GCSE Options

Introduction to Option Choices

As students approach the end of Year 9 they are required to make some key decisions regarding their future studies.  This is an incredibly exciting time for both parents and students alike, as for the first time students have the opportunity to shape their education, tailoring it towards a particular career, aspiration or passion.

They may also begin to consider post-16 options, as recent changes in Government policy insist that all students must stay in education or work-based training, until they are 18.  Here, they have the opportunity to specialise in just 3 or 4 subjects, with university courses and career options very much on their mind.  However, at this stage we believe it is unnecessary to specialise in specific subject areas and recommend students keep a broader choice of subjects. At Teddington School, we are absolutely committed to providing a curriculum that is broad, balanced and meets the needs of all of our students.

The National Core Curriculum

All students must study the core curriculum: English, Mathematics, the Sciences, Religious Studies, Physical Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)

Optional Subjects

Most students will choose three additional subjects, plus one reserve.  Optional subjects are broadly split into GCSE qualifications and alternative qualifications.

When making these choices students should always consider:

  • The requirements of a balanced curriculum
  • Subjects in which they have a keen interest
  • Subjects in which they have shown aptitude - the most recent report should give an indication of this, and further discussion with the relevant subject teachers is highly recommended.
  • Entry requirements for specific Further and Higher Education institutions

The English Baccalaureate (Ebacc.)

Students who attain a grade 5 or better in English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and a Modern Foreign Language (French, German or Spanish) are recognized for achieving the English Baccalaureate.  This is not an additional qualification but is recognition of the challenging combination of subjects which students have attained a ‘strong pass’ in.  This is becoming increasingly important and valued by employers and universities and students should be mindful of this when making their option choices.

How to Make Option Choices

Students are required to choose three subjects in order of preference, plus a reserve in case we cannot provide the combination of choices requested.  Whilst we make every effort to enable as many students as possible to study the subjects they have requested, we cannot guarantee meeting the exact preferences of every student. The running of courses is dependent upon them being sufficiently subscribed and the availability of specialist teachers. If there are any difficulties you will be informed as soon as possible. Please complete the application form and submit it to the school by Friday 9 March.  Subject choices will be confirmed during the Summer Term.


Core Curriculum Subject Information   

English Language and Literature

All students will study both courses in parallel and achieve two separate GCSE qualifications at the end of the course.


All students will study mathematics in Years 10 and 11, which will lead to one GCSE qualification at the end of the course.

Combined Science (Trilogy)

Most students will take this course, which is worth two GCSEs. Students who gain both will be able to pursue any Science at A Level, if they meet the grade entry requirements. It combines key elements of Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.

Separate Sciences

Students who have an aptitude and interest in Science may choose to study Separate Sciences. The programme of study leads to three GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In general, this is only available to students who are achieving the skills and knowledge required in the Mastery band at the end of Year 9 and does take up one of the four options

Religious Studies (including PSHE and Citizenship)

This will be provided for all students through the GCSE course which occupies two lessons per week in Years 10 and 11 leading to GCSE RS at the end of Year 11. Citizenship Education is not an examination course but is an important part of the wider education of students.

GCSE Option Subjects

These examinations provide a common examination at 16+ with all awarding grades now being from 9 to 1.

 Controlled Assessment (CA)

On some courses a proportion of the examination grade is dependent upon work done by the student during the two years of the course.

 GCSE Courses offered at Teddington School:

  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies                                 
  • Computer Science
  • Design Technology
  • Drama                                                 
  • Food Preparation and Nutrition             
  • French                                                 
  • Geography                                           
  • German                                    
  • Graphic Communication                        
  • History
  • Media Studies
  • Music GCSE
  • Photography
  • Separate Sciences
  • Spanish
  • Sports Science: Physical Education
  • Textiles

Alternative Option Subjects

For some students a full GCSE diet of English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science, RS, plus 3 further GCSE subjects is not appropriate. As such we offer a range of alternative qualifications tour students. .Alternative qualifications are often designed for those who are more practically-minded, and can be studied at different levels. All students opting for a BTEC, NCFE or other certified course would study it at either Level 1 or Level 2. Students achieve a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction* at the end of the course. Alternative qualifications are just as valuable as GCSEs, with 1 in 4 students going onto university having achieved a BTEC qualification. Furthermore 90% of BTEC students are employed full-time after graduating Alternative Courses offered at Teddington School: 

  • Certificate in Digital Applications 
  • NCFE vCert Business and Enterprise 
  • NCFE vCert Health and Fitness 
  • NCFE vCert Food and Cookery 
  • BTEC Creative Media 
  • BTEC Health and Social Care 
  • BTEC Music 
  • Princes Trust Award

Additional Qualifications

Some students may wish to supplement their nine GCSEs with further courses, and as such we provide two additional courses which are designed to support and develop students’ learning.

Latin and Additional Mathematics are available for students who meet the entry criteria. For Latin, students will have completed two years of introductory study. For Additional Mathematics students will be in Set 1 or 2 for Mathematics.  These courses however will run outside of the normal curriculum time

Looking Beyond Year 11

Whilst the choices students make in the coming months will shape their next two years at Teddington School, they will also have an impact on their options after Year 11. This may involve staying on at Teddington Sixth Form, going to another college or gaining employment with training.

Level 3

To progress onto A Level courses at Teddington Sixth Form, students will need to have at least 5 GCSE grades between 5 - 9. The subject matrix is then referred to for subject students wish to study at A Level. 

For Level 3 Vocational Courses (e.g. BTEC Diplomas / BTEC Nationals, Level 3 VRQs / NVQs), students will need an average of around grade 4 across all GCSE results and the courses can be studied at colleges.

Level 2

Where students have achieved at least 5 GCSE grades 1 - 4, they will be able to progress onto Level 2 courses (BTEC First Awards, Level 2 VRQ / NVQ, Level 2 NVQ, Trainees & Apprenticeships). These courses will be delivered at a college.

Level of Qualification




3 Advanced

A/As Levels, International Baccalaureate

Applied A Levels, BTEC Diploma, BTEC Nationals Level 3 VRQ / NVQ

Level 3 NVQ and Apprenticeships

2 Intermediate Level

5 GCSEs Grades 4 - 9 and then refer to subject matrix for subjects chosen

BTEC First Awards Level 2 VRQ / NVQ

Level 2 NVQ Trainees and Apprenticeships

1 Foundation Level

5 GCSEs Grades 1-4

Level 1 qualifications offered by colleges

Level 1 NVQs First jobs in offices, industry & commerce

Entry Level

Certificate of Educational Achievement


Going on to University

If you are considering applying for a particular university course, you should check your GCSE choices will be suitable. In general, universities will be looking for students with good academic outcomes and outstanding study skills and habits. The Russell Group, which represents some of the UK’s leading and many competitive universities, has published a guide to assist students with their decision making about post-16 education, called ‘Informed Choices’ . They identify a number of A level subjects that are required ‘more often than others’ for entry onto their degree courses. These subjects are: Mathematics/Further Mathematics, English Literature, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, History and Languages (Classical & Modern).

For further information about progression beyond Year 11, contact Ms N Meston, Head of Sixth Form.













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