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Year 9 Options - For Key Stage 4  Year 10/11

The Year 10 and Year 11 curriculum is different from the national curriculum students have been studying since they started in school. Students will shortly be deciding not only some of the subjects that they will be studying, but also in some cases the type of qualification they will gain. It may be GCSEs or other technical/vocational qualifications.

It is very important that students read the options booklet carefully, discuss it with family, friends and teachers and research the courses that will suit student’s interests and style of learning. It is important that students get their choices right and pick subjects and courses that they both enjoy and will help them achieve the best possible grades. Students should think about their strengths, weaknesses and any ideas they may have about a future career. 

Students will all follow a common curriculum of compulsory examined subjects. This includes GCSEs in English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Science and Religious Studies. Physical Education also forms part of the core curriculum and some students may choose to take a GCSE or Cambridge National Level 2 course in this subject.

Students will then have the choice of a further four traditional GCSE subjects, or a combination of traditional GCSEs and other technical/vocational qualifications. This booklet contains a full list and description of each available option course and guidance on making choices.

Options Deadline: Friday 9th February

Please note that we may not be able to offer all the subjects listed if there is insufficient demand.

Options will be completed online. This process will be introduced to students week commencing Monday 29th January.

Options Booklet 2024 25

Options Presentation


Options: Common Questions & Answers 

How many GCSEs will my son/daughter take?

By the end of Year 11, All Students will have a GCSE in Maths, English Language, English Literature, and a GCSE Short Course in RS. They will also have two or three grades in science. Students will have four additional GCSE/Level 2 vocational courses. This is a total of 9.5-10.5 GCSEs.

Can my child change their options?

Yes! However, this depends on the timing. After students make their choices, we match the subjects and place them in blocks. If they change their minds, we can move students, as long as it works with their other options and there is space in the class they want to join. Students can make changes until 30th September (there is an expectation that they will catch up with the work once they have moved). After this point, we will only make changes in consultation with subject leaders and when catch-up work has been completed. We will make no changes after 1st November.

Can my son/daughter drop an option and focus on English and Maths in Year 11?

No. Students are committing to two years of study. The only exception to this is for students with severe medical conditions, and the decision will be supported by consultants, the year team, and the SEN department. We will not accept advice/notes from GPs.

What is the Ebacc?

We have included a link to Department for Education (DfE) literature regarding the Ebacc above. In summary, the DfE seeks to ensure students have a broad and balanced curriculum in Key Stage 4. To encourage schools, the DfE introduced a school measure to improve the number of students taking all Ebacc subjects. This has incentivised some schools to limit student options choices so that they have to take both a language GCSE and a Humanities GCSE. We would advise students to consider taking both a language and a humanities subject (History/Geography) if they want to. Students should review if they are successful in these subjects and enjoy these subjects. The Ebacc is not a qualification and does not impact college or university admissions; there is no certificate given to students if they achieve grade 5 in each of the subjects required: English/Maths/Science/Language/Humanities.

Does my son or daughter need to take a language? If they do not have a GCSE in French/Spanish, will it prevent them from getting into university?

Taking a language is optional. Having a language is a useful skill that may well support students in further studies or careers. We would advise students to consider taking a language if they are able and enjoy the subject. No university in the UK currently has a GCSE Modern Foreign Language as a requirement for admissions if applying to studying a subject that is not language-based. UCL (University College London) was the last university to have this requirement, and this was suspended as of the 28th February 2021.

Why is Triple/Separate Sciences a Period 6 lesson?

All students will have nine lessons every two weeks to complete the material required to complete the Double/Combined science GCSE. To acquire the additional content needed, students must have more time. Students in previous years wanted the option of taking the additional GCSE in science but did not want to give up another option subject. This led to low numbers. We offered the Period 6 model to the current Year 10 and 11, and we now have two classes in each year committed to taking the extra GCSE. 

Do students need to take Triple/Separate Sciences to study science at A Level?

No! Having a good result in Double/Combined science will allow students to access science A levels at TRA or any other college (but hopefully at TRA). However, taking GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics separately does bridge the gap between GCSE and A level, as students become familiar with more complex subject material. Why do we offer it? We want students to have the option and the chance to challenge themselves. Science is an area of growth in higher education and the UK jobs market. 

How do students complete their options?

Students will complete options using an Microsoft form week/commencing 29th January. They will be able to resubmit their options up until Friday 9th February. Data will then be transferred to the options package to be processed. If student have not completed their options by this time their selection may be restricted based on the options an groups available.

What happens after students have completed their options?

We send home confirmation of the options selected by students to ensure there have been no errors and review the options with students if needed. We then use a computer program to run several models of the four options blocks until we get the best possible fit for students. The process is not easy. We have to review the number of students in each course. If there is a course with insufficient numbers to run, we talk to students and inform parents/carers.

Students that are affected by a course not running or several clashes in options subjects are supported in reviewing their options. We then start the process again so they are not disadvantaged and get a higher level of matches. The process can take 2-4 weeks due to the level of consultation with those involved, and we then need to get the curriculum approved by the THPT. 

Once approved, we speak to students that have had to use a reserve. Once this has been completed, all students are informed of the options they have been assigned.

Who can my son/daughter talk to to get more advice?

Tutors and subject teachers will support students. Students should seek advice from as many people as possible. If they are facing a conflict in advice, they can speak to the year teams to access further support.

Can I change my son's/daughter's options?

If students are going to commit to the course, they mustn't feel forced into choosing an option. We follow the student's choices unless the selection does not comply with Conditions/Exclusions on page 7 of the Options Booklet. We will not change an option at the request of a teacher or parent if the student is unhappy or unsure about the change.

Do they have to take RS?

Yes. RS is still a statutory subject, and we believe that it supports students in being aware of the world they live in and being prepared for living and working in a multi-cultural society. The ethical and moral studies in Years 9 & 10 further support students' personal growth as mature individuals. They complete the GCSE short course at the end of Year 10. This provides students with a real exam experience which better prepares them for Year 11 and reduces the number of GCSE exams in the Summer of Year 11. In Year 11, students have Aware lessons to support GCSE preparation, careers, and college applications and support the delivery of PSHE/SRE.

 Alternative Curriculum

Students that have support in the KS3 curriculum or pastoral support via the Year team may be selected for alternative curriculum support/interventions. We want all students to feel part of the process in selecting their option. Once complete we will contact home and discuss alternative pathways/qualifications with the student on an individual basis.