Your future starts here…

Dear Year 9 Student,

You are coming to a very important transition in your education when the choices and decisions you make will affect your future and career paths. For the first time since you started at primary school you have some choice about what you will study next year. This needs to be taken very seriously so you make the right choices. Below is information which may be useful to help you and your parents/carers when making these decisions.

We have a dedicated Options Webpage which provides all the information students need to make well informed choices about which subjects to study at KS4. The Options booklet will be available electronically in addition to a power point presentation delivered by Mr Koltan which provides parents and carers with the information needed to support you in making the right Option choices. The Year 9 will have a follow-up assembly with Mr Koltan explaining the Options process and asking any question students may have. The University of Chester has prepared a presentation supporting students with the options process, pathways and decision making. Our subject teachers have been delivering assemblies to Year 9 each Wednesday and will continue to do so over the coming weeks where teachers have ‘pitched’ their subject.

Our Ethos

We are privileged to be able to promote and develop Christian beliefs, practices and values within the whole school Boteler family, wider communities and within our teaching and learning. The teaching and ministry of Jesus enables us to bring Hope, Compassion and Endurance to our students and others. Sir Thomas Boteler acknowledged 500 years ago that “Through God, We Care” which is at the heart of our school community today. All students follow Religious Studies at KS4 enabling students to respond to personal, spiritual and moral questions that face us as human beings.

Vocational Courses

As a school we want to develop self-motivated and mature young people who enjoy learning. We offer a selection of BTEC courses as well as traditional GCSEs. BTECs are work related qualifications providing a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a key theoretical background. Students complete units of work which are internally assessed and verified. They also complete an external exam component. Students are graded with a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*. Each of our BTEC courses are equivalent to one GCSE.

Government changes to GCSE and the new GCSE grading system

GCSEs specifications changed in September 2016 to meet new Government guidelines and standards. All GCSE qualifications will now be examined at the end of the two-year course. Only a few contain internal assessments that need to be completed in school as well as a final exam. All GCSE subjects will be graded on the 9-1 scale replacing grades A* – G. It is important to note that a grade 5 (strong pass) is required by many colleges to gain access to courses post-16.

Thinking ahead – University

Universities look for students who have good grades but grades in the right subjects for the course they want to apply for. If you know what you want to study at university, you should think about choosing subjects which give you the best possible preparation for your chosen degree course. If you’re not sure what you want to study at university yet, it’s important to choose subjects which will leave as many options open as possible.

What are Facilitating Subjects?

Some A-level subjects are more frequently required for entry to degree courses than others. We call these subjects ‘facilitating’ because choosing them at advanced level leaves open a wide range of options for university study. These facilitating subjects are: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, Geography, History, Languages (French/Spanish), Maths.

If you don’t know what you want to study at university then it’s a really good rule of thumb that taking two facilitating subjects will keep a wide range of degree courses open to you. Studying a language at GCSE will be looked on favourably by universities. Successful applicants are normally expected to achieve good grades in a range of subjects at GCSE or equivalent, and to meet any specific requirements for their chosen course. Some institutions publish a list of preferred A-level subjects which are acceptable for general admission, as well as specific requirements for individual courses. It is important to check University websites very carefully for detailed GCSE requirements should you have a specific degree course in mind. This information should be easily accessible on Universities’ websites or in their prospectuses.

What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?

The EBacc is not a qualification in its own right – it’s a combination of the GCSE subjects listed below that offer an important range of knowledge and skills to young people. The Department for Education recommends that students follow the EBacc subjects as it will help keep their options open.

  • English language and English literature
  • Maths
  • Science – Combined science or 3 single sciences from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Computer Science
  • History or Geography
  • A language

Choosing the EBacc at GCSE gives students access to a full range of employment options when they leave secondary school and the broad knowledge that employers are looking for. If you are thinking of going to university, the EBacc is well regarded as a strong set of subjects that can be supplemented further by more creative subjects.

What if you are unsure about a future career of further study?

A good piece of advice is to pick a broad and balanced mix of subjects that will give you the most choices for study, training and employment after the age of 16. If you have a specific career in mind, check with your subject teachers, Miss Bound (Head of Year) or Mr Koltan (Senior Assistant Headteacher) for guidance about what is required at GCSE and beyond. To study some A-level subjects, you need to have studied them at GCSE but this is not always the case.

Enjoy investigating and researching your option choices and if you have any queries, speak to the people below who will be able to help. Best wishes for the future.

Mr Koltan

Associate Deputy Headteacher


Advice and guidance from Our KS4 students

  • “Do something you enjoy. You will be studying the subject for five hours every fortnight for the rest of your time at secondary school”.
  • “Don’t choose something just because your friends are, as you are not guaranteed you will be in the same group”.
  • “Don’t choose a subject because you like the teacher as the teacher may not be here in the future”.
  • “Try to think about a possible career that interests you and you would like to do when you are older. Then research what subjects are needed to allow you to be successful in working towards your career goal”.
  • “Think about picking a subject with a practical element (Design and Technology, Hospitality and catering, Sport, Music, Art, Drama) to allow you to have variety in learning that is not just theoretical”.
  • “Choose subjects you are good at to prevent as much stress as possible. You need to be able to do well in the subjects you pick as they will be your stepping stones to your future career as an adult”.
  • “Consider studying a language as employers and Universities look at students who have studied a language favourably”.
  • “Make sure the options to choose are the ones YOU want, not friends or family”.

Career Connect

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School works with Career Connect to deliver and exciting and inspirational programme of career advice and guidance activities.  The Careers Adviser who will be working with our school is Kim Dickson.

Year 9 students will have a careers interview with Kim. Interviews will continue to be held every Tuesday. If any students have any questions regarding option choices/careers/college applications, they can book another careers interview by emailing Kim below or by speaking to Miss Bound.

To contact Kim via email at Kim.Dixon@careerconnect.org.uk

Use the following websites to help you decide which subjects you would like to take:





The Options Process Explained

  • All students study the core subjects of English (Language and Literature), Maths, Religious Studies, Science (Combined or Triple) and Core PE (not examined)
  • All students will choose one Humanity subject which is chosen from either GCSE History or Geography in Option Block A. If students wish to study both Humanity subjects, please indicate this on the option form.
  • All students need to choose one subject from those listed in Option Block B and Option Block C.

We will do our best to give students the Option subjects they have chosen. However, where groups have very low numbers of students opting for them, we may not be able to run the subject. We therefore ask students to also list a second-choice subject as a reserve from each option block. In the event that a student is unable to start an Option subject they have chosen, both student and parents/carers will be consulted about further choices.

Please complete the separate Final Option Form carefully. If you have any further questions, please speak to Miss Bound on 01925 636414 (extension 146) or via email at pbound@boteler.org.uk

Mr Koltan is also available via email at jkoltan@boteler.org.uk

Students will need to have completed the option form and submitted it to their form tutor by Monday 26th February at the latest.

Students will be required to have an options meeting with either a member of the Senior Leadership Team/HOY/SENDCO to ensure that every student has the right support to make the best choices. These meetings will take place from Monday 5th February and run until Friday 1st March.