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Idsall School

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Year 9 Options

Who has a choice?

During the first three years at Idsall School, each student will have studied many subjects. We are now at the stage when a student can concentrate on those subjects which will be most important to their future. This is particularly important, because the chosen subjects will lead to examinations in 2019. The courses that students follow will lead to Level 2, GCSE or BTEC qualifications with grades 9 – 1 (9 being the top grade). Skills Centre courses lead to Level 1 qualifications with the equivalent GCSE grades of 1 – 4.

Choosing the right courses to ensure that you both succeed and have some challenge in your work is very important. All courses will have some form of examination, some will have a controlled assessment element, others will be assessed entirely on a final examination, so choosing the right type of course for you is vital.

Is anything compulsory?

There are some courses that all of you have to follow and can’t opt out of doing. These are English Language, English Literature, Maths, Combined Science (unless separate science is chosen as an option), P.E. and Individual Development (I.D.). The groupings for these courses will be based on your progress and predicted grades at the end of Year 9 in the core subjects. These will be based on internal test results as well as teacher assessments.  After that there is a range of subject choice to fill the remaining hours of school time, but there are a few limitations as well. 

A key point to consider for all students will be progression on to post-16 education or training. To give you a head start in finding places for the next stage of your educational career, getting GCSE passes at Grade 4 or above in English and Maths will be an important goal. The government have also promoted the importance of the English Baccalaureate subjects (History, Geography, French, German, Combined Science or Computer Science) and have emphasised their importance with employers, colleges and universities. The government want all students to study at least three of the English Baccalaureate subjects.

A change from previous years is that all courses are worth the ‘same amount’ – equivalent to ONE GCSE each. BTEC Art and BTEC Sport are now all equivalent to 1 GCSE grade. (Older siblings had the option to choose these as “double award” subjects.)

Skills Centre (Level 1) courses will take up two option blocks and will be taught on one whole day.

The courses you finally choose should be challenging and interesting but give you the opportunity to get the best possible grades in the exams so that your choices after Year 11 are as wide as possible.

Aspects of Personal and Social Education, Religious Education and Careers will also be compulsory and all students will study these within their Individual Development course. All students are expected to do core P.E. where all students will have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills.

Students will be given extensive individual advice about the courses and levels that are appropriate for them and which will help them to achieve further success in education and employment. We do our best to provide the preferred combinations of subjects for all students, but for various reasons this is not always possible and the final decision about the options taken must rest with the school.

An Options Booklet is issued to Year 9 students which gives full information about the courses on offer, and there are opportunities during the year for parents to discuss choices with members of staff as well as at the Year 9 Options Evening on Thursday 25th January 2018.