Welcome to the WBCA Options Site. This page contains key information to support you with choosing the subjects to study in Years 10 and 11.
The Options process will begin with the theme ‘Careers’ within L4L lessons. Within this theme we have tried to introduce students to a range of information to help develop an understanding of the future pathways available to them at 16, 18 and in their future career.
You will now have to make the first major choices to put you on that path. You will need to choose four subjects to study and there will be a number of subjects that you will no longer study from the start of Year 10. Subjects taken at this stage of your education can restrict the options that you will have available to you when you are looking to take Post-16 courses.
This section is designed to be used with the Options booklet and the Options Site on the Student Portal where you can find information on every subject. Please take time to look at the information that different departments have provided. These will give you some insight into what the course looks like, how it is assessed and what it can lead to in later education.
On Thursday 9th March 2023, in addition to this handbook and the Options site, you will receive an interview with a member of staff at Head of Department level or higher. They are here to guide you through the process, answer questions about specific courses or qualifications, talk to you about your career goals and ambitions and to help you to decide which subjects you are likely to be most successful in. If you are unable to attend the interview you will be offered an alternative date or a phone call
Following the interview, you will submit your Options choices by Friday 24th March 2023.
Additional Guidance for Students and Families
Experience shows that when students play to their strengths, they succeed. Because of this, some subjects have entry requirements. You may also be restricted from some subjects in which you have not demonstrated a required minimum skill level, since starting at the Academy in Year 7. Examples of these subjects include Computer Science and Separate Sciences.
The Department for Education have created a measure called Progress 8, to judge schools and students based on your attainment level when you start at the Academy.
We use this measure to develop a target grade for students and make sure that target is stretching. It should be noted that this is not your destiny, targets can be raised. It will take dedication and hard work to reach your target and how hard you study will be the determining factor at GCSE.
In the information provided on the sheet alongside this booklet, you will see your target grade. These are based on government predictions and whether staff think that you are performing in a way which is above, below or at this standard. For academic subjects, these targets are based on the 9-1 methodology which has replaced the old A*-G grading system in the last few years. Please seek guidance from staff if you would like the 9-1 system to be explained to you. You have also been assessed on your progress against competencies in Literacy for Life.
Departments will have different ways of determining if students are currently on track to achieve these grades, based on test data, classwork, end of year examinations and staff professional judgement.
Some students who have a low English and/or Mathematics level and are
not performing well in relation to already-low targets in a number of subjects, may be asked to consider specific programmes which will allow them the best chance to be successful.
Further discussions have taken place with Heads of Department, the Special Educational Needs department, the L4L team and senior staff to determine if this guidance is necessary. Students will be supported with their choices if they are in this group.
The Key Stage 4 Curriculum
Curriculum Compulsory Qualifications
The following qualifications are compulsory, and all students will take
them as part of their KS4 curriculum.
A minimum of Combined Science
No matter which subjects you take, you should gain the equivalent of five GCSE grades purely from the core offering. You also have an hour of non-examined Physical Education and PSHE, Citizenship and RE in Form Time Sessions.
‘Core time’ will take up around 15 hours per week.
Students are set by ability in Mathematics, English and Science; PE is taught in mixed ability groups.
Tiers of Entry
Some subjects have one tier of entry, others have Higher and Foundation Tiers.
Please note that teaching staff will decide on the most appropriate tier or entry and this does not form part of the choices that students make.
The English Baccalaureate
The English Baccalaureate comprises the core subjects above of English
Language and Literature, Mathematics and at least Combined Science. In
addition, students must study one of Geography or History and a language, this will be German for most students.
The Government aims to have 75% of all students studying the English Baccalaureate this year, rising to 95% in 2024. This is to encourage students to have a strong academic base and because it may be an advantage when applying to some universities. The English Baccalaureate also gives a good spread of subjects to ensure students do not lock off career paths too early.
Most of our students will be entered for the English Baccalaureate which means they will study History OR Georgraphy AND German (or a community language).
Options and Careers
It is important to think carefully about the career field that you are considering entering when you are older. If you had to choose three A level qualifications to study tomorrow, what would they be? Are they available as options you can take today? If they are, then it may well be worth considering them as your options.
Consider carefully what you are talented in. What is your best subject? Often the subject that you are best at is the one that you will enjoy the most.
It is important to consider which subjects you can get the best grades in; it is also important to consider if any subjects have a coursework element so you can bank some of the qualifications before the final examinations.
There are a number of subjects that you have not studied before. If you are considering one of those subjects, then check the website carefully. Consider talking to staff if you are unsure.
- VISIT the options website and look carefully over each subject.
- ASK subject teachers, your L4L teacher or Heads of Department if there is anything you are not sure about or if you would like more information.
- THINK about all the subjects open to you.
- THINK carefully about your possible educational and career future.
- TALK about your ideas and choices with your parents/carers.
- TALK about subjects you are choosing with teachers of that subject.
- CHECK you are definite about your choices before sending in your final form.
- MAKE SURE that if you want to do a subject and are unsure of whether you meet the entry requirements you see the Head of Department and get them to agree.
- DON’T choose a subject simply because your friends are choosing it. Their needs may be totally different from yours and you probably will not be in the same teaching group anyway.
- DON’T choose a subject just because you like the teacher; you may have a different teacher next year.
- DON’T choose a subject just because it is new or because it sounds glamorous. Check it out carefully.