Year 9 into 10 Key Stage 4 Learning Pathways


At the beginning of year 10, pupils will start two year examination courses which will lead to GCSE examinations National Level 1/2 awards and the Entry Level Certificates.

All courses offered in this two year period must conform to agreed criteria and be approved by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA).

There still remains some freedom of choice with regard to courses of study. The subjects chosen for these courses will be important for each individual pupil’s educational development. The choices made should reflect an interest in a subject, a need for a subject for future pathways or a confidence that the qualification obtained will help future choices.

This booklet is intended to provide details of the courses offered at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman this year, and to help assist in making appropriate decisions in choosing a sensible pathway.

The Y10 Curriculum is split into 5 sections:
Core Curriculum
Statutory Curriculum
Welsh Baccalaureate
Open Options
Guided Options

What is a GCSE?

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) is a 2 year course which leads to an award certified by an Examination Board, in all cases the WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Authority).
Courses often have 2 tiers:
Higher – which accounts for grades A* to C
Foundation – which ranges from C to G.

In the case of Mathematics, there are now 3 tiers:

Some GCSE courses involve controlled assessments which are school based assessments. These can equate to 60% of the course and tend to be utilised in the more vocational / practical GCSE’s.

What is a Level 2 Course?

Level 2 courses are vocational subjects offered through a variety of differing Examination Boards, in most cases they are BTEC courses.

The courses are more structured and focus on a more specific pathway. They have an equivalence to a GCSE. The grading is different, but the Pass, Merit or Distinction equate to a C grade or higher. The main difference in terms of this course is that a higher percentage of the assessment is school based, looking at portfolio work or practical exercises. These courses have excellent routes established in the sixth form and the nature of a vocational course also allows specific interests to be developed.