Our curriculum - broad and balanced

Norton Hill School offers a broad and balanced curriculum throughout Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11). Please click HERE for more specific subject information.

Unlike many schools, all students take a language at GCSE (apart from those who require intensive literacy intervention), as we believe in both the academic and cultural opportunities it offers.

All students are given the earliest opportunity to choose subjects they wish to specialise in. They may decide to continue with these specialisms into KS4.

Y9 - Guided Choices

KS4 Options:

Links to the Pathway Booklets are below:

Pathway 1 book (ALC)

Pathway 2 book (No French or German)

Pathway 3 book (French or German compulsory)

Students are starting to consider their future GCSE choices in both tutor time and PSHE.  This has been supplemented by assemblies in December, which introduced them to the process, and PSHE lessons, where they got further time to investigate the courses on offer.

In December, students took home a Guided Choices booklet which provided comprehensive detail on all the courses available, whether core subjects, or ones they can opt for.

If your child is involved in the Applied learning Certificate (a pathway students are invited on in order to provide extra support), then you will have been contacted by Mr Coney, and invited to a separate meeting, which took place on Tuesday 3rd December. A new Guided Choices Book was handed out, then.

On Thursday 16th January, there is a Guided Choices Evening, where further information about the process is shared, and you will have a chance to meet with Heads of Department to discuss different courses available.  The evening will begin at 6:00pm with a presentation, followed by an opportunity to visit departments. Please arrive at the main reception by 5:50pm to give you time to be seated. The evening will end by 8:00 pm.

After the Guided Choices evening, the ONLINE option form will be released, with parents being emailed a ‘Google form’. More information about how to access and use this form will be given on the evening. A ‘practice’ form is included in the Guided Choices Booklet for you to discuss with your son / daughter before the evening.

On Thursday 23rd January, there will be a Teacher/Parents’ Evening, giving you the opportunity to find out in more detail about the progress made by your son/daughter, and to discuss the suitability of the subject if it is being considered as an option.

The deadline for completing the Google Form for Guided Choices is Monday 27th January.  


Mr D Phillips

Deputy Headteacher - Curriculum and Assessment

Norton Hill School and Somervale School

Y10 Revision Handbook

Y10 Information Evening

Please click on the links below for hand outs and slides presented at our Y10 Information Evening:

Information, Advice and Guidance

Students are given many opportunities to decide what to study after KS4 in tutor time, PSHE lessons, assemblies, an options evening, and 1-2-1 sessions with members of staff.

Information is given to students, and posted on line in November of Y11.

PSHE lessons begin dealing with choices in Y10.

Options evening usually take place in December of Y9, quickly followed by a Parents evening, so students can see how they are getting on in subjects.

Students are given further opportunities for 1-2-1 advice during the rest of the year.

Assessment and Reporting at KS4

At Key Stage 4, assessments follow the exam curriculum. More details about each subject can be found here.

Students are also given 'targets'. These targets are for the end of Y11.

More importantly, after each assessment, students are given a 'WWW' (What Went Well) and an 'EBI' (Even Better If). These help the students understand where they have been successful and what they need to do to improve. The EBI leads to an improvement in their work – such as using paragraphs to order an argument – and is written in purple pen, to make it stand out as work that shows progress.

• Students receive 2 Progress reports and 1 Full School Report each year.

• Parents also have the opportunity to attend a Parents evening.

• Staff and HOH are available throughout the year if issues or concerns arise.

The EBACC: valuing the academic, and encouraging the vocational

Since the introduction of the English baccalaureate in 2010, there has been an increased focus on 'facilitating' subjects such as History, Geography, Modern Foreign Languages and Computer Science, as well as the Core subjects of English, Maths and Science. These are seen as 'facilitating' as they are recognised by colleges, universities and employers as robust courses which help reflect the ability of the student. Students who take a range of these courses have a wider range of colleges and universities who are interested in offering them places.

At Norton Hill, academic qualifications have always been highly valued, alongside subjects which prepare students for vocational courses and careers. The EBACC and Progress 8 now encourage all schools to offer a curriculum similar to one we have successfully offered over the past decade. Noy only have our results proven that we can support your child in these subjects, but unlike other schools, we can now carry on doing what we do best rather than spend time and effort attempting to change our curriculum.

If you require further information about the curriculum, please contact Mr Phillips, Deputy Head, at the school.

Subjects covered in KS4

KS4 – CORE – everybody takes these. Please note that only English and Maths were able to use 9-1 grades in 2016.

Subject Qualification and exam board Number of 50 minute periods a fortnight Assessment for 2017 onwards Equivalent Average grade from 2016 % students achieving A*-A in 2016
English Language and English Literature AQA 9 9-1 B+ 33%
Maths EDEXCEL 8 9-1 B 24%
Science AQA 10 9-1 C+ 20%
Languages (French, German or Spanish) EDEXCEL 6 9-1 C 7%
P&B EDEXCEL 5 9-1 A- 60%
PSHE N/A Included in P&B lessons, and tutor time N/A N/A N/A
Games N/A 4 N/A N/A N/A

KS4 – OPTIONS – students choose 3 from below. These are usually given 6 periods per fortnight. Please note that NO SUBJECTS were able to use 9-1 grades in 2016.

Subject Present Qualification and exam board Assessment for 2017 onwards Equivalent Average grade from 2016 % students achieving A*-A in 2016
Art AQA 9-1 C+ 13%
Drama AQA 9-1 C+ 14%
Dance AQA 9-1 C- 12%
Computing OCR 9-1 B 45%
IT qualification EDEXCEL Y10: Distinction*-Pass
Y11: A*-G
B- 34%
Business GCSE EDEXCEL A*-G C+ 20%
Business BTEC EDEXCEL Distinction*-Pass C-  
Health and Social Care BTEC EDEXCEL Distinction*-Pass B 20%
Food and Nutrition AQA 9-1 C+ 14%
History Y10: AQA
Y11: WJEC 'A'
9-1 C+ 26%
Geography AQA 9-1 C 18%
Music Y10: OCR
9-1 B- 15%
PE EDEXCEL 9-1 C+ 15%
Product Design: Graphics AQA A*-G C  
Product Design: Resistant Materials AQA A*-G C- 11%
Product Design: Textiles EDEXCEL A*-G C 10%
Creative Media Production EDEXCEL Distinction*-Pass C