KEY STAGE 4 Options

A guide to the KS4
Curriculum starting
September 2017
    Carlton Bolling College



As you know, you are about to make one of the most important decisions of your life and begin an exciting phase in your education which will take you through the transition from secondary school to further education Post 16.

There are some things you should remember:

a)    Your working life will go far beyond the economic climate – so think long term!

b)    Be realistic and ambitious – do not settle for being less than you are.

c)    The greater the qualifications you have the more you are likely to earn over your lifetime and the    greater your freedom to choose your own pathway.

We aim to give you the guidance and support that will ensure you are able to make an informed decision about the pathway of study you will follow from September 2015.

Make your choices for the right reasons. Before making your final choices, you should make sure that:

·         You READ all the information you are provided.

·         You will ENJOY studying the subject (being careful to distinguish between your opinion of the subject and the teacher).

·         You have considered ADVICE from your tutor and subject teachers.

·      You have considered MORE ADVICE from parents/carers, older brothers and sisters and older students

·        You are CAPABLE of studying the subject to examination level. (Consult your current subject teachers)

·         The COMBINED WORK LOAD of all the subjects is not too easy or too difficult.

·         If you have a particular CAREER area in mind, consult with a Careers Adviser to determine if specific subjects are required.

·         Wherever possible leave your choices as WIDE as possible to keep your options open at the end of Year 11.

Make sure you DO NOT choose subjects to be with your friends. The school will decide on the structure of teaching groups, and friendships will not be a factor!


How to Make Your Course Selections

The subjects studied in Years 9, 10 and 11 fall into two categories: Core subjects and Option subjects. Core subjects are compulsory and are studied by all students. Option subjects; these are chosen by students after guidance from various sources.

The Core subjects are:

English Language (GCSE)

English Literature (GCSE)

Mathematics (GCSE)

Double Award Science (GCSE)

Physical Education and PHSCE (non-exam)

Religious Studies (GCSE)

Further information on these subjects is provided in the Core subject section of this booklet.  The Option subject section of this booklet contains detailed information on each subject. It is divided into two sections:

Academic choices (GCSEs). These choices are more academic in nature. The majority of these courses have examinations at the end of Year 11.

Vocational choices (BTECs). These choices encourage students to look at the subject within a work-based context. There is a small external examination component to these courses.

You will have to make 4 preferences (one of these will be a reserve).

Please read these sections carefully before making your choices.

The Option Choice Form will need to be completed and signed by a parent/carer before it is returned to Mr Laher or Form Tutor by the deadline of Tuesday 13th February 2018.

Please note: Details about courses are subject to change. If only a small number opt for the same first choice subject it may not be viable to staff and resource it, therefore the reserve choice subject will be allocated.


GCSE Qualifications

  • •       GCSEs are academic subjects and may not be suitable for all students.

•       They have a strong element of independent learning.

•       They have a large final exam and, in some cases, a small element of coursework.

•       They provide a natural progression along an academic path, from and to academic qualifications and University.

•       Students will need to have the ability to remember and apply large amounts of information in the exam.


  • BTEC First Award Qualifications
  • •       BTECs are work-related qualifications suitable for all students.
  • •       They provide a practical, real-world approach to learning without sacrificing any of the essential subject theory.
  • •       They can be taken alongside, and are equivalent to, GCSEs.
  • •       They are continually developed and updated to meet the needs of employers and learners.
  • •       BTECs have been around for nearly 30 years and their reputation is second to none.
  • •       They are recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies across the UK and in over 100 countries worldwide.
  • •       They offer natural progression along a vocational path, from and to academic qualifications and university.


  • At Carlton Bolling College, BTEC qualifications are:
  • •  Extremely well structured.•  Develop practical, research and decision making skills.•  Require a high level of independent learning. 

    • Demand regular assessment, resulting in detailed and frequent feedback, enabling students to achieve their full potential.

    • Have a substantial coursework element; 75% of the course is coursework and 25% is external examination or assignment.


KS4 Options Choice Form 2017 Download