Choices at 13 and 14
Year 9 Options
Year 9 is the time when you start making choices about the courses and subjects that you want to go on to study in Years 10 and 11. There’s a range of courses available but not all of them are offered by every school. Your school should produce an options booklet which gives information on the subjects and courses that you can choose from. This information may also be available on the school’s website or student VLE. Many schools hold information sessions for students and their parents and some run student taster activities. Use these opportunities to find out as much as you can. At some schools you’ll make your choices in Year 8 and start studying some of them in Year 9.
Some of the options on offer may be:
- GCSEs - GCSEs are offered by virtually all schools and are the most common qualification studied in Years 10 and 11. They’re available in lots of different subjects including vocational (work related) ones.
- Diplomas - These are qualifications that will teach you about a specific area of work. They give you a mix of classroom learning and hands on work experience.
- Personalised Learning Programme – This could be an option if you’re not yet ready to take GCSEs (or similar level qualifications). You may work towards Entry Level and Level 1 qualifications. Personalised Learning Programmes may be called something else in your school.
- Other qualifications - There are a range of other course and qualifications available. These are available at different levels and include BTEC and NVQs.
You may be able to take a mixture of different types of courses and qualifications. You can find out more about GCSEs and other qualifications here.
You will be expected to study English, maths and science. These subjects are usually taken at GCSE but may be studied as part of another course. There will be other subjects that you have to study – some of these subjects may lead to a qualification. Your school will tell you which subjects are compulsory and what options you can choose from.
The range of options open to Year 9 students is increasing. From September 2013, some colleges can take on 14-16 year olds. This will be done in ‘14 to 16 Centres’. You’ll be able to study work-related qualifications. This means you’ll have the chance to do a hands-on course. You should also be able to study English, maths and science. University Technical Colleges are also a new option. They are colleges for students age 14-19 that offer full time technical courses which combine practical and academic studies. To find out more about all of the options open to you speak to the careers contact in your school or call the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.
The first thing you need to do is to find out about all of the choices open to you.