GCSE courses

Get the expert tuition and high levels of individual support you need to succeed and feel confident moving from GCSE to A level.

Flexible GCSE programmes and excellent A level results

Ashbourne’s flexible three or four year GCSE programmes are designed to take students up to A level. GCSE students who follow this pathway, (around 90% of our candidates), typically attain the very best A level results at the college. In 2022-23, for example, 69% of the students who continued from GCSE achieved A*A in their A levels, compared to the college average of 54%.

The programmes allow students to play a key role in choosing which courses to take and when, so that their individual learning programme align with their interests and goals. Here are a few examples of routes to take …

GCSEs in one year; A levels in two years (3 year programme)
One route might be to take all of your GCSE subject choices in one year, then move on to our two-year A level programme.

GCSEs over two years then two-year A levels (4 year programme)
Another route might involve taking just the core GCSE subjects in the first year then your optional ones in the second year; this will give you more time to explore these subjects in greater depth and then move on to A levels.

My decision to stay at Ashbourne for my A levels after GCSE was an extremely easy one because of the immense individual support that I received from all of my teachers and the strong friendships that I had made at GCSE.

Anna, studying English Literature at Cambridge University

GCSEs over two years, with early start A levels (4 year programme)
In a third route, similar to the one above, you could perhaps start an A level in the second year (Y11) if you are consistently performing at a high level in the subject. This would give you a head-start in your A level programme allowing you to more comfortably undertake four A levels: completing one A level in Y12 and three more in Y13.

Top-ranking universities recognise the challenge and commitment involved in taking 4 A levels like this. And it is a great option if you are considering studying Further Maths, as you could complete A level Maths by Y12, or if you want to take an A level in your native language, e.g. Italian or Mandarin.

How to do a GCSE in one year

We teach all of our GCSE subjects in one year. It is intensive but because the courses are so well structure and delivered is it possible to cover the whole syllabus, get in plenty of exam technique practice and have enough time for revision.

The class sizes are small, typically fewer than 10 students, so you will get lots of individual attention from your teacher to go over your work. This also makes it easier to engage in lesson topics and discussions with your classmates. You’ll also receive regular homework and sit half-termly mocks to help consolidate what you’ve learned and provide markers on how well you’re doing so you know what more is needed for you to achieve your goals.

Even though a one-year accelerated course may sound quite daunting, a lot of stress is removed thanks to the efficient lesson structure and fantastic support from teachers, staff and classmates.

Kristina, GCSE student

Getting the best results

We are aiming for you to achieve at least a grade 7 in all of your subjects but particularly in the core GCSE subjects as these are foundational for A level. So, you will always study these core subjects in your first or only year of GCSE. This makes it possible for you to repeat these subjects in the following year if it looks like you will struggle to meet the grade 7 threshold, based on your working grade attained by the last half term before the exams.

Of course, we will work with you every step of the way to help you develop your skills, deepen your knowledge and ultimately prepare you to move on to A level. Here you will be among other hardworking, creative and ambitious students aiming for the very best results so they can get into top universities or career fields.

Ashbourne A level students consistently achieve outstanding results, 54% A*A (2022-23), and almost 60% go on to study at Russell Group universities.

I have found each and every one of my teachers to be approachable, considerate, organised and eager to help at all times, which is exactly what students require when undergoing an intensive academic year.

Nadeen, GCSE student

Combining science with the arts

You can feel as confident studying Maths and the sciences at Ashbourne as you do drama and art. This is especially attractive if you have a passion for both, as some of our students do.

A great many of our students take A levels in sciences and Maths because we have a very long and strong tradition in these subjects. In fact, unlike most schools, we offer and excel in teaching Further Maths, which is a gateway subject to a wide selection of highly competitive degree courses.

We also have exceptionally dynamic and successful faculties in performing arts and art. The A levels are geared towards professional development and aiming for leading UK art colleges or the stage. Some extremely talented students have really benefitted from our performing arts scholarship programme.

Which GCSE subjects are available?

You will need to study all of the compulsory GCSE subjects. These are English Language, English Literature, Maths and Science Double Award (you will be awarded two GCSEs for Science).

Physical Education (PE) and Personal, Social, Health and Economics Education (PSHEE) are also compulsory.

PE takes place each week at an external sports centre and includes different individual and team sports.

During PSHEE lessons you will learn life skills and discuss a wide range of issues including how to build and maintain healthy relationships, taking responsibility for your own behaviour and understanding how to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing.

Optional GCSE subjects that you can choose from include Art & Design, Computer Science, Drama, Economics, French, History, Music and Spanish.

Find out more about all the GCSE subjects on offer.

Taking responsibility for your own success

We are quite different from traditional schools. We offer a university-style learning environment with dedicated and comprehensive support to help you succeed. You have much greater freedom of choice and are encouraged to think independently. There is no set school uniform and you will be on first name basis with students and staff alike. We believe this all contributes towards building confidence and enabling you to become the driver of your own success.

Pupils respect the views of others. Their behaviour is excellent. They are polite to each other and to visitors. As a result, lessons have no disruption to learning.

Outstanding Ofsted Report, 2021

Exceptional student and staff relations

Everyone within the Ashbourne community plays their part to make the College a friendly, safe and fun environment in which to learn. Mutual respect, tolerance and collaboration reflects our grown-up approach to learning and is vital for student happiness, which we consider our most important goal.

When you join Ashbourne you will be among students from all over the world who bring a diversity of views, cultures and personalities to the table making it a truly vibrant and exciting place.

If you want a school that is nurturing, that prepares you for life, that respects you, that treats you like you are valuable, then I couldn’t recommend Ashbourne enough.

Hope, studying Computer Science at Leeds University

Beyond the classroom

Getting involved in the many clubs, activities and events the College offers is a great way to make friends, discover new passions and showcase your talents.

You might fancy going to see a West End show or taking sides in laser tag, listening in to debates at the House of Lords or beating the teachers at bowling. One of the real highlights for many students (and staff) is the Ashbourne Revue at Christmas in which anyone can showcase their talents and skills from dance, music and theatre to fashion, poetry and martial arts.

There is also a great selection of clubs featuring the successful Ashbourne Allstars football team, Bollywood dancing and Creative Writing, just to mention a few.

End of year party
At end of the year you get to celebrate all your hard work and efforts following the exams.

Superb Kensington location

We are located next to Kensington Palace and Hyde Park and within walking distance from some great world-class attractions. London is a fantastic city with so much on offer – galleries and museums, architecture, theatre and film, festivals, restaurants, shopping – that we are really spoiled for choice.

I chose Ashbourne because of its excellent reputation. I can’t stress enough how appropriate the attention has been to my son’s needs, both academically and pastorally. If he has a problem or concern it is dealt with swiftly and with a tremendous amount of understanding and kindness.

Melissa, parent of GCSE student

GCSE Menu ☰
GCSE Menu ☰