Frequently Asked Questions by Students/Parents/Carers
How many BTECs can a student take?
can choose to take one BTEC qualification as one of your option choices
– either BTEC Health and Social Care or BTEC Business. Some students
may also be entered for BTEC Science instead of GCSEs in Science if
their teacher feels they are more suited to studying Science without
having to take lots of examinations.
Is there any qualification between BTEC and GCSE?
are the two types of qualifications that lead to a GCSE or equivalent
that we offer. GCSEs are available in traditional “academic” subjects
and as work related/applied courses such as Child Development. BTECs
are vocational, work-related courses.
What about BTEC Health and Social Care?
BTEC Health and Social Care is one of two BTEC courses we offer as an option subject. It is equivalent to 2 GCSEs.
What about Universities and BTECs?
are vocational, work-related qualifications and are recognised
qualifications by universities for vocational, work-related courses. If
you are thinking of working in Health and Social Care or Business,
studying the BTEC First followed by the BTEC National Diploma
(equivalent to 3 A-levels) is one route to studying these at
university. You do not have to take a BTEC First in a subject to take
the BTEC National Diploma in the Sixth Form.
What is the difference between Ebacc and GCSE? What will students get at the end?
are individual qualifications that are available in many subjects. The
Ebacc is a group of 5 specific GCSEs that are recognised by employers
and universities as giving a broad and balanced curriculum. You do not
get a separate qualification or certificate to say you have the Ebacc
but you will be able to say you have this award if you achieve a grade C
or above in the following subjects:
(If you do three single sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
you’ll need to achieve grades A*-C in two of them or achieve grades
- A*A*-CC in GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science [Double Science])
- MFL (French or German or a community language)
- Humanities (Geography or History)
Is Double Science 2 GCSEs or 1?
“Double Science” is made up of two separate GCSE qualifications: GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science.
No on-going exams – What will the impact of only having exams at the end of Year 11 be?
many years all GCSE courses only had exams at the end of Year 11 and
students were very successful in these qualifications. For many
subjects this has never changed. Your teachers will ensure that you are
fully prepared for these examinations and help you revise.
What about coursework and Controlled Assessment?
or Controlled Assessments remain part of all qualifications. These are
pieces of work that are completed during lesson time and are internally
assessed as part of the GCSE/BTEC qualification. Please see individual
subject descriptions for more information on the requirements for each
How long do GCSEs take to complete?
courses are designed to be taught over 2 years (Years 10 and 11) with
final exams in May/June of the second year. For GCSE RE, the teaching
of the GCSE course has already begun in Year 9 lessons as it is taught,
very successfully, on one lesson a week for 3 years.
What is the difference between the Sciences – Triple, Double or BTEC?
Triple Science is made up of 3 GCSEs. Higher ability students will be
entered onto the Triple Science GCSE route. This is where students are
awarded a separate GCSE in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. If you are to
be entered onto this course you/parents will be informed in writing.
Typically these students are targeted to achieve level 6 or above at the
end year 9 in Science, English and Mathematics.
Science is made up of 2 GCSEs – GCSE Science and Additional Science. The
majority of students will take both these courses. Both courses are
available at Foundation and Higher Tier.
- BTEC First Extended
Science is an alternative pathway leading to a Level 2 qualification
equivalent to 2 GCSEs. The course offers active learning in a vocational
context, aiming to build confidence, competence and motivation. There
are no exams; rather the course is assessed as students’ progress. The
BTEC pathway is not suitable for all but is provided for students who
will achieve more on a course with an assessment based on school-based
Who decides which Science qualification you do?
students will be expected to achieve two GCSEs or equivalents in
science by the end of Year 11. The decision to enter a student for two
(“Double Science”) or three (“Triple Science”) GCSEs in Science or to
enter the student for BTEC Science is made by the Science teachers and
is based upon the student’s attainment in examinations and other key
assessments during Year 9.
How many spaces are in the Triple Science group?
There is currently one Triple Science class with a maximum of 30 places. However, this is reviewed each year.
How many GCSEs do you get from the Triple Sciences?
Triple Science is made up of 3 GCSEs. One in Biology, one in Chemistry and one in Physics.
When do you do the exams, and how many are there?
your GCSE exams will be in May/June of Year 11 in 2014. You will sit 2
or 3 exams in each GCSE subject you are taking. The exact number
depends on which subjects you are taking.
How does science contribute to the Ebacc?
need to achieve a grade C or above in Double Science (both GCSE Science
and GCSE Additional Science) or a grade C or above in two of the three
separate Sciences if you take Triple Science.
What about the BTEC science?
BTEC Science cannot be counted towards the Ebacc.
What happens with clashes?
will do our best to try to give every student their first choices for
the options and will amend the options blocks if possible. However,
this is not always possible and in these situations we will discuss
suitable alternative courses at the one-to-one interview you and your
parents have with a senior member of staff in March.
Can students study outside and take the exams here?
is possible and many students sit the examinations for a GCSE in their
home language in school. Please discuss this at the one-to-one
interview you and your parents will have with a senior member of staff
Are deadlines for returning forms important – will this affect whether I get my choices?
Having everyone’s form by the deadline enables us to do our very best
to give everyone the subject choices they have asked for.
How many GCSEs can you get per subject?
Most subjects are worth 1 GCSE. The exceptions are:
- English is made up of English Language (1 GCSE) and English Literature (1 GCSE)
- Science is either Double (2 GCSEs) or Triple (3 GCSEs)
- All BTEC qualifications offered are equivalent to 2 GCSEs.
How many GCSEs and BTECs will be counted in my 5 A*-C?
5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade A*-C is seen as the magic number to
progress onto further education, training and employment. This needs to
be in 5 different subjects. This means that BTEC Science/Health and
Social Care/Business will each only count as one subject (although they
are equivalent to 2 GCSEs).
How many options can you choose? How many are compulsory?
can choose 3 options – one from each block. The core curriculum that
every student studies includes all the compulsory subjects.
If you want the Ebacc, what will this mean for your choices?
means that you need to choose French or German and Geography or History
as two of your options. It is possible to choose to study both
Geography and History or French and German if you wish. Your third
option can be your own choice from any in the remaining option block.
What happens with core ICT in Year 10 when you move to Year 11? How is this different to ICT as an option?
Year 10 all students will take the Functional Skills ICT qualification.
Students who pass at Level 1 or Level 2 will receive a certificate;
Level 2 is equivalent to half a GCSE at a grade B. Functional Skills
focuses on developing students’ ICT skills and helps them to apply and
transfer their skills to situations in their lives and at work. ICT as
an option is a traditional GCSE course in the subject, and is available
as one of your choices.
In Year 11
core ICT is replaced by a lesson of Academic Mentoring per week to
support students as they prepare for their GCSE exams in the summer of
Year 11. Students taking Triple Science have an additional Science
How does the school use end of Year 9 Levels to decide who can do what?
are used to help your teachers to advise you on the most suitable
qualifications for you to take. In Science, your level and examination
results are used to decide whether you are going to be entered for
Triple or Double Science. In general, we advise that students who
achieved a level 4 in their Key Stage 2 SATs in English, Mathematics and
Science should seriously consider studying the subjects with the Ebacc
for their options.
Which subjects (core) are not counted as GCSEs, and, why are we doing them?
non-GCSE subjects that you must study are PE, PSHCEE and core ICT. PE
and PSHCEE are part of the National Curriculum that we have to provide
to all students. They ensure that you have a broad learning experience
to prepare you for the world beyond school. The core ICT qualification
helps to develop your ICT skills that you will need for future education
Are my A-Level choices affected by the choices I have now?
there is a subject you know you definitely want to study for A-levels,
then we would advise you to take it for GCSE. Please speak to your
subject teachers for further advice before making your options choices.
How many GCSEs from English Lit/Lang?
You will study for two separate GCSEs in your English lessons. One
GCSE in English Language and one GCSE in English Literature.
When you have made your choices, can you change your mind after the deadline?
Every student is invited, with their parents, to an interview with a
senior member of staff in March to discuss your option choices. This is
to ensure that you have chosen the options you will be successful in.