Key Stage 4 Compulsory Curriculum

In addition to their GCSEs, in Key Stage 4, all pupils are required to follow a compulsory curriculum in PE, RS, computing and careers. Information about this is set out below.

Physical Education

In Years 10 and 11 the pupils have one hour of core Physical Education a week.  In Year 10, the pupils have more autonomy over which activities they participate in than they do in KS3.  At the start of each 6 week block we offer the students several different activities.  In the winter term they include trampolining and gymnastics, fitness (which varies between yoga, pilates, zumba, weight training, fitball and use of the fitness suite) and games (which includes hockey, handball, badminton, basketball, volleyball, tag rugby, football and netball).  In the summer term we also include fitness as well as rounders, tennis and cricket.

In Year 11 we give the pupils the option to gain either a level 1 or level 2 Sport Leaders qualification.  The pupils who opt to take this course can either choose a Games or Dance route.  They are taught various leadership skills, shown how to plan practical sessions and given the opportunity to lead to sessions. We work together with our feeder primary schools for the final assessment of the course and our Sport Leaders use their newly found skills to deliver their sessions to the primary school students.

The students who do not opt to follow the Sports Leaders course follow the same practical activity programme as Year 10 core PE.

A significant number of KS4 pupils take part in a huge range of extra-curricular activities and also run many of the lower-school sports sessions.

Religious Studies

At Key Stage 4 pupils have Religious Studies sessions during lesson time. During these lessons we start with the focus of one element from Spiritual, Moral, Social, and Cultural development (SMSC) and then build up discussion and activities which also incorporate British Values. The lessons are as follows:

  1. ‘Spiritual’ – an investigation into what it means to be ‘spiritual’, and the various forms it comes in. They’ll examine the difference between spiritual and religious, and be given an opportunity to explore any aspects of spirituality in their own lives. They are then presented with some newspaper articles on religious intolerance and spiritual awareness, and a task looking into practical ways in which society can help to bring about greater tolerance, with a consideration of the different impact that these different methods might have.
  2. ‘Moral’ – investigation into what morality is, and the origins of it, including how this differs for different people. This includes societal expectations, religious belief and a conscience. They then look into a specific ethical theory, utilitarianism, and apply it to a number of different scenarios to see whether it works in practice. The link for British Values is then made by examining Rule of Law, and the role which ethics has, and could/should have on our legal system.
  3. ‘Moral’ – this session explores situation ethics. This is a system that states that the most ethical action is always one which is based on what is the most selflessly loving thing to do. The example examined comes from Italy, where a court ruled that food theft was not a crime if the person stealing ‘was hungry’, namely living in circumstances where they would otherwise not be able to eat. The key concept here is fairness, and compassion. The link to British Values is with Democracy, and an investigation into whether the government could use situational ethics as a system for law making and good practice. The investigation of female representation in the House of Commons is another area which offers our pupils a chance to examine the make up of the British governmental system.
  4. ‘Cultural’ – this session examines the importance of culture and multiculturalism. By considering the role that multiculturalism has in our society, and how we have benefitted from it, pupils gain an insight into the diversity they have already experienced. Pupils also examine the issue of cultural appropriation, examining what it is and the impact that it can have.
  5. ‘Social’ – the social session allows us to reflect on the impact of the enforced removal from society that we all experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown periods. Society is something we take for granted, but this session allows pupils to reflect on and consider the role that it plays for them, as well as their role in it. It also allows an opportunity to reflect on all five sessions and bring them together to see how SMSC is interlinked.

Computer Science

In compliance with National Curriculum requirements, those pupils who do not choose to study computer science at GCSE level are given the opportunity to study aspects of information technology and computer science at sufficient depth to allow them to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career. 

The National Curriculum states that  pupils at KS4 should be taught to:

  • develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology
  • develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills
  • understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity, and how to report a range of concerns

This is achieved through a diverse range of uses and activities which make purposeful and relevant use of technologies, within other subject lessons.

For example in Design and Technology (D&T) pupils develop their competency and use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. Specifically they use “Design Tools 2D Design” to draw profiles that make small parts of products that are cut on the laser cutter. Some will also develop their use of this software to interface with a CNC router. Pupils will also complete a module of learning using a 3D solid modelling software. Some pupils will develop further use of the software to produce their own parts that will ultimately interface with a 3D printer to produce an output.

Also in D&T pupils learn very basic coding through “Crumble” to program led outputs that respond to inputs such as light sensor and heat sensors. They will also learn to code timing operations such as traffic light sequencing.

Through PSHE lessons students explore a whole host of issues related to the safe use of technology.  For example, students learn about the incidence, and the dangers of, gambling and internet addiction.  They understand why gambling and the internet are so addictive and how sites ‘hook us’ in. They also explore issues such as revenge pornography so that students can correctly identify what to do to prevent revenge porn and what to do if they become a victim, extremism and radicalisation so that they can correctly identify a range of internet subcultures, and describe how these can be dangerous or harmless.  To protect their online privacy, students discuss the long and short term consequences of sharing intimate images with partners or friends.   They also learn about the legal, short and long-term consequences for perpetrators and victims.

Students can demonstrate their creativity and capability in computer science in subjects such as Physical Education (for example by cutting music, using the projector and images  for choreography), in Music (using specialist software for music composition and notation) and in Art (by performing digital manipulation using software such as Photoshop, Photopea and Pixlr.).

Analytical and problem solving skills are developed throughout school but in particular the practical scientific subjects, mathematics and computing allow students the opportunity to demonstrate these skills through a range of challenging activities that require logical thinking and decision making.

Within all subjects, pupils will also use and develop their ICT skills to carry out research, analyse data, produce written reports making use of graphs and charts to visually illustrate and allow analysis of data, skills that will be important at university and beyond.

We believe that the learning experienced by our students across all subjects is enhanced through the creative and effective use of technology and that these combined experiences do offer all of our students the necessary skills and knowledge required to progress to higher levels of study and onto successful professional careers in the future.


The school follows the Gatsby Benchmarks and ensures that every year group experiences at least one meaningful interaction with an employer. Our own school standards dictate that this rises to three in both Year 10 and Year 11 and specifically includes breaking gender stereotypes such as females in engineering, the armed forces etc.

Years 7-11 have their own dedicated Careers Leader who is always available to coordinate all resources and provide guidance.

The careers lead also produces a regular, careers newsletter called “SignPost” – a careers focused newsletter directly aimed at Years 7-11. Each edition will look at a number of regular features including picking a certain career theme, work experience opportunities both virtual and on-site, university taster days and job vacancies.

Good careers guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them. To help our students make well-informed choices to enable them to progress into further learning, training or employment, the Careers Department works with Career Connect to provide independent advisory careers interviews for all pupils in Year 10. Giving them the opportunity to discuss their post-16 options, including sixth form, college, or apprenticeships, and can provide support with application forms, CVs and interviews.

During Activities Week in July, all Year 10 students take part in a work experience week. Students have to arrange their own placements, searching, securing and completing all the necessary paperwork. This is often their first experience of the workplace and can bring numerous benefits including:

  • Helping students decide the right career path.
  • Enabling students to put theory-based learning into practice.
  • Helping them to build relationships with the right people.
  • Improving their chances of securing a graduate job.
  • Improving student’s self-confidence, maturity and independence.

The school arranges for all Year 11 students to take part in a Taster Day at Liverpool University. This full day allows students to attend a sample “lecture”, a tour of the campus, a variety of workshops and a presentation on “student life” delivered by actual university students.

The careers department also works very closely with Manchester University and each year they deliver an Apprenticeships Workshop. This provides excellent unbiased information for students to consider the huge number of apprenticeships that are now on offer.

Personal Social Health and Economic education (PSHE)

PSHE entitlement for students in KS4 (Years 10 and 11) is designed to complement the issues and topics covered by those academic subjects studied by all students. For example, the curriculum for Science addresses several topics that relate to PSHE, such as risk management, environmental issues and links to drugs and sex education.

The KS4 sessions are either delivered to the whole year group during collapsed timetable sessions or via sessions that are created by the PSHE head of department and delivered via subject teachers, which include sessions on: gambling and internet addiction, problem related to pornography, gangs, knife crime and county lines plus radicalisation and extremism.