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In September you will be moving to the next stage of your learning, which involves commencing your study for GCSE exams.  You have some choice about which subjects to study during Years 10 and 11 and you are able to design your own programme of subjects.  You will be asked to take more responsibility for your own learning and there will be considerable differences in your workload.  You will still have homework, there will be many assessed tasks, you will have to plan to meet deadlines and learn to prepare for exams.

Using the Booklet

This booklet has been prepared to enable you and your parents/carers to have an opportunity to study the type of courses and examinations you will be following during the next two years.  It contains some information that I will present on Options Evening and information you can discuss with Heads of Department.  You may want to examine some additional Careers information by contacting Mrs Pattison-Wake.


At St. Mary’s the core curriculum involves studying the following subjects at GCSE:

  • Religious Education
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Science

The most able scientists will be offered the opportunity to study the three separate Sciences to GCSE.  The majority of students will follow a Combined Science course.  This leads to a GCSE grade in Core Science and Additional Science. 

Most students will have two Physical Education lessons each week.  This is separate from GCSE Physical Education and is designed to allow students to pursue sports at competitive and recreational level.  This should be fun and develop health and well-being.

Options Evening

This is scheduled to take place on Thursday 7th March, 6pm.  During this evening, I will speak about the options process, some information about different courses and some advice to make the right options choices.  Following this introduction there will be the opportunity for you and your parents to speak to subject specialists about different courses we offer at St Marys.

You need to choose three subjects from the list below – 1 subject must be from ‘Choice A’ and 2 subjects from ‘Choice B and C’.  Most students should be planning to study a Language, a Humanities (Geography or History) and 1 other subject – this combination of subjects will qualify a student for an EBacc (please see details below).  Any student who wants to discuss their options with a member of staff should arrange to speak with Mr Giampalma.

KS4 Option courses available at St Mary’s

Choice A

Choice B and C














Business Studies


Computer Science


Design and Technology






Physical Education




*BTEC/Cambridge National:


*Travel and Tourism


*Hospitality and Catering


*Health and Social Care

English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

The department for Education strongly recommends the following subjects, which make up the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and help keep options open for students in the future:

  • English Language and English Literature
  • Maths
  • Science (Combined Science or Triple Science)
  • History or Geography
  • A Modern Foreign Language

Choosing the EBacc gives students access to a full range of employment options and the broad knowledge that employers are looking for.  If a student is thinking of going to University, the EBacc is recommended by Britain’s most prestigious Universities.

Other research supporting the importance of studying an EBacc set of subjects are:

  • Achieving the EBacc will be looked at favourably with post 16, further education and employers when comparing applicants
  • Greater opportunities in further education (UCL Institute of Education)
  • Helps students’ performance in English and Maths (Sutton Trust)
  • A particular group of GCSE subjects that are looked on favourably by Universities (The Uni Guide)
  • Increasingly being used as a pre-requisite for post 16 and further education courses
  • Internationally recognised set of qualifications

Some students can find learning languages difficult, but studying a Language at GCSE can be extremely rewarding, exciting and give them a competitive edge.  They provide an insight into other cultures and can open the door to travel and employment opportunities.  Employers value languages, they are becoming more important to compete on the global market and as a result are becoming a requirement for many graduate schemes.

Vocational subjects

This year we are offering some vocational subjects for students who find terminal exams more challenging and prefer ongoing assessment.  These qualifications are in Health and Social Care, Hospitality and Catering and Travel and Tourism.

Response Form

Key Stage 4 Options Evening on Thursday 7th March

Following Options evening, the Options form will be accessible on Microsoft Forms.  You need to choose 1 subject from ‘Choice A’ and 2 subjects from ‘Choice B and C’.  For each choice you need to select a reserve option.  If you are unsure please speak to your subject teachers, Miss Deegan or Mr Giampalma.  Following Options Evening you will need to submit your completed form by Thursday 14th March.  If there are any problems about your course choices, I will discuss alternative option subjects with you.

A Giampalma
Assistant Headteacher