GCSE Options

The subjects that you choose to study for GCSE can have a major impact on the courses you will be able to study at A-level and degree level, or the career path you choose to take. Having the right guidance and information now, will give you a much clearer picture when the time comes to make up your mind.

This page will help you make an informed decision when choosing your courses for GCSE and beyond. We hope this will be of use to you and your parents/carers. You can also download the GCSE Options Booklet which covers the process in even greater detail.

The core subjects:

Subject Hours per week at KS4 Exam Board NEW GCSE Curriculum from 2016




5 (*6) AQA YES

The optional subjects:

Subject Qualification Exam Board Subject Leader/Staff Lead
Art GCSE AQA Mr D Sumpner
Computer Science GCSE OCR Mr C Bryan
Design & Technology – Engineering BTEC EDEXCEL Miss K Felton
Design & Technology – Food Preparation & Nutrition GCSE WJEC Miss K Felton
Design & Technology – Product Design GCSE AQA Miss K Felton
Drama GCSE/BTEC OCR Mrs F Finch
French GCSE AQA Mrs J Skitt/Mrs C Smith
Geography GCSE OCR Mrs J Mills
History GCSE AQA Mr M Staunton
Music GCSE EDEXCEL MS J Atherton
Sociology GCSE WJEC Miss Dunne
Spanish GCSE AQA Mrs J Skitt/Mrs C Smith

* Subject courses will only run if there are sufficient numbers.

* If we are unable to offer you the combination of subjects that you wish to study then you will have the opportunity to discuss this with a member of staff.

You will find a detailed explanation of each of the subjects in the curriculum section of this website and in the options booklet which can be downloaded above.

The section below covers some of the most commonly asked questions, click on the plus symbol to expand the section:

At GCSE, English Language, English Literature and Mathematics have changed from September 2015. The courses are much more academically demanding and will be assessed by an examination at the end of year 11 only. More information about individual subjects can be found on the pages that follow. Most other subjects will now change from September 2016. Design and Technology will change for GCSE courses commencing 2017.

The big difference is that these subjects will be awarded numbers, rather than letters and will be graded from 1- 9, with 9 being the highest number grade that you can achieve. This means that when you get your GCSE results you will have a mixture of number grades and if you have chosen a GCSE Technology subject – letter grades.

Students who are considering entry to a top university would be best advised to choose from the E-Bacc subjects. All students, where possible, should do this too, for breadth and balance in their chosen courses.


The EBacc recognises the success of those young people who attain GCSEs across a core of academic subjects – English, mathematics, geography or history, the sciences and a language.

To fulfil the EBacc, a pupil would need grades 9 – 5 in English, mathematics, two sciences, a humanities and a language. To achieve the science element of EBacc, students need to achieve 9 – 5 in Double Award Science or be examined in three of biology, chemistry, physics and computer science and achieve 9 – 5 in two of these subjects.

You will be offered advice through the system of making choices. We offer recommendations using the following information:

  • KS2 average level
  • Progress made in subjects – you will get information on the subjects where most progress has been made
  • Approach to Learning grades

It is recommended that your option choices follow the criteria below:

  Pathway-1 (P1) Pathway-2 (P2) Pathway-3 (P3) Pathway-4 (P4)
Science Recommendation Triple Science Award Triple or Double Science Award Double Science Award Individual discussions, support and guidance will be offered through our SENCO and support team
Recommendation 1 History, Geography or Computer Science History, Geography or Computer Science  
Recommendation 2 MFL


Recommendation 3 1 subject choice*

(including those not chosen above)

2 subject choices*

(including those not chosen above)

3 subject choices*

(including those not chosen above)


*Consideration must be made to breadth and balance of subject choices

You are asked to choose subjects in priority order on the Options Form and to indicate a reserve subject. We reserve the right to discuss alternative subject options such the need arise.

If you want to give your child a helping hand, there are practical ways of supporting them as they make up their mind about the subjects they will study.

  • Encourage them to start thinking about the kind of person they are. What interests them? What do they want to do in the future? For example, are they creative, technically minded or a good support for other people? Talk about how this might affect their choice of subjects and, later on, work.
  • Help them make a list of the subjects they enjoy and those they think would take them in the right direction for the work they want to do.
  • There are many places young people can go to for information and advice. Point your child in the direction of your local Connexions centre and encourage them to speak to teachers and do some research on the internet.
  • Of course, there might be instances when you disagree about what subjects your child should take. Try to listen to the reason they give for choosing a subject, and support their long-term goals. If you are keen for your child to go into a specific kind of work, ask yourself if it is really right for them.

Most employers expect young people in the job market to have qualifications in English and maths.


They will also look for employees who have:

  • studied a range of subjects between the ages of 14 and 16
  • got good grades
  • been enthusiastic about what they have studied.


There are exceptions. If your child is thinking about a scientific or medical profession, for example, they might have to take certain GCSEs to gain access to a particular A-level programme. But in most cases, it’s a good idea for young people to keep their options open and study as broad a range of subjects as possible – subjects they enjoy. This way, they will have more choice when it comes to deciding on courses and jobs in the future.

… not all subjects have to be directly related to work. Pure enjoyment is a good enough reason for choosing to study something.