The Ridgeway School & Sixth Form College Learning & Education

Key Stage 4 Options

Year 10 and year 11 offers an opportunity for students to study those subjects they wish to choose. The school offers a choice of three 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.

Students receive information regarding careers and the options available to them through assemblies, careers advice, mentoring sessions, and with subject staff at year 9 parents evenings. We believe it is essential that students identify subjects that they are both passionate about and competent in. Additionally, when deciding their three options, students should give consideration to how their GCSE/BTEC/Cambridge National choices will lead to a future pathway at A-level, Level 3 BTEC, or in an apprenticeship.

All GCSE subjects will be graded 9 – 1, replacing A* to G grades. As you may be aware, since 2017 student performance is being measured against a new set of criteria. No longer will the familiar 5 x A*-C including English and maths be the key measure. Instead, students’ performance across eight subjects will be measured. This is known as Attainment 8.


  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Core PE

Choice of One

  • Computer Science
  • Geography
  • History
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

Choose Two of the Following

  • Art OR Textiles
  • French
  • Engineering
  • Music
  • German
  • Computer science
  • Drama
  • Spanish
  • 3D Design
  • Graphic Design
  • History
  • GCSE PE or Sports Studies
  • Child Development
  • Geography
  • Hospitality & Catering
  • Media
  • Religious Studies
  • Business or Economics or Enterprise & Marketing

At The Ridgeway School, 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 a modern foreign language 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 grade or better across a core of academic subjects – English, mathematics, the sciences, a language, and either history or geography. Parents of students intending to go on to university might like to read the Russell Group guidance on making informed choices.

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 now at the end of year 11. BTECs are still made up of units with some external examination, and success in the new BTEC requires a Merit-standard performance in the four units for students who do not do too well in examinations.

Reformed GCSEs

  • Are more demanding.
  • Are linear, so students take all of their exams at the end of the course.
  • Non-exam assessment has been removed or reduced in the majority of GCSEs.
  • Have a new grading scale from 9 to 1.

Please discuss the options available to your son or 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, at [email protected]. You can also download our year 9 options book by clicking the button below.

Best wishes,

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