Choosing Key Stage 4 options
Year 9 students choose their options by following the steps below:
- Watch the options process video
- Read the options booklet
- Watch the subject information videos
- Ask questions
- Complete and submit the options form
Read on for more information...
1. Watch the options process video
In this video, Mr Dalrymple will explain the process to follow in order to choose the subjects to be studied in Years 10 and 11.
Hello and welcome
My name is Mr Dalrymple, assistant headteacher here at Silverdale.
This video is for Year 9 students and their parents or carers, offering information and guidance on the key stage 4 options process.
If you would like this information in another language, the transcript is available on the website and can be translated.
This is a very exciting time for Year 9 students: for the first time in their educational careers, they have choice over what they study. Of course, this may also be daunting for students and their parents: so many subjects to choose from, so many important decisions, so many factors to consider. By the end of this video, you should know the choices you have to make, what to think about when making choices and know where you can find information to help you with the choices in front of you.
Let’s start by having a look at the form you fill in to choose your options. Students will receive a copy of the form, there is a copy in the key stage 4 options booklet and students can request fresh copies from the key stage 3 office.
The first side of the form guides you through each stage of the options process and the choices you have to make at each of those stages.
The first part of your curriculum is already decided for you. All students study GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths and study core PE. You can see how many GCSEs you will attain and how many lessons you will have of each subject per fortnight.
The next section contains within it your first decision. Students are invited to choose between triple science OR combined science AND geography OR history. For those wishing to pick triple science, please take note of the entry requirements which are detailed in the options booklet. Those students opting for combined science must also pick between history and geography. All students, even those opting for triple science, will record their preference between history and geography on the form.
The next part of the form invites students to choose between French or Spanish or hospitality and catering or imedia. We expect that most students will opt to study a language at key stage 4. There are a small number of students for whom studying a language may not be appropriate. These students have been identified by the SEN and MFL teams and will receive priority for the places on hospitality and catering and imedia.
The final section of the options form is where the choices for students really open up. There are wonderful opportunities to pursue their interests or ambitions in a range of subjects which will be familiar to you from key stage 3, and some subjects which will be entirely new. Students are invited to choose four subjects in order of preference. From this list of four, they will study two subjects. Think carefully about the order you place these subjects, placing the course you want to study most at the top of your list. Please also remember that if you’ve put a subject on that list of four, there’s a very good chance you will be placed on it so pick carefully. First preferences will be accommodated wherever possible but a course will only run if the number of students opting for that course makes it viable.
Now let’s think about the information and support students can access to help them make the best possible choices. Their first port of call should be the options booklet, provided to students in form time and available on the key stage 4 page of our website, which contains the options form, more general information about choosing sensibly and information about each subject on offer at Key Stage 4.
Alongside this booklet, students and their parents or guardians should try to watch the subject videos also available on the website to help them to make informed choices.
Every student will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas about their options with a senior member of staff. Students will receive further guidance in assemblies and form time which will help them to make informed choices.
Finally, a message to students. Here are my thoughts on the factors that should affect your decisions. In making these choices, I want you to think about your interests, your skills and talents, or your career plans. For example, some students may find that the assessment methods of some courses are more suited to their learning styles than others – details of these are available in the options booklet. You should avoid taking into consideration what your friends are doing, which teachers you like or choosing a subject simply because it’s new.
If students or their parents or guardians still have questions, there are a list of frequently asked questions on the website. If your query is not covered by these, this video, the booklet or the subject videos, please fill in the form on the options page of the website and your question will be directed to the person best placed to answer it.
Thank you for taking the time to watch this video – good luck and enjoy choosing your options.
2. Read the options booklet
Year 9 students have received a copy of the Options Booklet, giving them information about the subjects available for study in Years 10 and 11, the options process and where to go for advice. This booklet can also be read here and downloaded below:
Alternatively, click here to download a pdf of the booklet.
3. Watch the subject information videos
These videos will give you more detail about the subjects available for study in Years 10 and 11. Students can use them, together with information they receive in assemblies and in class to guide their choices.
videos about core subjects
videos about optional subjects
art and design (fine art)
food preparation and nutrition
health and social care
hospitality and catering
modern foreign languages
Religious education (R.E.) / philosophy
4. Ask questions
The answers to frequently asked questions are given below.
What are the key dates in the process?
- From Wednesday 4 January: options assembly, subjects advertised in lessons, in-school guidance.
- Thursday 5 January: options booklet distributed to students, information available at www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/ks4options.
- Monday 9 January: options form distributed to students.
- Throughout January: student guidance interviews.
- Monday 20 February: options forms to be handed in to Key Stage 3 Office.
- June/July: students notified of options decisions.
- September: students start their key stage 4 courses.
What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?
Students may wish to study a suite of qualifications called the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – namely GCSEs in maths, English, science, (computer science counts as one of the science subjects), a language and a humanity (either history or geography). Students entered for a GCSE language must take either history or geography or both, in order to achieve the EBacc.
By studying the EBacc suite of qualifications our students have a wide range of options available to them at both post-16 and degree level.
What careers information is available for students?
- visit the Careers Library / Library.
- use Unifrog (an award winning online careers platform). Log on details have been sent to Year 9 students via their school email address.
- Speak with subject staff and their form tutor.
- Visit the following websites:
- UCAS (for information in possible careers): www.ucas.com/explore/career-list
- Informed Choices (for information on university options): www.informedchoices.ac.uk
If you still have queries, please let us know by completing the online form.
5. Submit the options form
The hard copy options form will be handed to all Year 9 students on Monday 9 January. It is also available to download here:
This should be completed and returned to the Key Stage 3 Office by Monday 20 February 2023 (the first day back after the half-term holiday).