Curriculum pathway and KS4 courses

Course information What is Ebacc? Year 9 curriculum pathway Year 8 curriculum pathway briefing external link icon Curriculum pathway booklet and form download icon KS4 course options KS4 course choice booklet download icon

The Henry Cort Community College aims to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which engages and challenges our students so that they achieve the best possible range of qualifications to enable their future aspirations to be fulfilled.  The curriculum is designed to offer students a diverse and coherent choice of courses and learning experiences that develops skills and knowledge which will remain with students long after examinations. 

We equip students to leave school as confident and independent life-long learners, equipped with the transferable skills needed to thrive in an ever-changing world.

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Course information

Compulsory core subjects

  • English language and English literature
  • Mathematics
  • Triple science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics (depending on progress this may be reduced to combined science at the start of Year 11)
  • PE health and fitness (to be completed at the end of year 10)
  • Religious studies (short course to be completed at the end of year 10)

In addition to the above compulsory subjects, students are strongly encouraged to pick a language and humanities subject. These form part of what is called the Ebacc suite.  If you do not wish to study a language and/or humanities subject, please ensure that you discuss this first with your teacher(s) at the subject consultation meetings.

Year 9 curriculum pathway - NEW from September 2023

We have been reviewing our curriculum structure and as a result will be reverting to a 2-year Key Stage 4 curriculum from September 2023, this will mean students will start GCSE courses in Year 10.

As students move from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4, they will be taking more responsibility for their learning and future.  What they study here will stay with them once they have left Henry Cort and will impact the opportunities they have at college and in future career(s).  The decision should be taken seriously and requires maturity.

The pathway process allows students to select within a group of subjects, languages, performing arts, creative and technical arts, and you will continue to study the core compulsory and humanities subjects.  Students get to rank their preference in each pathway group for Year 9 during the spring term of Year 8, then in the spring term of Year 9, they will make their final course choices to study in Year 10 and 11.

Pathway subjects


  • Art
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Music  


  • Design and technology
  • Food and catering
  • iDesign
  • Textiles


  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

It is normal at this point for students to not be totally certain what they want, so it is important that you read the pathway booklet carefully and speak with your parents/carers and teachers.  If you are already thinking of a career path, talk to Mrs Connochie who will be happy to help. 

The choices have to be right for you, so think about the subjects you enjoy or interests you may need for future study.

Year 8 subject consultation meetings and curriculum pathway briefings
7 March 2023
Year 8 assembly and PDL
8 March 2023
Deadline for pathway preference form
27 March 2023
Follow-up advice for some students Course choices confirmed
June 2023
Year 9 timetable published End of summer term

KS4 option subjects

To be completed at the end of Year 11.  Information about each course on offer can be viewed on our YouTube channel - Course Choices 2022 external link icon

  • Business studies
  • Citizenship studies
  • Computer science
  • Creative and Performing Arts (Drama)
  • Creative Media Production
  • Dance
  • Design and technology
  • Digital information technology
  • Fine art *
  • French #
  • Geography #
  • German
  • History #
  • Hospitality and catering
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Spanish #
  • Textiles design *

* You cannot study both subjects as they are both the same with some different endorsements

# Permission to drop (refer) a language/humanities must be requested in writing

NB: The subjects studied will be dependent on their approval by the Department of Education in May/June.  Any qualifications that are deemed not suitable will be replaced by an alternative, and you will be informed.

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What is the EBacc?

The EBacc is a key performance indicator which recognises students’ achievements in five academic subjects:

  • English Language and/or Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science (including Computer Science)
  • French, German or Spanish (or another language)
  • History or Geography

These are subjects most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and ones that will keep the most doors open.  When considering what choices to make in the optional part of the curriculum, students should think about the following questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I enjoy?
  • What are my aspirations and expectations?
  • Am I making choices for the right reasons?
  • Have I gathered all the advice and guidance before making decisions?

Choosing the right and most appropriate subjects is essential if students are to achieve their full potential however choices made at this point will not define a student’s future career path.

You deserve to be successful.  Aim high, choose wisely and work hard!

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UPDATED: 8 March 2023