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
The most able students in the school will follow the Extended Pathway which includes study of the English Baccalaureate (English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and a language) plus 1 chosen option. Students in this pathway will take Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects (worth 3 GCSEs). Students will also study Statistics and Citizenship at GCSE level, meaning they will be entered for 11 GCSEs.

Baccalaureate Pathway
The Baccalaureate Pathway includes study of the English Baccalaureate (English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and a language) plus one chosen option. Students in this pathway will take Combined Science (worth 2 GCSEs). Students will also study Statistics and Citizenship at GCSE level, meaning they will be entered for 10 GCSEs.

Heartlands Pathway
Most students in the school will follow the  Heartlands pathway. Students who are best suited to the Heartlands pathway study English, English Literature, Maths, Statistics, Citizenship and Combined Science, one Ebacc subject (from Geography, History, French, Spanish or Computing) plus two additional options. Students will study for 10 GCSE qualifications. The subject selection in this pathway will ensure students study the academic subjects which will best prepare them for A-Levels and hopefully university.

You can read more about our different pathways in the Parent Leaflet and Options Booklets below.​​


Parent Leaflet
View and download (pdf)

Year 9 Options Booklet
Extended Pathway

View and download (pdf)
Year 9 Options Booklet
Baccalaureate Pathway

View and download (pdf)
Year 9 Options Booklet
Heartlands Pathway

View and download (pdf)

Options Evening

Year 8 parents will be invited to Year 8 GCSE Options Evening on Wednesday 4th March 2020, 17:45–20:00. The purpose of this evening will be to give you the opportunity to speak to subject teachers regarding option choices, discuss ways to maximise achievement and to ask any questions you may have regarding GCSEs.  The first element of evening will also consist of a talk on the Options Process, which will be held at 6:00pm and 7.00pm. Please confirm your attendance to the evening via My Child At School to confirm your attendance. The other section of the evening will enable you to speak to the Head of each subject, view all the opportunities each course provides and see how your child will be assessed.

Options Evening Powerpoint Presentation
View and download (pdf)


Support & what happens next



From Monday 20th January:

  • Parents will receive an envelope containing the following:
    – A letter outlining which pathway your child is on
    – An option form that needs to be completed and handed in by Friday 24th March
    – Details and reply slip for the Year 8 Options Evening
  • The option pathway booklets detailing each subject will be available to view and download from the schools website.

From Monday 27th January:

  • Students will be invited for a one-to-one careers interview.
  • Taster session for all subjects that have not been taught in Year 7 & 8
  • Options Evening (Wednesday 4th March) will give you the opportunity to ask subject specific questions to Heads of Department and any other questions you have concerning the options process.
  • Class teachers, Heads of Department, Tutors, Heads of House and Senior Leadership are happy to answer any questions from parents or students.
  • Complete your options form by Tuesday 24th March and return it to the designated box at Reception Confirmation of student’s choices will be given to them by Friday 8th May 2020.