Key Stage 4 Options
Choosing Key Stage 4 Options
Year 9 students choose their options by following the steps below:
- Watch the options introduction video
- Read the options booklet
- Watch the subject information videos
- Ask questions and discuss the options
- Complete and submit the options form by Friday 11 February
Read on for more information...
1. Watch the options introduction video
In this video, Mr Lambourne will explain the process to follow in order to choose the subjects to be studied in Years 10 and 11.
This is a very exciting time for Year 9 students: for the first time in their educational careers, they have choice over what they study. Of course, this may also be daunting for students and their parents: so many subjects to choose from, so many important decisions, so many factors to consider. By the end of this video, you should know the choices you have to make, what to think about when making choices and know where you can find information to help you with the choices in front of you.
Let’s start by thinking about the information that students will receive and which part of this needs completing and returning to school.
The options booklet gives details on all subjects studied at key stage 4 – both those that are core and the options subjects. The options form is where students tell us what their preferences are. The number of options that students have and how those options are structured will depend on the pathway that they have been recommended.
We have four pathways at Westfield School: the blue pathway, the pink pathway, the yellow pathway and the yellow pathway plus.
When students receive their options form, it will indicate which pathway we are recommending for them. Pathways exist to support students in establishing the most supportive and future proof curriculum. We want all students to be successful in key stage 4; this means leaving Westfield with qualifications that allow them to access further and higher education and hold currency in an ever changing global employment market.
The different pathways
So, what is the difference between the pathways?
The blue pathway is an English Baccalaureate or EBacc pathway. The EBacc is the name given to a collection of subjects which is known to open up the widest range of post-16 routes. It is a preferred combination of subjects for many universities and promotes a well-rounded education. The EBacc consists of maths, English language and English literature, science, a humanity and a language. Many employers now look for this combination of subjects, especially the modern foreign languages element which is increasingly desirable in the global economy.
Students on the blue pathway will choose a humanity and a language and have two further choices. The pink pathway is the same as the blue pathway without the stipulation that a language is included. Students on the pink pathway can choose a language to ensure that they also leave school with qualifications in the EBacc suite of subjects.
The yellow pathway and yellow pathway plus are supported pathways for students who would benefit from more time studying maths and English in place of some option subjects. Languages and the EBacc are still possible for students on this pathway.
When reading the options information and completing the form, you will notice that we refer to subject ‘preferences’ as opposed to ‘choices’. This is because we cannot guarantee that students will receive all of the subjects for which they express a preference.
Our approach is to make the full range of options subjects available to all students at this point. We do know however that in considering the students’ collective preferences we can’t always satisfy everyone. For example, if a subject is only chosen by a small number of students, or if the appropriate teaching staff are not available at the time of the lesson, we may not be able to run it. We ask students for back up preferences partially to manage this situation and will always have discussions with students and parents or carers to find the best possible resolution if some preferences can’t be met.
Making the best possible choices
Let’s now consider how students are supported to consider carefully which subjects they would like to pursue.
We encourage students and parents/carers to read the options information handed out during form time and view the resources on the school’s website. This is designed to give insight into the content and method of assessment in each subject. Students should consider what they are good at, what they like and any ideas that they have about post-16 study or future careers.
We encourage them to have discussions at home and seek support from the careers team if necessary. The Year 9 parents’ and options evening is an opportunity to come into school to discuss subject progress, to look at the type of work that students complete in different subjects and to ask any necessary questions of the Senior Leadership Team, or the Learning Support Team.
Students should be guided by their aspirations rather than the preferences of their friends. Establishing the best programme of study is a big step and one that should be taken thoughtfully and with one eye on the currency that exam results represent to their future selves.
Thank you for taking the time to watch this video – we hope that the options process is a positive one which allows students to focus their key stage 4 learning according to their interests, skills and aspirations for the future.
2. Read the Options Booklet
Year 9 students have received a copy of the options booklet. These booklets give them information about the subjects available for study in Years 10 and 11, the options process and where to go for advice.
The options booklet is also available to read here:
You can download a copy of the Key Stage 4 options booklet here.
3. Watch the subject information videos
These videos will give you more detail about the subjects available for study in Years 10 and 11. Students can use them, together with information they receive in assemblies and in class to guide their choices.
art and design (fine art)
dance (physical education)
Food Preparation and Nutrition
health and social care
languages (french and spanish)
Science - combined (trilogy)
4. Ask questions and discuss the options
The answers to frequently asked questions are given below.
What are the key dates in the process?
- Throughout January: options assembly, subjects advertised in lessons, in-school guidance.
- Wednesday 11 January: options assembly for students.
- Friday 20 January: options booklets distributed to students.
- Friday 20 January: options form distributed to students (either a blue, pink, yellow, or yellow plus version depending on the pathway they are following).
- Friday 20 January: options information available at www.westfield-chorustrust.org/ks4options.
- Thursday 26 January: Year 9 parents' and options evening.
- Friday 10 February: options forms to be handed in to form tutors.
- September: students start their key stage 4 courses.
Who will offer advice to students in school?
- Ask their form tutor for advice
- Talk to individual subject teachers, whose names are given in the options booklet
- Speak to the Careers Team in the careers office at the back of the Library
- Speak to any member of the School Leadership Team
What careers information is available for students?
- Speak to the Careers Team in the careers office at the back of the Library
- Visit nationalcareers.service.gov.uk
What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?
Students may wish to study a suite of qualifications called the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – namely GCSEs in English, maths, science, a language and a humanity (either history or geography).
The EBacc is the name given to a collection of subjects which is known to open up the widest range of post-16 routes. It is a preferred combination of subjects for many universities and promotes a well-rounded education.
What are BTEC, OCR, WJEC and Technical Award qualifications?
BTEC, OCR, WJEC & Technical Awards are nationally recognised Applied Learning qualifications which are recognised by employers, further education institutions and universities. These applied learning courses are vocationally based qualifications that relate to the world of work. They are Level 1/Level 2 qualifications and are equivalent to one GCSE. Much of the work covered in BTEC, OCR, WJEC and Technical Award learning is assessed internally on a modular basis.
Should you have any questions about the options process this year, please don't hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0114 248 5221.
5. Submit the options form
The hard copy options form has been given to Year 9 students.
This should be completed and returned to form tutors by Friday 10 February 2023.