sandbach high school

Year 9 Options

Options Videos

Here at Sandbach High School we believe that all students should have a broad and ambitious curriculum. The Year 10 Programme of Study is divided into core subjects and optional subjects.

When students make their choices it is important to try to ensure you will be following a balanced curriculum. Your possible career intentions may well influence your choices. The compulsory subjects are:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • French or Spanish (your main language studied in Years 7-9)
  • Combined Science or Physics, Chemistry & Biology

Non-examination courses in:

  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education
  • Careers

Options Subjects

Option subjects are the subjects that a Year 9 student will choose to study in Key stage 4.

Students will have three options choices that are broken into two categories:

  • One Ebacc subject choice (History, Geography, Computer Science, Triple Science, German)
  • Two free choices from a range of GCSE and Vocational courses. The free choices can include additional Ebacc subjects if the student wanted to.

Types of qualification

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

These are academic qualifications that lead on to A levels and are mainly assessed through exams.

Subjects may also include NEAs (Non-Examined Assessments).

Practical subjects such as Dance, Drama, Music, PE, Art, Photography, D&T will also include practical assessments as part of the course.

Vocational Subjects (BTECs, Cambridge Nationals, WJEC Award)

These are subjects that are linked to work based learning. These courses are generally include higher portions of coursework, alongside smaller weighted exams. 

A student will learn knowledge and skills that are directly linked to jobs and careers. These subjects lead to vocational courses at Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form).

Ebacc (English Baccalaureate)

The English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) is a set of subjects at GCSE that keeps young people’s options open for further study and future careers. The subject combination includes:

  • English language and literature
  • Maths
  • The sciences
  • A language
  • Geography or history

Why consider completing the Ebacc?

Information sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/english-baccalaureate-ebacc/english-baccalaureate-ebacc 

The EBacc is made up of the subjects which are considered essential to many degrees and open up lots of doors.

A study by the UCL Institute of Education shows that studying subjects included in the EBacc provides students with greater opportunities in further education and increases the likelihood that a pupil will stay on in full-time education.

Sutton Trust research reveals that studying the EBacc can help improve a young person’s performance in English (literacy) and maths (numeracy).

Do our students have to complete the Ebacc?

Our students do not have to complete the Ebacc. They do however have to choose an Ebacc subject as one their first option:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Computer Science
  • Triple Science
  • German

What does a student need to do if they would like to study the Ebacc?

To complete the Ebacc, a student would have to opt for either History or Geography. The rest is part of our core curriculum.

Year 9 Options Process

Assemblies and PHSCE Programme

The Year 9 Options programme includes a range of assemblies and PHSCE sessions that include:

  • An introduction to the Options Programme
  • Careers advices with our careers advisor.
  • Specialist talks for subjects they have not yet experienced. These include our technology subjects and our vocational subjects.
  • Students will use our online careers tool (Kudos) and research possible careers and further study pathways.

Form and Lessons

Students will also complete our future choices program which is a range form time activities looking at careers.

Subject teachers will also inform students of the courses available in their subject area on the lead up to the year 9 Options Evening.

Year 9 Options Evening

The Year 9 Options Evening for both parents/carers and students to get all information they need to make informed choices.

The event includes:

  • Talks in the main hall with Mr Williams to explain the options process. 
  • Every subject for KS4 will have rooms to visit and speak to members of staff. 

Staff can explain in more detail the courses, offer guidance and answer any questions.

Free Choice System

We use a “Free Choice” system where students can choose any subjects and the options pools are built on these choices. The system works on “best fit” where the combination. Please note that:

  • We cannot guarantee all courses will run. 
  • We cannot guarantee a students choices will fit with the pools.
  • You will choose a reserve just in case you options don’t fit into the pools.

Changing Options

Once a student has chosen their initial options, they will be locked until the option pools are build.

There who opportunities to change options:

  • There will be a window once the timetable has been completed for the next academic year. This is usually in the final half term.
  • There is a two week window at the beginning of Year 10 for students to change options. Once this window has been closed, no options changes are permitted.

Students are not guaranteed any options change:

  • Once the options pools are made (based on all students original choices), the combination may not be available.
  • Classes can fill up and you may not be able to move into certain subject areas.
  • Students will require an interview with a member of SLT to authorise the change. If we believe a student is making the change for the wrong reason, the change may be rejected.

Options - Key Dates

Options Evening - Thursday 15th February 2024 - 4.00pm - 7.00pm

Final Year 9 Assembly - Friday 16th February

Options forms distributed online - Friday 16th February

Forms returned - Friday 1st March 2024

Key Documents 2022