Courses in Key Stage 4

At Hillcrest School, we have developed the Key Stage 4 curriculum with the intention of offering students a useful, appropriate and relevant suite of qualifications. We work from the perspective of students’ aspirations, strengths and needs, workforce demands and progression routes to further and higher education.

We aim to ensure that students have access to a broad and balanced education. At our last inspection, Ofsted referred to the Hillcrest curriculum as a strength:

‘Strong ambition for improving outcomes for all pupils has led to good examination results’  (Ofsted, July 2017).

There are a number of core subjects that the government requires all students to study, such as English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education and Religious Education. Students also study French and either History or Geography.

All students  will be graded using the 0-99 Hillcrest grading system which uses the new GCSE 9-1 grades as its basis.


HC Grade

In addition to the core, students make guided choices from a range of subjects including Art, Computing, Dance, Drama, Music, Business Studies and Design Technology. This ensures that we provide opportunities for different kinds of learning to suit the interests and abilities of individual students, whilst retaining a strong focus on academic subjects which will enable them to progress to further and higher education. We aim to give as many students as possible the opportunity to achieve the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) by the end of Year 11.

The EBacc is not a qualification in itself. It is a wrap-around award that recognises students’ achievements across a core of selected subjects. Students would be expected to attain between grades 9 to 5 in English, Mathematics, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and either History or Geography.

The EBacc is highly regarded by colleges, sixth form, universities, other higher education institutions and employers. Therefore, this award would be advantageous to students who are intent on further study for an Undergraduate Degree or equivalent.

New Style GCSE

  • The Government have introduced a programme of GCSE reform. Key features of the new GCSEs are:
  • All GCSE exams will be studied in a linear format
  • There will be a greater emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • All GCSE courses are more rigorous, demanding and challenging.
  • No tiered exam papers except in Mathematics, Science and Modern Foreign Languages.
  • The grade scale for these new GCSEs now range from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest.

Should you have any queries or require further information about any aspect of our curriculum, please contact Miss S Khalid – Assistant Headteacher Curriculum and Standards.

Click the link below to see the full brochure of courses:

2017-2020 Options Booklet