Options after Year 9
In Year 9 your teenager will have to decide which subjects and courses to take in Year 10 and 11. This stage of their education is called Key Stage 4. Choosing subjects for Key Stage 4 is probably one of the first big decisions your teenager will make. Although the final decision will be down to them, you will have an important role to play supporting your teenager.
Choosing subjects for Key Stage 4 is all about encouraging your teenager to follow their strengths and interests. The choices they make now may also influence the options open to them after Year 11 so it's worth thinking about what they might like to do in the future.
All of these choices can seem a bit overwhelming, but don't worry, your teenager's school will provide information on the options on offer and give support and advice on choosing options. Connexions advisers can also give independent advice and information on courses, training opportunities, and careers.
The subjects and qualifications on offer may be different from what you experienced at their age so here's a quick guide to Key Stage 4 subjects.
In Year 10 and 11 everyone has to take:
- ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
They will also have to take PE (Physical Education), citizenship, religious studies, sex education, careers education and work related learning. Although they may not have to take exams in these subjects.
Depending on what their school offers your teenager will be able to choose courses in the following subject areas:
- Design and technology
- Modern foreign languages
There might also be the option to take vocational courses. These are practical work related qualifications in areas such as construction, business, or health and social care.
Many schools can offer a progamme of confidence building and work-related and basic skills qualifications which are suited to those pupils who would find GCSEs too demanding.
Making the right choice
With lots of subjects on offer it can be difficult for your teenager to decide which combination of courses will be right for them. You can help them come to a decision by encouraging them to think about:
- what subjects do they enjoy?
- what sort of person are they; do they like practical activities, artistic ativities, or do they like reading and thinking through problems?
- what subjects have they done well in?
- how do they like to learn? Do they prefer exams to coursework, or maybe they like a more hands-on approach to learning?
- What do they want to do? If they have a career or job in mind it is worth finding out if they will need specific GCSEs and grades.
Remember the main point is to keep options open by choosing a balanced and varied range of subjects.
The qualifications your teenager takes are set at different levels. Most students in Year 9 will study up to and including a level 2 qualification by the time they complete Year 11. Level 2 qualifications include GCSEs at grades A*-C, NVQ Level 2, and BTEC Level 2 Firsts.
Page last updated 30/10/12