There are two occasions at Dr Challoner’s where students are asked to opt for their choice of subjects. These are in Year 9 for GCSE courses and in Year 11 if they wish to stay on into the Sixth Form. Both these processes are initiated with an evening meeting with parents to discuss rationale, timelines and the subjects on offer. These FAQs deal with general information about options with more specific detail given on the information evenings. Please click on a link below to jump to the answer you are looking for:

Year 9 Options – GCSE choices

Year 11 Options – Sixth Form choices

Year 9 Options – GCSE choices

When does the options process take place?

The Year 9 options process takes place during February and March of Year 9. There are a series of information meetings with students and parents (see below) and the deadline for choices to be submitted is usually around the second week in March.

How are parents and students informed?

Students are informed of the options process in an intervention session during one period in the week before February half-term. There is then a meeting for parents in the week after half-term. Year 9 parents consultation evening is usually scheduled shortly after this and before the deadline for submission of options choices so that discussions with subject teachers regarding choices are possible.

What options are available?

The current options pattern is that students must choose one Language (French, Spanish or German) and one Humanity (Geography, History or RS). They then get two free choices. All students will study English Language, English Literature, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. There are usually some subjects offered at GCSE that students will not previously have studied; these are highlighted during the student and parents information meetings.

Is there setting at GCSE?

Only Maths and Science set for GCSE courses. These sets are determined at the end of Year 9 and students start in these sets at the start of Year 10. Students are in the same set for all three science subjects. Maths sets are not necessarily the same as in Year 9. Students are placed in eight groups for English but these are not set by ability. All other subjects are taught in mixed ability groups.

When do GCSE courses start?

GCSE courses in option subjects start immediately after the May half-term towards the end of Year 9. Students continue in their Maths, English, Science and IT groups until the end of that year.

What happens if a student wishes to change his mind?

If a student wishes to change his option choice after the deadline he should consult with the Assistant Headteacher (Logistics and Data). GCSE courses start after May half-term and this should not be seen as a trial period as important GCSE foundation work will be studied. However, during this period and before the end of the school year, if a student wishes to change option subjects this can be discussed with the Assistant Headteacher (Logistics and Data). No changes of options will be considered after this time.

Year 11 Options – Sixth Form choices

The options process for Sixth Form choices is part of the Sixth Form application process.

When does the options process take place and how are parents and students informed?

The options process starts with the Sixth Form options evening which is usually in mid-November. There are separate talks at this event for students and their parents who are in Year 11 at Dr Challoner’s and for those who might wish to apply for a place in the Sixth Form from another school. There are also subject presentations for all the courses being offered in the Sixth Form.

Sixth Form applications including subject choices usually have to be submitted by the beginning of December.

What options are available?

There are a large range of courses and subjects available each Year, including mostly A’ levels and some BTEC options. Details of all available courses are outlined at the Sixth Form options evening where individual subject presentations take place. Most students will study three courses but some may opt to study four. A four A’ Level curriculum is best suited to students with a strong academic track record, and who are expecting to achieve mainly A*/A grades at GCSE.

When do students find out if they have been accepted onto their choice of courses?

A’ level choices are reviewed by senior staff to see if they are sensible combinations and in the light of a student’s mock exam results. Very occasionally, timetabling and staffing issues will mean that a student’s choices cannot be accommodated. In either case the Assistant Headteacher (Logistics and Data) will contact the student to discuss the way forward.

Students will be made a conditional offer of a place in the Sixth Form subject to them achieving the entry and grade requirements which are outlined in the Sixth Form prospectus. This is usually during the Spring term. Final decisions are issued along with GCSE results on results day in August.

What happens if a student wishes to change his mind?

If a student wishes to change his option choice after the December deadline he should consult with the Assistant Headteacher (Logistics and Data). Further discussions often take place immediately after GCSE results are issued and senior staff are always on hand at that time to offer advice and guidance.

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