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KS4 Options

KS4 within The Cottesloe School Curriculum

A robust and rigorous core curriculum, enriched with additional personalisation that is progressive, deep and knowledge-rich, developing skills to create well-rounded, resilient, confident young adults

As students move from KS3 into KS4, they will continue to study a set of key subjects largely built around the English Baccalaureate (English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and/or a Language).  This is enriched and balanced by core PE and PSHCE, as well as the opportunity to study two or three additional subjects. 

Our aim is simple; we want to ensure that every student enjoys a successful learning journey at The Cottesloe School, during which they develop a robust understanding of core academic subjects, whilst also enjoying the opportunity to personalise their experience through additional deep learning in studying their option subjects.  Ultimately we want every student to leave The Cottesloe School as a well-qualified young adult who, through thorough preparation, focussed on challenging aspirations, has achieved success and is ready to move onto the next part of their learning journey.

Choosing the Right Subjects | Mrs Baldwin - Deputy Headteacher (Video)

Choosing your GCSE options (YouTube Video)


In recent years, education at all levels has undergone considerable change and renewal. GCSEs and other Level 2 qualifications have been fully reformed and are more demanding in content. They have been designed so students take the vast majority of their exams at the end of the course (usually Year 11) while non-exam assessment has been removed or reduced in all but the practical based subjects. In essence, GCSEs and Level 2 Technical qualifications are more challenging to better prepare students for further academic or vocational study, or for work.

To help students through the options process, we have developed three coloured pathways. There are small differences between the pathways linked to the number and style of qualifications achieved. Our experience has shown that some students are able to cope with the demands of up to 10 GSCEs whilst for others it can be better to undertake fewer GCSEs and be more successful in these than to attempt many GCSEs and not meet their potential in all subject areas.

The three pathways are Blue, Purple and Green:

Where the pathways do not suit a student’s learning needs, it may be possible to adapt parts of the curriculum; we know that much of a student’s success comes from getting them on ‘the right course.

Where our pathway system does not suit a student’s learning needs, the curriculum can often be adapted to suit. We know that a student's success comes from getting ‘the right student on the right course’.  Please discuss your child’s individual needs with Mrs Baldwin (Deputy Headteacher - Curriculum) or Ms Hibbert (SENDCO).

Key Dates 2023

Tuesday 24 January 2023 | Electronic Options Booklet issued to families.

Tuesday 24 January 2023 | PSHCE time assembly for Year 9 students. Focus on making the right choices and learning more about specific subjects.

Wednesday 25 January 2023 PM | Colour pathway details and electronic Options Form issued to families.

Thursday 26 January 2023 PM | Options Process Online information evening. All families will receive a link to a pre-recorded presentation explaining the colour pathways and key information about the study at KS4. The link will be published at 3 pm. This will be accompanied by a FAQ document to replace the opportunity to ask questions as would have occurred with a face-to-face presentation.

Thursday 2 February 2023 PM | Year 9 Parents’ Evening. This is an online virtual Parents’ Evening with a chance to speak to current subject teachers to aid the decision-making process.

Tuesday 27 February 2023 | Deadline for online Options forms to be submitted. Subjects are not allocated on a first-come, first-served basis so there is no need to rush a decision. We would rather that students take their time and make the right decision for them than rush.

Key Stage 4 Options Booklet 2022