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Guided Options

In Years 9, 10 and 11, students study certain compulsory/core subjects for 30 periods per fortnight.

The core subjects are English, Maths, Science, PE, Enrichment and Personal Development and Careers.  For the remaining 20 periods in each fortnight, students in Years 9-11 choose option courses. 

By the start of Year 9, students will have selected four option courses to study.  These courses will be completed at the end of Year 11.  Students select four options, to ensure that they are still maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum. 

Year 9 is designed to allow for enhanced curriculum opportunities, such as business links, trips, and the development of a wide range of cross-curricular skills.  There is a strong focus on development of group working, communication and problem-solving skills across all subjects.  As students move into Year 10, they will build on the skills, knowledge and understanding required for GCSEs.  We do our absolute utmost to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to study their preferred choices of subjects - as an Academy we do not believe in having pathways that restrict students’ choice, but have found that they have benefited significantly from the phased introduction to GCSEs in Year 9.

To support the needs of students who may find it difficult to cope with the pressures of a full academic curriculum, we have a Foundation Learning Pathway which provides a tailored package of options for these students and is fully bespoke to support the educational or learning needs.

Glossary of Terms


A compulsory subject such as Maths, English and Science.


Additional subjects that will be studied alongside the core subjects.


Level 2 Course Graded from 9-1.

BTEC Tech Award

Level 2 qualification that is designed to give students a glimpse into a professional sector, whilst teaching them transferable life skills.  These qualifications are equivalent to a GCSE but they are graded differently.


The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a measure which recognises where pupils have secured a 5 grade or better across a core of academic subjects – English, Mathematics, History or Geography, the Sciences and a Language at GCSE Level.

Thinking Ahead and Career Planning

Where students have a target in mind, such as a potential career path, they can use this to help determine their choice of option courses. However, many students may not at this stage have a career path in mind at all or, if they do, may change their plans over time and the curriculum has been designed to accommodate this. Even where students have a particular focus, we would still encourage them to choose a wide range of courses during Key Stage 4 in order to keep their options open.

Availability of Preferred Option Choice

We aim to offer every student their preferred course choices; however, we do ask that all students give us back up choices as it not always possible to allocate every student to their preferred course (this is explained in more detail in the options booklet which is provided to all students as part of the options process).

Examples of circumstances where we may have to offer students their alternative choices include:

  • too many students opting for a particular course;
  • too few students selecting a particular course;
  • a better range of courses is suggested to meet a student’s needs; or,
  • combinations of courses are chosen which are impossible to timetable.

Not every course will run each year.  The decision to run a course will depend on whether we have viable numbers of students choosing the course and whether we have a specialist teacher to deliver it.  These factors are always subject to change so a degree of flexibility is required.

Allocated option courses will be confirmed to students in the summer term.

Can Students Change Their Mind?

We will always do what we can to ensure students receive their first choice courses; however, work on timetabling the option courses begins as soon as the options deadline passes and therefore alteration to choices may not be possible to accommodate after this date.  In addition, priority will be given to students who submit their option forms on time and it may therefore also not be possible to place students on their first choice courses where forms are submitted after the deadline.

Students should also bear in mind that once they have made their choices and their courses have begun, it may be difficult to make any changes. It is therefore vitally important that all students spend time giving careful consideration to the choice of courses in each year of the process.  This is why we provide as much support as possible for students as they choose their options, including a one-to-one interview with a member of the Senior Leadership Team for students and parents/carers following February Half Term.

Where else can l get help?

Use the link below to access an additional page of information collated by the Academy Careers Advisor (Mrs Shemilt).  If you need any further careers support please email