Year 9 Options Information
Please find in the links below information regarding Year 9 Options.
The videos below share information about the Year 9 Option subjects on offer for 2021. Students and parents are able to watch the videos and complete further research on their interest in advance of choosing GCSE options.
Please note that some options are subject to change.
Message to Year 9 students and parents:
Art and DT
Health and Social Care
Health and Social Care Option Presentation (voice-over pending)
IT and Computer - BTEC
Year 9 Options Booklet
Options Frequently Asked Questions
Why do students have to choose Options?
At Key Stage 4 (KS4) there isn’t enough time in the curriculum to enable students to continue studying all of their Yr9 subjects to GCSE level. In many subjects at KS3, students will already have laid a good foundation for Yr10 and Yr11.
How many Option choices do students have?
Students must choose two subjects from the Options list and select a reserve for each. In addition to these, they will study a suite of core subjects which are compulsory. These include English, Maths, Double award science, Religious Education, a Modern Foreign Language and a Humanities subject (either History or Geography). Core PE is not examined but all students are expected to take part.
Why must students select a reserve for each Option?
Despite our best efforts, we cannot offer an infinite combination to subjects. Sometimes, students’ Options will clash and other times it may not be possible to run a course due to insufficient uptake. In these instances we will have to ask them to study their reserve, which is why they must select their reserve choices as carefully. We will always try our best to give students at least one of their first choices.
What is a BTEC and a Technical award?
BTECs and Technical Awards are vocational qualifications that are equally challenging as GCSEs but the difference is that they have a greater proportion of non-examination assessment (coursework). GCSEs are assessed mainly by written examinations at the end of the course. If students are interested in studying a vocational course, we recommend that they opt for only one vocational course due to the greater coursework element. The BTECs that we offer are in Business and IT and the Cambridge National Technical Awards we offer are in PE and Health and Social Care.
What is the English Baccalaureate?
Schools are encouraged by the government to ensure students study a broad and balanced curriculum. This is a performance measure for schools that report on how many students have achieved a good pass in 5 subject areas. These are:
- 2 Sciences
- History or Geography
- A Modern Foreign Language
Does this mean Options subjects are less important than those in the English Baccalaureate?
All subjects are valued as highly as each other. The core subjects together with their Options subjects provide a solid foundation with which students can pursue their passions and compete with students from all types of schools when applying to university or apprenticeships in Yr13.
What about students who sill struggle with GCSEs or equivalents?
Some students with learning support needs will be provided with a bespoke curriculum plan to enable them to achieve their full potential for their core GCSEs. For these students a combination of the Options subjects, Humanities or Modern Foreign Languages will be replaced with a Level 1 course and/or ASDAN Programme depending on their learning needs. Parents of these students will be contacted separately before the final Options choices are submitted. We currently offer Level 1 Business and Level 1 Food and Cookery instead of Level 2 GCSEs.
What if students don’t know what they want to do when they leave school?
Firstly, they don’t need to worry, this is quite common. Our Options process ensures that students have access to information during assemblies, during PSHE and on the school website https://stepneyallsaints.school/year-9-options-information/. We recommend that students focus on choosing the subjects they enjoy and do well at, which should ultimately lead to success. In the meantime, students can approach Mr Uddin the Careers Manager for further guidance or any member of the Year 9 team.
What independent careers guidance can students get?
We advise that parents and students get independent and impartial advice and guidance from Tower Hamlets Careers service Youth Workpath https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/jobs_and_careers/employment_and_training_initia/Workpath/Young-workpath/Young_WorkPath.aspx
When will students find out what they will be studying in Yr10?
We will send an email to all parents with the outcome of the process by mid to late June 2021.
Can students change courses after they have started in September?
We hope this doesn’t happen. Students will have received high quality guidance and advice as part of CEIAG (Careers education, information, advice and guidance) in school with the aim of reducing anxiety or questioning choices. Any changes will have to be considered before the end of Yr9 and put to the Head of Year 9 in the first instance.
*****Some things for parents/carers to consider with their child*****
- Some students might say they like a subject but really they believe it is an easier option – this isn’t true as all subjects will be demanding at GCSE level and students will have to work hard to gain a good qualification
- Some choose a subject to stay in the same class as their friends but due to the size of our school and complexity of the timetable, it is highly unlikely that this will happen
- Some students choose a subject for the teacher, but again due to the complex timetabling and potential staff changes, a specific teacher cannot be guaranteed
Remember, GCSE’s have changed a lot since your day! Your experience may be totally different to your son or daughter’s. It’s important to share your knowledge and experience but keep in mind as well that our children are preparing for a totally different world.
Useful links for parents and students
Careers Presentation from Mr Uddin (Careers Manager) – Year 9 Options and Careers Presentation
Tower Hamlets Careers Service – www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/youngworkpath
Information for parents and carers – https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/jobs_and_careers/employment_and_training_initia/Workpath/Information_for_parents_and_carers.aspx
National Careers Service – https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/