KS4 Options 2023
A Warm Welcome to the KS4 Options Process
This webpage has been produced to support you in making decisions about your future. At Key Stage 4 you will complete qualifications which will be important to your future and allow you to move into Further Education or employment. At Marriotts we want to help you gain the best possible education to allow you to compete within your chosen career. The job market is more challenging and competitive than ever, however, a well-qualified individual has an exciting choice of rewarding careers to look forward to. The decisions you make at this point will make a significant difference to the rest of your life, so please find out as much information as possible, seek advice from many different people and discuss your pathways with your family.
You will have already a number of reports which will give you an idea of your areas of strength and talents. You must also find out more about subjects you enjoy and have an interest in. Please take into account requirements for your preferred career, however, many employers look more closely for a range of qualifications and the grades you achieved in them.
We have ensured that as well as Core Subjects (Maths, English and Science) you have a wide choice of pathways including a range of GCSE's and Vocational qualifications, some of which you are already studying in Year 9, but some of which will be totally new.
We hope that you continue to make progress and I look forward to congratulating you all at the end of your studies here at Marriotts
Mrs Jennifer Leach
Assistant Headteacher: Curriculum, Timetable and Academic 6th Form
This booklet contains information about the options process, advice about choosing options, and detailed information about all the courses on offer. I would encourage you to read all the information contained in the booklet and discuss it as a family over the coming weeks to ensure that you are well-informed when making choices, and also so that you have time to ask any questions you might have.
On Tuesday 14th March we will be holding our KS4 Options Evening for parents of Year 9 students. Students will receive additional information about the process during their PD lessons and through assemblies in the build up to this evening.
Our school presentations will be shared here after the evening, but you may find watch the videos below a useful starting point to start discussing your options together as a family.
View the 2023-2024 Year 9 Options Timeline below.
A personalised options form will be given to each student as part of their options package on the Options evening on March 14th.
Sample copies of the forms will be availble here after the evening.
It is very important that your parents and your subject teachers feel comfortable with your choices too. This leads us to some very important questions we are sure you and your parents will want to ask.
Once I make my selection am I guaranteed my option choices?
No. We will try to allocate your options in your order of preference; however, it is unlikely that all top options will be allocated to any one student, as the subjects have to be allocated on a best fit basis across the entire year group to ensure a fully fair process. As such, it is essential that you will be happy to study any of the subjects on your preference list. In addition, we will only run each course if the demand is high enough to make it viable.
What if I change my mind before the end of year 9?
You are able to make a change to your option choices up until the start of Year 10. To make a change you will need to complete an Option Change Form, which you can collect from your Head of Year. The form will require a signature from your parent/carer and a signature from a member of the Senior Leadership team. You will also need to provide an education reason for wishing to move e.g., it will support me getting on a specific A Level or Degree course, it will help me with my future career plans.
What if I do not know what I want to do in the future?
Keep your options open. Keep in mind that you might want to go to university or that you might want to do an apprenticeship etc. Select a range of subjects from across the curriculum e.g. a language, a humanities subject (History or Geography), an arts subject (Art, Dance, Drama, Music) and one other subject such as PE, RS, Food, etc. Include in your selection what you are being successful in and what you enjoy doing, after all, you are more likely to study harder in these subjects.
Finally, you may wish to pick a subject that is more practical than others that are 100% written exam. Subjects like Art, Computing, Food, Media and Design Technology have assignments which are worth marks towards your final grade, which you must complete before your examination.
Do I need to be able to read music or play an instrument to choose Music?
Being able to read music would be an advantage although the course will teach you this. You do however have to be prepared to study an instrument as part of your course. You can select which instrument, which could be your voice if you would like to sing. To develop your skills to the appropriate standard for the course you will be possibly required to attend additional peripatetic lessons (or singing lessons) each week in school.
You may be asked to perform an audition as part of the applicaiton process.
I am struggling to choose which subjects to select. What do I do?
You’re not alone. Speak to others to get their support. Speak to your teachers about whether you would be suited to their subject. Speak with your parent / carer, they know you well! Speak to students in the older year groups about the courses they study. You can also speak with your form tutor and Mrs Leach, who oversees the options process.
Great advice can also be found on the BBC Bitesize website by clicking on this link.
If you’re feeling unsure about your options, remember these three clear steps to help you make the right choice:
1. Look ahead
Think about the job you might like to do, or the kind of work environment you eventually want to be in, as this could inform your option choices. For instance, if you know that you want to travel with your work, a modern foreign language could be your calling. If you have no idea what kind of job you'd like to do, don't worry! You won't be boxed in if you take a mix of subjects across a range of disciplines and keep your options open.
2. Give yourself enough time
This isn’t a decision to rush so, if you're feeling unsure, talk to teachers and older students. Research subjects and the potential jobs they lead to online, and feel prepared ahead of making your choices.
3. Do what’s best for you
Don’t just take a subject because your friends are taking the same one or if you like the teacher. Follow your talents and instincts to do what interests you.
What is the English Baccalaureate and what subjects does it include?
English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is not a qualification. It is a term used to describe a number of GCSE subjects that the government consider to be highly valued. Subjects include English, Maths, and Science including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, Computer Science, French, German and Spanish. The government is encouraging the study of 5 of these subjects.
You can read more about why the EBacc quliafaction by clicking on this link.
What are the differences between BTEC and GCSE?
Both of these types of qualification are equally as challenging and are of equal value to sixth forms, colleges and employers. The differences are mainly about the way they are assessed. GCSEs are 100% terminal exam that is taken at the end of Year 11. BTECs have assignments to complete throughout the two years that earn you marks towards your final grade. You still sit an exam during the last year of the course, which will be a percentage towards the final mark.
To what extent will the school tell my son/daughter which optional subjects he/she should or should not take?
Does my son/daughter need to state a reserve for every option chosen?
No - one reserve subject is required. Courses may be oversubscribed or may not run due to insufficient demand. Giving a reserve subject allows the Timetabler to best meet your child’s requests.
What is the next step if my son/daughter does not get one or more of his/her first option choices?
If it is not possible to allocate all of their first choices, then in most cases a reserve choice will be allocated. The situation will be explained to them and they will be given an opportunity to change their choices if necessary. A revised form giving the option blocks will be issued so that they can discuss the available choices with you before returning the completed form so that their allocation can be finalised. At this point it will not be possible to change the subjects in the option block.
Can students study additional Languages?
A number of additional languages can be taken by students in their home or second langauge such as Chinese, Russian, Italian, Urdu, Greek, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Persian and Gujarate.
These exams have a listening, written and spoken assessment. As the spoken element requires a native/fluent speaker to administer the speaking exam, it is not always possible to facilitate all the languages listed above.
As these exams are taken by students for whom this is their ‘home’ language, we do not schedule timetabled lessons as not part of the curriculum. We will ensure that students are familiar with the assessment format, submit exam entries and facilitate the examinations.
Students generally take additional language exams at the end of Year 10. We will offer students the opportunity to be entered for additional language exams and write to parents to explain the process.
Is it a first come first served with option allocation?
Priority will be given to students who submit the Options form by the deadline of Friday 22nd April 2022, these forms will all be processed at the same time and considered equally. We will then deal with forms submitted after the deadline.
If a subject is oversubscribed and you discuss alternatives with a child, will you notify parents before a decision is made?
Yes, if there are any issues with a student’s option choices, we will discuss alternatives with the student and parents. All students will recieve a 1-2-1 discussion with a member of the Year 9 or SLT team during half term 5.
Is there any way to only put 3 options?
No, all students need to select a total of 4 options. If you are concerned about this then please contact Mrs Leach.
Who should parents contact if they have questions or concerns prior to the options form submission regarding (a) specific subjects or (b) choices generally?
Will the GCSE curriculum start before Sept ?
In many subjects, such as maths and science, we have a five year curriculum which progresses from year seven to year eleven, with no distinct start to the GCSE course. In other subjects, such as history or art, pupils are already developing the skills and understanding that they will use in the GCSE courses. All new courses, such as business or health and social care will start in September.