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Year 9 Options

Overview of the curriculum offer

Welcome to the 2024 options process for year 9. This is always an exciting and important time for students as they make decisions about the subjects they wish to study for the next two years, and often beyond. At John Cabot Academy, we actively seek to provide the breadth and choice that students desire, within a framework of educational balance, to enable our students to achieve the best possible range of qualifications in meeting their future aspirations. Students should follow the route that is best for them, and all will be given appropriate careers advice to help them make the right choice.

All students in years 10 and 11 follow a core curriculum which consists of English language, English literature, maths, combined science (two GCSEs but all three sciences studied), physical education (core PE) and personal education (PSHE).

Students can then choose four additional subjects to study, as outlined in this booklet. This means that students study nine subjects in total. They should choose carefully, considering aptitude, enjoyment and future job or course requirements.

University pathway

For students whose aim it is to apply to university, especially for competitive courses, our advice is to study both Spanish and at least history, geography or computer science. Having a modern foreign language shows universities that students have an aptitude for communication. Language skills can give a significant advantage to students as well as giving them links to another culture.

Science – separate or combined?

Students who are keen to pursue the study of science in more depth can also choose to study separate sciences – which would be one of their four option choices. The key difference from combined science (two GCSEs) is that they gain three GCSEs – one in each science and so this takes more curriculum time across the week. If your child is in doubt about whether this would be the right route for them, they should speak to their science teacher.

Advice and guidance

Helping students make the best choice for their future plans is an important aspect of the process. Throughout terms 3 and 4, all year 9 students will have access to a range of opportunities to guide their decisions including tutor discussions, assemblies, tutor-time taster sessions they can sign up to and individual or small group meetings to help them in deciding the most appropriate courses to study. Throughout year 9, they will also have the opportunity to meet with our career advisor to discuss their future aspirations and to start to consider what their next steps might be.

Parents and carers evening

On Wednesday the 17th of January, the parent/carer evening will also provide a useful overview of the process and will give you a chance to ask questions both of myself and of your child’s teachers. There will be a talk at 16:00, repeated at 17:00, to go through the process in more detail. Ms Williams, our careers adviser, will also be available to answer questions.

Getting subject choices

We anticipate being able to meet the needs of the vast majority of our students’ first or second choices. However, we do reserve the right to make the final decision on choice, depending on timetable and staffing constraints or should low numbers preclude us from running a particular course. We will keep you fully informed of any changes.

Finally, please remember that it is the quality of outcomes and enjoyment of the subject that really matter. The aim of education remains to provide the necessary knowledge and skills that young people need for the future, whilst encouraging them to be lifelong learners.

If you have any questions or concerns about the options process, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] with year 9 options in the subject line.

Many thanks Kate Searle

Assistant Principal for Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Please find all the information you will need to support your child in making their option choices for their GCSE courses.

Options Booklet

Career Pilot Support for Options

Options Presentation

This has detailed information about all of the subjects on offer at JCA and an overview of the option blocks and key deadlines.