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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

Types of Qualifications

There are two main types of qualification which you may find yourself studying in Year 9, 10 and 11; GCSEs and vocational qualifications.

GCSE stands for General Certificate in Secondary Education. It is a nationally-recognised qualification. GCSEs are graded using the 9-1 grading system (with 9 being the highest grade and grade 5 described as a “strong pass” and grade 4 described as a ’standard pass’ by the Department for Education). Most GCSEs are assessed only through written examination papers although some, mainly the practical subjects, do include some coursework (known as controlled assessment). Some subjects, such as Mathematics, enter candidates at different tiers based on students’ ability, with only certain grades being available for each tier. Other subjects only have one tier, and all grades are then available. The different arrangements for the different subjects are explained on that particular subject’s information page.

Vocational courses aim to help you learn about a specific industry or area of work. They are assessed through a combination of coursework and written examinations. We are offering vocational courses in Business and Enterprise, Health and Social Care, IT, Engineering and Sport. Most students will be entered for the Level 2 qualification (equivalent to 1 GCSE at grades 9-4) although some may be entered for the Level 1 qualification (equivalent to 1 GCSE at grades 3-1).