‘Options’ is the term used to describe the process that students go through at the end of Key Stage 3 to determine which subjects they will be studying during Key Stage 4 and therefore which subjects they will be studying for GCSEs (and equivalent).

Our curriculum at Kingsdown is changing, and as such there will be no options process for Year 8 in 2019/20. The current year 8 students will study a three year Key Stage 3 before making their ‘options’ in year 9 ready to begin Key Stage 4 in year 10.

The reason we are transitioning is because we believe as a school that fundamentally all students have a right to broad and balanced curriculum that takes individual differences into account and by moving back the stage at which students opt to narrow their personal curriculum, we are ensuring greater knowledge to be taught to all our students.

At Kingsdown School we provide a broad and varied curriculum at key stage 3 to support all our students with the necessary skills and knowledge for a fast changing world and encourage the attitudes and qualities which will lead students to pursue their learning beyond year 11, and be happy, safe and successful in their adult life. Further details of this curriculum can be found on the curriculum pages of this website.

Further details about the timeline for Cohort 2023 will be released during the academic year 2020/21.

The curriculum at Key Stage 4 consists of a mixture of Core Subjects and Option Subjects. Students will be able to choose some subjects according to their strengths and interests. They will be guided through their choices by subject teachers, tutors and other staff to ensure that their choices are appropriate.

The Key Stage 4 (KS4) curriculum reflects the National Curriculum requirements and the curriculum policy of the school. We want to offer as much individual choice as we can, so that the students can follow courses they need for interest and their future career paths. However, there are also certain constraints and requirements that govern students’ choices.

We urge that all students opt for a broad and balanced curriculum. Whilst all GCSEs have equal status, they do stress different skills and ways of learning. When making choices students must balance their skills and learning styles in order to keep options open for later life, such as choosing college or ‘A level’ courses.

Core Learning: What does everyone do?

All students are taught a core programme of subjects. These are the subjects and skills that are statutory for all children aged 14-16, with the addition of English Literature, which we feel is important too, and is studied by everyone.

Core Learning comprises:

    English Literature
    Combined Science (double award) or Separate Sciences (GCSE Biology/GCSE Chemistry/GCSE Physics)
    Personal Development (non-examination)
    Physical Education (non-examination)

Option Subjects: What can you choose?

We want our students to be committed to their subjects and so we allow them to choose from four subjects from a range of areas. Whilst we do give as much choice as possible, all students are expected to take one EBacc subject from: History; Geography or a Modern Foreign Language, and from 2021 most students will be required to take two (History/Geography AND a Modern Foreign Language). We make every effort to ensure that students study the course they opt for. We are constrained by constructing a timetable, staffing and group sizes. This is why we ask that you also make reserve options. Any student who does not get their top four choices or their reserve choices will be seen by their Director of Progress.


Beats - Pride
Beats - Ambition
Beats - Stretch
Beats - Challenge
Beats - Respect
Beats - Responsibility