Year 9 Options Information

Welcome to our Year 9 Options Process

The process of choosing your Key Stage 4 subject options is a big step in the lives of our students and families. Many students look forward to 'dropping' the subjects they enjoyed less or were less able at and some worry that by refining down their studies they could miss out on future possibilities. We are here to guide you through the journey and all our staff are also happy to answer your questions and help with queries, please do contact them for assistance. Contact email addresses can be found here.

To assist with the process we have prepared a webpage of information and presentations along with a Guidance Leaflet that you will have been given at Options Evening. It is also available to view here. To the bottom left of this page, under Useful Links, you will also be able to quickly access our Curriculum information pages which can be used to delve deeper into subject content and specification.

We invite you to explore our subject areas by selecting from the drop down tabs below; you can listen to our teacher presentations and read through the additional information. There is lots to understand and to take in, please do not feel under pressure to make decisions right now. Making the right decisions can take thought and time and our process allows you that. 

Please click here to view a copy of the presentation made at the Year 9 Options event held on Thursday 9th March.


You are probably well aware of changes to the GCSE system over recent years. The Government has reformed the content and structure of GCSEs to make them more challenging so students are better prepared for further academic or vocational study, or for work. GCSEs are awarded numbers rather than grades.

Please see the diagram below which shows how the numbered system corresponds to the old grading system.




We will be offering two opportunities for parents and families to consult with teachers via School Cloud over the coming weeks and more information will be released about booking these appointments soon. Option forms will be given out on Friday 24th March, please make a note of the deadline for their return; Thursday 30th March.


The Pathways

We understand that all our students are different in their abilities and mindsets but we also know that all students need to be given the best possible opportunity to achieve now and in the future. With this in mind, we have tailored three pathways for students to follow, with the aim being to maximise a student’s potential both now and in the future.

Students will be told which pathway they should be following, if you are unsure of what our recommendation would be please contact Mr Stewart Williams. Our pathways are in place to guide students to the best possible outcomes and whilst not set in stone are strongly encouraged. We will happily discuss with parents and students the options available should they not be available on the pathway that has been set. 

We would refer you to pages 7 & 8 of the Options Guidance Leaflet for information on the specific pathways and how they should guide you through the options process.


English forms part of our core offering at Key Stage 4 and students must study both English Language and English Literature. 

Please click to view the Subject Information Guide for English Language and for English Literature.

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All students must continue their studies in Mathematics. There are two options at the end of the course, to sit a Higher Paper or a Foundation Paper. The Maths Department will take this decision in Year 11.

Please click here to view the Mathematics Subject Information Guide.



All students are required to study PSHE during their time in Key Stage 4. This is not a subject that results in a qualification. Please click to view the PSHE Subject Information Guide.

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We are able to offer students varying options in Science at GCSE level.

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For certain students, as decided by the Science department, the option of taking three separate sciences; Biology, Chemistry and Physics, resulting in being awarded three GCSEs, is available. We are also able to offer a Combined Science option in two tiers; foundation and higher. Studying Combined Science still requires studies in all three sciences and still requires exams in all three sciences to be sat but the outcome of these exams is two GCSE grades. 

Dr Elliot, Head of Science, will explain the Science options in more detail in the attached video. Please click to view the Science Subject Information Guide.

Core Humanities

Miss Collins is the Head of Humanities, specialising in History, with Mrs Hawkswell as the Head of Geography.





Humanities subjects offer exciting and challenging topics for students to investigate, learn about and study. With Geography tackling relationships between people and the environment and History exploring key aspects of our past including the Anglo Saxons and Norman England, Crime and Punishment in Whitechapel and Weimar and Nazi Germany, these subjects offer students variety, dynamism and a sense of belonging. 

Please watch the video clips below and click to view the Subject Information Guide for History and Geography. For further guidance please see your subject teachers.


On top of our core Humanities subjects, our students can choose to study additional Humanities subjects as part of their options selection. At Woolmer Hill, we offer a choice of Religious Studies, Sociology, Business & Enterprise and Economics. Miss Collins is the Head of Humanities, specialising in History, and is supported by Miss Whitaker, Mr Barraud, Mr Walker and Mr Williams.

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Whilst the students will be familiar with the learning of RS, having studied it throughout Years 7-9, Sociology, Business & Enterprise and Economics provide a chance to explore other areas of this vast faculty of learning. Religious Studies explores not just cultural areas of certain religions but the students will also take time to look at ethical, philosophical and moral aspects of the world we live in. Sociology will take you on a journey through our social cultures with particular focus on family and education and crime and social stratification. In turn Business & Enterprise takes a broad look at the business world, specifically how businesses operate in the world around us, the influences that affect them and how they look at their marketing and finance operations. Economics allows students the chance to explore how an economy works, the theories, the structures, markets and resources as well as looking at the decisions that the economy can place on families and individuals.

Please watch the video clips below and click on the links below to view the Subject Information Guides. For further guidance please see the subject teachers.






We strongly encourage all students who are capable of a good pass in a language to follow this as a chosen option. Languages are incredibly useful in all careers and pathways, it enables ease of travel and transition and can be applied to all industries. Many universities now look upon a language as a favourable option for successful candidates. So many reasons to study a language and we haven't even touched on holidays abroad!

If you are fluent in a language other than English, you can also enquire about sitting a qualification in that. You will need to have fluency both in the spoken and the written word. Please speak to the Exams Officer as soon as possible.

Miss Reynolds is the Head of Languages and is supported by Mrs Wakeham, Mr Atkey and Mrs Gogarty.





Please watch the video clip below and click here to view the Subject Information Guide and Steps to Success documents. For further guidance please see your subject teachers.


Miss Barber is our Head of Computing and offers two courses in this subject; a GCSE in Computer Science and a BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology. Both courses offer students the chance to explore and develop skills in computing and the virtual world, looking at designing, programming, security and software. Computer Science is an increasingly important part of the world we live in and similar to a modern foreign language, it can often be applied in many different businesses and industries as well as at home.




Please watch the video clip below from Miss Barber and click to view the Subject Information Guide and Steps to Success document for Computer Science and BTEC IT. For further guidance please see your subject teachers.

Design Technology

Design Technology can cover a variety of areas and at Woolmer Hill we pass this on to students in two subjects; Art & Design 3D and Hospitality & Catering. 

Miss Everson is the Head of Design Technology, specialising in Catering, she is supported by Mrs Fowler and Mr Quibell. 




Both subjects provide practical and creative opportunities, a chance to be less desk based and more hands on, however, both subjects do also have theory to learn, written evaluation to be completed and in Catering's case, a written exam.

Please watch the video clip below from Miss Everson and click to read the Subject Information Guides and Steps to Success documents for Catering and 3D Art & Design. For further guidance please see your subject teachers.

Creative Arts

Lead by Mr Nash, the Creative Arts Department is musical, theatrical and artistic in equal measure! Whilst Art offers you a chance to explore your creative and artistic side in various forms and techniques from clay to watercolour to textiles, Music GCSE will expand your knowledge of musical genres and theory, and enable you to develop your composing and performing skills. Drama takes you on a journey through plays, the theatre and backstage.

All subjects in this department require work outside of school, be that in portfolio work, theatre visits or rehearsals or daily practice in music.





Please watch the video clips below and click on the links below to read the Subject Information Guides and Steps to Success documents for each subject. For further guidance please see your subject teachers.







Physical Education

Being active and enjoying exercise is vital for mental well-being, which is why even if Sport is not taken as a GCSE, an element of core PE is still a part of every student's timetable. Please click to view the Subject Information Guide for Core PE.

We do also offer two options for students to take their studies in this area forward; a Cambridge National in Sports Studies and a GCSE in Physical Education. 





Both of these options require students to have a keen interest and ability in sports, this includes not just playing a sport but partaking in team activities and sports leadership. Both options, the GCSE in particular, also contain a strong written element and theory studies so it is not all about ball skills! Mr Chippendale is our head of department and he has a strong team of specialists in a variety of areas supporting him. 

If you are thinking about either PE or Sports Studies please ensure that you understand the requirements outside of school in terms of the number of sports you need to be active in. It is not enough to simply enjoy sport.  

Before making a decision on which Sport option to choose you must consult your PE teacher who will be able to advise on the best course for you.

Please watch the video clip below from Mr Chippendale to learn more about the Sports offering in Key Stage 4 and click to read the Subject Information Guides and Steps to Success documents for PE GCSE and Sports Studies.

Special College Options for Silver Pathway Students

This year we will be offering a college course in Childcare. Please click here to read about the special college course options we are able to offer to invited students on the Silver Pathway. 

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