Options Process

Options Policy

Article 29 (Goals of education): Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.

 

Rationale

We aim to offer a personalised curriculum for all our students so that it continues to be broad, balanced, progressive and relevant to students of all abilities.

Trafalgar School’s curriculum helps students achieve high standards and make excellent progress. At KS3, the curriculum is broad, allowing students to learn essential knowledge through ‘learning journeys’.  Opportunities are planned in to allow students to recall and retrieve previous learning so that this knowledge is fully embedded.

By the middle of year 8, many students have a clear idea of which subjects they enjoy the most and we offer students some choice about their future learning journeys at this stage. We believe this empowers students to become partners in their learning and leads to improved outcomes as students relish the opportunity to learn their chosen subjects in more depth. As such, we ask students to focus on 5 key subjects alongside their core studies of English Language, English Literature, Maths, Science, PE and humanities (one of which must be History or Geography). We ensure students’ studies are matched to their needs and offer students the option of two languages.

Furthermore, by the middle of year 9, we believe our students are ready to make a final choice on their learning journeys for KS4. These courses are not externally examined but are carefully planned to ensure content is revisited ensuring this year successfully prepares students for the examinations at the end of KS4.  As part of this final options selection process, Trafalgar School offers students a range of four, colour-coded pathways based on their prior attainment and individual needs. This allows our higher attaining students to select an EBACC pathway while allowing our students with lower prior attainment who need additional literacy support to access this as part of their option blocks. We believe these pathways allow our students to make the best choices to ensure they leave Trafalgar School with the skills they need to access future education, employment or training.

Curriculum Offer

Key Stage 3

The year 7 and 8 curriculum

To ensure that students who enter Trafalgar School with literacy scores significantly below the national average catch up and acquire the level of literacy skills needed for life beyond school, they will do extra literacy instead of MFL. Students with the most significant needs will also be taught English by the SENCO and HLTA for English.

SubjectNumber of lessons over two weeks
English10 (to include 2 Let’s Think)
Maths10
Science8
PE (including Dance)4
MFL6
Art2
DT3
Computing2
Drama2
Music2
History4
Geography4
Ethics and Philosophy2
PSHCE1

At the end of year 8, students will select five option subjects to study in more depth. To ensure all students experience a range of extra-curricular activities, all non EBACC subjects will offer a range of extracurricular activities from which students will select 2 to attend per term. Attendance to these is monitored and is linked to students’ home learning for these curriculum areas.

The year 9 curriculum

Students will continue their Key Stage 3 programme of study for their core subjects.

SubjectNumber of lessons over two weeks
English12 (to include 2 Let’s Think)
Maths11
Science12
Core PE4
PSHCE1

In the spring of year 9, students will be asked to personalise their academic route to enable student’s to take ownership of their learning and develop the key skills needed to be successful in the new GCSE qualifications. This year is a skills based course and is not an extension of Key Stage 4.

Students will:

  • Select 5 options of 4 lessons each.
  • Select at least one of History and Geography, it is possible to study both humanities subjects.
  • MFL is encouraged and recommended for the majority of students, but not all.
  • Select option subjects chosen from: History, Geography, French, Spanish (must have been studied in year 8), Food, Design Technology, Art, Graphics, Textiles, Dance, Drama (Acting), Drama (Technical), Computing, Music, PE.
  • RAP meetings follow options evenings so tutors can discuss their options with their students.


Key Stage 4

The year 10 and 11 Curriculum

Core Compulsory Subjects

In Key Stage 4 all students study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Science. They will also have on their timetable PE and PSHCE in year 10 and year 11 from September 2021.

From 2020, Year 10 will continue with their core offer, with these allocations following them into year 11(2021/22):

SubjectNumber of lessons over two weeks
English10
Maths10
Science10
Core PE4
PSHCE2

Year 11 (2020/21) will continue their current curriculum offer:

SubjectNumber of lessons over two weeks
English10
Maths10
Science12
Core PE4

In addition, in the Spring term of Year 9, students will decide their options for Year 10. Students will have a personalised option form, based on the 4 pathways which are based on prior attainment and ability.

  • 4 options of 6 lessons each.
  • The first option selected must be either MFL, History or Geography
  • The remaining 3 options would be free selections.
  • The option subjects would be chosen from: History, Geography, Spanish, Art, Food, Graphics, Photography, Design Technology, Drama, Music, Dance, Computing, Film Studies, Interactive Media, PE, RE, Business Studies, Travel and Tourism and Textiles
  • The Ebacc will be recommended and encouraged for the majority of students but not all.
  • RAP meetings follow options evenings so tutors can discuss their options with their students.

English Baccalaureate Subjects (EBacc)

Students choose four additional subjects to study at Key Stage 4 alongside the core curriculum. All students are expected to take either a language or a humanities subject, with the majority encouraged to take both, giving them a combination of subjects which forms the English Baccalaureate and demonstrates ability and achievement in a broad range of academic subjects. These subjects are: Computing, History, Geography, French or Spanish.

Choices Subjects

For their remaining subjects, students can choose from the courses offered by the Arts team, Technology and Sports department and the ICT/Business team. We offer a range of qualifications in these areas including GCSEs and BTECs/Vcerts (a GCSE equivalent). These add breadth and depth to the diversity of our Key Stage 4 curriculum.

 

 

Sciences

Year 11 2021 (Current year 10) 
All students study the Combined Sciences curriculum of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This qualification is double awarded allowing students to gain two GCSE grades. Triple science, separate awards for physics, chemistry and biology is offered to the most able students in this curriculum area. This is offered within the Science time allocation and allows students to obtain 3 separate GCSE qualifications.

Year 11 2022 (Current year 9) 

All students study the Combined Sciences curriculum of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This qualification is double awarded allowing students to gain two GCSE grades). Triple science, separate awards for physics, chemistry and biology is offered to the most able students in this curriculum area. This is offered as an option subject and will allow students to obtain 3 separate GCSE qualifications.

Support

We will support students with their option choices through a variety of ways. As part of this support we try to balance a number of important factors:

  • The student’s strength in each of the subjects.
  • The need to have a broad and balanced approach to their subject choices.
  • The importance of giving students the most appropriate qualifications they will need in the future.