INTRODUCTION

Students in Year 9 make choices about the curriculum they will study in Years 10 and 11. These choices are important to enable students to progress onto post 16 education at 6th forms, colleges or to apprenticeships. All children must stay in some form of education or training until they are 18 by law. Students should also consider what they might want to do beyond post 16 education such as further education and possible career choices.

This article will hopefully promote thinking about your future and help you make the right option choices for you.

CORE CURRICULUM

As a reminder, all students at Paulet study English Language, English Literature, mathematics and the combined double award sciences at GCSE level. This totals 5 GCSEs.

Your curriculum also contains core PE and ethics and philosophy (religious studies.) These are studies 1 hour per week each but you will not gain a qualification from these subjects. 

Finally PSHE (Personal, social, health and economic education), citizenship and SRE (Sex and relationships education) are studied through form time, assemblies and across the curriculum where appropriate.

Students then choose 3 subjects from an extensive range of GCSE and vocational qualifications.

Students in the top 2 maths sets have the opportunity to study statistics as an extra GCSE within the maths curriculum time.

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES

  • Doing well is important -There is no downside to good grades! So think about which subjects you will likely be successful in when making your choices.
  • Doing what you will enjoy is also important – you need to be motivated to study your choices for at least 2 years.
  • Think about what you might want to do in Post 16 education and beyond. This may guide some of your choices.
  • Choose a balanced curriculum – a range of subjects will develop a wide range of skills and knowledge.
  • There are no wrong choices, you can make a success of your life no matter which qualifications you choose to study. 
  • Having the right amount of academic challenge is an important consideration. You will need to consider the blend of academic, creative and vocational courses you want to study.  All the qualifications we offer are equally valued, but some courses are 100% examination, some have coursework and some practical elements. 

FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE

At Paulet we encourage students to follow 1 of 2 routes when making their choices to find the right balance between academic, creative and vocational courses for them.

Route 1 is to achieve the Ebacc.  The Ebacc is not a qualification in itself but gaining qualifications in English, maths, science, a language (French or Spanish) and a humanity (geography or history.) By achieving the Ebacc you automatically have a rigorous academic curriculum which is recommended for students wanting to follow an academic route, possibly going on to study A Levels and then onto university.

We suggest that the students that follow the Ebacc route use their 3rd choice to study a creative or vocational course. 

An alternative to studying the Ebacc would be to study triple science and one other Ebacc subject to provide further academic challenge. 

Some students may even study the Ebacc and triple science though you should think carefully about the number of exams this will entail and the lack of a creative or vocational subject.

Further reading about the Ebacc and why you should consider taking a language and humanity can be accessed in the links below:

What the Department of Education says about the ebacc

Article by The Good Uni Guide Website

Why study a language other than we get great results in French and Spanish!

The website below is a tool from the Russell group of universities about making the right choices. It tells you what you should study to access different degree courses by subject type.  The Russell group is a group of 24 top universities including Oxford, Cambridge, York, Imperial College London, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham Nottingham and Warwick to name a few. 

Russell group of University advice on making choices

Route 2 is the non ebacc route. This route gives students a little more flexibility to choose fewer academic qualifications and 1 more creative or vocational option. Students that follow this route must choose either French, Spanish, history or geography. They then have 2 choices to choose other courses that they are interested in.

Creative courses in the arts offer skills that academic qualifications do not. As well as different assessment methods such as including coursework, the skills you will gain from these courses will be different to the ones gained in the Ebacc courses. I would encourage you to read the article on the link below before choosing your options.

Why study the arts?

Vocational learning is also an enticing proposition. Vocational qualifications are for all abilities of student who have an interest in a particular profession. The 2 articles below detail the benefits of the vocational route and how vocational qualifications have become increasing popular as an entry route to universities. It should be noted though that some universities require certain A Levels only to be studied but nearly 40% of university entrants used a vocational qualification to achieve the entry requirements for their university course in 2020

The Vocational Route

Vocational qualifications and university admissions

UCAS guide to admissions using vocational qualifications.

RESEARCHING CAREERS AND FURTHER EDUCATION

Now is the time to be investigating careers and university entry requirements. The best tool to research university courses and entry requirements is the UCAS website. You can look into what you will need to study and what grades you will need to achieve to get on different courses. UCAS

The National Careers Service website is a great tool for researching over 800 careers and accessing careers advice.