The Year 8 Pathways process is the first real opportunity for students and their parents to personalise their learning. It is designed to support each individual in choosing the style of courses that match their interests, abilities and preferred way of working so that everyone can achieve the very best quality of results. This, in turn, will support future aspirations.

Students and their parents require clear information, advice and guidance when making these choices. These introductory pages are designed to provide that clarity.

A pathway will be recommended for each student, based on their progress throughout Year 7 and 8. Opinions have been sought from subject teachers and tutors in making this recommendation. Students and parents will then be asked to use this as a guide to determine their pathway from which they will select their courses.

To support this process all students will receive support through PSHE lessons, assemblies and in subject lessons.

This year we have created a series of videos to explain the process and rationale, which can be found in this area of the school website. The 'remote' parents evening on 2nd and 3rd February will give parents and students more specific advice from their subject teachers.

We encourage all students to seek advice from their tutors, teachers and parents to ensure that they make the best possible choices to ensure future success.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

All students will study the 5-GCSE core curriculum of:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science (double award)

All will also have 'core' lessons in the following non-examined subjects:

  • Religion and World Views (RWV)
  • Personal and Social Development (PSD)
  • PE

A three-year programme enables students to develop a deeper understanding of the subject that they study and to broaden their knowledge. It also enables the development of skills such as independent enquiry, teamwork, problem solving and reflection that are essential for future academic and workplace success, but that are so often sidelined due to the pressure of a two-year KS4 curriculum.

The amount of content in the new GCSE specifications has increased from that in the current GCSEs and examinations are more rigorous. Having three years to complete KS4 courses and develop the necessary skills will mean that students can retain the breadth (number) of courses that they currently enjoy. They also develop background knowledge and skills in the context of that subject. If courses were taught over just two years we may have to reduce the number of courses to give each course more lesson time.


Pathway ‘G’
General GCSE: choose one ‘EBacc’ subject (a GCSE in one of Geography, History, French or German) plus any four other GCSE subjects. This pathway is for students who are good at writing and exams and will do well through “traditional” subjects. Students may take a humanities subject and a language if they wish.

Pathway ‘GB’
GCSE with BTEC: choose one ‘EBacc’ subject plus four other courses, including one or two BTEC subjects. BTECs are equivalent to GCSEs but are assessed in a different way. They have a more practical ‘vocational’ focus (linked to the workplace and real life) and rely less on exams. This pathway is for students who work hard and are good at their subjects but who find exams more challenging.

Pathway ‘GE’
GCSE with EBacc: The ‘English Baccalaureate’ is not an actual qualification, but is a collection of traditional, academic subjects that will support students who are aiming for the highest grades and who aspire to the very best universities. This pathway is therefore for our more academic students. They take a language GCSE, a humanities GCSE then three other GCSEs of their choice.

Pathway ‘B’
BTEC: In addition to their GCSEs in maths, English and science from the core curriculum students on this pathway will leave Year 11 with 3 BTEC or GCSE qualifications and an ASDAN qualification in workplace skills. They will also follow an appropriate vocational course from which they will achieve a recognised qualification. This is a great pathway for students who are better at practical work than exams or “traditional” school subjects.



20 January 2022
Y8 assembly: overview of the process.

Email sent home, recommending a pathway for your son/daughter.
Pathways / options guide available online, including videos explaining the process and rationale.

January/February 2022
PSD lessons looking at Pathways and how to make informed choices.

Videos available on Teams for students: courses for subjects not previously studied and/or those subjects offering BTEC as well as GCSE courses - explained by Heads of Departments

Online information available about each course. Facility to ask questions of subject leaders and the Key Stage Team via an online form which will be emailed to the appropriate staff. Questions will be addressed by staff on a weekly basis.

2nd/3rd February 2022
Y8 Parents Evening, an opportunity to discuss possible options with subject teachers.

16th February 2022
Y8 Pathways option forms deadline

May/June 2022
Students and parents will be informed after the Easter break if a reserve choice needs to be used. A further discussion will take place to confirm a final selection of courses.

July 2022
Mr Johnston to send out letters to parents and students confirming pathway/option choices that will start in September 2022.

General Advice & Guidance

Students should

  • Research the information about the type of courses they wish to study, as well as the subjects.
  • Discuss their ideas with their parents/carers, subject teachers, form tutor and Key Stage 3 team.
  • Choose subjects that they enjoy and that support progression to subjects/careers in the future.
  • Choose subjects that give them the opportunity to study a broad range of subjects. In doing so we hope they will develop a wide range of skills. Since most students will change their minds about career a number of times before (and after) leaving school, they would be wise to leave their options open.
  • Should give careful consideration to the balance of work in Key Stage 4 courses and other school activities.
  • Be realistic about the courses that will bring them the greatest success.

Students should not

  • Choose subjects because a particular friend has chosen them
  • Make a choice based on their like or dislike of a particular teacher

Pathways Advice and Guidance

There are a number of useful websites that may help students and their parents/carers when selecting their options:

Excellent information around careers can be found through Unifrog. Students all have their own login, and have had PSD sessions to support their use of the platform.

Students can also obtain impartial advice and guidance from Mrs. Louise Price in the careers office.

Students can complete the various online questionnaires available to help identify their preferred way of working, interests and future aspirations.
The National Qualification Framework


Please click here or use the link at the bottom of the menu to access the appropriate pathway form. Instructions for completion are given on the form.