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How Will My Child Be Taught? - KS4

Some learning continues to take place in the classroom, but some courses also include coursework. This means that your child is given a project, essay or practical experiment to work on or research to do outside of the classroom that will count towards his/her final grade in the exam. Some of the coursework will be done at home using textbooks, encyclopedias, newspapers, radio, television or the internet. Coursework can account for between 25% and 40% of final marks in an exam.

The government has made changes to coursework. There is no longer any coursework for Maths. From September 2009, unsupervised tasks will not make up part of the grade for GCSEs. In some subjects, they will be replaced by ‘controlled assessments' - for example, research and investigation could still take place outside of the classroom, but final assessment tasks, such as essays, would be written under controlled, supervised conditions or access to the internet might be under supervision. You can get more information on coursework at

Some students might be allowed ‘study leave' - time when they are allowed to study, unsupervised, outside of school. They will still also be given homework to complete.

Schools will also carry out ‘mock' examinations to allow students to learn what it feels like to work in examination conditions: arriving on time, following instructions, obeying the rules, working in silence, etc.

Many students spend some time outside of school in a place of work (‘work experience' or ‘work placement') for a few weeks. They can start to learn about the world of work and what employers expect since they will normally work the same hours as other staff and be given specific duties to carry out.

If your child is studying certain subjects, extended work placements, where he/she spends one day a week in the workplace for several months, may be part of the course. They are also part of the Young Apprenticeship programme.