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Christ's College Finchley

KS3-KS4 Transition

Summary of Options Process

For three years, your child has been studying a broad range of subjects as part of their basic education. This satisfies the requirements of Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum and enables your child, the school and you to find out which subjects interest them and where their abilities lie. You as parents/carers have a very important part to play in this process and in the on-going support for your child as they enter the most important phase of their education to date.

In September, your Year 10 child will start Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum; a two-year course leading to public examinations in May/June.

During these two years, your child will study fewer subjects than at Key Stage 3.  Some subjects (as part of the National Curriculum) are compulsory. However, there is a choice from the remaining subjects, which will allow your child to personalise the course in line with his interests, ability and any career choice that they may already have in mind.

We hope the recommended pathways approach (outlined below) will also help you make an informed decision. We will attempt to meet the wishes of all pupils in their choices, but it may not be possible to satisfy everyone. Our aim at CCF is to do everything we can, to provide the widest possible range of courses for your child.

Year 10/11 Curriculum

All pupils will follow a programme of GCSE/Level 2 subjects beginning in September.

Some of the subjects are compulsory, they must be studied. These form the core curriculum.  They are:

English- Two GCSE subjects – English Language and English Literature

Mathematics- One GCSE subject

Science- Combined Science GCSE will be studied by some pupils and others will carry on with all three sciences (Triple Award) subject to progress in Year 9 and recommendations by the Departments.

In addition, the curriculum will contain some non-examined subjects and activities.

The Pathways at Christ’s College Finchley

Christ’s College Finchley is an academically focused school, dedicated to ensuring that all pupils achieve an all-round education. This will ensure that they are prepared for the next stage of their education.

In an increasingly competitive market place, it is important that the options process is taken seriously. This will enable your child to select a combination of subjects, which will enhance their future choices.

Using a combination of subject data and pastoral information, the school is able to highlight the likelihood of your child being successful in different subjects.

The curriculum at Key Stage 4 is delivered using two ‘Pathways’, designed to guide your child on to an appropriate route; to increase their chances of success, and offer future progression for all pupils.

The decision on which pathway your child will follow will be based on evidence, such as performance data and other factors linked to their learning.   

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

The English Baccalaureate is not a qualification in itself.  It is a measure which recognises where pupils have secured a grade 4 or better across a core of academic subjects, namely English, Maths, a humanity (either Geography or History) two sciences (from Biology Chemistry Physics, Combined Science and Computing) and a language.

At Christ’s College Finchley all pupils on the Oak Pathway will have the possibility to fulfill the EBacc and we strongly advise pupils on the Finch Pathway to consider studying a language  in order to obtain an EBacc. 

Both the Oak and Finch Pathway contain a combination of subjects which provide a broad and balanced curriculum, and ensure that all future pathways are open for your child. Pupils who are successful (with this combination) will ensure that they are competitive in all further education and employment scenarios. These Pathways’ subjects are highlighted as highly desirable from the best universities and the business community.

Oak Pathway

Some pupils will be guided to take the ‘Oak’ pathway, which involves taking English, Maths, Triple Science, History and/or Geography and French, Mandarin or Spanish. The remaining slots can be filled with other options. Pupils will only be placed on this pathway if they have reached level 6 in Science and levels 5 in both Maths and English as lower prior attainment would put them at significant disadvantage on this pathway.

Finch Pathway 

For some pupils, the data suggests that taking up Combined Science is a more appropriate option than Triple Science. Pupils on this pathway will receive additional tuition in both Maths and English which will be essential for the next stage of their career. Pupils recommended for this pathway will still be able to take up Physics, Chemistry and Biology at A level if they wish.

Pupils on this pathway will be taking either Geography and/or History for one of their options and it is recommended, but not compulsory that they choose French or Spanish.





Triple Science

Choose History and/or Geography plus a language and  remaining

subjects from the list below:-

Combined Science

Choose History and/or Geography and it is recommended that you choose a language  and two from the list below:


Art or Photography


Computer Science

D&T Product Design or

Food Tech





Religion and Philosophy

Art or Photography


Computer Science

D&T Product Design or

Food Tech





Religion and Philosophy

New GCSE specifications will report the grades 9 to 1 (9 being the best mark, 1 being the lowest). These compare as follows to the old GCSE grading.

See the structure below:

New Grading


Current Grading



Top A*








Good Pass

5 and above = upper C and above




Awarding (Pass)

4 and above = lower C and above


















Other Curriculum Elements (non-examined)

All pupils will follow a programme which includes Religious Education, Citizenship, Physical Education and Personal and Social Education.  Pupils will continue to participate in MyZone activities on Wednesday afternoons and are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities ie Duke of Edinburgh, Cadets and a variety of sports teams.

Reserve Subjects

To allow for the fact that some courses may be over or under subscribed we shall ask pupils to select reserve subjects carefully as it is possible that pupils may have to study their reserve subject.

Final Decision

The school will make every effort to ensure that pupils study their first choice of subjects but please note that this will not be possible in all cases. Decision on courses will be influenced by a number of factors including financial viability based on the numbers selecting the option subjects or staff may deem that a particular course in not suited to an individual’s needs.

The final decision will always rest with the school.  We will then consult you and your child and recommend any necessary changes. 

Setting according to ability

In some subjects with large numbers, pupils are placed in ability sets in Year 10 and 11.  However the progress made by each pupil is monitored frequently and movement between groups is possible throughout Year 10 and in some cases in Year 11.

In certain subjects the numbers opting may only be sufficient for one mixed attainment group.  In most subjects there are ‘tiered’ papers for different levels of entry to the GCSE examination.  In others, no pre-selection of entry level takes place.  In every case, pupils will be entered for the papers most appropriate to their academic ability and performance, decided upon by the school.  Parents will be kept closely informed about levels of entry recommended for their child where this is appropriate. 



The Options process and the terminology used can be unfamiliar.  Some of the key terms used are outlined below:


Advanced Subsidary AS Levels are usually studied over one year with examinations sat at the end of Year 12



A-Level studied over  two years with exams sat in Y13


Core Subjects

These are the statutory subjects that must be studied



The complete range of subjects offered by the School or studied by the students



English Baccalaureate a way of recognizing where students have secured a grade 4 at GCSE, or better, across a core of academic subjects (English, Maths, History or Geography, two Sciences and a Modern Foreign Language)



General Certificate in Education A2 and AS



General Certificate in Secondary Education A qualification usually studied during Y10 and Y11.  The exams are sat at the end of Y11.


Key Stage 3 (KS3)

Years 7, 8 and 9


Key Stage 4 (KS4)

Year 10 and 11


Key Stage 5 (KS5)

The Sixth Form, Years 12 and 13


Option Subjects

The additional subjects that a student chooses to study



A suggested route, or combination of subjects, recommended by the School for students to follow