Years 9 to 11 Curriculum (GCSEs)

Middle School: From Lower Fifth to Upper Fifth (Years 9 to 11, our 13 to 16-year-olds) the students study on average ten or 11 GCSEs but these are set into a wider learning experience where the girls also undertake enquiry learning, research projects, enterprise education and a unique Personal and Professional Skills Programme.

After pupils have developed a good grounding in essential skills and knowledge in the Lower School or at their prep school, the Lower Fifth (Year 9) curriculum is a foundation year for GCSE studies. Pupils can add another language and in the early Spring of the Lower Fifth they will be asked to choose three or four subjects to study for GCSE alongside English, Maths, the three Sciences and a Language. They will also continue with sport and Academic Extension.

The table below shows how many hours in lessons are devoted to each subject per week.

Lower Fifth Curriculum

Subject

LV (Year 9)

English

3

Mathematics

3

Science

-

Biology

1

Chemistry

1

Physics

1

Modern Languages

French, Spanish, Mandarin

2 + 2

Latin (or in LV Classical Studies as an alternative, or Gratin,
which includes Latin and Greek) 

2

Geography

1

History

1

Religious Education

1

Art & Design with Textiles 

1

Technologies (DT and Computing)

2

Drama

1

Music

1

Personal and Professional Skills

2

Physical Education/Sport

4

In the Fifth Form (Year 10) the pupils are able to specialise in their studies for the first time. The girls can enjoy studying a broad range of compulsory subjects which will give them a strong base of general knowledge and skills, and allow access to many routes into higher education or employment, as well as providing them with essential skills for life. In addition, they will have the pleasure of studying three or four they have specifically chosen because they enjoy them and are good at them. 

Nationally, the Fifth and Upper Fifth years are called ‘Key Stage Four’ and at the end of this, Benenden girls can expect to have gained on average ten or 11 GCSEs and a huge range of extra experiences and aptitudes.

Girl looking surprised

GCSE Options

Compulsory/Core

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • One Modern Language

Options

  • Art & Design
  • Computing
  • Dance
  • Design & Technology
  • Drama
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Greek
  • History
  • Latin
  • Mandarin 
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Studies
  • Spanish
  • Higher Project Level 2 Qualification

View our 'GCSE Making Choices' brochure.

Find out more about the exam boards we are currently offering at GCSE and A Level.

Changes to how GCSEs are graded 

In September 2014 Ofqual announced changes to the way GCSEs will be graded. The exams will be graded from 9 to 1 with 9 being the top grade. For more information visit the gov.uk website.

When you look at our results, half our GCSEs in 2018 were delivered as A*-G grades and half as 9-1 numbers, depending on whether a GCSE or IGCSE was offered. The overall A* and A*/A percentages will represent a conversion of the numbers into grades for ease of understanding.

The chart below shows how the numbers and grades correlate:

GCSE grading