Key Stage 4
There are an extensive range of courses available at KS4. All qualifications will be examined at the end of the Key Stage, which will be the summer of your child’s Year 11.
GCSEs were reformed from 2017/18 and are designed to be more demanding than their predecessors. In addition the grading system also changed replacing the A*-G grades used previously - the new system will be 9 to 1 (with 9 being the highest).
Historically students could be entered for “Higher” or “Foundation” exam papers. The highest grade achievable on Foundation exams was a Grade C, with all grades up to A* being accessible via the Higher exam papers. Tiered exams for the new 9 to 1 reformed qualifications exams only apply to the subjects of maths, MFL and Combined Science. Foundation level will cover grades 1 to 5 and Higher Level will cover grades 4 to 9.
We also offer a range of vocational qualifications such as BTEC’s, Technical Awards and Cambridge National’s. These qualifications are graded as Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction * and are equivalent to a 9 to 1 GCSE qualification.
English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
The English Baccalaureate is not a qualification, it is an award that recognises that a student has obtained a grade 5 or above in all the following GCSE subjects:
- English Language
- At least two sciences ( including computer science)
- History or Geography
- A modern or ancient foreign language
The EBacc is not compulsory at AGS but students may consider that the EBacc is an award that may help a future application to university. Currently very few universities have the EBacc as part of their entry requirements.
For those students planning to apply to university, certainly to Oxbridge or to any of the ‘Russell Group’ of universities (the older more established universities), it has always been good advice to take a language and often a humanities subject in any case. Some universities now require a language for entry to degree courses in English Literature.
As required by the National Curriculum, we have core subjects which all students must follow. The compulsory core studies are as follows:
- English – leading to two GCSEs, one in English Language and one in English Literature
- Mathematics – leading to one GCSE
- Science – leading to two or three GCSEs
- Physical Education – not examined
- Citizenship and Religious Education– not examined
It is important that students are guided along a suitable science pathway at Key Stage 4. The demands of the reformed 9 to 1 GCSEs mean that only a small percentage of students (~25% of the year group) should be considering studying the three separate sciences. These students are likely to be seriously considering going on to study one or more science at A Level. Parents of students moving from Year 9 into Year 10 are consulted in the summer term on the most appropriate pathway for their child. Before GCSE groups are decided for the start of the academic year in September.