Key Stage 4 Options
Welcome to our KS4 Options Web page. The information on this page is designed to support both students and parents/carers with this exciting time on the learning journey. This is the time when you can choose some of the subjects that you/your child will be studying in years 10 and 11. Please read through the Information Booklet and Subject Booklet carefully as the information in it will help you make these important decisions. Click below for the Assembly, Information booklet and Subject Booklet information.
At Gable Hall School, we understand the importance of supporting your child through the choices that will determine their journey in the next stage of their school experience. The options process has been designed to provide the structure, advice and guidance needed to make informed decisions about the qualifications that will be studied. â€‹
|Options Assembly||Information Booklet||Subject Booklet|
Making curriculum choices in Year 9 is a very important part of your time in school; it is an opportunity for you to take control of your education and shape the way you want your future to be. The options you choose for Years 10 and 11 will affect how you spend your time at school for the next two years. Your choices may also influence what course or training you are able to do after Year 11.
It is important to choose subjects that will interest and motivate you. Spend some time thinking about what you enjoy doing, what keeps you interested in something and what makes you work hard. Remember that you are not alone in making these decisions; everyone in Year 9 is going through the same process.Teachers, friends, parents, carers and family will be able to guide, advise and support you in this important decision-making process.
All pupils continue in education or training until the age of 18. This means that you will remain at school, go to college, or be working in employment, with appropriate training, until July 2026. After that, many pupils will continue to study for degrees or higher/degree level apprenticeships at university or in college.
You need to look further ahead than GCSE in your planning. Many of you will be aspiring to go to university or planning to complete a degree apprenticeship; therefore, you need to be aware of which subjects you might be expected to have studied at GCSE and at A Level. Some universities may prefer pupils to have a Modern Foreign Language and either Geography or History at GCSE. A website 'Informed Choices' brings together guidance from admissions teams at Russell Group universities to give pupils clear information about the subjects they should consider if they are hoping to progress to a competitive university.
You can view degree apprenticeship vacancies on the national 'find an apprenticeship' website in order to research any subject specific requirements for opportunities at this level. You can also search for degree courses and apprenticeships on Kudos using your personal log in. This will show entry requirements including required subjects.
Please read the subject information leaflets available on the school's website
The Options Timeline
We advise students to maintain a broad and balanced choice of subjects to ensure that future pathways are kept open. Although career direction and particular interests are important, we believe that students are more likely to succeed if they choose subjects that they enjoy and have a keen interest in. Equally, we strongly recommend that students choose subjects that equate to achieving the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) at the end of the two years. DfE EBacc Information Leaflet
What is compulsory for all pupils in KS4?
- Pupils continue to study the following:
- PE (Core)
- Religious Education (Short Course)
- PSHE (including Careers)
In English, pupils will complete two separate courses: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. The assessment is examination based and will be completed at the end of Year 11.
All pupils will study GCSE Mathematics with the examination at the end of Year 11.
All pupils study Combined Science, studying Biology, Chemistry and Physics modules, which leads to two GCSE grades. Triple Science leads to three GCSE grades, and the extra science modules are taught during an option block. Triple Science extends your knowledge of science topics and is a great option if you are looking to study sciences at A level. To opt for Additional Science you should be very interested in Science. You are likely to be aiming for at least a 6 in your Science GCSEs, and as there is a significant amount of maths in the science curriculum. If you are interested in opting for Additional Science you should discuss this as an option with a Science teacher.
PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Economic) education - which we call ‘Wellbeing’ - remains obligatory for all pupils. PSHE includes sessions on Careers Education and some additional Citizenship topics.
All pupils will continue to follow PE/Sport and Religious Education.
KS4 Qualification Grading Structure
KS4 Qualification Grading Structure
• GCSEs are graded 9 to 1, with 9 being the top grade.
• Most Vocational qualifications use Pass/Merit/Distinction/Distinction* grading system. This is directly comparable with the new 9-1 GCSE grading system.
• If you wish to read more about this and the changes that came in then please read this article
Assessment is mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where needed to test essential subject skills, for example, in Drama there is a performance assessment.
Current GCSE courses have more content than was the case in the past. Also, there is an increased expectation that young people remember content and can apply it to a wide range of question types and sometimes surprising contexts in exams.
Two-year courses with assessment at the end of the course
GCSE are intended for study over two years and are no longer divided into different modules. Pupils must take all their exams in one period at the end of their course.
How long do I spend on each subject?
How long do I spend on each subject?
The proposed number of lessons per fortnight for each subject in Year 10 and 11 are:
Lessons a fortnight
PSHE / Citizenship
1 - 1
Whilst we encourage pupils to choose the subjects that suit them we will look at all pupil choices and if we feel that their choices are not appropriate then we will speak to the pupil and direct them to subjects that are more suited if necessary.
What would you recommend to a pupil who does not know what subjects to study?
Firstly, do not worry – you will be in the majority as most pupils do not have a clear idea at the age of 14 what it is they want to do! We would recommend that pupils take a broad range of subjects, including a:
- Humanities subject (Pupils will choose at least one of History or Geography)
- Modern Language subject – if you enjoy and are good at languages.
- Creative or Technology subject
However, we recognise that some pupils may prefer to opt for a more vocational curriculum, choosing a vocational course alongside one or two other subjects.
What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?
What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?
The EBacc is not a qualification in itself. It is a set of subjects at GCSE that keeps young people’s options open for further study and future careers and therefore is a national measure of the number of pupils who follow a broad and balanced curriculum.
The EBacc is made up of the subjects which are considered essential to many degrees and open up lots of doors and consists of English language and literature, maths, the sciences, geography or history and a language.
Our aim is such that each pupil can follow a personalised learning plan which is both broad and balanced both in terms of the range of subjects they study and also with regards to the type of qualification and the learning style involved.
The EBacc is one measure of pupils following a broad and balanced curriculum. However, we believe that the arts, design and technology and other subjects are also just as important in achieving this balance.
How many subjects can I choose?
You should choose three main options as subjects to study during Years 10 and 11.
How much time do I spend on my option subjects? Option subjects are allocated 5 lessons per fortnight.
What are BTECs and Cambridge National courses?
BTECs are vocationally related qualifications, where learners develop knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context. They engage young learners in taking responsibility for their own learning and develop essential work-related skills, such as working to deadlines and presenting information effectively.
BTECs are mainly assessed through project/coursework which is marked and moderated internally, before being sent off for external moderation. All BTEC courses have at least one examined unit which it is necessary to pass to achieve the qualification.
A BTEC First/Tech Award is equivalent to one GCSE.
Cambridge Nationals are more practical in nature and provide pupils with knowledge and highly soughtafter skills to prepare them for further study, apprenticeships and the workplace. They contain at least 50% external assessment.
BTEC and Cambridge National qualifications may suit pupils who are organised, driven and like working independently. They may suit pupils who prefer coursework to exams.
How to choose your personalised timetable?
How to choose your personalised timetable?
Choosing your GCSEs is difficult. There are very few people who are sure about exactly what they want to take, likewise very few people know what career they wish to pursue. However, even at this stage, it is wise to consider the future, starting with your A Levels.
Deciding what is best for you depends on what subjects you enjoy studying. If you are unsure what subjects to choose, remember that balance and breadth are important. It is also wise to speak to your subject teachers; they will be able to provide you with an insight into the course and help you decide whether that subject is right for you.
Very often pupils are sure about some subjects, but still have to make a difficult decision between one or two others: Should I take separate sciences? Should I continue with both Modern Languages? Do I choose Geography or History or both?
You should find that most careers and companies do not mind which GCSEs you take, but are more interested in the grades you achieve. The compulsory subjects of Maths and English are required by universities and employers.
Taking subjects you enjoy will make sure you get the best grades, as you will be enthusiastic about them. Take some time to think carefully about your choices before you decide. Talk to your parents, discuss with your Form Tutor or ask your subject teachers for help. Find out about the subjects on offer.
Ask yourself the following important questions:
➢ Do I enjoy the subject?
You are more likely to do well at subjects you really enjoy and at which you are more successful.
➢ Do I intend to choose particular subjects because I like my present teachers?
You may not have the same teacher next year, so this is not a sound reason for your choice.
➢ Do I wish to do the same subjects as my friends so that I will be in a group with them next year?
Again, because of the timetable and the numbers of groups, you may find you are no longer with current friends even if you have made the same choices.
➢ Will my choices help me in the future, even if I do not know what I want to do?
Our Careers Adviser, Careers Coordinator and Head of Careers are available for drop-in sessions for any pupils who wish to discuss their options and how these relate to future career ideas. Our Careers Adviser will also be available for short appointments on parents evening. The choices offered in Year 10 are a suitable basis for a very wide range of careers.
➢ Can I change my mind after I have completed my options form?
We will place a form on the website where pupils (in conjunction with their parents) may request a change. However, once the timetable has been written and decisions made about the number of classes there will be in each subject, it is very unlikely that we will be able to accommodate further changes. We will consider any changes where possible but if groups are at capacity then we may not be able to accommodate the request.
Careers Advice and Guidance
Careers Advice and Guidance - Click here to view the Gable Hall Careers Webpage
What do I know already?
- You are currently covering a PSHE unit relating to Key Stage 4 options and careers including CV writing (January-March 2023).
- You are aware that you can access support during drop-in sessions from our Careers Advisor (Miss Mountney) most days in the Careers Hub, and via emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get more information?
Use some of the links below to get more information:
➢ www.unifrog.org – log in using your personal log in, a parent log in is also available. Look at careers information, search for apprenticeships and university courses and much more
➢ www.bbc.com/bitesize/careers - a new resource which links subjects you enjoy to careers
➢ Visit the National Careers Website and look at their Job Profiles:
➢ Take a look at careers videos, job profile and articles. Focus on 14:
➢ Read about where different subjects can take you, including where History can take you: https://successatschool.org/advicedetails/391/Careers-in-History-Where-Can-History-TakeYou%3F
➢ Help and advice for your creative career: https://discovercreative.careers/#/
➢ See where languages can take you: http://www.whystudylanguages.ac.uk/
➢ Interested in finding out about entry requirements for apprenticeships? Look at live
vacancies here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship
➢ Search for University courses and their entry requirements: https://www.ucas.com/
➢ What can I do with a degree in …….: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-ido-with-my-degree
➢ Learn more about your choices: www.careerpilot.org.uk/information/your-choices-at-14
➢ Use Informed Choices to help you understand which subjects open up different degrees, particularly at Russell Group universities: https://www.informedchoices.ac.uk/
When you reach the end of Year 11 in 2025 there are various alternatives open to you:
- To continue in full-time education beyond the age of 16 in school or college.
- To start a recognised Apprenticeship (with a built-in training programme).
It is worth mentioning why you might choose to remain in full-time education at school or college beyond the age of 16:
• To take Level 3 courses, including A Level, BTEC Nationals, T-Levels or other vocational courses, either in preparation for a higher apprenticeship/employment at 18 years of age or to go on to Higher Education.
• To pursue a one-year Level 2 course, leading to a BTEC qualification (or equivalent), then to continue a course of study leading to a Level 3 qualification or start an Apprenticeship aged 17 years of age
Pupils wishing to take Level 3 will have to meet minimum general entry requirements for these courses.
Current Level 3 entry requirements at Sixth Form are:
- Pupils entering Year 12 to study A Levels should have a good range of GCSE grades. The entry criteria are based on an average point score of the grades you gain.
- Pupils must additionally meet the subject specific entry requirements usually a GCSE grade 5 or 6 (current model) for Sixth Form courses.
- Any pupil not achieving a high-level pass in English or Maths at the end of Year 11 will be required to continue studying the subjects until they achieve a high-level pass. This currently applies to all pupils up to the end of Year 13. Pupils will need these high-level passes for application to university.