Options Available at Brannel School

There are a range of qualifications offered at Key Stage 4, many of which have undergone recent reforms. The qualifications being offered are of two main types: GCSE and Vocational Awards.


  • There is one opportunity to sit the examination, which is at the end of the course in Summer 2020
  • They are graded from 9 to 1 (with a 9 being the highest)
  • A grade 5 is a key benchmark and equivalent to a good C

Vocational Awards

  • These are high level vocational qualifications that focus on applied knowledge and practical skills
  • In most subjects there are two opportunities to sit the exam, with the best result counting towards the final grade
  • They are graded from Level 1 pass (equivalent to GCSE grade 1) to Level 2 Distinction* (equivalent to GCSE Grade 8)
  • A Level 2 Pass is equivalent to a good C

Our Expectation: every student leaves with at least 8 qualifications

Students are expected to achieve at least 8 qualifications, from the groups detailed below. Students choosing Geography or History must have studied this in Year 9.

Group 1. Compulsory (3 GCSEs)

English Language, English Literature, Mathematics

Group 2. Ebacc (at least 3 GCSEs)

Either Combined Science (2 GCSEs) and choose an additional one from Geography, History, Spanish or Computer Science

Or separate Sciences (3 GCSEs)

Group 3. Open (2 GCSEs or Vocational Awards)

Choose from: Animal Care, Art, Child Development, Computer Science, Construction, Design Technology, Drama, Food & Nutrition, Geography, Health & Social Care, History, Hospitality & Catering, Creative iMedia, Music, Photography, PE, Spanish, Sport.

Guidance on Choosing Options

At the end of year 8 we ask students to choose between History and Geography.  This is to give students more preparation time so that they are ready to make a more informed choice at GCSE and help them with the increased content and skill requirements of these qualifications.

As a school we are continuously reviewing and evaluating the qualifications that we offer so that our curriculum is fit for purpose and designed to meet the needs of our students.  We value student voice and give them an opportunity to complete a questionnaire and access one-to-one guidance and support.

As students choose the subjects they want to continue with into Year 10 and 11, we encourage them to take a long-term view of their future and to recognise that the decisions they make now will have an important influence on their further study and careers once they leave us.

Students begin their two-year courses in September of Year 10 and take their final examinations in Summer of Year 11. This gives them valuable qualifications for further education, training and/or apprenticeships. All students must continue in some form of education and/or training until they are 18 and many beyond this. It is therefore important that students consider what qualifications would be most suitable for their preferred Post 16 options and their future career opportunities.

Information and advice for Post 16 options and beyond is available through the school and you may also find these links and resources useful.

Callywith College  www.callywith.ac.uk

Cornwall College  http://www.cornwall.ac.uk

Newquay Tretherras  http://www.tretherras.net

The Apprenticeship Guide  http://www.apprenticeshipguide.co.uk

Truro and Penwith College    http://www.truro-penwith.ac.uk

UCAS  http://www.ucas.com

The Russell Group, which represents the top 24 universities in the UK, provide a useful guidance document about making subject choices at school, called Informed Choices. This is available at: