Year 9 Options

Welcome to the year 9 options page for courses starting September 2021. This is an important and exciting time for students as it is one of the first steps on the pathway to GCSE qualifications. This page contains all the information you should need to support your son/daughter in making their options choices.
Once your subject choices have been decided the Option Preference Form should be completed online no later than Monday 8 March 2021. The form can be accessed via the link below (a password for the link will be sent with the pathways early February):

Click here to submit your application

Year 9 Options adjustments for COVID

In light of the current circumstances the options process for 2021 is going to look different to previous years. There will not be a parent information evening in person or parents evenings appointments with individual class teachers. We will therefore provide you with as much information as we can here; tutors will be able to discuss the options process and things to consider as part of the tutor evening.

This year the Options presentation will be done via video PowerPoint for all parents and students to access. We highly recommend you access this presentation at the start of the process as this should answer the majority of the questions you might have regarding the options process. This presentation will be shared with the students on Show My Homework, but it may be worth watching it with them so you can discuss it with them.

You will find all the information regarding the process here including a presentation from each department. When considering certain subjects it would be worth looking at these presentations which provide additional detail about the subject.

If you have any queries about particular aspects in the process that are not answered in the presentation below or in the subject information then please contact the school office and someone will get back to you. If you have specific subject based questions then we would ask that you register these using the parents evening appointment system prior to your appointment. However if you think of additional questions during the parents evening appointment please feel free to pass on to the tutor and they will forward to the appropriate members of staff.

Summary of Important dates

13 January 2021 Courses information presentation for students
18 January – 22 January 2021 Year 9 reports issued
18 January – 29 January 2021 Y9 Options discussions with Tutors
25 January – 5 February 2021 Tutor Parent evenings
1 February – 12 February 2021 Subject Information shared in lessons
8 March 2021 Deadline for Preference Forms

Key Stage 4 Curriculum and Pathways

This is an important time for students and we recommend they make the most of this time between now and 8th March 2021 to consider their options carefully. Students will study up to ten Level 2 courses and it is important when considering these courses for students to choose a balanced programme. They should consider future career choices and make sure they are not limiting their options later on.

The Four Curriculum Pathways

There are four pathways for students and they will be allocated their pathway depending upon prior attainment and application across Key Stage 3. It is really important for us as a school to get students on the most suitable pathway to enable them to maximise progress across Key Stage 4.

Students will be informed of their pathway at the beginning of February. When completing the Options Form online you will be required to select the appropriate pathway, it is really important that the correct pathway is chosen otherwise students may need to resubmit options after the 8th March by which time some courses may already be full.

             K          –           Accelerated Route

             E          –           Core Route 1

             V          –           Core Route 2

             I           –           Core Route 3

All pathways contain some compulsory elements and some optional elements. The compulsory elements are outlined in this document as Core Subjects and these are dictated by the National Curriculum. These subjects are:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Modern Foreign Languages *
  • Religious Studies
  • Physical Education
  • Personal Health and Social Education
  • Work Related Learning and Enterprise

Those students completing the Accelerated route will study Triple as oppose to Combined Science and in order to accommodate this there will be a slight reduction in the number of lessons for Maths, English and Religious Studies. Please see the pathway tables for the number of allocated lessons.

* Students on the V and I pathway get some choice in whether they complete a language.

Pathway K

The Accelerated Pathway provides opportunity for students to gain ten Level 2 qualifications. The choices for those on Pathway K are:

Subject Qualification
Core English Language (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core English Literature (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Mathematics (7 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Biology (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Chemistry (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Physics (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core French  or  German (5 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Religious Studies (3 lessons) 1 GCSE
Option 1 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Option 2 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Non examination subjects
Core Physical Education (4 lessons)
Core Work Related Learning and Enterprise across subjects and through calendared events
Core Personal Health & Social Education, including Careers & Citizenship (1 lesson)

Open Options Subjects:

Art and Design GCSE ICT – Cambridge National Certificate Creative iMedia
Business GCSE ICT – Computer Science GCSE
D & T – Design & Technology GCSE MFL – Second Language: German or French GCSE
D & T – Food & Nutrition GCSE Music GCSE
Geography GCSE Performing Arts BTEC
Health & Social Care BTEC Physical Education GCSE
History GCSE

Students currently studying both French AND German wishing to continue in two languages should choose the option Second Language as part of their Open Options.

Pathway E

Those students on the Core Pathway E will complete nine GCSEs and will have additional time for some core subjects. The options for those on Pathway E are:

Subject Qualification
Core English Language (5 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core English Literature (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Mathematics (8 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Combined Science (9 lessons) 2 GCSE’s
Core French  or  German (5 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Religious Studies (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Option 1 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Option 2 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Non examination subjects
Core Physical Education (4 lessons)
Core Work Related Learning and Enterprise across subjects and through calendared events
Core Personal Health & Social Education, including Careers & Citizenship (1 lesson)

Open Options Subjects:

Art and Design GCSE History GCSE
Business GCSE ICT – Cambridge National Certificate Creative iMedia
D & T – Design & Technology GCSE MFL – Second Language: German or French GCSE
D & T – Food & Nutrition GCSE Music GCSE
Geography GCSE Performing Arts BTEC
Health & Social Care BTEC Physical Education GCSE

Students currently studying both French AND German wishing to continue in two languages should choose the option Second Language as part of their Open Options.

Pathway V

Those students on the Core Pathway V will choose between French, German, Geography or History as their first option. The options for those on Pathway V are:

Subject Qualification
Core English Language (5 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core English Literature (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Mathematics (8 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Combined Science (9 lessons) 2 GCSE’s
Core Religious Studies (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core French, German, History or Geography (5 lessons) 1 GCSE
Option 1 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Option 2 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Non examination subjects
Core Physical Education (4 lessons)
Core Work Related Learning and Enterprise across subjects and through calendared events
Core Personal Health & Social Education, including Careers & Citizenship (1 lesson)

Open Options Subjects:

Art and Design GCSE History GCSE
Business GCSE ICT – Cambridge National Certificate Creative iMedia
D & T – Design & Technology GCSE Music GCSE
D & T – Food & Nutrition GCSE Performing Arts BTEC
Geography GCSE Physical Education GCSE
Health & Social Care BTEC

Pathway I

Those students on the Core Pathway I are mainly those students who have not completed a Modern Foreign Language in Key Stage 3. All students will have three open options; however, they may be approached by the Learning Support Department for continued support in place of one subject at Key Stage 4. The options for those on Pathway I are:

Subject Qualification
Core English Language (5 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core English Literature (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Mathematics (8 lessons) 1 GCSE
Core Combined Science (9 lessons) 2 GCSE’s
Core Religious Studies (4 lessons) 1 GCSE
Option 1 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Option 2 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Option 3 See Options Table (5 lessons) 1 GCSE or Level 2 Qualification
Non examination subjects
Core Physical Education (4 lessons)
Core Work Related Learning and Enterprise across subjects and through calendared events
Core Personal Health & Social Education, including Careers & Citizenship (1 lesson)

Open Options Subjects:

Art and Design GCSE History GCSE
Business GCSE ICT – Cambridge National Certificate Creative iMedia
D & T – Design & Technology GCSE Music GCSE
D & T – Food & Nutrition GCSE Performing Arts BTEC
Geography GCSE Physical Education GCSE
Health & Social Care BTEC

Some questions and answers

This webpage contains information about the subjects we hope to offer in Y10 and Y11; it also explains some of the choices and decisions which students will be making with guidance from parents and teachers and why it is important to consider carefully choices of subjects at this stage.

What am I aiming for?

One of the floor standards for schools is a measure of the average Attainment across eight subjects. This is one of a number of performance indicators and it is also a reflection of the standards required to access a full A Level programme in the Sixth Form at King Edward VI School. This is calculated by finding an average of the point scores across the best eight subjects. The entry requirement for a programme of three A Level/Level 3 courses in the Sixth Form is currently an ‘Attainment 8’ average points score of at least 5.0. However, all students will be working towards an individual set of agreed targets across all their subjects to maximise their potential.

Recently revised features of assessment, due to changes in national policies include:

  • All GCSE courses are now examined in May/June of Year 11.
  • All GCSEs are graded from 9 to 1 instead of A* to G.
  • For students completing GCSEs in English Literature, Geography, History and Religious Studies, external assessments now include additional marks for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.

What is the English Baccalaureate?

One of the performance measures used by the Government is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). This is not an overarching qualification and does not currently lead to a certificate.

Students need to obtain GCSE 9 – 4 passes in:

  • English Language and/or English Literature (and be entered for both)
  • Mathematics
  • Two Sciences
  • History or Geography
  • A Modern Foreign Language

Students wishing to go on to A Levels and University should consider their range of subjects carefully. However, there is no requirement from universities for the English Baccalaureate.

Students are encouraged to take a balanced range of subjects and although we might encourage the Baccalaureate in some cases, students are not directed by the school towards this.

What is Progress 8?

The Progress 8 measure is a measure of school performance based on students’ progress across eight subjects: English, Mathematics, three other EBacc subjects, and three further subjects from a range of approved qualifications.

P8 2

I’ve heard students have to stay in school till they are 18 – Is this true?

The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning, requiring them to continue in education or training until their eighteenth birthday.

This does not mean young people must stay in school; they can choose one of the following options:

  • Full-time education, such as school, college or home education
  • Work-based learning, such as an Apprenticeship
  • Part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than twenty hours a week.

What are Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Courses?

With a wider range of courses it is useful to think of courses as Level 1 or Level 2.

  • Level 1 is equivalent to 1 – 3 Grade at GCSE
  • Level 2 is equivalent to 4 – 9 Grade at GCSE
  • Level 3 is equivalent to AS/A Level standard

What is the GCSE?

GCSE stands for ‘General Certificate of Secondary Education’.

Students will receive more information about GCSE examinations as they go through Key Stage 4 courses. Some, but very few, subjects will include Controlled Assessment; this is work completed during Years 10 and 11, which will count towards the final examination result.

For a small number of students, the school may decide to enter them for an ‘Entry Level Qualification’ in one or more subjects, usually as well as but sometimes instead of GCSE. An Entry Level Qualification is a widely recognised qualification which has been specially designed to meet the needs of and to reward those students who may be finding difficulties with certain aspects of the GCSE course. It allows staff greater flexibility in choosing key focus areas and can, therefore, make the course much more rewarding for students. Parents are kept informed about the details of such entries.

What is Controlled Assessment?

Controlled Assessment replaced coursework for all GCSE subjects from September 2010. It is intended to ensure the validity and reliability of coursework and to enable assessors to confidently authenticate candidates’ work. Controlled Assessment is designed to take place within the normal teaching timetable, for example in the classroom, lab or workshop.

Excellent attendance at school is vital throughout Years 10 and 11. It is especially important during periods of controlled assessment. Whilst every effort would be made to help your child catch up, depending on the nature of the task set and the degree of supervision needed, it may not be possible to make up the time. Further information will be made available on the school website.

Very few subjects still have controlled assessment. Please see subject details for those subjects for which it remains part of the course. Many subjects where controlled assessment were previously used still have Non Examination Assessments and these are an integral part of the course but these do not count as part of the final mark.

What is a BTEC?

A BTEC is a practical, work-related course. Students learn by completing projects and assignments that are based on realistic workplace situations, activities and demands. It introduces students to the employment area they have chosen and provides a good basis to go on to a more advanced work-related qualification. There is a separate Parent & Learner Guide available either from school or through the website:

https://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/btec-works/BTEC-student-parent-guide-2020.pdf

How do I find out about the courses on offer?

  • See the presentations below.
  • Ask the Head of Department or your class teacher.
  • ASK QUESTIONS! If in doubt your tutor can help you find the person you need.

Who should I speak to if I have problems?

  • Heads of Department and subject teachers can give detailed advice about individual courses. Each subject page provides the name of a member of staff to contact.
  • Mr Whitehurst or Mr Bailey (Achievement Team)
  • Mrs Batchelor (Head of Learning Support)
  • Mr Cotton (Assistant Headteacher)

Should I choose the subjects that I enjoy the most?

Do choose a course because:

  • you are good at it and think you will enjoy the subject
  • it links to a career idea
  • it will go well with your other choices
  • it will help you develop knowledge and skills that interest you
  • you think that you might want to continue studying it after Year 11
  • your research shows that it will interest you and motivate you

Don’t choose a course just because:

  • your friends have chosen it (you may not be in the same group)
  • someone else thinks it’s a good idea (you need to have a commitment to it)
  • you like the teacher you have now (you may not have the same teacher)

Can I begin to study a subject which I have not taken before?

Most subjects at Key Stage 4 will build on previous study of the same subjects. There are, however, some courses which are new, offering subjects which have not been available in Y7 – Y9 (eg Health & Social Care, Business). You may wish to consider one or more of these, but you need to be sure that you know what is involved. Just because it is new does not mean that it will be any easier! If you’re not sure then talk to a teacher of the subject concerned and ask for advice. You may also opt for a taster session in these subjects.

Can I take a subject at Advanced Level without studying it at Key Stage 4 (GCSE or Equivalent)?

Yes. There are some subjects which you can take at Advanced Level which you don’t have to have done before. These include Business, Economics, Psychology and Sociology. There may be other exceptional circumstances but, in most cases, students will be expected to have a qualification in the subject before selecting it for study at Advanced Level. If in doubt seek further advice from a teacher of the subject concerned.

What if I am uncertain about my career plans?

There is no need to worry at this stage if you don’t yet have a career in mind. If you have no career plans it is wise to choose courses which keep open as many opportunities as possible. Simply remember that it is most important to achieve a good balance in the subjects chosen. Future employers will look for a person who is flexible and adaptable to changing situations.

Careers Guidance is available to all students; individual students and parents can request additional careers support at any time where this is felt to be necessary.

Ask yourself:

  • Which subjects are most important for me at this stage?
  • Is my proposed choice of subjects a well-balanced one?
  • If my career aim changes, will my subject choice still be suitable?
  • Does my choice of subjects close any career path which I may wish to follow?
  • Am I likely to change my ideas as I grow older?

Students are using the ‘Which Way Now’? materials and Kudos website in school and you can also click through any of the links below to access further materials.

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/ – advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work

https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/my-career-options/choosing-my-subjects – advice on choosing subjects at GCSE with a view to pursuing a particular career in the future

https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors – gives case studies and information about entry requirements for a range of jobs in different sectors

http://www.careerswales.com/en/tools-and-resources/games-and-activities/subjects-and-jobs/ – click on the icons which represent subjects to find a list of the types of jobs that they could do with qualifications in that subject.

Will I automatically be given my first choice of subjects?

It is possible that not all courses listed in this booklet will run. It is also possible that a certain combination may prove impossible. A minimum number of students are required to make a teaching group viable and some groups are limited to a maximum number which is determined by the availability of equipment or by safety considerations. With this in mind it is important that you not only consider the subjects you want to study but have some reserves in mind. We will try our best to support all students in gaining places on suitable courses.

New Grading Structure

Grading 2

BTECs are graded in terms of Distinction, Merit and Pass. See above for how they fit with the new grading structure.

Subject information and presentations

Core

 

Options

 Subjects offered at post 16

Course Level
Accounting A Level
Art, Craft and Design A Level
Biology A Level
Business A Level
Chemistry A Level
Design & Technology – Product Design A Level
Economics A Level
English Language A Level
English Literature A Level
French A Level
Geography A Level
German A Level
Health & Social Care – Certificate BTEC Level 3
Health & Social Care – Diploma BTEC Level 3
History A Level
ICT Cambridge Technicals OCR Level 3
Mathematics A Level
Mathematics – Further Mathematics A Level
Music A Level
Music Technology RSL Level 3
Performing Arts BTEC Level 3
Physics A Level
Physical Education A Level
Physical Education – National Certificate in Sport BTEC Level 3
Psychology A Level
Religious Studies A Level
Science – Medical Science Diploma
Sociology A Level
Core Mathematical Studies AQA Level 3

If you are interested in finding out more then follow the link below to the Sixth Form Prospectus.
http://www.keslichfield.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/VI-FORM-PROSPECTUS-20201.pdf

Options booklet

Please see below for a link to the booklet version of the information above:

KS4 Options booklet 2021