Grade Descriptors

Grade Descriptor Key Stage 3

Purpose of assessment

  • Enhancing Teaching and Learning: Assessment ensures that teaching is targeted and effective, identifying and addressing any learning gaps.
  • Encouragement for Pupils: It motivates pupils to enhance their learning abilities.
  • Parental Awareness: It keeps parents informed about their child's progress through clearly defined assessment objectives.

Assessment System

  • Grade Scale: The Key Stage 3 assessment uses a 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) grade scale.
  • Level Descriptor Matrix: Knowledge, understanding, and skills required for each grade are outlined in a level descriptor matrix.
  • Subject-Specific Components: Subjects have detailed the knowledge, skills, and understanding required for various assessment components.

Assessment Frequency and Methodology

  • Assessment Frequency: Pupils are assessed and graded once per module, which occurs six times a year.
  • Assessment Methods: Assessments include knowledge assessments linked to knowledge organisers, formal end-of-topic tests under exam conditions, or other assessment forms providing the best evidence for each attainment judgement.

Additional Notes

  • Indicator of Future Achievement: While Key Stage 3 grades may indicate possible GCSE outcomes, they are not predictions of GCSE results.
  • Curriculum Model: Pupils at FICS follow a 3-year Key Stage 3 and 2-year Key Stage 4 model, aligning with current UK Independent School Standards curriculum guidance.

Please find the detailed chart below, which outlines the grade descriptors to help you understand the reporting criteria.


Key stage 4 (9-1 Grade Descriptors)

It is important to note that there are increased expectations at Key Stage 4 to access the new 9-1 grades. We have created 9-1 grade descriptors for each subject area to help you understand the next steps as you progress into Year 11. You can find these descriptors in the links below:




English Language

English Literature

Food Technology





Physical education

Religious education



French Speaking

French Writing

Attitude to Learning Grading Criteria

Explore the grade descriptors for the Attitude to Learning component of the national curriculum below. These descriptors provide a comprehensive overview of the grading criteria utilized in our reports. This framework is integral to our reporting tables for student assessments.


RSE Grade descriptors

Please find the RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) grade descriptors, which outline the definitions for your child's development in relationships and sex education. These descriptors provide a clear framework for understanding the expected learning outcomes at various stages of your child's education. They detail the knowledge, skills, and attitudes your child should acquire, ensuring they develop healthy, respectful relationships and a positive understanding of sex and sexuality. This comprehensive guide aims to support both educators and parents in fostering a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.

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