Academic Overview

Years 7 and 8

Towards the end of Year 6, pupils are invited to select two Creative and Technological subjects which form their “Options”.  These subjects are organised into two blocks and pupils will choose one subject from each block. 

During Year 7 and Year 8, pupils may select and pursue their preferred two options throughout the entire two years if these are the only two subjects they wish to pursue from the list.  However, for pupils who would like to enjoy a wider portfolio of experiences, there will be the opportunity to move from one option to another; changes to options are made at the start of each term and pupils wishing to select a different option will choose another subject from within the same block.  Pupils may move to a new option for a term and then return to their original option if they so wish. By adopting Options choices in Years 7 and 8, our pupils are learning the importance of making wise choices prior to selecting GCSE Options during Year 9.

The Year 7 and 8 option choices are selected from:

  • Art
  • Design and Technology
  • Music (pupils should be Grade 2 standard or equivalent to benefit from the Music Option)
  • Drama
  • Photography
  • ICT

Thus, in Years 7 and 8, our pupils follow an exciting and vibrant curriculum providing each pupil with a broad and creative approach which is an excellent precursor to our Year 9 curriculum and a seamless bridge towards the GCSE programmes of study. 

Year 9

In Year 9, the timetable provision for their two option blocks increases and pupils may select two options from the same Year 7 and 8 list which they will now study consistently throughout Year 9.  During the Lent Term of Year 9, pupils are guided to make informed and balanced GCSE option choices, selecting the subjects that most excite them and which will provide a rounded portfolio in preparation for future choices at Sixth Form or University level.

GCSE – Years 10 and 11

Whilst staff in some subjects might commence their GCSE Programmes of Study during Year 9, it is from Year 10 that pupils embark upon their chosen options for GCSE or IGCSE examinations at the end of Year 11.

Heads of Department select the optimum syllabus for their subject so that our pupils are entered for a range of examination boards in order to provide challenge and enjoyment in each subject.

We take great care to meet individual requirements for learning and to offer appropriate opportunities for pupils across the ability range.  For those who are academically gifted, we provide additional stimulation and challenge through our association with NACE (National Association for Able Children in Education), whilst a flexible curriculum affords opportunities for any pupils who require additional learning support.

The core GCSE subjects (compulsory) from Year 10 are:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics (with AS Level for those who have passed GCSE Mathematics in Year 10)
  • Double Award Science (three subjects leading to two GCSE awards)

There are then five further Option Blocks.  One subject may be chosen from each option block and all pupils must choose one subject from Option Block 1 which includes:

  • French 
  • Spanish 
  • Learning Support (recommended to a small number of pupils where a language is thought to be beyond the fair capabilities of that pupil).

Option Blocks 2 to 5 enable pupils to make a balanced selection from the following subjects:

  • Spanish (only for those who have selected French in Block 1)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Religious Studies
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Art and Design: Fine Art
  • Art and Design: Photography
  • Design Technology
  • Drama
  • ICT

All pupils will continue to receive Games/PE, Personal Social and Health Education, and Life Skills which includes careers advice, sex education, and economic education.

When selecting their subject options, pupils will be guided and advised to cover a balanced breadth within a range of 8 to 11 subjects.  Where necessary, pupils will be offered learning support in lieu of one option in order to maximise their average GCSE grade: this is an important consideration for university applications in the future.

Our current GCSE Options booklet can be found here: GCSE Options Booklet 2022.pdf