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GCSE Options Spring 2024

Year 9 Options Evening 2024 - Wednesday 6th March - 5:00 - 7.30pm

a) Outline of the options process

b) To see the Options Letter - click here

c) For the options information booklet, please click here

d) The on-line Option Preference Form will be available for completion from the 9th March. This form must be filled in with parental/carer consent and involvement. Options Preference Form - Click Here or scan the QR code. This will only be accessible from 7th March at 6am.

The Deadline for completing this is 15th March 2024.

e) For more information, please contact KFelton@shoreham-academy.org or CJoyce@shoreham-academy.org or CClaesson@shoreham-academy.org

Options - FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

When does the process start? 

Students will attend an assembly to launch the options process on 6th March 2024. Students will receive an options booklet which will also be available on the website. A timeline of the options process is available on the website here  


Which subjects are core (compulsory) and which are option subjects (optional)? 

Mathematics, English, Science, PE PSHE and Religion and World Views are compulsory for all students and makes up the core. Physical. These subjects will not appear on the options preference form. The remaining subjects are optional, although all students will study either Geography or History and we positively encourage students to take a language.  


Why is it important for students to select the right option preferences? 

It is vitally important that students are offered a selection of courses that suit their academic profile and interests so that they have access to the widest selection of opportunities beyond Shoreham Academy. We review all students’ preferences and want to make sure that they reflect the high levels of ambition we have for them.  


Do all students need to study a language? 

Most students at Shoreham Academy will choose to study a language because of the positive difference it makes with next steps. This is reinforced by past students who tell us that studying a language has supported their applications to both university and apprenticeships. Unlike some schools locally we do not insist that all students take a language because this might not be the most suitable subject choice for them.  


When do students decide their option preferences? 

Option choices will be made electronically via Microsoft forms. The deadline for completing the form will be Friday 15th March 2024. Please note that Options preferences must be agreed by parents/carers before submission. Student preferences could lead to a conversation to refine and confirm option preferences with a member of the Shoreham Academy staff. We will share final options with students in May 2024. 


How will the options evening be run this year? 

This year’s options evening will be on-site at Shoreham Academy. A great deal of the options evening involves gathering information about each of the courses being offered, it is important for you and your child to speak with each subject teacher so they can answer questions. These, alongside more general information and advice, will be available on the academy website on Wednesday 6th March. 


Will students definitely get the subjects they have selected? 

The vast majority of students will be able to study their subject preferences. However, there are instances where this is not possible, for example, if a subject has too few students to form a class. For this reason, we ask that students also choose a back-up subject or additional preferences. If it is necessary to use the back-up subject, this will be discussed with the student as soon as possible before any decision is made. This is done on an individual basis. 


What happens if students make a mistake when completing the on-line form? 

Students should e-mail carin.claesson-goom@shoreham-academy.org but our advice is to take care when completing the form to avoid this happening. 


Where can students get help? 

We encourage students to discuss their preferences with parents or carers, teachers, mentors, ILS (Inclusion Learning Support) and their pastoral team who can offer support regarding students’ option preferences.  In addition, Mr Felton, Miss Joyce and Mrs Claesson are all available for support and guidance regarding the options process. Stephen.Tabor@shoreham-academy.org is also available for Career Advice and Guidance.  


Making the Preference Decision 

The options process is designed to help students narrow their preferred subjects so that they can ultimately make the correct choices. They can use the options evening and provided booklet (published w/b 6th March) to help them learn about the subjects on offer. They can also contact their subject teachers via email to discuss with them whether they think they would be suitable to study their courses. 


Students should aim to choose subjects that they: 

  • Like 

  • Are good at 

  • Are particularly interested in 

  • Will help them in the general career area that they are interested in 

  • Provide them wider options and experiences in the future  


They should not choose subjects because: 

  • They like the teacher – as they may have a different one next year 

  • Their friends have chosen it - as they may be in a different group 


We strongly recommend that students are fully informed before making this important decision and encourage them to use all available support resources and ask for help if they need it. 


Is it possible to change option preference? 

We are keen to ensure that the options selected for each student are suitable for their academic profile so that they have access to the highest of aspirations and opportunities in terms of further education. We will be reviewing all students’ preferences to ensure that they are choosing options that enable them to achieve their potential. However, should an option be unsuitable, an option change can be requested by writing to the Principal detailing the nature of the problem. 


Does Religion and Worldviews count as an option and why study Religion & Worldviews? 

No, it does not take up the space of a GCSE option. As an Academy we feel that Religion and Worldviews gives students a wide range of valuable knowledge and skills. It prepares students for a variety of post-16 courses and shows universities and employers that students have a broad interest in the world around them.  It is also a legal requirement for all students to study Religion Studies in UK schools. Our approach is to deliver GCSE Short course (AQA), one hour per week over two years.  This is made up of one Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes, which has 96 marks and forms 100% of the GCSE.  


I have heard of students in other school studying more options than at Shoreham Academy, could this have a negative impact on my child? 

We review the GCSE options process each year, which includes a comprehensive review of our GCSE options subjects and time allocation. This is done both as an academy and in conjunction with United Learning’s approach to effective curriculum delivery. Naturally, our approach to GCSE course options is to ensure students are in the best possible position to secure the top places when applying for future university, apprenticeship, or careers. Our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our students, which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life.  Our current curriculum is intended to provide children with the core knowledge they need for success in education and later life, maximises their cognitive development, develops the whole person and the talents of the individual and allows all children to become active citizens and economically self-sufficient. 


Is science part of the option process and how does it work? 

Science forms one of the core subjects and is not part of the option process. Most students study combined science, which includes Biology, Physics and Chemistry, resulting in 2 GCSEs. However, in year 11, higher sets study additional content which enables them to obtain 3 individual GCSEs in the Separate sciences, Biology, Physics and Chemistry.  


How many GCSEs will students at Shoreham academy typically achieve, could you explain this in more detail? 

All students take English language and English Literature and maths, totalling 3 GCSEs. As mentioned most students take combined science, which is equivalent to 2 GCSE although students in higher sets are able to achieve 3 GCSEs by sitting the separate science papers (Biology, Physics and Chemistry).  

Please note, that the short course Religion & World Views is worth half a GCSE.   Therefore, students typically achieve 8.5 GCSEs. However, there is potential for students to undertake a GCSE in Latin (taught as a 2 period 7s) and Further Maths GCSE. These additional courses will increase the total number of GCSEs achieved. However, this will need to be appropriate for the individual student.  


What if students get to year 10 and don’t like a subject? 

We will consider potential changes within a subject within the first two weeks of the Autumn term, however this is rare and to be discouraged as groups will be established, changes may not be possible and we do not want students to miss learning.  


Many thanks 


The Options Team

United Learning comprises: United Learning Ltd (Registered in England No: 00018582. Charity No. 313999) UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB.

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