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Q: What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?
A. The EBacc is not a qualification in itself. It is a particular group of GCSE subjects looked on favourably by universities. The subjects are English, maths, science (including computer science), history or geography and a modern foreign language. You do not need to have studied all these subjects to go to university but having your GCSE mix steered towards the English Baccalaureate will help keep options open.
Q: What is a BTEC?
A. BTECs are work-related qualifications. They cover a wide range of vocational areas and learning is related to the world of work. Assessment is through a portfolio of work, but may also include some examination. A level 2 qualification is equivalent to GCSE at grade A* to C. They can be taken alongside, or in place of, GCSEs.
Q: What is a GCSE?
A. General Certificate of Secondary Education. GCSEs cover general subjects like English, maths, history, science and languages. The Government has introduced changes, including a new 1-9 grading scale, which is being introduced gradually over three years from September 2015 (starting with maths and English). This will replace the current A* to G grades. For example, grades 4/5 will be equivalent to a grade C, grade 6 is equivalent to a grade B and grades 7-9 are equivalent to A/A*. Full exams will be taken in the summer at the end of two years of study.
Q: When do I have to make my choices?
A. Choices are usually made in January/February of Year 9.
Q: Are there any subjects I have to take?
A. Yes, the “Core Subjects” are studied by all students to ensure basic skills are developed and a broad and balanced education is gained by everyone. These include English, English Literature, Maths, Science, and PE (non-examined); You then need to select one subject from each option block, which includes at least one EBacc subject.
Q: What choices will I have?
The “Additional Curriculum” enables you to choose other GCSE/BTEC subjects. Please follow the following link for the full details of courses:
Q: How do I choose what subjects to take?
A. Reasons for choosing a subject include:
- Enjoying it.
- Finding it interesting.
- Being good at it.
- Teachers indicating that you will do well at it.
- The subject is needed or useful for future career ideas.
Ensure you read the course information in your Year 9 information booklet. You need to make sure courses suit your own personal learning style, so think about the way you learn best. Check out how each subject is taught and whether you are assessed by coursework or an examination (or both).
Also, discuss the courses available with parents/carers, family and other people, such as subject teachers, your form tutor/Head of House for general advice, Mrs Triptree (Deputy Headteacher) and the school’s careers adviser, Mrs Westlake
You should not choose a subject just because your friends are doing it!
Q: Will I get any other support from the school?
A. Yes. You will also have an opportunity to attend, with your parents/carers, a Year 9 Options Evening, which will give further information about the options on offer and how the process works.
Additionally, during school time, there will be PSHE careers lessons to provide an opportunity for you to explore options available and to see how subjects relate to careers. Although you don’t need to decide what career you want just yet, giving it some thought may help with subject options.