Most students start secondary school in Year 7 (age 11-12 years) and remain there until they finish their secondary education. But at some secondary schools, students start when they're much older - usually aged 14-15 (Year 10). These are 'atypical admission age' schools – some are listed on the right-hand side of this page. This does not mean that you are required to move from your existing school if this is still the best option for you.
Choosing Options for GCSE in Year 8 or 9
It is not always obvious why the subjects you study at school will be useful to you in the future. For various jobs optional GCSE subjects aren’t expected but passes in core GCSE subjects such as English, maths and sometimes science are frequently required.
Things to Consider When Choosing Options...
You may find that subjects you want to study are not available in your school, or that you are unable to select a combination of preferred subjects.
To study certain courses at college you may need to have already studied the subject at GCSE e.g., modern foreign languages and music. However, colleges offer the opportunity to study familiar and new subjects without prior experience or the requirements to have studied most subjects before. E.g. social sciences (psychology, sociology & criminology), accounting, health and social care, ICT, childcare, drama, engineering, hair, beauty, motor vehicle, animal care and construction.
It Is Easy To Make POOR Option Choices...
Pick subjects just because friends are taking them.
Not doing research - being unclear about what a subject is about and what it will involve.
Choosing a subject just because you like the teacher (teachers leave or change and subjects do get harder).
Choosing subjects because you think you will have a good laugh and would be able to get away with not doing work.
Picking subjects because you feel pressured to choose them, it’s YOUR future and you that has to study the subject for the next 2+ years.
How to Make GOOD Option Choices...
Think about what you are good or talented at?
What do you enjoy and what would you like to do, ask yourself why you want to pick them?
Do subjects fit in with your future career ideas (if you have any)?
Do you know enough about the subjects you are considering, what steps have you taken to find out more? Speak to subject tutors about new subjects and ones you have studied already.
Are there specific subjects you will need to study at GCSE for a future career? E.g. music or modern foreign languages.
Learning style – you may want to consider how you learn best. Do you prefer qualifications that involve theory, coursework, practical, ongoing assessments or exams?
Take advice from others about what you could study, but the final decision is yours.
Other Considerations When Choosing GCSE Options...
Your school attendance, punctuality or attitude. What you do outside of school may influence your ideas, consider your interests and hobbies, any clubs you attend (e.g. Cadets or sports), volunteering or other achievements. Employers, colleges and training providers are interested in young people with additional skills and abilities to compliment academic achievements.
How To Prepare For Making Options Choices...
- Attend events on Choosing Options set up by your school, at these events will be GCSE subject tutors so you and/or your parents/carers can ask questions about the different choices on offer.
- Read options information you receive from your school carefully and be mindful of the closing dates to submit your choices and to whom you should return it.
- Use the tools available on >log on |move on> to explore courses and apprenticeships and improve your knowledge of what is available locally. You can browse Opportunities pages on >log on |move on> by sector, provider, area where you live or qualification level www.logonmoveon.co.uk/courses/opportunities
- Speak to family and friends about what they think you might be good at and why. Talking to someone else can provide new insights on your strengths and weaknesses.
- To find out more about specific careers you can use careers information websites www.nationalcareersservice.co.uk to look up particular jobs, job families or sector areas.
- Finally, talk to the careers leader in your school or a Connexions advisor. Or email >log on |move on> team through our ‘Get In Touch’ facility with any questions: www.logonmoveon.co.uk/contact