Year 9 Options

The subjects and qualifications you study over Years 10 and 11 will affect how you spend your time during your next two years at Herschel. It could also help set you up for the career or college course you want later on.

How do I choose?

To help you decide what to study in Years 10 and 11, start by asking yourself what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at.

Think about:

  • what you’re interested in: it could be other cultures and languages, writing projects, helping people, being outdoors or designing things
  • what types of activity you enjoy most - working things out and thinking them through, practical activities or artistic options like painting, drawing or performing music
  • what you're like at home, as well as in school - what skills have you developed following outside interests?

There are some subjects so important that everyone has to take them, but you still have options in Year 9. You can read the Options Booklet for 2023 as a PDF download at the bottom of this page. Please also see this Options presentation with audio from Mr Devereux, Deputy Headteacher.

Some red hot tips.....

Get as much information as you can so you choose well. 

Ask for help from your Head of Learning or the Careers Leader.

If you have a firm career idea, research it and choose your options accordingly. Remember, no qualification is ever wasted.

You don’t have to have a career in mind at this stage – you just need to choose subjects and courses that will give you plenty of choice later on.

Choose subjects that you enjoy!

Check out whether the subjects have coursework, controlled assessment or just exams.

How do jobs relate to subjects?

Download the document called 'How Careers Relate to School Subjects' from the list at the foot of this page to see a list of job titles arranged by school subjects - remember, often these links are not set in stone, but do give you some ideas about where particular school subjects could eventually lead.

How will I be assessed?

Chances are you'll have to do at least one exam for most of your subjects, but many also let you count controlled assessment towards your final grade. Some subjects aren't all about written work, and give you the chance to do practical assessments as well. 

Where can I get help and advice?

The choices are yours, but most people look for advice on important decisions. There’s plenty available, but you should do as much as you can yourself to research all the options.

Parents, carers, family and friends probably know you best, so talking to them can help you work out what might suit you. But remember that they won’t always know a lot about careers or courses you’re interested in. If you’re planning to work towards a particular career or college course, don’t be put off just because it means taking a different direction from friends or family members.

Subject teachers know exactly what studying a subject in Year 10 and 11 involves, and can advise whether it’s right for you.

The Careers Leader can guide you towards advice about which subjects and qualifications are useful for particular careers. Mr Devereux can answer any questions about the Herschel options process itself. You will also have an opportunity to talk to some older students who have studied the subjects in which you are interested.

Miss Kaur, the school careers adviser, will be at Options Evening and will be running group sessions in school before half term for you to ask any questions. 

Key dates for 2023

Options Booklets issued to pupils – 2 February 2023.

Online Subject Evening – 9th March 2023

Deadline for submitting option choices – 17th March 2023

Useful websites

Click on the links below for some external help and advice on choosing your options from some independent websites. Which University considers the impact your GCSE choices can have on your future degree courses.


Case studies

If you are a bit unsure about where to go with your options choices, try reading the case studies below:


Jessica is in Year 9 and looking to start her GCSE courses in September. Alongside Mathematics and English, she is doing Triple Science, PE and French. She has always enjoyed making and repairing things and would like a career in engineering.
When it came to choosing her options Jessica found it invaluable talking to the school careers adviser and Head of Learning, who both emphasised the importance of choosing subjects that she enjoys as well as those that relate to her career choice. This particularly helped Jessica focus on her decision-making as she is a student who does well in most subject areas.
‘When I had to make my choices I was advised to choose carefully, to look at options I would have fun doing, not what I feel I have to do because everyone else is taking them. The school careers adviser also suggested that I consider my future ambition when making my choices.’


Michael is in Year 9 and enjoys most of his school subjects. He has opted to take GCSEs in geography, history and food technology, but at the moment he doesn’t really have a clear career plan. 

‘I had the opportunity to talk to my Head of Learning, which was great, and the school careers adviser at subject evening about my option choices. I also used the school’s option booklet and careers website which I went through with my parents and this helped me to decide what courses would suit me.’
Michael found it invaluable talking to lots of different people about what to do after Year 9. As he doesn’t have a career idea yet, decision-making can feel even more confusing. It’s important to choose courses that will suit and interest you, not just because your friends are doing them, so get some advice and help from those around you.


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