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Ballakermeen High School

Key Stage 4
Course Options

Kindness    Honesty    Respect

You have reached an important stage in your education. The decisions you make during the next few months may not be life changing, but they will certainly have an impact upon the rest of your life. The best advice that can be given is ‘do your homework’. Read this site carefully and ask your teachers for help. 

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to go on and be successful once they have left school, in whatever career or academic pathway they may choose.


You will receive a variety of support and advice in the weeks leading up to the options choices deadline and we hope this will provide some food for thought.


Students will have to complete coursework or assessments in a number of subjects throughout Key Stage 4. These components will count towards the final examination grade. If coursework or assessments are missed due to student absence, it may not be possible to catch up or to take the component again. This will adversely impact upon the final grade awarded.


Additionally, some examinations are likely to be scheduled to take place during holiday periods, including TT week. We hope that parents and carers will do all they can to ensure holidays are not taken during school time. We are not permitted to change examination dates for individual students and absence from an examination will usually result in that paper scoring zero marks.

Balla Learner A4-1.png

We are aware that we are also preparing students for life. We want all of our students to be successful academically, but we also want them to develop other important attributes and values. These are summed up in our Ballakermeen Learner model

Subject Information
Making your Choices

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The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14-16 year olds. Used in more than 160 countries, it is recognised by employers and universities as evidence of academic ability.

Exam Boards

WJEC: The Welsh Joint Education Committee

CAIE: Cambridge Assessment and International Examinations

SQA: Scottish Qualifications Authority

Pearson: The exam board for BTEC qualifications, as well as GCSE

Level 1 & Entry Level Qualifications

These are offered at UCM. The school may also deliver a course at Level 1 if it is applicable for certain students. They are valid qualifications in their own right and lead on to further qualifications required by industry and certain employment sectors both on and off the island. 

GCSE (Full Course)

These are the examinations with which most people are familiar. They will form the majority of courses for students during the next two years. Pass grades range from A* to G. For most higher education and professional careers, the relevant organisations require passes at Grade C or above. A small number of GCSEs are graded 9-1 (a grade 4 is equivalent to a C grade).


Coursework is a form of internal assessment that is normally marked by the school and subsequently moderated by the examination board. It is an extremely important element of many GCSE courses and in some subjects, makes up a significant part of the final GCSE grade. 


SQA courses are offered in ICT, Practical Cookery, and Practical Woodworking. They are a gateway into work, or a particular career path. They have an approximate equivalence to GCSEs, depending upon the course taken. 

GCSE (Short Course)

Short courses offer reduced content to suit those subjects operating on a limited timescale. They are of the same standard as full courses, but due to the reduced content, usually count as half a GCSE. 

BTEC Tech Awards

These exams are in vocational areas and are offered both in school and at the University College Isle of Man (UCM). The courses on offer are equivalent to a GCSE grade A*-G. 


Unit Award Scheme. Practical Woodworking Skills is a non-GCSE course. Students are given a certificate for each piece of work successfully completed. This course is available only to students taking a course at UCM.

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