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Key Stage 4 Options

The options process is an important period for our Year 9 students as they start to think about the courses they will study in Year 10 and 11, and their future education and career paths after they leave Hope Valley College. We offer a range of GCSE and vocational courses (e.g. Technical Awards) at key stage 4.

Most of the qualifications that we offer are GCSEs, which count as Level 2 qualifications. The assessment is through formal examinations, although some also have an element of 'non-examination assessment' within them (tasks taken in school under controlled conditions). The GCSE grades are 1-9, with 9 being the highest grade. Technical Awards, which are also level 2 qualifications, include a strong applied focus, linking learning to particular career paths. They have a greater emphasis on internal assessment, mainly via the completion of portfolios.

We expect our students to study a suite of qualifications called the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – namely GCSEs in maths, English, science, a language and a humanity (either history or geography).

How to choose your options

Year 9 students choose their options by following the steps below:

  1. Watch the options introductory video
  2. Read the options booklet
  3. Complete and submit the online pre-options interview form
  4. Attend the Year 9 options evening
  5. Ask questions
  6. Complete and submit the online options form

Read on for more information...


1. Watch the options introductory video

In this video, Mrs Jones will introduce the options process that students follow in order to choose the subjects to be studied in Years 10 and 11.


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2. Read the options booklet

Year 9 students receive a copy of the options booklet in January, giving them information about the subjects available for study in Years 10 and 11, the options process and where to go for advice. This booklet is also available to view and download online:

3. Complete and submit the pre-options interview form

The pre-options interview form will be emailed home on Friday 12 January. This form helps us to give the most effective advice to students, in order that each student can make the best choices for their future.

4. Attend the Year 9 options evening

The options evening on Thursday 25 January gives students and their parents and carers the chance to hear how the options process works, listen to subject talks, talk to teachers and collect their copy of the options brochure for further information.

Students, parents and carers can download our options evening planner to help them make the most of the evening. 

5. Ask questions

The answers to frequently asked questions are given below.

What are the key dates in the process? 

  • Thursday 23 November: Year 9 subject evening.
  • Week beginning 8 January:
    • Options assembly.
    • Subject assemblies.
    • Invitations to options evening emailed home
    • Pre-options interview form emailed home. 
  • Thursday 25 January: options evening
    • Students and parents invited into school.
    • Options booklet available.
  • Friday 9 February: online options form emailed home.
  • Friday 1 March: online options form to be submitted.
  • May: confirmed options choices emailed to parents/carers

What decisions do students need to make? 

Everyone studies the core subjects of: English language, English literature, maths and science.

In order to build a full set of subjects for study in Years 10 and 11, the following decisions are needed:

Decision 1

Students choose either

  • Triple Science (3 GCSEs: Biology, Chemistry, Physics) or
  • Combined Science (2 GCSEs)
Decision 2

Students choose one of

  • Geography
  • History
Decision 3

Students choose one of

  • French
  • German
Decision 4

Students use the numbers 1-4 to indicate a preference (1 being the favourite) of option subjects.

Students who have chosen Combined Science will have two reserve choices (numbers 3 and 4). Students who have chosen Triple Science will have three reserve choices (numbers 2, 3 and 4).

The option subjects from which to choose are:

  • Art and Design: Fine Art
  • Computer Science
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • Engineering
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Studies
  • Textile Design (Art and Design)

What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)? 

We encourage all our students to study a suite of qualifications called the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – namely GCSEs in English, maths, the sciences, geography or history and a language.

By studying the EBacc suite of qualifications our students have a wide range of options available to them at both post-16 and degree level.

What sources of information should students use? 

Students are encouraged to:

  • Talk to teachers at school and during the Year 9 subject evening.
  • Talk to their form tutor.
  • Speak with our Careers Advisor.
  • Visit the UCAS website for information about possible careers:
  • Further sources of careers advice are available on the careers advice page.
  • Discuss the options with family and friends.

If students, parents or carers still have queries, please let us know by email at or telephone on 01433 620555.


6. Submit the options form

The online options form will be emailed home on Friday 9 February. This should be completed and submitted by Friday 1 March 2024.