Study Programme

All students will follow a specific Study Programme. A ‘Study Programme’ refers to a combination of different subjects and qualifications, some core and some optional.

Core subjects include the following:

Every student at Highdown School will study the following GCSE subjects: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Science. All students will also participate in weekly Physical Education/Games lessons and PSHCE sessions during timetabled lesson. 

Optional subjects are listed in the table below under 'Further Information'. 

Students are recommended for a particular Study Programme based on attainment and progress information and on our knowledge of the students. All Study Programmes are designed to ensure students have clear progression routes to post-16 education and/or training, and that they have a broad and balanced experience.

The majority of students will follow the EBacc or Main Study Programme where, in addition to the core curriculum, they study a number of option subjects. Some students will be recommended to follow the Technical Study Programme where they will study predominantly GCSE qualifications in addition to Level 1 or Level 2 vocational qualifications. Students are recommended for this Study Programme as, based on our knowledge of them, we strongly believe it will offer them the best chance of success by the end of year 11 through studying fewer qualifications and through the assessment structure provided by these qualification types. Therefore, ensuring they progress to further education or training.

Further options on the Technical Pathway Study Programme:

  • Cambridge Nationals Sports Studies (Level 1 & 2)
  • Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy (Level 1 & 2)
  • iMedia (Level 1 & 2)


GCSE Options Presentation for parents 2024

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Options tutorial 2024

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Further Information

For further information on the options process and on specific subjects please look at the options booklet and subject presentation videos below.

Students will need to log into Office365 so that the presentations can be viewed via Microsoft Stream.

Optional Subjects:


Art, Graphics and Photography  

Level 2 Hair & Beauty

Business Studies



Mandarin Chinese 



Creative iMedia 

Music Technology 

Design and Technology 

Physical Education


Religious Studies



Food Preparation and Nutrition

Sport Studies 




Textiles Design (Art)

Core Subjects:


English Language 


English Literature