCSE and Core PE (not assessed) as these subjects focus on essential skills and wellbeing and give a balance to the programme of study.

Compulsory subjects

  • English Language and Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Religious Studies
  • Core PE (Exercise, Health and Fitness)

Options subjects in 2019

In addition to these 5 core subjects, students selected 4 further option choices to start in September 2019 (Year 9); they should choose 1 subject from each option block.

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

School performance tables also record the number of students who secure the combination of GCSEs which make up the English Baccalaureate.

Block A Block B Block C Block D




Technical Award in Hospitality & Catering

Technical Award in Materials Technology 






BTEC Level 1/2 First Award in Travel and Tourism.

Pearson BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Award in Health and Social Care


Food & Nutrition





OCR Level 2 Cambridge National Certificate in Information Technologies OR

City & Guilds Level 2 Technical Award in Digital Technologies.






BTEC Level 2 in Performing Arts (Dance).


Y8 GCSE Options Guide for 2019

Key Dates for 2020

  • Tuesday 25th February -Year 8 GCSE Option Evening (for students and parents)    
  • Tuesday 3rd March - Year 8 Subject Parents' Evening (for students and parents)  
  • Monday 9th - Friday 20th March - GCSE Options Interviews (for students)   


GCSE Reform 2017

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.