Year 9 GCSE Options Process and Parents Evening

Dear Parents

As you are aware, your Year 9 child will be choosing the option subjects they would like to study at GCSE level next school year. We understand how vitally important these decisions are, and I am writing to outline the support available throughout the options process.

You are invited to an online Parents Evening on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, 4.00pm–8.00pm. During the evening you will have the opportunity to discuss your child’s current progress and possible option choices with their class teachers. There will also be an opportunity to make an appointment to talk to other subject representatives, should you wish to discuss potential option choice subjects further.  The year group team will be available for appointments throughout the evening.

The school has introduced a new, easy to use online appointment booking system. This allows you to choose your own appointment times with teachers, and you will receive an email confirming your appointments. Attending the appointments online, via a phone, tablet or laptop is also very straightforward (Video Appointments: Parents – How to attend appointments over video call).

In support of the Year 9 Options process, we have held an online assembly to outline the procedure to all students. This assembly is available to watch online and can be accessed via the live broadcast link your child has been emailed.

Students have been shown subject information through our ‘Futures Thursday’ initiative, and online videos, subject roadmaps and course outlines are available to support option choice decisions on the school’s VLE . If you require any support with this please contact Mrs Hill, our Careers Lead, by email at thill@williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk.

Option Choice Form Process

There is a wealth of information on the school’s website (Curriculum> KS4 Options) and I encourage you to take the time to digest the information and book an appointment for the parents evening to support the option choice process. Please take time to read the information on the options form to ensure the details are completed accurately. Click here to access the Option Choice Form.

When completing the options form please ensure you have taken into consideration the following:

We strongly recommend that students aim to achieve the English Baccalaureate through studying a language and a humanity (Geography or History).

Why study the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)? The EBacc is made up of the subjects which are considered essential to many degrees and open up lots of doors. A study by the UCL Institute of Education shows that studying subjects included in the EBacc provides students with greater opportunities in further education and increases the likelihood that a pupil will stay on in full-time education. Sutton Trust research reveals that studying the EBacc helps improve a young person’s performance in English and Maths.

  • If a student decides not to study subjects to achieve the EBacc then they must take one of the compulsory subjects as one of their three choices (History, Geography, French, Spanish or Computer Science).
  • You are unable to choose Design Engineering and Product Design as a combination, as they are the same course but with a different bias.
  • Please ensure the name and form sections of the form are completed accurately.
  • All students must provide two reserve subjects, different from their first choices, in the event that some courses may not run due to a lack of numbers and financial viability.
  • Any additional information or things to note can be added in the notes box at the bottom of the page.

The deadline for submission is Friday, 19 March 2021. Forms can be completed online via the VLE or returned to the main office in school.

Finally, you will receive a letter in the summer term confirming your child’s option choices. Please be aware that courses are subject to change due to exam board amendments and lack of sufficient numbers. If this happens, a further conversation will take place to support alternative option choices.

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to email me, kpigdon@williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk, Miss Mulholland, vmulholland@williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk,or Mrs Wood, rwood@williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk.

Yours sincerely
Ms Pigdon
Deputy Headteacher

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