Key Stage 4 Foundation Year

As stated in our curriculum intent, at ICC we are committed to ensuring that all students experience a broad, balanced and rich curriculum. This is particularly important in the transition between Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. The value of success in the traditional academic subjects is emphasised; however, this runs alongside our guiding principle that students should be able to personalise their curriculum through their interest and passion for other subjects.

Towards the end of Year 8 students will invited to select their Key Stage 4 options. The strong focus on English, Maths and Science continues into Key Stage 4, as does the broad and balanced selection of subjects on offer for students to choose from. This offer includes a requirement for students to select a Humanities subject (Geography or History) and four others. Options include the traditional Visual Arts and Performing Arts subjects as well as Design & Technology, Modern Foreign Languages, Business Studies, Computer Science,Health & Social Care, Media, Psychology, Philosophy & Ethics and Sport. This allows students to begin their ‘KS4 Foundation Year’ with a curriculum that not only provides academic rigour but also a significant level of personalisation that caters for individual strengths and interests.

Year 9 at ICC is known as the ‘KS4 Foundation Year’. The aims of the ‘KS4 Foundation Year’ are as follows:

  • Ensure that all aspects of the KS3 National Curriculum are covered to a high level of depth
  • Ensure that all students gain the relevant ‘disciplinary literacy’ skills in their subjects to succeed at Key Stage 4 and beyond
  • Begin to master the foundation KS4 knowledge that underpins learning to be done in Year 10 and 11
  • Start to explore KS4 content in more depth than is outlined on the exam board specifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many options do I need to select?

All students should select five option subjects and a reserve choice. We encourage all students to select a Humanities subject (History or Geography) and four further options.

Do any option subjects have entry requirements?

Students in our ‘EBACC’ group have the option to select Separate (Triple) Science, Computer Science and Psychology. Parents/guardians should consult their Options Evening letter to see whether their child is part of the ‘EBACC group’. Any student is free to select French or Spanish but we would strongly encourage any students not in the ‘EBACC group’ to contact their MFL teacher for guidance before the deadline. Any queries about which subjects are the most appropriate for students should be sent to Mr Conlon in advance of the deadline.

I am already capable of speaking multiple languages, do I need to opt in to another?

If a student is fluent in another language already they may be suitable to opt into our community language programme. They would be able to sit a GCSE in their home language and subsequently complete the language section of the English Baccalaureate without the need to study French or Spanish. If you fall into this category then a parent will need to sign in to the options programme and write the following “My child can already speak (Russian) and would like to opt out of choosing a language” into the parental comment section. Mr Conlon will then be in touch about how to complete the process.

What if I change my mind about the subjects I wish to opt for?

Before the date tbc you can change your mind as often as you wish but make sure your selection is correct by 5pm. After the deadline has passed the options blocks will be generated, and you will need to speak with Mr Conlon about making suitable changes, but you will only be able to change subjects if a class has space and if it doesn’t clash with your other choices. Once we start year 9 you will have until the end of September to make changes but after that your options will be fixed for the next 3 years.

Why do I need to choose reserve subjects?

It isn’t always possible to guarantee every student their top 5 picks. Some subjects may be undersubscribed and therefore will not be viable to run for such small numbers, other subjects will be oversubscribed and staff will select the students that are best suited to their subject. In either case a reserve option is important, so we can ensure you get the next best solution.

What is E.A.L & Learning Support?

English as an Additional Language & Learning Support are groups set up for some of our students who would benefit from extra guidance and support throughout their GCSE’s. Students will have been contacted about this option if we thought you would benefit from it, however please contact Miss Jackson ( to find out more if you feel you should have been included in the invites.