It's great how you make the children feel so central to the process, and in charge of their own destinies. Quite a few of our friends have older children at different schools, and I was braced for a much more stressful, angst-ridden process.
Year 9 Parent, January 2018
The process of choosing subjects for Key Stage 4 begins straight after Christmas in Year 9. At this time there is an assembly for Year 9 students and an information evening for parents. These serve to explain the process and to issue the options booklet which contains details of the courses on offer, the different pathways and the relevant forms for completion.
Three weeks after these information sessions there is the annual Year 9 subject consultation evening which, in addition to being a conventional 'parents' evening', also provides an opportunity to talk to individual subject teachers about the courses on offer and the suitability of students to those courses.
The options process concludes at the end of Term 4 when all of the choices are processed in order that as many students as possible are awarded their first choices. Inevitably there will be a handful of students whose option combinations do not fit easily and these students are spoken as soon as possible after the deadline.
Once all students are placed in subjects, the timetabling process begins for the following academic year. It then becomes difficult to change options choices. However, if a request to change is brought to our attention we will do our best to facilitate this. Any such request should be made in writing and counter-signed by the Subject Leaders involved in the change.
Key Staff Members:
- MIKE LOWDELL (Deputy Headteacher) will oversee the process in liaison with Subject Leaders and Year 9 tutors.
- PETER HOGBEN (Timetabler) is responsible for facilitating choices and creating the timetable.
- NIGEL SMITH (Careers co-ordinator) will give advice on careers as appropriate.
The current options guidance for the current Year 9 cohort is as follows:
All students will follow a common core curriculum in English, Maths and Sciences and non-exam courses in Philosophy/Ethics/PSHE/Law/Finance and Physical Education. Most students will be entered for English Literature and students demonstrating the appropriate skills in Maths lessons will be entered for Additional Maths.
There are four ‘pathways’ through the options process and these pathways offer different combinations of subjects which best suit different groups of students in terms of academic challenge and preparation for the future. Click on the links for more information.
The Yellow Pathway is designed for students who will go to Russell group universities to follow academic subjects
The Blue Pathway is designed for students who will continue into higher education beyond GCSEs and may well be going to university
The Purple Pathway is designed for students who would favour vocational courses and may follow an apprenticeship or train for a more vocational career when they leave school
The Green Pathway is a less academic route and is designed for students who would benefit from a reduced suite of GCSE exam-based subjects complemented by subjects that are accredited in other ways.