Overview of KS4

Key Stage 4 Overview

When students progress into KS4, they remain on the core extension pathway. They study core subjects in core and extension groups. In English there is some setting for the most able students to support them to achieve grade 9 and there is also setting for the least able students to ensure they are supported to achieve the highest English grades possible. Students are set within each pathway in maths and they are taught as mixed ability classes in science, within each pathway.

In KS4, students study a compulsory curriculum of English, maths and science, personal development and physical education and citizenship/PSHEE.

In addition to these subjects, students on the core pathway, are able to choose 3 options subjects from the list below. Extension students are able to choose 4 Subjects. Courses in KS4 are GCSE unless otherwise stated. In order to ensure our curriculum is both broad and balanced, students are required to choose one Ebacc subject as indicated by a * below.

Key Stage 4 Options subjects

Design Technology

Expressive Arts




Other approved qualification


Art & Design



Separate sciences*

Business BTEC

Product Design




Computer science*

Business GCSE



RE Philosophy and ethics




Hospitality and Catering BTEC





Health & Social Care BTEC












Media Studies







Not available in 2021






Sports studies

Curriculum Intent – What are we trying to achieve through our KS4 Curriculum?

The KS4 curriculum aims to expose students to the best that has been said, thought and done by humanity and is viewed as everything a student experiences during their time at school either in lessons, through extra-curricular activities including trips and visits.

We want our curriculum to foster and develop a love of learning in all our students and to nurture and develop them into knowledgeable, successful, confident young people who are articulate and responsible citizens. We want the curriculum to ensure that students gain the knowledge and the cultural capital they need to succeed in life, irrespective of their socio – economic background.

The vision for the Key Stage 4 Curriculum

  • A seamless transition from Key Stage 3, with good support for students to settle quickly into KS4.
  • High expectations of all students based on their starting points.
  • A well planned coherent curriculum, which builds on prior learning and challenges all learners.
  • Students are taught well and in a way that helps them to remember things over time through the application of Rosenshine’s principles of instruction.
  • Students learn well, own their own learning and make good progress in all subjects.
  • Students understand what they are expected to learn and have clear content to learn through the use of knowledge organisers and other resources.
  • Formal assessments and regular feedback on what students are doing well and what they need to do to improve their work.
  • High quality work in books and through displays for learning.
  • Resilient learners who are able to cope with failure.
  • Excellent relationships between students and teachers.
  • Involved parents who support the school through attendance at Parents’ Evenings.
  • Students who are well prepared to thrive in KS4 and Key Stage 5 and the world of work, through acquiring appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding.
  • A well planned, robust careers education, information and guidance programme using Gatsby Benchmarks
  • Students with high aspirations who have a clear plan in place for progression into KS4 and beyond.
  • Students who are happy, engaged, enjoy learning and are proud to attend Tewkesbury School.
  • To make good progress based on their starting points so that they are able to follow their chosen pathway after Year 11.
Click here for a summary of the school’s curriculum vision.
Curriculum Implementation – How do we deliver our Curriculum?

The Key Stage 4 curriculum has a strong academic core, with Ebacc subjects featuring strongly. The curriculum is very broad and balanced and aims to build on the knowledge, skills and understanding students develop in KS3.

The curriculum is planned backwards from Year 11, in a logical order with a clear curriculum overview, and clear end points each half term, which students are working towards. 

Each curriculum area sets out the knowledge, skills and understanding that students are expected to gain and we also use knowledge organisers (see curriculum intent by year group section) to be explicit about the facts and knowledge students need to be able to remember each half term.

Formal assessments are a key feature, along with 2 formal mock examination slots across the year. Outside of these, regular reviews of learning and a logical curriculum structure, supports students and helps them to achieve well.

Students receive regular, meaningful and manageable feedback about their strengths and areas for improvement and work hard to continually improve across the 2 years.

We report formally to students and parents 3 times per year and these reports clearly communicate:

  • the targets students are expected to achieve (FFT20 – In line with the top 20% of school in the country),
  • the forecast grade teachers expect students to achieve, if they continue to work as they are,
  • students attitude to learning,
  • students behaviour in lessons.

Weekly Curriculum Lesson Allocation for 2019 – 2020



















Option 1



Option 2



Option 3



Option 4



Curriculum Impact – How well are we delivering on our KS4 Curriculum Aims?

  • Students make progress in line with their peers nationally at the end of KS4. Overall, student progress has improved strongly in the last 3 years.
  • Attainment 8 is in line with the National average.
  • Students perform in line with their peers nationally for English. English progress has improved strongly over the last 3 years. 
  • Students perform in the top 40% of school nationally for progress in maths.
  • Students perform in line with their peers in relation to progress in science.
  • Languages value added (1.7) is significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools for both 2018 and 2019.
  • 94% of students achieved a grade 4+ in languages in 2019. This was in the top 20% of schools nationally in both 2019 and 2018.
  • Humanities value added (0.9) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
  • 77% of students achieved a grade 4 in humanities in 2019,which was in the top 20% of schools nationally.
  • 70% of students achieved a grade 4+ in both English and maths in 2019, which is significantly above the national average of 63% (FFT Aspire)
  • Attainment in both English and maths is significantly above the national average (FFT Aspire).
  • Students achieved average grades above the national average in 73% of subject areas in Key Stage 4.
  • 93% of students go on to appropriate destinations through further education, training and employment

Performance Measure

2019 Result

National Average

Attainment 8


(Av grade 4.7)


(Av grade 4.6)

Progress 8

-0.11 (average)


English attainment 8



English Progress 8



Maths Attainment 8



Maths progress 8



Ebacc Attainment 8



Ebacc Progress 8



Open Attainment 8



Open Progress 8



% English and maths grade 4+



% English and maths Grade 5+



% 5 + GCSE grades inc En & Ma G4+



% 5 + GCSE grades inc En & Ma G5+



% 5 + GCSE grades G7+



Aspects of sex education continue to be taught throughout KS4 as part of the Science and Personal Development programmes. Students are encouraged to have a regard for moral considerations and the value of family life. Material is presented in a non-threatening way. Students are not asked questions of a personal and private nature. Discussion of moral issues, however, is encouraged. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the sex education programme and should do so in writing to Mr Adams, Deputy Head.

Assemblies are non-denominational in character and it is hoped that parents will not withdraw their children on religious grounds. If parents wish to do so they must contact the Headteacher, Mr G M Watson.