The Optional Curriculum

 A range of courses and qualifications is available and you can choose four subjects which will best help you to be prepared for the further studies and careers that you hope to pursue after you have left Brookfield.

Some combinations of subjects are not permitted, especially where there is some overlap in the content or skills which form part of each of the syllabuses.

Making the Right Choices

We know that many young people change their minds about their career plans and that in future people are increasingly likely to change their occupation several times during their working lives.  We therefore recommend that you make choices which maintain a broad and balanced curriculum and keep open as many post-16 career paths as possible.

It is also important that you find out as much as possible about the subjects you are interested in before you submit your form.  You should consider whether the content of the syllabus will interest you, whether you will be able to develop the skills which will be required to do well and whether you will be comfortable with the styles of learning which will be expected.  This is particularly important for any subjects which you have not previously studied because they have not been part of the curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9.

You would be wise to discuss your choices with as many people as possible before you submit your form.  In school your teachers will have a good idea of how well you might do on the courses in their subjects and your tutor will be able to offer more general advice.  It would also be sensible to talk to students who are already studying the courses you are considering – perhaps some of the Year 10 or 11 students in your PD groups.  You can also make an appointment to meet the school’s Careers Advisor simply by asking at the desk in the LRC.  Most important of all, however, it is vital that you work with your parents to ensure that you all agree with the choices you are making.

As you will know there are several further opportunities to learn more about the various courses.  The Options Evening on 8 February gives you a chance to find out about the individual subjects on offer, whilst the Subject Evening (on 1 February) gives you and your parents the opportunity to talk to your teachers about how you are doing in each subject.

In some subjects particular skills or aptitudes are essential for success, as well as a general ability to learn and a willingness to work hard.  Subjects where this is the case are indicated on the list on pages 7 and 8, together with any special requirements for choosing that subject. In some cases this may mean attending after-school selection classes during the Spring Term, or submitting a particular assignment so that your potential in the subject can be assessed.

We ask that you give these choices a great deal of careful thought as, once choices have been made, it is very unlikely that changes will be possible even if they may be desirable.

Please read the information in this booklet and the notes on the Options Selection Form and ensure that the form is submitted to the school by the deadline shown.

Reserve Choices

We do our best to meet each individual student’s first preferences within staffing, accommodation and other resource constraints.  However, not all combinations of subjects are possible and there will be limits on the number of classes that can be offered for some subjects.  In some cases more students may apply for a subject than we can accept, while we must also have a reasonable number of students to make it viable for us to run a group. Usually, we are not able to run an option subject with less than 14 students.

If, we cannot meet all first choices, we will have to allocate some students to their ‘reserve’ subject.  If a subject is over-subscribed, the selection criteria are indicated on page 9 of this booklet.  Students who submit their choices by the deadline will always receive priority over those who are late in completing their forms.

Although, in past years, the majority of students have been allocated to all of their first choice subjects there are always some cases where this is not possible. Therefore, you are advised to think carefully about the selection of a ‘reserve’ choice in each pool.

Questions to Consider During the Options Process

  • What career aspirations do you have?
  • Have you discussed with a Careers Advisor what routes are available to this career?
  • What are your intentions post-16?
  • Do you have a way of learning which will be better suited to one course than the others?
  • Can you cope with the demands of the courses which attract you?
  • Have you found out from a teacher and older students what the courses you are interested in actually involve?
  • Have you considered how the subjects you are interested in are assessed – are they 100% exam or do they involve some coursework?
  • Are you planning a well balanced mix of subjects?
  • If you cannot do this subject for any reason, which subject would you have as a reserve?