Bedminster Down School

How Our KS4 Curriculum Is Structured


The KS4 offer

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum has been designed to ensure students have access to a suite of subjects that allows them to move on to their desired pathway Post 16. We believe that, in order to flourish, students need to have access to a broad range of subjects in KS4. All students study the core curriculum of English Language, English Literature, Maths, Double Science, PE and PSE. Students then make four choices in addition to these. For an explanation of the Options process please see the next section or for a full explanation of the choices on offer please see the relevant Options booklet on the KS4 Curriculum page. The option subjects currently offered in Years 10 and 11 are: Art and Design, Art Textiles, Child’s Play and Learning, Creative Craft, Creative iMedia, Digital Photography, Drama, French, Food and Cookery, GCSE PE, Geography, Health and Fitness, History, Music, Religious Studies, Spanish,  Statistics and Triple Science.

At the end of Year 10 all students complete two of their nine qualifications. They sit exams in English Literature and complete a VCert in either Health and Fitness or Food and Cookery. Completing two qualifications in Year 10 gives students an appreciation of the challenges that Level 2 qualifications pose, as well as an understanding of how to revise effectively. Completing English Literature gives the students the time to focus their lessons on one course in Year 10, and then a separate course in Year 11. It also allows those who do not reach their target grade to re-sit these exams, thus giving them two opportunities to fulfill their potential.

As well as the importance of the curriculum in developing young people to pass their exams, we also see it is a vital means of giving students new and exciting experiences and opportunities to develop spiritual, moral, cultural and social values. We make sure that every student in KS4 has timetabled lessons in PSHE in order to develop a sound understanding of fundamental British values.

For the full list of subjects we teach in KS4, and the number of lessons we give to each one, please click here.


The Options Process

The majority of students pick one subject from the EBacc list of Triple Science, History, Geography and a Language. Some students are expected to pick two from the EBacc list. We don’t believe that studying the EBacc is necessarily the right course of action for any student, so whilst we make sure our brightest students know that we believe they are capable of completing this suite of qualifications we do not force any student to do so. We also know that a curriculum model which fills every bucket in the Progress 8 Accountability Framework does not best serve every student we work with so a small group are offered the chance to study an ASDAN course rather than studying any additional EBacc courses. We believe strongly in giving every student equal access to the courses that we offer. For this reason none of our KS4 options have entry requirements based on student’s ability. We continue to group by ability in the core subjects – English, Maths and Science but all other subjects remain in mixed ability groups.

Our expert tutors give careful advice and guidance through the options process. Every student meets with their tutor twice before submitting their completed options form. The tutor makes sure that students are making choices that are in line with their plans for after they leave us. We also make sure that every student has access to our independent careers advisor, and we have a Year 9 subject and options evening in the middle of the options process. Our vertical tutoring structure also allows for peer to peer support throughout the process.