GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. They are highly valued by schools, colleges and employers, so will be useful whatever students are planning to do afterwards. The qualification mainly involves studying the theory of a subject, combined with some investigative work. Some subjects also involve practical work. GCSEs are at levels 1 and 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, depending on the grade you get (see page 6 for an explanation of levels).
BTEC and Cambridge Nationals:
BTEC qualifications and Cambridge nationals are particular types of work-related qualifications. Courses have been designed in collaboration with industry, so they can equip students with the skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.The qualifications offer a mix of theory and practice.
This was introduced by the Government in 2011 as a standard that some students can aim for in their KS4 studies. To achieve the English Baccalaureate, students’ must complete and obtain Grade 5 or higher in the following subjects:
Science (combined or triple)
A Language (Latin, Arabic*, Urdu, Spanish and French)
Either Geography or History
Students will undertake the new GCSE qualifications and will be awarded a number from 9 to 1 (9 being the highest). We will advise students on an individual basis if we feel that this route is appropriate for them and their future aspirations.
Russell Group and GCSE Pathways:
The Russell Group of Universities (a collaboration of 20 leading UK universities) are not only interested in the results that pupils achieve at GCSE and A Level, they are increasingly expecting pupils to have breadth of study as well as rigour in what they study. This generally means they consider the traditional academic subjects such as those included in the EBacc as more appropriate for entry to their universities. Pupils of high ability (those predicted to achieve mainly high Level 6s and Level 7s at the end of Key Stage 4) should aim to stretch themselves by considering choosing subjects that have academic rigour, such as History or a Modern Foreign Language.