GCSE support for school age children

At the end of key stage 3, your child will choose their GCSE subjects for key stage 4.

On average, students can take up to 9 GCSE subjects. These include the 3 core subjects: English, math, and science.

GCSE options

Alongside the 3 core subjects, they can also  study:

  • another language - French, German, Spanish, Mandarin or Russian
  • a humanities subject - history, geography or religious education
  • an art subject - art, drama, media studies, music
  • a technical subject - design and technology, food technology, ICT
  • or PE.

Once selected, they will take these subjects in years 10 to 11, leading up to their GCSE exams in the summer of year 11. Schools may ask their students to choose their options in year 8 instead of year 9.

Contact your school to see what options are available.

Home education and GCSEs

Educating your child at home is a big commitment and there's a lot to think about. If you're not too sure, read our home education guidance to help you make your decision.

To discuss educating your child at home email educationathome@kent.gov.uk.


BTECs allow students to gain a qualification through skills-based learning. They can be taken alongside or instead of a GCSE at school or college, or through a training provider centre.

Find out more about BTECs.

Exams and assessments

Students often take their GCSE exams in the summer of year 11. For practical subjects like PE or art, assessments happen in a controlled environment or coursework.

Read our helpful guide to managing exam stress.

Exam boards

Exam boards are responsible for setting and awarding GCSE qualifications. There are 3 boards in England:

Visit their websites to find out more about the courses available. Or contact the school to find out which exam boards they use.

Extra help

If your child needs support in choosing their GCSEs, they can speak to:

  • their school teacher
  • their school's careers advisor
  • CXK.

For help during their exam or assessment, the school will arrange this. This may include:

  • a screen reader
  • a word processor
  • braille question paper
  • extra time.