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:

The range of subjects and topics taught promote a positive attitude to learning among students in all subjects, and with all staff, and this leads to students achieving well. The curriculum has been carefully designed around students’ interests and their needs. As a result, they are well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment.’
(Ofsted, October 2013).

At Key Stage 4, students do not all follow exactly the same curriculum. Subjects are organised across three possible Pathways  designed to meet students’ needs and match their abilities. Students are guided to the relevant Pathway on the basis of their past, current and predicted performance and with a view to ensuring that they are given the greatest opportunity to achieve the best possible outcomes in preparation for the next stage of their education. Option choices are tailored within each Pathway to support each student in developing her talents.

There are a number of subjects that the government requires all students to study, such as English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education and Religious Education. Most students will also study French and either History or Geography. Students at Key Stage 4 are also encouraged to attend a one hour Physical Education Enrichment sessions every Wednesday during staff training sessions. There are a number of activities to choose from, with specialist coaching available.


In addition to the core, students make guided choices from a range of subjects including Art, Computing, Dance, Drama, Music, Media Studies and Design Technology. There are a number of applied learning courses for students in Key Stage 4. These courses, such as Health & Social Care or Hospitality, focus on learning which is directly associated with the world of work. 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 A* to C in English, Mathematics, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and either History or Geography.

The EBacc is highly regarded by 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.

Should you have any queries or require further information about any aspect of our curriculum or pathways, please contact me at school.

The school also has a range of support and administrative staff who work with both students and teachers on a daily basis. The Hillcrest School curriculum meets the specifications of both the National Curriculum programmes of study and also the Birmingham Curriculum Statement.

Ms J-A Davies



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

PDF22016-17 Options booklet

Which Pathway is right for me?

In addition to the core, students make a pathway choice. As a guide, Pathway 1 will be suitable for many students currently in the top sets, although there may be specific entry requirements for some courses (e.g. consistent attainment at Level 6a will enable access to Triple Science).

Pathway 3 provides a route to success for students who need extra time and support to develop crucial English and Mathematics skills. Pathway 3 learning is planned with a very strong emphasis on the development of literacy and numeracy skills within, for example, BTEC Hospitality and BTEC WorkSkills.