Information for Year 9 Students

Dear Year 9 Student

Years 10 and 11 are a really exciting time in your time at school. These are the years when you will study for your first public examinations. At Bishop Luffa most students will prepare for nine GCSEs.

This booklet is designed to help you make well informed decisions for Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4). On the following pages you will find information about all the courses that are available to you - both the compulsory ones and the ones from which you will make your choices. Our aim is to provide you with a wide range of appropriate courses, so that you are able to select subjects and qualifications that interest you, challenge you and provide opportunities for success. You should read about all the different courses which are available to you. It will help you to understand the opportunities, demands and expectations you will face and will guide you to make the right decisions.

Choosing your subjects

Every student at Bishop Luffa will study the following subjects:

  • English and English Literature (GCSEs)
  • Mathematics (GCSE)
  • Combined Science (2 GCSEs)
  • Religious Studies (GCSE)
  • Physical Education (Core non-examined)
  • PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education)

You will then be assigned to one of three pathways through Key Stage 4. The pathways are designed to allow you to experience ‘life in all its fullness’. There is limited setting in option classes to support all students to achieve success. The pathways help direct you towards achieving your full potential and are named to reflect personal qualities that are important to everyone's success at KS4.


Having a goal to aim for and working towards that goal drives you forward.

Studies show that by learning a foreign language, you will develop a range of skills that cannot be developed as fully elsewhere in the curriculum. It is for this reason that there is an expectation that the majority of students choose a foreign language as part of their Key Stage 4 (KS4) programme. If you have shown that you have developed the foundations to succeed in a foreign language you will be on this pathway and should choose to continue to KS4 the foreign language chosen at the end of year 7 (only 30% of schools nationally offer a choice of language).
You are then free to make two choices from the full range of subjects.


Having to strive for success is what makes us who we are.

On this pathway you are able to choose from our full range of KS4 courses. You should make three choices, one of which may be a language. When making your choices consider which assessment route will suit you best; all GCSE’s are assessed with exams at the end of the course and a few have some non-examined content which counts towards your final grade. BTECs and Cambridge nationals have a higher weighting on non-examined assessment.


Having the ability to manage your studies and your wellbeing will be something you develop over KS4 as you balance the demands of your qualifications with engagement in extracurricular activities.

This pathway allows you to choose the same options as in the Aspiration and Endeavour pathway but in addition you are able to undertake a functional skills qualification through a Key Skills course. The Key Skills course allows you to gain a functional skill qualification in English and undertake an accelerated Maths course. These courses support your progress across the curriculum. You are able to choose three options and can select from the full range of subjects; you do not have to choose Key Skills.

Students need to have a current attainment of 4M in order to progress to triple science.

Some students will be invited to follow a Free-Standing Maths Qualification (FSMQ-level 3 qualification) alongside their Maths GCSE qualification. This happens outside the normal school curriculum, does not take up an option and allows you to extend your knowledge and understanding in Maths beyond GCSE. Further details will be provided by the Maths faculty.

Your options process is supported by obtaining good Information, advice and guidance. This will enable you to make good choices.

Recommended next steps:

  • Discuss the options with your parents/carers
  • Talk with your HOH and/or tutor
  • Logon to Unifrog, complete your personality profile and explore subjects
  • Talk with subject teachers about different courses
  • Make decisions about what best suits you, please do not be influenced by what your friends are doing
  • Choose subjects that you find interesting and have a passion for
  • Look for subjects that would fit with your aspirations or goals
  • Choose subjects which you are good at

There are a wide range of courses to select from, which are all detailed in this booklet. There is further information on the curriculum overview section of the school website including what content is covered and when. Please think carefully about the different assessment routes we offer; most GCSEs are assessed through exams at the end of the course, other courses have more ongoing assessment through non-examined assessment project work. Please consider which route will work best for you.

These are important decisions to get right. There is limited opportunity to change choices later in the year so please take time to consider and reflect upon your choices.

Mrs K Faulkner
Head of Key Stage 4