Secondary education consists of two cycles: Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9; 11-14 years old) and Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11; 14-16 years old), at the end of which pupils will be examined in different subjects in order to obtain GCSE qualifications. The results from these exams will serve to guide pupils towards specialisation in a particular academic area, or profession, post 16.
In accordance with the established guidelines of the English National Curriculum, the learning areas of Key Stage 3 are covered as follows:
• Design and Technology
• Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
• Art and Design
• Physical Education
• Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
During Key Stage 4 pupils follow the specified syllabus to prepare for the GCSE exams at the end of Year 11. At this stage, study becomes more focused and pupils will usually prepare for 7 to 8 subject examinations, including the Core Subjects (English, Maths and Science).
The following educational stage after GCSE examinations is Key Stage 5 (16-18 years old) where pupils prepare for access to further education establishments or for employment.