At Heartlands High School, we believe in the importance of teaching a broad and balanced curriculum. Our aim is to develop students who have both the academic skills and the personal attributes to succeed. In the lower school (Years 7 & 8), students study a core academic curriculum in Maths, English, Science, Humanities and Languages alongside foundation subjects, such as Art, Drama, Music, Design Technology, Food Technology and Computing. All students have two hours of Physical Education each week. Personal, Social, Health and Careers Education is taught through a series of SEARCH days (specialist curriculum days) throughout the year. These days are complemented by the teaching of Character and Citizenship through tutor time on a weekly basis. We enrich our curriculum by providing regular educational trips and a wide programme of after-school societies and activities.

During Year 8, students select their GCSE Options and embark on a three year programme of study in Year 9 which leads to public examinations in Year 11. By choosing options in Year 8, students are able to specialise in subjects they enjoy and excel in and crucially, have more time to develop the depth of knowledge needed to achieve in their GCSE examinations. The new GCSE qualifications are more challenging for students and the standards for a ‘good pass’ are significantly higher. We have a responsibility to prepare students fully for the demands of these courses and to provide them with the time to master the skills and content. However, our curriculum remains broad and balanced in the Upper School, with the vast majority of students taking the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects. A small number of students follow a reduced number of courses to allow them to spend more time on English and Maths.

We have a pathways curriculum model from Year 9 onwards. The pathway a student follows depends on their achievement throughout Year 7 and 8. A range of data and information is used to assess students suitability for the different pathways:

Extended Pathway
Our most able students can follow the Extended Pathway, taking 10 GCSEs. The additional GCSE subject is studied after school for 2 hours per week. Although the extended subject offer can change year to year, depending on staffing and student uptake, a typical offer might include Economics, Classics, Astronomy and Further Maths.

Baccalaureate Pathway
The majority of our students study within the Baccalaureate Pathway which involves 9 GCSEs including English, English Literature, Maths, Science, History or Geography, a language, plus two additional options chosen by the student.

Core Pathway
Students in the Core Pathway receive additional teaching in either Maths, English or both. They will study for 7–8 GCSEs or Vocational Certificates including English, English Literature, Maths and Science plus 3–4 other subjects chosen by the student.

You can read more about our different pathways in the curriculum booklets below.


Extended Pathway

Bacc Pathway

Core Pathway
Year 8 GCSE Options Booklet – Extended Pathway      Year 8 GCSE Options Booklet – Baccalaureate Pathway Year 8 GCSE Options Booklet – Core Pathway