Published on - 22-04-2021
In order to provide students and parents with as much guidance and support as possible in the process, we offer three distinct pathways for students to follow. These are recommended, but not compulsory, pathways and provide the flexibility to design a curriculum package for each student which is tailored to their needs, abilities and potential. We make the individual pathway recommendation for each student based on our in-depth knowledge of them as learners, using current progress and attitude to learning grades, in addition to prior attainment data from primary school.
All pathways offer students an element of choice when selecting specialism subjects. It is important that students consider these specialism subjects carefully with a view to future educational and career aspirations, as well as their own individual strengths. Parental and school guidance in this process is invaluable in supporting them to make choices which will allow them to thrive and develop their passion for learning.
The EBacc pathway meets the criteria of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) which is a government measure of success for student learning. It is the title given to the group of subjects (English, Maths, Science, French, Spanish, History and Geography) that support a traditionally academic educational pathway. To follow this pathway, students must study at least one Modern Foreign Language and History and/or Geography alongside the existing core subjects of English, Maths and Science to GCSE level.
Open Options Pathway
We recognise that the academic demands of the EBacc pathway may not be suitable for all. The Open Options pathway removes the requirement for students who follow it to study a Modern Foreign Language. This provides further flexibility in the range of additional specialism subjects that students may choose.
For both the Ebacc and Open Options pathways, students may additionally be invited to study Triple Science which would take up one of their specialism options. Students will only be invited to follow the Triple Science pathway if the school is confident that their prior performance will allow them to access the course and if they are likely to consider continuing to study a Science at Level 3 (A Level).
Some students will be invited to follow the Access pathway. This pathway has been designed to support students’ learning needs. In addition to English, Maths, Science and MFL, History or Geography, students will make two further specialism subject choices (which include GCSE and GCSE-equivalent vocational courses). The remaining option block will be ‘Curriculum Access’ time, supporting students in developing their literacy and numeracy skills (through the study of Functional Skills and Entry Level Certificate respectively) and employability skills (through the Prince's Trust Personal Development and Employability Skills Award). Further details about this qualification will follow as students approach the end of Year 9.
The Guided Choices Process and Timescale
In the Spring term of Year 8, students are shown the Guided Choices booklets that the current Year 9s received to enable them to start thinking about what they might be interested in studying at Key Stage 4. Initial preferences for specialism subject choices are requested from Year 8 students. These subject choices are, of course, not binding, but help the school with curriculum and timetabling planning, to ensure that specialism subjects are arranged in option blocks which best accommodate students’ indicated preferences.
Students will be given an explanatory letter, pathway form and Guided Choices booklet to take home and discuss with their parents/carers over the Easter holidays prior to the Parents' Evening straight after the holidays. The curriculum also allows for GCSE 'taster' sessions in the Spring term in each faculty area to help students make more informed decisions about their Guided Choices.