GCSE Options and the Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Welcome to your GCSE options page! Here you will find all of the information you need about your GCSE option choices and what that means for your time in school during Key Stage 4!

If you are a student in years 9, 10 or 11 at Humphry Davy School you will study a curriculum which has been designed to:

· be broad and balanced so that you get the opportunity to develop your skills in lots of areas.

· help you to become independent, confident, considerate and responsible adults who understand the importance of a fairer and environmentally sustainable world and make a positive contribution to society at a local, national and global level.

· give you the opportunity to achieve your highest potential in nationally recognised qualifications (i.e. study appropriate courses in your ‘best' subjects).

· enable you to study qualifications which will enable you to access the courses and career you aspire to once you leave Humphry Davy School at the end of Year 11.

· meet the requirements of the National Curriculum which contains guidelines from the government about what students in this country should study.

More information about the National Curriculum:

The government says that all students in this country must study English, mathematics, science, computing, religion and personal development, together with physical education.

We call this our ‘compulsory curriculum’

No matter what you decide to study for your GCSE options you will always have lessons based around these subjects throughout your time at Humphry Davy School. You may take qualifications in some of these subjects but not necessarily in all of them.

Personalising your learning!

‘Personalised Learning’ is a term that you may have heard used in the media and as a school we recognise that all of our students are individuals with differing needs. Our aim is to offer personalised learning pathways tailored to each student.

This means that you will study a selection of GCSE and BTEC qualifications in addition to the compulsory curriculum and that you will have some choice in which subjects you continue to study from year 9 onwards. There is a limit to the number of courses you will be allowed to study as it takes time to develop a good breadth of knowledge which will enable you to reach the highest grades you are capable of in each subject area. That means there are some tough choices to make in Year 8!

Your future success and wellbeing is extremely important to us and our experience has shown that all students need a substantial amount of help and advice to make decisions about what options to choose - after all the decisions you make now may well affect your future career! That being the case there is a lot of support on offer to our Year 8 students, including:

  • the opportunity to come along to an options evening so you and your parents/carers can find out more about the options process and ask any questions you may have!
  • an options booklet which includes information about each stage of the options process and details of the qualifications you can choose from. The current booklet is available to download from this web page (published in February each year).
  •  time for you to reflect on the option choices you might like to make based on what you have learned so far and agree your initial option choices with your parents/carers.
  • an interview with a member of senior staff to agree a `personalised learning pathway for success'. This will involve a discussion of your aspirations for the future and a consideration of how this fits with your initial option choices. Alternative option choices may be suggested as a result of this discussion.
  • time to agree your final option choices with your parents/carers, taking into account any recommendations made by the senior member of staff during your options interview.
  • the opportunity to meet with a senior member of staff to discuss any issues arising once options allocations have been made.

A small number of students with particular needs may be offered an alternative curriculum that is more suited to them. In this instance there will be further opportunities for you to discuss and agree recommendations with parents and carers at a separate interview which may involve an independent careers advisor or other members of school staff.

What to consider when choosing your GCSE options:

When making your option choices you must take into account your strengths, weaknesses and how well you are getting on in your existing subjects.

You also need to think about your aspirations for age 16 and beyond! Find out what qualifications would be useful if you have a particular career in mind and, if not, make sure you choose a good range of subjects so you have the choices of a wide range of qualifications and careers in the future!

Remember to choose what is right for you and your future and not base your decision on what your friends want to do or who your favourite teacher is!

Options timeline:

You will be invited to an options assembly with Mrs Hall in the Autumn Term of Year 8. This assembly will explain the options process and ask you for some thoughts about what subjects you might like to study at Key Stage 4. These are not your final options choices!

You will be given your options book and form on Monday 25th February 2019 and invited to our Year 8 parents/options evening on Tuesday 26th February 2019.

There is some time to think about what might like to study and options interviews with a senior member of staff will take place from Monday 11th March 2019. These will take some time so don’t worry if your interview does not happen straight away! If you are away on the day of your interview we will reschedule it for you.

Your completed options form, confirming your chosen personalised learning pathway, should be handed in to Mrs Hopkins, via reception, by Monday 1st April 2019 (not an April Fool!)Please let Mrs Hall know if you cannot meet this deadline for some reason as the allocation of option subjects will begin on Tuesday 2nd April 2019.

Option choices will be confirmed via a letter by early May 2019 and you will be given the opportunity to discuss them with Mrs Hall or another member of staff if there are any issues arising from the subjects that are allocated to you. Whilst we do our best to give every student the subjects they have chosen it is not always possible and this is why your reserve choices are also very important!

Working together:

Throughout the next three years your success at key stage 4 will require a considerable commitment of both time and effort. Determining an appropriate pathway to success by making the right option choices is only the start of your journey!

It is very important that people at both home and school work together to support you at all times as students who are successful in both education and life skills understand that what is done in school is only the starting point; it is by reviewing what you have learned in class and putting in a lot of effort to properly understand and apply what you have studied that you will finally be able to feel you have learned something!

We encourage your parents and carers to stay in regular contact about any issues related to your time at Humphry Davy School. If your parents and carers would like to talk about issues related to your option choices during Year 8 they should contact Mrs Hopkins (tel: 01736 352124) who will pass your concerns on to Mrs Hall (Assistant Headteacher) or another appropriate member of staff.

Our collective aim is to ensure that you have the best possible opportunity to achieve your full potential and we look forward to supporting you through your option choices and beyond to achieve this!

Mr W Marshall



Useful Links To Help Students

  • Find out about all the choices at 13, 14, 16 and 18
  • Search for information on hundreds of jobs in twenty different job sectors
  • Explore routes to different qualifications

  • Browse the job profiles section to research job titles/areas of work that you are interested in
  • It will give you information about jobs, pay, entry requirements; skills required and have links to other useful websites and labour market information
  • You can ring/chat to a National Careers Service adviser for more help and information

  • Take the buzz quiz to help identify your strengths and personality type and match to careers and jobs
  • Look at videos related to jobs and subjects

  • Guide to careers, education and student life

  • Shows you video clips and information on a wide variety of jobs and careers.  Shows people talking about the job they do, as well as video clips from larger companies/organisations.

  • Information about options at 16
  • Search for university courses
  • Look for entry requirements/subjects required that you may need for courses

  • General careers information