Key Stage 4 Options

Key Stage 4 Options

Ground Information for Year 9 2017


Year 10 and Year 11 offers a time for students to study those subjects they wish to choose. The school offers a choice of 3 Option subjects and for some students the possibility of a fourth option. We endeavour to create a timetable that allows most students to have their preferred choice of subjects, however this is not always possible for everyone. There are financial constraints regarding the number of classes we can afford to deliver and where too few students choose a subject, it may not be viable to run. If this is the case we will meet with students to look at alternative options.

Over the last few weeks students’ have received information regarding careers and the options available to them through assemblies, careers advice, mentoring sessions and with subject staff at the Year 9 Parents Evening. We believe it is essential that students identify subjects that they are both passionate about and competent in. Additionally, when deciding their 3 options students should give consideration to how their GCSE choices will lead to a future pathway at A Level, Level 3 BTECs or an Apprenticeship.

As you may be aware from 2017 student performance is being measured against a new set of criteria. No longer will the familiar 5 x A*-C and 5 x A* – C including English and Maths be the key measure. Instead, student’s performance across 8 subjects will be measured, this is known as Attainment 8.

The 8 subjects will consist of: English and Maths (both are double weighted), 3 further subjects from Science (double or triple), a Modern Foreign Language, History or Geography, and 3 other high-value qualifications. This final group can include further traditional academic subjects, subjects such as Art, Music, Drama, Physical Education, Technology, Business Studies and vocational subjects such as Child Development.

This You Tube link is a good explanation:

At The Ridgeway, our Year 10 curriculum requires that ALL students study English, Maths and Science.     We expect those students who can readily achieve a grade 5 or above in Languages to study it, as it is our strong belief that many students will in their future lives be working for global companies and in many cases spend periods working abroad. Studying a language will allow students to compete in the international job market and give them the basics for learning elements of a new language and understanding other cultures.

The English Baccalaureate was introduced as a performance measure in the 2010 performance tables. It is not a qualification in itself. The measure recognises where students have secured a 5/C grade or better across a core of academic subjects – English, Mathematics, the sciences a language and History or Geography. Parents of students intending to go on to university might like to read the Russell Group booklet on the importance of EBacc or ‘facilitating’ subjects at   The EBacc is not for all and actually could be a real barrier to progress and enjoyment of learning for many.

Parents should also be aware of significant changes in courses at GCSE and BTEC. GCSE no longer involves modular examinations at different stages of the course – all exams are at the end of Year 11. BTECs are still made up of six units but two of these are now examined – success in the new BTEC requires a Merit standard performance in the four units for students who do not do too well in examinations.





Summary: School League Tables in 2017 will report on 4 key measures:

  • Pupils’ actual progress (results) across 8 subjects compared to their expected progress. So, a parent will see whether pupils at a school typically achieve 1 grade more than expected, or 1 grade less. A pupils’ key stage 2 results achieved at the end of primary school, will be used to set a reasonable expectation of what they should achieve at GCSE. Schools will get credit where pupils outperform these expectations. A child who gets an A when they are expected to get a B, or a D when they were expected to get an E, will score points for their school.
  • The average grade a pupil achieves in these same ‘best 8’ subjects: This will show, for example, that pupils in a particular school, average a high B or a low D grade in their GCSEs.
  • The percentage of pupils achieving a C grade in English and Maths.
  • The proportion of pupils gaining the Ebacc.

Reformed GCSEs

  • Will be more demanding
  • Have been designed for a two-year period of study
  • Will be linear, so students will take all of their exams at the end of the course
  • Non-exam assessment will be removed or reduced in the majority of GCSEs
  • Will have a new grading scale from 9 to 1

GCSE changes in detail:

AS and A Level changes in detail:

and the subjects that will disappear:

Please discuss the options available to your son/daughter. If you require any additional information or further support in deciding on their choices please do not hesitate to contact their teachers or email Mrs R Harper, Raising Standards Leader

Best wishes

James Povoas – Principal


Click image to download Option Booklet

To download Year 9 Options Triple Science Pathway form please click here⇓

To download Year 9 Options Combined Science Pathway form please click here⇓


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