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Meadowhead School

Meadowhead SchoolAcademy Trust

Y9 Options Questions & Answers

We have put together frequently asked questions from students, regarding the upcoming Y9 Options process.  You can email if you have any further questions.


What should I do if I still don't know what choices I want to make?

Don’t panic. You have until February 21st before you have your interviews with a senior member of staff to make your choices. When you get the courses booklet, take time reading through it. Speak to your teachers to find out about the courses and take your time making the decisions. You can speak to Mrs Evans to get advice on careers and progressions.

What happens if you change your mind. Is there a period when you can drop out and change your subject?

Ideally we want to ensure your decisions have been made by March 4th. There is an opportunity to switch them in the summer term but bear in mind some courses may be full by then. We want to make sure you do as much research as possible on the subjects so you make the decision with confidence. In your lessons, your teachers will give you a flavour of what on the courses.

Do you have to do either geography or history?

You have to study one of them. So, the first decision you need to make is which one? It is possible for you to study both if you have a real interest in the humanities.

Can you switch courses at any point in Year 10/11?

We do not recommend switching courses once you’ve started. It is possible to make a switch early on in year 10 but you would need to catch up on work in the subject you’ve missed. Courses are often full so making a switch would only be done in exceptional circumstances.

Can you do both Dance and Drama?

Yes, so long as the course suits you and you are a confident performer, can work in a group and can work independently on research. Both of these are BTECs so it’s important you are organised and stick to deadlines because you’ll be assessed throughout the course.

When will students be let know if they have been recommended to take a subject. E.g Triple Science or GCSE P.E?

Your teachers will start to have these discussions with you already. In PE, your teacher will go through all the sport –related courses and let you know whether you’d be suitable for GCSE or the BTEC. Science teachers will do the same. The assessment week will give you the opportunity to find out your attainment level. This is not the only way you will be recommended. Your science teachers will use your work in class to judge whether the triple or the combined is best for you.

How is the Art GCSE examined? Exam and coursework?

The art course is assessed on your portfolio work (60%) and an externally set exam (40%). Your portfolio work is based on several projects which you will do throughout the course. The exam is at the end of year 11. You will be given a project to complete in 10 hours in school. Can I do a language that I haven't studied at KS3? You could only do a language you’ve not studied in school if you already speak the language or have had significant knowledge of it. You would not be able to take on a new language from scratch.

What's the difference between GCSE and BTEC Sport?

GCSE you are graded on your practical ability in x3 different sports as well as 60% theory exam taken at the end of yr11. 10% coursework element which is based on designing and taking part in a personal exercise programme. BTEC sport you are not graded on practical ability but you still have practical sport lessons. You learn about the rules and regulations of different sports as well as how to become an effective leader. You have one exam worth 25% and the other three units are assessed as coursework.

Does your NME / final grade affect what sets you will be put in next year?

Not all subjects are setted. Many of the option subjects are mixed. The scores you achieve in year 9 will determine which sets you are in for subjects with sets e.g maths / science

What is the minimum grades you need to take triple science?

Ideally you need to be a level 5+ in science. You’d need to talk to your science teacher about it.

What kind of things do you make in woodwork?

There are two technology courses: Design and Technology and BTEC Construction. Both have practical elements but also contain lots of theory / knowledge. They both have a written exam. Design and Technology – the focus is on design and prototypes leading to careers in architecture / surveyor / graphic design and so forth. Construction – the focus is on the construction industry leading to employment as a joiner / plumber / maintenance engineer / electrician and so forth. For specific details about what you’d make, speak to Mr Massa, Mrs Evans or Mr Hall.

What is the minimum and maximum number of options a student can choose?

There is no maximum or minimum. You all have four choices (one of which has to be history or geography)

When exactly do we choose our options?

You Options interview with a senior leader will be between February 21st and March 4th . This is when you make your choices. When will we know which subjects we can/ can't do together (because of blocks) You will make your choices in February / March at the Options interview. We will then process all of these and create the groups for next year. We can’t guarantee you will get your first choices. For example, if we don’t get enough students for a course, we can’t run it. If we can’t match your choices because of the combination, we will ask you to choose a reserve subject. Last year, we managed to ensure everybody in year 10 got their first choices.

Why can't we drop subjects we're not taking next year in Y9?

The key stage 3 (year7-9) is designed to be three years. Even though there are subjects you will no longer study in year 10 and 11, you are expected to complete the courses and gain important skills and knowledge in a large variety of subjects.

Do you have to take specific subjects to enable you to do certain subjects at A-Level?

For the majority of subjects, yes. For example, you can only take a language at A level if you’ve taken it at GCSE. You will gain vital knowledge and skills at GCSE which lead into the A level or BTEC level 3 courses.

Do you need to be recommended for a subject to be able to take it?

Yes, some subjects have a criteria but most are open to everyone. This is where we have different courses in the same subject. The subjects where we ask for recommendations are: • Triple Science • Languages • Computer Science (maths level 6+) – ask you IT and your maths teacher • GCSE music – already play an instrument or sing to grade 3+ • GCSE Sport – need to perform at a good level practically

Can you explain how a BTEC is different to a GCSE? Is the qualification worth less?

GCSE and BTEC are assessed in different ways. In most GCSE courses you have exams at the end of year 11. You are graded from 1-9. A BTEC is a vocational (work-related) course. These courses combine practical work with subject theory .These are assessed over the two years and you are awarded Level 2 Pass, Merit or Distinction. We run BTEC level 3 courses (A level equivalents) in some subjects in the sixth form. The qualifications are worth the same e.g the top level of a BTEC, a L2 Distinction* is almost equivalent to a level 9. You can go onto KS5 courses via an A level or BTEC route, both will get you to university. Some competitive universities may prefer GCSE subjects because they can be seen as more academic. The most important thing is to choose the courses that suit you and your way of learning.