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Choosing your options


What things should I consider when choosing my options?

You should consider your interests and strengths as well as your future career prospects, your decision should not be based on which teacher you most like or what your friends are doing. Remember that you will be studying the subject over the course of two years, your teacher may leave or your relationship may change. You should only choose subjects based on your interests, future prospects and strengths.

What is the difference between a GCSE and a BTEC?

GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and BTECs (Business and Technology Education Council) are different forms of qualifications with different foci. A GCSE is a traditional academic qualification which requires more written work and formal exams. You can take a GCSE in most subjects. A BTEC is a vocational qualification which is primarily coursework based and involves more practical tasks than GCSEs. A BTEC is more suited to less academic students who prefer to learn in a practical way.

Will I always get my first choice option?

Your school will do their best to ensure that you get your first choice of options, however you are always asked to state alternative options in the event that your options block is full. This happens on the rare occasion. You are most likely to get your first option, but make sure you have thought carefully about second options.

What happens if I miss the deadline for the options form?

If you miss the deadline for your options form you will need to see the senior teacher in charge of Year 9 options and hand it in as soon as possible. You must be aware that if you miss the deadline you may not necessarily get your first choice. So try to get the form in on time!

If I choose an option and then I no longer want to continue what shall I do?

As soon as you realise that the subject is not for you, you must inform your teacher. The longer you leave it the harder it is to change an option. The best time to change an option would be at the start of Year 10 before the course starts. Remember once you wish to change to another subject you have to catch up on the subject you wish to take up. If this is too late into Year 10, you may not be permitted to change.

What subjects do I have to take?

There are compulsory subjects that you have to take, though these do change according to the school you are in. Every school will have English, Maths, Science and Physical Education as compulsory subjects. Other schools may have other compulsory subjects such as: Languages, Citizenship and Religious Studies.

Can anyone take triple Science?

No. Not everyone is permitted to take Triple Science; this is because it is a very demanding GCSE. Schools usually set criteria for those students who want to take triple Science as a GCSE. The criteria for most students who do Triple Science is that their end of Key Stage 3 Science Level is a 6 or above.

What is the English Baccalaureate?

The English Bacc is not a qualification in itself; it is a pathway for the education system introduced in 2011. It was introduced to encourage more pupils to take up more traditional GCSE exams such as Geography, and History with a more restrictive option on vocational courses.

Who can I talk to if I need support with my option choices?

There are several people you can talk to for advice on your options. First of all it would be good to talk to your teachers, find out what the GCSE course content entails so that you know what you are signing up for. Most schools have a careers advisor o Connexions worker who you can ask for support from. You could also discuss your options with your parents, they may be able to offer support and point you in the right direction of who to speak to.

I don’t know what I want to be in the future, so I don’t know what options to take. What shall I do then?

You will have a variety of subjects to choose from in the option blocks, so even if you don’t know what you want to do as a future career, you can choose from a selection that will leave you with many career options. Usually schools give you an option of a humanities subject, Arts, Languages, ICT and Technology. Choose a variety based on your interests this can usually lead you to consider career options.

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