Year 9 Choices

Parents and Carers

The following information has been prepared to provide information for students and parents/ carers about core GCSE courses and to assist in making decisions about optional courses to be taken during Years 10 and 11.

  • Curriculum information and advice on choosing subjects
  • Subject information

In Years 10 & 11 there is a core programme of compulsory courses which all students will follow. The curriculum is then complemented by offering students a range of subjects which allows them guided choices. It is very important that you make the right decisions and this booklet is designed to help you.

There will be a very important Parents’ Evening to meet with a senior member of staff:
Year 9 Options Evening – Tuesday 19th March 2024

Please change to the following statements:

As part of the government reforms we have based our curriculum on the principle of a broad and balanced experience, both in terms of the subject content that you study and the way in which you learn and are examined. As part of our offering there are a number of compulsory subjects and a group you can select from:

Compulsory Subjects:

English Language and Literature


Science (Double)

A World Language (French or German)

–  Either History, or Geography 

–  PSHE/Personal Development (not examined)

–  Physical Education (not examined unless selected as one of the options

Subjects you could select during the 2023 options process:

Product Design (GCSE)

History (GCSE)

Geography (GCSE)

Triple Science (GCSE)

Computer Science (GCSE)

Creative Media (BTEC)

Enterprise Tech Award (BTEC)

Health and Social Care (BTEC)

Dance (BTEC)

Drama (BTEC)

Art (GCSE) / 3D Art / Textiles 


Music (BTEC)

–  Engineering (WJEC)

This will ensure that you follow a programme of study that will provide you with this broad and balanced approach. You will also have some additional choice to opt for other subjects.

The EBacc is a government school performance measure. It was introduced in 2010, students do not receive a certificate.

The EBacc is made up of: English, Maths, History or Geography, two Sciences and a language. We recommend that students choose their subjects to enable them to achieve the EBacc.

All GCSE courses will now be graded on a scale of 9 to 1, where 9 is the highest possible grade.

Current guidelines indicate that a grade 5 will be considered a “good” GCSE.

  • Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) Qualifications

These qualifications require different skills from students, but crucially have exact equivalence of gradings at GCSE. Grading information is in the table below:

  • Step 1: Find out all you can

    First, about the course…

    • Read the descriptions of the courses in this booklet.
    • Speak to your subject teachers and form teachers about the courses that are available.

    Second, about you:

    Some questions to think about:

    • Which subjects particularly interest you?
    • Where do your strengths and weaknesses lie?
    • What subject skills might you need for some subjects?
    • Which subjects do your teachers recommend that you take?
    • What ideas about your future career do you have at present?

    Third, about the career consequences:

    Make sure you have completed the profile on U-Explore and discussed the suggestions with your family

    Ask yourself:

    • What do you need for your career as you see it at the moment?
    • Whether you need to have achieved the English Baccalaureate

    You may already have a clear idea about what you want to do in the future. If so make sure you find out about any particular subject requirements. If you have no career ideas at all it is wise to choose a programme of courses which keeps open as many opportunities as possible.

    Remember that:

    • Some required qualifications are not obvious from the nature of the career itself so check requirements carefully.
    • Many people will change their job during their working life and so it is important to have the skills and qualifications to cope with changing employment patterns.

    Step 2: Weigh up the facts

    When you have studied this booklet and discussed your thoughts with your parents, your form teacher and the appropriate staff, you are ready to weigh up all the information you have gathered. Here are a few more questions to bear in mind:

    • Which subjects are most important for you at this stage?
    • Is your proposed choice of subjects a well balanced one?
    • If your career aim changes will your subject choice be suitable?
    • Does your choice of subjects close any career path which you may wish to follow?

    Step 3: Making your choice

    Although you have discussed your choices with a number of people, the final decision should be your own. You are going to follow your courses for two years and so it is important that you are happy about your choices.

    If you have any worries at any time during this process talk them over with your form teacher and your subject teachers.

    The Core Curriculum in Years 10 & 11

    All students follow these “core” subjects:

    English Language and Literature


    Science (Double)

    A GCSE from the Design (Product Design, 3D Design or Textiles Design)

    A GCSE in an eBacc subject (Triple Science, History, Geography or Computer Science)

    PSHE/Personal Development (not examined)

    Physical Education (not examined unless selected as one of the options)

    1. English Language and English Literature count as two GCSE subjects
    2. Science counts as two GCSE subjects and includes approximately equal elements of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For students who are chosen to study Triple Science additional option time will be used to convert this to a triple award.

    Points to consider

    Remember: You will be expected to choose a balanced course from which you will benefit.

    • You must pick one subject from each block.
    • At least one of these must be a “gold” (EBacc) subject.


    It is imperative that students take the time to plan their choices wisely in an attempt to select the most appropriate subjects for their attainment and future plans. On rare occasions a student may wish to change their option at the start of Year 10. If this scenario arises with your son/daughter, then a change may be considered within the first 3 weeks of the new timetable. We must state at this time, there needs to be extenuating circumstances for a proposed change to be considered. For example, a student is on a 6-month waiting list for an operation and is unable to take part in practical activities during this time therefore needs to be removed from GCSE PE as they are unable to access 40% of the overall course. Unfortunately, any requests after this period will not be possible. 

    We are looking forward to discussing and guiding students and parents in this process of choices. We hope that you find the booklet and consultations useful. Please remember, make positive choices for good reasons and keep your subject range as broad as possible for your future success.

  • Do’s

    • ASK subject teachers or Head of Year if there is anything you are not sure about or if you would like more information.
    • THINK about all the subjects open to you.
    • THINK carefully about your possible educational and career future.
    • TALK about your ideas and choices with your carers.
    • TALK about subjects you are choosing with teachers of that subject and Year 10 students who currently study that subject.
    • CHECK you are definite about your choices before sending in your final form.
    • MAKE SURE that if you want to do a subject and are unsure of whether you meet the entry requirements you see the Head of Department and get them to agree.


    • DON’T choose a subject simply because your friends are choosing it. Their needs may be totally different from yours and you probably will not be in the same teaching group anyway.
    • DON’T choose a subject just because you like the teacher – you may have a different teacher next year.
    • DON’T choose a subject just because it is new or because it sounds glamorous. Check it out carefully.
    • DON’T be late with your option form.

Year 9 students have been studying careers options during their Personal Development lessons with their form teacher. They have completed an on-line activity which matches their aptitudes and interests to potential career avenues. In the run-up to options evening, it would be useful to review this information. We hope that families will log in and discuss post-16 pathways and which courses in Years 10 and 11 might be most suitable for that route.

Please log in at