The Curriculum

In Years 9, 10 and 11, students study certain compulsory or core subjects for 30 periods per fortnight.  The core subjects are English, Maths, Science, PE and Personal Development and Careers.

For the remaining 20 periods in each fortnight, students in Years 9 to 11 choose option courses.  When students enter Year 9 they will begin 4 option courses studying each for 5 periods per fortnight.  These courses will be completed at the end of Year 11.

Glossary of Terms

Core

A compulsory subject such as Maths, English and Science.

Option

Students pick 4 subjects to study as 3 year courses.

Level 1

Course equivalent to GCSE grade D-G

Level 2

Course equivalent to GCSE grade A*-C

Level 3

Course equivalent to A-level grade A*-E

 

GCSE

Level 2 Course Graded A*-G or increasingly from 9-1 as new exam specifications are introduced

BTEC First Award

Level 2 course which contains a high proportion of coursework but with a written exam at the end of the course.

 

EBacc

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a measure which recognises where pupils have secured a C grade or better across a core of academic subjects – English, Mathematics, History or Geography, the Sciences and a Language at GCSE Level.

Thinking Ahead and Career Planning

Where students have a target in mind, such as a potential career path, they can use this to help determine their choice of option courses. However, many students may not at this stage have a career path in mind at all or, if they do, may change their plans over time and the curriculum has been designed to accommodate this. Even where students have a particular focus, we would still encourage them to choose a wide range of courses during Key Stage 4 in order to keep their options open.

Availability of Preferred Option Choice

We aim to offer every student their preferred course choices; however, we do ask that all students give us one alternative course in each option block as it is not always possible to allocate every student to their preferred course.

Examples of circumstances where we may have to offer students their alternative choices include:

  • too many students opting for a particular course;
  • too few students selecting a particular course;
  • a better range of courses is suggested to meet a student’s needs; or,
  • combinations of courses are chosen which are impossible to timetable.

Not every course will run each year.  The decision to run a course will depend on whether we have viable numbers of students choosing the course and whether we have a specialist teacher to deliver it.  These factors are always subject to change so a degree of flexibility is required.

Allocated option courses will be confirmed to students in the summer term.

Can Students Change Their Mind?

We will always do what we can to ensure students receive their first choice courses; however, work on timetabling the option courses begins as soon as the options deadline passes and therefore alteration to choices may not be possible to accommodate after this date.  In addition, priority will be given to students who submit their option forms on time and it may therefore also not be possible to place students on their first choice courses where forms are submitted after the deadline. 

Students should also bear in mind that once they have made their choices and their courses have begun, it is extremely difficult to make any changes. It is therefore vitally important that all students spend time giving careful consideration to the choice of courses in each year of the process.  This is why we provide as much support as possible for students as they choose their options, including a one-to-one interview with a member of the Senior Leadership Team for students and parents/carers.

Options Evening Presentation 2017