KS4 Options Choices Guide
The following pages are designed to help you understand the process to make your Key Stage 4 subject choices and the range of subjects available.
In Key Stage 3 (Years 7&8), all students study essentially the same subjects determined by the national curriculum. During Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11), there is a shift towards a more flexible model where students are given the opportunity to select some of their courses to begin to tailor their education for future needs in further education or training.
You will be aware that the age of participation has recently been increased. This means that children will need to be in either full-time education, an apprenticeship, or part-time education or training up until they are 18. We advise that you plan for the whole of that time, not just the next three years. Make sure to keep career options open by choosing a broad range of subjects. The English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) is a useful starting point. To achieve the EBacc students must study at least seven GCSEs in the five areas: English language, English literature, maths, double science or biology, chemistry and physics, history or geography and a language.
Students should play to their strengths and choose subjects they are good at and enjoy. Choosing a subject because their friends have, or because they like their current teacher, is not likely to lead to success.
Below we outline each of the subjects on offer at KWS. Please use the links to explore and research each subject to support your decision. The option subjects provide a video to support further. But first we ask you to watch the introductory video at the top of this page.
All students at Key Stage 4 follow a “core” curriculum of maths, English language, English literature, science, PE, PRE (Philosophy, Religion and Ethics), PSHCE (including the statutory elements of Careers Education & Guidance, Personal, Social, Health & Citizenship Education).
- GCSE English Language
- GCSE English Literature
- GCSE Maths
- GCSE Science (Combined & Triple)
- GCSE PRE (Philosophy, Religion and Ethics)
- Core Physical Education (PE) – All students will participate in 2 core lessons of PE each week.
Students will choose three additional courses from those outlined below. We will then do our best to timetable these choices, it is not always possible to timetable every combination and so some students may be asked to make an alternative choice. Similarly, if too many or too few students choose a particular course, an alternative choice may also be required.
Option subject 1
The government introduced the EBacc as a performance measure in 2010. It is not a qualification in itself but instead recognises where students have achieved a good pass across a set of traditional academic subjects. Secondary schools are measured on the number of pupils that take GCSEs in these core subjects. Schools are also measured on how well their pupils do in the EBacc subjects. To ensure students have a broad academic curriculum the first option subject must be chosen from the following;
Option subject 2 and 3
Options subject 2 and 3 can then be made from any combination of the remaining EBacc subjects and all our other subject offers. As outlined below;
- GCSE Art: Fine Art*
- GCSE Art: Ceramics*
- GCSE Business
- GCSE Computing**
- GCSE Drama
- GCSE D&T: Product Design***
- GCSE D&T: Textiles***
- GCSE Food and Nutrition
- GCSE I.T**
- GCSE Geography
- GCSE History
- GCSE Mandarin
- GCSE Media
- GCSE Music
- GCSE PE
- GCSE Spanish
- BTEC Performing Arts
* Students are unable to study more than one Art based course and must only select one as an option.
**Students are unable to study both GCSE Computing and I.T (CNAT). They must select only one of these.
***Students are unable to study both GCSE D&T product design and textiles. they must select only one of these.
Making your choices
A guide on how to enter options choices is available below.
Take the time to speak to your subject teacher to ask their advice/opinion, as well as your Form Tutor and Head of Year.
The consultation evening will also be an opportunity to discuss your options choices.
- Launch of KS4 option choices to Yr 8 students. – 2nd February 2023
- Launch of KS4 option choices to parents. – 7th February 2023
- Yr 8 Parent/ carer consultation evening. – 28th February 2023
- Online System for entering option choices via TOOLS opens – 13th March 2023
- Deadline for option choices to online system via TOOLS 24th March 2023
The student selections will then be used to generate the school timetable. Unless students, parents and carers hear from the school the assumption is that the process has been successful. The school will contact students, Parents and carers only if a subject clash has been identified and needs to be resolved.
Website written by the Careers Writers Association for Parents and Carers, or those supporting young people with their future decisions
YCH Services for Young People is part of Hertfordshire County Council and provides youth work projects, information, advice, guidance, work related learning and wider support for young people.
UCAS website allows you to research future possible university courses to determine entry requirements.