GCSE Choices 2023-25
GCSE Options Booklet
The GCSE Choices Booklet can be found by clicking here.
GCSE Choices Evening Presentation
The Year 9 GCSE Choices Evening was held on Thursday 9 March 2023 at 6.00pm. The presentation is available here.
We aim to provide a broad spectrum of subjects at GCSE Level so that students follow the programme of study best suited to their interests, talents and aspirations. The information provided here should be used in conjunction with the on-going programme of advice.
In addition to this page, information is contained in the GCSE booklet. In addition the Focus Day on Tuesday 21 February will provide students with further information and access to example lessons for subjects not currently on the Year 9 curriculum.
At Highworth we feel that students benefit from a range of courses taught to the highest level by outstanding teachers and this will never change. We feel that our range of courses provides students with the broad high quality academic background which is required to be successful in later life.
To this end, all students will follow the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) group of subjects with a “core” curriculum of English, English Literature, Mathematics, Sciences and Religious Education. In addition students will need to choose a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) and either History or Geography.
Students will then be able to choose two other subjects from the options available.
We will try to give first choices, though this may not be possible in every case. We therefore ask that a reserve subject be nominated in case the initial choice is unavailable.
Compulsory Core Subjects
English Language and English Literature
Mathematics including Further Maths (for some)
PE (Non Exam)
Modern Foreign Language
Geography or History
One choice must be either History or Geography but it is possible to take both.
Two other subjects such as:
Food Preparation and Nutrition
Design and Technology
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I take both History and Geography?
A: Yes. Choose one as the compulsory Humanity subject and then choose the other as an option.
Q: I don’t know what I want to do as a career. What do I do?
A: Speak with careers advisers, teachers and parents. Do some research - try www.unifrog.com. Choose a broad and balanced set of choices to keep your options open rather than, choosing all practical subjects, for example.
Q: What happens if sets are over-subscribed?
A: This can happen and there are no easy solutions. We cannot simply create more sets as we do not have the staff or rooms to do so. It is for this reason that each student is asked to include a reserve subject on the curriculum form. The vast majority of students will get their first choice options and where set sizes preclude the first choice, you will be able to take your reserve.
Q: What if only small numbers of students opt for a particular subject?
A: The school reserves the right to remove a subject from the curriculum if the set size is not viable but this rarely happens.
Q: I am keen on a career in medicine/dentistry/pharmacy. What should I do?
A: Students will need to achieve outstanding results in Biology, Chemistry and Physics to gain places at university for these competitive courses. You will need to target Grades 8/9 to have a realistic chance of success.
Q: I have heard about Further Maths, do I have to do Further Maths GCSE?
A: Within Maths, the courses are differentiated for the prior attainment of the groups. At Key Stage 4 we move into more classes resulting in smaller class sizes and allowing us to tailor the course to suit the students. Hence, the top two sets will follow GCSE Maths and Further Maths; the remaining sets will follow GCSE Maths.
Q: I understand English is set at KS4. How does this work?
A: The majority of students are taught in mixed ability classes with differentiated lessons to support them in fulfilling their potential. However, students with an outstanding record of attainment at Key Stage 3 are allocated to one of two fast paced sets at Key Stage 4, allowing students with exceptionally high ability to work more swiftly through the syllabus at a sustained level of sophistication and complexity.
Q: Do we get graded on our coursework?
A: Yes. Although there is a general trend to remove coursework from GCSEs, you will still be required to complete some coursework and it will count towards the GCSE.
Q: Once I have chosen a subject, what happens if I don’t enjoy it? Can I change?
A: Any change to your subjects is clearly a big step particularly when trying to catch up on missed work. Any changes to subject choices are taken on a case by case basis and are very carefully considered.
Q: I still have questions. Whom can I contact?
A: Speak with your teachers, Tutor/Mentor, Director of Learning, parents and Careers Advisers. They can all offer help and advice. Older students may also be able to help you. Remember it is ultimately your decision; you have to feel happy and comfortable with the choices. The most important thing is to choose a subject that you will enjoy over a two year course and be successful with.
The following information from CXK may be of use.
Q: How do I make my choices?
A: Full details about how you make your choices will be provided in the GCSE booklet which will be given to you during the Y9 Focus Day. For now, start to think about what you might like to take.
Q: What if I change my mind?
A: Once you have made your choices, if you change your mind, please contact Mr Dodd (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly. Please note that any changes need to be made before the end of Year 9.