Key Stage 4 (International GCSE) Curriculum & Subjects - 2021/2022

International GCSEs

Key Stage 4 (International GCSE) overview
Emphasis on independent study

Our approach for Year 10 and 11 is built around supporting our pupils for their International GCSEs at the end of Year 11. While we teach all the subjects in Key Stage 4 for two hours per week – or four hours for Double Award Science – there is an increasing emphasis on independent study at this stage of our pupils’ learning journey. Our subject specialist teachers set independent learning assignments and, in the run up to the final exams, provide tools to help pupils revise in their own time.

Unless otherwise stated, our International GCSEs use the Pearson Edexcel examination board.

If you are looking to enrol your child in to any of our KS4 courses, we recommend that pupils enrol with us at the beginning of Year 10, in September 2021. 

International GCSE

Results Data


We are proud to share our International GCSE results data from our 2020/2021 academic session:

  • The grade 4-9 pass rate for International GCSEs: 88%
  • The grade 7-9 pass rate for International GCSEs: 48%

Subjects & details

For all pupils enrolling in Key Stage 4, we strongly recommend selecting a minimum of the following subjects in line with the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). The EBacc is a set of GCSE subjects recommended by the UK government to enhance pupils’ future prospects in further study and/or employment. These subjects are:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Maths (Higher or Foundation)
  • The sciences (either Double Award Science or 3 sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science)
  • History or Geography
  • A language

Click on the subjects below for an overview of each KS4 course.

With the English Language programme, pupils will look to build their reading and writing skills with a range of activities. In writing, they will grow their advanced vocabulary and learn both transactional writing and imaginative writing, while working on their idea development and their use of rhetorical devices, sentence structures and punctuation. They will also read a variety of texts, building their confidence in approaching unfamiliar material, focusing on the writer’s perspective and exploring a range of poetry and fiction extracts.

Literature studies covers a wide range of forms, including modern drama, literary heritage texts, poetry anthologies and modern prose. Pupils will consider the social, historical and cultural contexts of modern drama and heritage texts by considering plot development, characters and their relationships, key themes and the effect of form and structure. They will also develop their poetry-reading skills through exploring a wide variety of poems, while developing their own writing – particularly in relation to exams. As such, they’ll develop various techniques, including quotations and keywords, as well as structuring answers, referencing the question and using an analytical paragraph structure (SEED) – with timed exercises to build exam confidence throughout it all.

Our Mathematics courses cover the key topics of Number, Algebra, Geometry and Statistics. Pupils will learn how to use numerical skills, both in a purely mathematical way and in real-life situations – developing problem-solving skills by translating problems in mathematical or non-mathematical contexts into a process or a series of mathematical processes. As such, they will learn how to use algebra to set up and solve problems, how to construct and use graphs, and how to use basic ideas of probability. Pupils will also learn the properties of angles, together with the basics of how to use a ruler, compass and protractor appropriately.

Our Physics course helps pupils develop their understanding of key facts, terminology, concepts and principles, as well as learning practical techniques to evaluate physical information. They will grow their understanding of the practical nature of physics, recognising the importance of experimental work and doing the groundwork for more advanced study of Physics and related subjects. This course focuses on the main topics: forces and motion; electricity; waves, energy resources and energy transfers; solids, liquids and gases; magnetism and electromagnetism, radioactivity and particles and astrophysics.

This course is designed to give pupils a broad-based understanding of chemical facts, terminology, concepts and principles. We not only teach them practical techniques for evaluating chemical information, but also help them appreciate the practical nature of chemistry, recognise the importance of experimental work, and prepare for more advanced courses in chemistry, or science in general. The course focuses on four main topics: principles of chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry and organic chemistry.

This course will give pupils a good grounding of biological facts, terminology, concepts, principles, as well as teaching them practical techniques, how to evaluate biological information, how to appreciate the practical nature of biology and how to analyse, interpret and evaluate data and experimental methods. Over the course of the two years, they will develop a logical approach to problem solving in a wider context, while laying the foundations for further study in the biological sciences. It’s a course that focuses on five main topics: the nature and variety of living organisms; structures and functions in living organisms; reproduction and inheritance; ecology and the environment and the use of biological resources.

The Double Award Science course combines core content from Biology, Chemistry and Physics, providing the solid understanding and appreciation of science that can pave the way to a wide range of opportunities for further study or careers. As such, it helps pupils develop a broad range of skills, which are assessed across three papers incorporating topics from each of our KS4 science subjects.

Our History course gives pupils the chance to develop their understanding of selected periods and aspects of history, exploring the significance of various events, people, changes and issues. They’ll learn how to use historical sources critically and how to record significant information and to form their own conclusions. Throughout the course, pupils will develop an understanding of different historical viewpoints – examining how different people interpret historical records about people and events in different ways. They’ll also learn how to organise and communicate historical facts, playing their own role in passing down history.

With our geography course, pupils will explore both physical and human geography. As such, they’ll study river environments, coastal formations and landforms, exploring distinctive ecosystems and learning about coastal management. They will also explore hazardous environments and events, including tropical storms, volcanoes, earthquakes and natural disasters, working to understand both short-term and long-term emergency responses. On the human geography side, pupils will look at how economic activity sustains people, as well as how rising economic activity increases demand for energy.

Our Spanish course develops listening, reading, writing and speaking communication skills through five topics: home and abroad, education and employment, personal life and relationships, the world around us, and social activities, health and fitness. We use culturally sensitive, authentic texts throughout, based around topics that are relevant to students today, like study and leisure situations. Pupils will develop their understanding of both written and spoken forms of the language, learning to communicate effectively in a range of situations. They will work to understand grammar and its practical application, as well as learning about Spain (and other Spanish-speaking countries) and laying the foundations for future language learning.

Our French course develops listening, reading, writing and speaking communication skills through five topics: home and abroad, education and employment, personal life and relationships, the world around us, and social activities, health and fitness. We use culturally sensitive, authentic texts throughout, based around topics that are relevant to students today, like study and leisure situations. Pupils will develop their understanding of both written and spoken forms of the language, learning to communicate effectively in a range of situations. They will work to understand grammar and its practical application, as well as learning about France (and other French-speaking countries) and laying the foundations for future language learning.

Throughout our Business Studies course, pupils will look at people in organisations, focusing on their roles, relationships and management in business, as well exploring how to gather and harness financial information. They will also look at business through the customers’ eyes, identifying and satisfying customer needs in a changing and competitive international environment, while exploring how organisations use and manage resources to produce goods and services. As such, pupils will cover five main topics: business activity and influences on business, people in business, business finance, marketing and business operations.

In this course, pupils will have the chance to explore the market system – delving into issues around economic assumptions, demand and supply, and business economics. They’ll focus on production, productivity, competition and the role of the government, by looking at economic policies and objectives, as well as learning about the mechanisms and influences of the global economy.

Computer science aims to prepare pupils to meet the demands of 21st century employers, encouraging them to understand the digital world and to develop active, creative interactions with technology that will be fundamental to economic success. They will develop computational thinking skills, learn a range of programming languages and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science.

This course includes six main topics: problem solving, programming, data, computers, communication and the internet, as well as the bigger picture. As such, they’ll cover a wide range of issues and areas, from the internet, programming languages and coding, to data, encryption and security, as well as exploring the wider impact computing technology and how it shapes nearly every aspect of their world.

The Information & Communication Technology (ICT) International GCSE course prepares young people for life and work in the digital world. Pupils will explore how technology influences individuals, organisations and society as a whole as well as explore innovations in digital technology and potential issues raised by their use. Throughout the course, pupils will develop practical, transferrable digital skills that will support them in further study and employment.

It is a requirement of the course to have a subscription to Microsoft Office. 

Key Stage 4

UK-Only Subjects

The following subjects are currently available to UK-based pupils only as standard GCSE courses (unless otherwise specified). Please see details below.

The GCSE Astronomy course is designed to cultivate young people’s interest in the Solar System and the Universe. Pupils will be introduced to the subject of astronomy by exploring our position in the Universe, the movements of planets and stars, the cycles in the night and daytime sky, and the way in which we use technology to observe and interact with space. The course will follow the story of how ancient civilisations studied the night sky up to present day scientists and the techniques they use to carefully calculate movements in the Universe.

On our Psychology course, pupils will build their knowledge of five key areas. They learn about biological concepts in psychology, including neuroscience and genetics as contributors to behaviour. They’ll also study cognitive psychology, exploring thought, information and mental processing as contributors to behaviour. Pupils will discover the social area of psychology, looking at the impact of social and environmental factors on behaviour and the influence of groups. They’ll learn about developmental psychology, learning how individuals change throughout their lives, with a particular focus on childhood and how both nature and nurture can affect individuals. And, finally, they’ll learn about individual differences, exploring the complex nature of human behaviour and experiences and why and how people are different.

This course enables pupils to learn about government and politics to develop skills for active citizenship. Pupils will explore topics relating to diversity in the UK, how democracy works in the UK, law and justice and power and influence. Pupils will engage in a critical investigation and develop practical skills relating to citizenship action. Citizenship studies will develop young people’s interest in government, their critical thinking skills and enable them to become active citizens who are engaged and informed.

Pupils will express their creativity and grow their leadership skills as they aim for the Silver Arts Award.

Pupils will gain an understanding of how to develop their personal arts practice in their chosen art form while learning analytical skills and implementing appropriate responses to challenges.

Through our KS4 Art course, pupils will be challenged to extend their knowledge of the arts while developing their artistic skills and expression.

To complete their Silver Arts Award, pupils will create a personal arts portfolio evidencing their experiences and growth in the course.

*Please note the Silver Arts Award is not a GCSE or International GCSE course.

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