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Key Stage 4 Options

Key Stage 4 Options Key Information 

Please note this information is correct for students who are currently in Year 9 who have selected their options for 2024 and for any new students who may join us in Year 9.
For students in KS3 this information will be renewed and updated in Spring 2025.      

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Overview

From September of Year 10 all of our students continue to study Maths, English, Science, Core PE, RE and PSHE for approx. 60% of the week.  Students began their curriculum journey in these areas when they arrived in Year 7, so lessons will feel very familiar to them.  For the remainder of the week students have the opportunity to select option subjects from the wide variety of GCSE and BTEC choices we offer. The vast majority of students will select 4 options subjects, including an EBacc subject (Geography, History, Triple Science, Computer Science or Modern Foreign Language).  Each of the subject pages details more about the subject content and the style of assessment. Some subjects will again be very familiar from Year 7 and 8 and 9, and others are new additions for Key Stage 4. As part of our curriculum ethos we will also continue to offer wider enrichment opportunities across the full breadth of the curriculum.

Please note all subject information is detailed as per the current specification and these can be tweaked by the exam boards once the courses have started. 

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Offer 2024

Core Subjects – Everyone will study


Students will study GCSE English Language & English Literature and gain two separate GCSE qualifications


Students will study and be entered to either the Higher or Foundation tier GCSE Mathematics


Students will study Science which leads to a GCSE in Combined Science.
As an alternative, students may choose Triple Science as an option; this leads to three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Religious Education

Students will study a GCSE course in RE. We plan for this qualification to be taken in Year 10


(non-qualification) lessons on a variety of PSHE topics

Core PE

(non-qualification) Physical Education



OPTION SUBJECTS - Students choose 4 subjects plus 1 reserve option in total subject to the rules below



Art and Design: Fine Art 

Art & Design Photography

Art and Design: Textile Design


Computer Science

Design and Technology


Food Preparation and Nutrition  




Modern Foreign Language– French and German

Physical Education

Science - Triple Science (Biology, Chemistry & Physics)



Health and Social Care 



Travel and Tourism

Rules for Selecting Options – please ensure you follow the parental guide on how to use the Options online site. Key points also included there are:

Students must choose at least of one of these subjects known as EBACC subjects:

  • Triple Science
  • Computer Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • French
  • German

When parents/carers log-in to Options Online it will ensure that you do this.

We offer a wide breadth of options subjects from across the Curriculum, and students are encouraged to choose subjects that reflect their own interests whilst retaining a breadth.

Please be aware students can only study one of

Art and Design: Fine Art
Art and Design: Photography
Art and Design: Textiles.

This is because that in examboard terms they are all part of the same qualification and students can only be entered for one of them. The system cannot stop you from picking multiple, but if this happens we will take the highest priority subject and use a reserve option.

We advise that students are on-track for a Band C or Higher in Maths and Science currently if picking Triple Science.

We advise that students picking GCSE PE or Sport BTEC consult with their PE teacher regarding the best course. GCSE PE is reliant on a level of competitive sporting participation and practical ability.

At NLS we build our timetable around the options students choose and do everything we can to accommodate the requests of all students. However, there is a chance that a small number of combinations will not be possible and in these cases we will utilise the reserve option. The school’s decision on this will be final. It is important that all students and parents ensure that uploaded choices are put in order of preference as this will be referred to.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

This is not a qualification but is the term to indicate that students are following a set of subjects that the Government defines to be a more rigorous academic education. Achieving the EBacc means students take the following combination of subjects: English, Maths, Combined or Triple Sciences, a Humanities (History or Geography) and a Language (French or German.) Whilst we have many students for whom this will be a very suitable combination we also recognise that this may not be the most suitable pathway for all students.  

Whilst studying the full set of EBacc subjects is not compulsory we do however, require all students to choose one of the Ebacc subjects (Triple Science, History, Geography, Computer Science or a Modern Foreign Language). 

What to Consider

Choosing the subjects to study in Years 10 and 11 takes time and needs careful thought. It is vitally important that students choose the correct subjects now as the choices are used to form our option blocks and we then arrange the timetable to accommodate as many as possible of these requests.  It is usually not possible to change subject choices later on.

Students and parents should refer to attainment and ATL data on Go4Schools when considering their choices, as well as utilising the information available throughout the Options process.

Students are actively encouraged to do some research to inform themselves, talk to their subject teachers and use sources outside of school. It may also be useful to think, even at this stage, what your pathway post 16 might be. Information can also be found in the Future Pathways section in the Careers tab. 

 Consider the type of course and which may be best suited:



Examinations at the end of the course which are set and marked by the Exam board

Some have NEA (non-examination assessment) marked by the  teacher that ae done during the course

Awarded a GCSE grade from 9 - 1

The majority of the course will be set as Pearson Set Assignments during the course.
These are timed assessments set by the exam board at the end of each unit.
Students must attend all lessons to be able to complete these.
Most BTECS  also have an exam at the end of the course.

Awarded a Level 1 or 2 Pass, Merit, or Distinction

Additional support for students with SEND.

Parents/Carers of all students who work with our IEN team will receive contact from them to discuss support and the most suitable qualifications going into Key Stage 4. Where appropriate, students may spend some options subject time working with staff on a range of bespoke programmes to meet their needs, and support access to the rest of the curriculum.  

Our advice when considering your subject choices is to choose subjects that:

• You are most likely to work enthusiastically in and succeed at

• You think you will enjoy and you feel you are good at

• Provide a balance and variety so that you have a breadth of qualifications that will suit most pathways.