What Will My Child Learn During Key Stage 4?

What Will My Child Learn During Key Stage 4?

Core subjects

During Key Stage 4, your child will follow a programme of education as they work towards national qualifications, which are normally GCSEs. Your teen will learn a number of compulsory subjects along with optional subjects they would have chosen at the end of Key Stage 3. Compulsory subjects include: English, Maths, Science, IT, PE, Citizenship, Sex Education, Careers Education and work-related learning. In addition, your child will choose optional subjects to study through to GCSEs. These include subjects in the arts (such as Art and Drama), design and technology, the humanities and modern foreign languages. Schools must offer a minimum of one subject from each of these areas. What your teen will learn in each subject will depend on which board the school is with.


The exact nature of the English course will depend on what board the school is with. Generally speaking, however, your teen will take on a skills-based approach to English; they will read, analyse and form essays based on fiction and non-fiction texts. They will be expected to listen and contribute to class discussions, at times forming their own arguments and presenting them to their peers and teacher. Most Key Stage 4 pupils will take part in English coursework during year 10.


The exact nature of your teen’s Maths course will depend on what examination board the school is with and what set your child is in. However, most teens will learn the following skills during Key Stage 4:

  1. Data collection
  2. Fractions, decimals and percentages
  3. Interpreting and representing data
  4. Range and averages
  5. Probability
  6. Cumulative frequency
  7. Ratio and proportion
  8. Complex calculations and accuracy
  9. Estimation and currency conversion
  10. Factors, powers and roots
  11. Fractions and decimals
  12. Equations and inequalities
  13. Formulae
  14. Indicies and standard form
  15. Sequences and proof
  16. Percentages
  17. Linear graphs
  18. Quadratic equations
  19. Further algebra
  20. Angles and bearings
  21. Triangles, polygons and constructions

Dependent on the course, your child may be required to carry out maths coursework.


Similar to Maths and English, the exact nature of Science courses will depend on the board your child’s school is with. Nevertheless, your child is likely to learn about the following:


  1. Genetic variations
  2. Nerves and hormones
  3. Energy and biomass in food chains
  4. Evolution


  1. Fundamental ideas in chemistry
  2. Limestone and building materials
  3. Metals and their uses
  4. Crude oil and fuels
  5. Plant oils and their uses
  6. Changes in the Earth and its atmosphere


  1. The transfer of energy
  2. Energy and efficiency
  3. Electrical appliances and their usefulness
  4. Methods to generate electricity
  5. The use of waves for communication

Pupils will have coursework to carry out during their Science courses. Through the coursework your teen will learn:

  1. How to plan an investigation
  2. How to assess and manage risks when carrying out practical work
  3. How to collect primary and secondary data
  4. How to select and process primary and secondary data
  5. How to analyse and interpret primary and secondary data

Visit our Educational Books page for further support for you and your child during Key Stage 4.

Key Stage 4 Further Reading: What Do I Need to Know About Exams During Key Stage 4
How Can I Help My Child During Key Stage 4 How Might My Child Change During Key Stage 4

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