When students reach Year 10, they will begin their GCSE studies. A vital part of this process is selecting their option subjects that they will take over the course of the two years. Alongside the core subjects of English, Maths, Science, Religious Studies and core PE, students will complete two option qualifications in Year 10 and another two option qualifications in Year 11. To support students with choosing their options subjects, we held an options evening for students and parents in January 2023. The presentation slides from this evening are included here:
The GCSE curriculum
All qualifications offered through our curriculum carry awards that count towards students' GCSE tally. These awards also count towards the requirements for entry to Post-16 study, apprenticeships or other training. As a small school, we have adopted a ‘Stage not Age’ curriculum. This is to ensure that we can offer as many subjects as possible, where some subjects only run in every-other year. As a result, we are able to offer seventeen different options qualifications in a very broad Key Stage 4 curriculum.
The EBacc is made up of a suite of subjects comprising of:
- Two Science qualifications;
- A language (either French or Spanish);
- A humanities subject (either History or Geography).
English, Maths and Science are studied by all students. To complete the EBacc, you will need to select at least one language (French or Spanish) and at least one humanities subject (Geography or History) during Years 10 and 11.
Whilst the EBacc is not a stand-alone qualification, it is recognised when students apply for the next stage of their education or employment. A study from UCL Institute of Education has shown that studying subjects included in the EBacc provides students with greater opportunities in further education and increases the likelihood that a pupil will stay on in full-time education
The government’s ambition is to see 75% of pupils studying the EBacc subject combination. This is because of the evidence above and also that it shows ambition for what you can achieve in the future.
Alongside the EBacc, we do encourage students to think carefully about the choices for their remaining options. Selecting options from a range of different subjects, including those with more practical and creative elements, will demonstrate that you have a range of skills and attributes when you apply for further education or employment.
There is extensive evidence about the benefits of studying arts qualifications (Art, Drama, Music or Photography) as part of your formal education. These subjects really allow you to develop your ability to think creatively and innovatively, skills that are valuable to all employers in any area. They also allow you to learn to work independently and collaboratively, as well as demonstrating that you can take constructive feedback on your work in order to make improvements. These subjects are also shown to have a very positive impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is vitally important throughout GCSE studies.
Making your choices
Before making option choices, please ensure that you have read the details of the course requirements, assessment information and course content information supplied by the different subject leaders. In particular, where a subject offers both a GCSE and vocational qualification, please make sure you know which is best suited to the student’s skills. Discuss this with the Subject Leader or your teacher for this subject if necessary.
We ask that students make a choice of five subjects in order of preference, with the fifth choice acting as a reserve. We will do our best to award the first four choices, across Year 10 and Year 11, where possible. Unfortunately, as we are a small school, it will not be possible for us to construct a timetable for the two years that allows for every possible combination of options subjects, so we will have to, at times, ask you to make changes to your choices. We do understand that this is disappointing for you, so we will always do our best to make sure that you can complete the subjects that you have selected. Please note that it may also not be possible to run an option subject if too few students choose it. Settle College reserves the right to make the final decision about availability of courses.
As part of Options process, we run two routes for our students. The route that students follow is determined by a range of factors, such as their external prior attainment data, any special educational needs and their well-being. In the first route, we ask that students complete the EBacc qualification by selecting both a language (French or Spanish) and a humanity (History or Geography) GCSE subject.
The options booklet for current Year 9 students that are following route 1 can be found below:
In our second route, students are given the option to complete the EBacc, although this is not compulsory. Students on this route are, however, asked to select one of the language or humanities subjects.
The options booklet for current Year 9 students that are following route 2 can be found below:
Submitting your options choices
Where your child is currently in Year 9 or Year 10, you will have been emailed the relevant option booklet when the options process began. As part of this email, there is a link to the form that you should complete to either select their option choices for Year 9 students or to confirm, for current Year 10 students, the choices that were previously made. The deadline for submitting option choices has now passed and so the forms have been closed. Should your child wish to change their options subjects, please can parents/carers email Miss J Nutter (email@example.com) to confirm that you are supportive of this change. Without this confirmation, no changes will be made to students' options choices.
If you have any subject-specific questions, please do feel free to contact the relevant subject leader, using the email addresses from the options booklet. If you have any more general queries or you would like more information about the curriculum we follow at Key Stage 4, please contact Miss J Nutter (J.Nutter@settlecollege.n-yorks.sch.uk).