Year 9 Options 2020
Choosing which GCSEs to study
Each year in January, our Year 9 pupils discover which subjects are available to study at GCSE. We were delighted to see so many of our Year 9 pupils and their parents at our Key Stage 4 Curriculum 'Choices at 14' Evening on Thursday 23 January 2020.
The presentation in the Main Hall explained to pupils and parents the importance of thinking carefully about the combination of subject choices they made to ensure a good balance of different subject areas. Pupils and parents heard from a pupil in Year 11 and a former pupil who is now studying at Cirencester College – they reflected on their experience of Key Stage 4 and they encouraged pupils to taking up opportunities offered to them during KS4. There was a real buzz around the centre of the school as pupils and parents talked with subject teachers and representatives from local sixth form providers.
Year 9s and their parents are encouraged to take time to discuss and research the options available. There is no first come, first served basis so there is no need to rush to submit option choices. We advise pupils to find out all they can about the subjects they are interested in and be sure about what they want to study in Key Stage 4. Make informed decisions.
Pupils received their Interim Reports on Friday 24 January and they and their parents will be able to talk directly to current subject teachers at our Year 9 Parents’ Evening on Thursday 6 February. You might decide to wait until after the Parents' Evening before selecting options.
The final deadline for stating subject preferences – by completing the preference form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org - is before half term on Tuesday 11 February 2020.
The GCSE qualifications which have been introduced over the last few years place much more emphasis on final exams and less on coursework. To support pupils in preparation for Key Stage 4, we will continue to assess our pupils through written assessments and practice exams during the remainder of Year 9, to promote effective revision strategies and to give the pupils exam experience prior to sitting their formal GCSE exams.
- Wednesday 22 January 2020 - Year 9 Assembly
- Thursday 23 January - Key Stage 4 Curriculum Evening ‘Choices at 14’
- Friday 24 January - Year 9 Interim Reports issued
- Thursday 6 February - Year 9 Parents’ Evening
- Tuesday 11 February - Deadline for preference forms
- April/May - Confirmation of options
- Tuesday 2 June - Year 10 courses commence
Speech from one of our 'Class of 2019' pupils
Hi, I’m Kianna. I left Deer Park School in the summer and am currently studying at Cirencester College, right next door!
I have often been asked about my A Level choices - to some it seems to be a rather strange combination. I opted for Chemistry, Biology… I do love my sciences… and German!!
The support I received when selecting my options from the Science Faculty was brilliant. All the self-doubts I had whether I was capable of taking Separate Science (my Physics grades did tend to let me down a bit) and the one-to-one advice given to me was invaluable. I went on to achieve Grade 7s in all three Sciences at GCSE (and Maths but that’s a whole other story!).
In Year 9, probably like many of you here this evening, I didn’t have a clear career in mind, or a clear idea of what I wanted to study at college. I knew what subjects I liked and had a general idea of what subjects I was deemed to be ‘good at’ but as to my future? I didn’t have a clue. The advice I was given was simple: in that case, the broader range of subjects I took the better.
One thing I will say is don’t stress over your options. You are going to do better in the subjects you enjoy. My Mum advocated with all four of us (myself and my siblings), that amongst all the academic subjects we chose, we should take at least one subject where we had fun; one that we really enjoyed. A time in the school week that was just for us. This may not suit everyone but it worked for us. My outlet was GCSE Drama.
I am a bit of a thespian I must admit. I started acting when I was around 13 and have been lucky enough to act in a number of short films, music videos and stage plays. It was a difficult balancing act during KS4 but my Head of Year, Teachers and Administrators did everything they could to keep me on track with my studies whilst supporting me with every opportunity that came my way. The one and only time they said No, I couldn’t have time off to perform in a Concert in London was tough, but it was the right decision. I am also absolutely thrilled that the Head is allowing me back to use part of the school in my debut short film I am directing over the next couple of months.
I’m not going to tell you that your GCSE years are going to be easy. You will all have highs and lows, that odd grade that makes you panic, that great grade that makes you grin from ear to ear. The most important thing Deer Park taught me, and I know you have heard this a thousand times before but its true, resilience. Knockbacks are not the end of the world, although it may seem like it at the time; they can be built on, learnt from and improved upon. Don't let anything hold you back.
Also, the importance of planning, especially through exam periods. I lived by my revision schedule - it gave me a sense of order, a clear direction and a sense of achievement. Also, the knowledge I had actually done quite a bit more revision than I thought I had!!
Chemistry was always my favourite subject to the delight of my grandparents, who are both Pharmacists, and I hope to apply to study Medicine at Kings College, London after A Levels, or perhaps a BA in Acting at London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts… Or maybe both?
You are probably still asking yourselves at this point, why German? Well, after recovering from the shock of getting a Grade 7, I thought, why not?
Speech from one of our Current Year 11 pupils
I'm here to talk to you about your GCSE choices. For my choices I opted for Music, Separate Sciences, German and Computer Science. I would just recommend all of you to take what interests you - that way you will have the best experience and will enjoy yourself for the most part. I know that my year had a very stressful time worrying over their options, but really, they hardly affect what choices you will have in the future and if you do feel like you made a bad choice, there is some flexibility in the first few weeks for you to change. I moved from History to Computer Science after about 2 weeks.
Personally, I really enjoy taking a Language as I think that learning a new language opens so many
doors for the future. It also really allows you to understand different cultures, and develops your
memory. A Language GCSE does seem very daunting to most and it is challenging at times, but I think it is worth it, if you put in the work, to come out being on your way to fluency. I have gone from having little interest in foreign languages to now wanting to do it for A Level.
Aside from the actual choices, Key Stage 4 definitely gives you some more independence, you must
do your own revision and stay on top of your homework but as you develop these skills over
the next two years it will definitely be very helpful for later education.
For my future, I want to go on to study perhaps Physics, Maths and German for A Level, but I am still not completely decided, nor am I even completely decided on where I want to go to.
Advice I would give to all of you coming into Key stage 4 is to practice revising with smaller tests before your actual GCSE exams so you can find a good revision technique before it is too late, take options that interest you. That way you can enjoy your lessons and your schoolwork won't feel like such a chore, and finally, to have a good mindset. I strongly believe that anyone could learn anything they wanted if they just believed that they could and then used that motivation to drive them forwards.
Whatever you do end up taking, I wish you all the best!