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Joseph Leckie Academy

  • Leadership, Empathy, Community, Kindness, Integrity & Environment

Key Stage 4 Core Curriculum and Option Subjects

Dear Parents/ Carers

Key Stage 4 is an important time in your child’s life. It is when they will make important choices which will shape their future. Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all students can succeed whatever their abilities and strengths.

Students will remain in J and L bands for core subjects, however, please note that some students may change bands at the start of Y9 to help with setting and options. Therefore, they may not be in the same half as they currently are.  Subjects in the EBacc (The English Baccalaureate) or Free choice option blocks may be across bands in some cases and are based on aptitude in the subject, staffing and timetable constraints.

At the end of the spring term in Year 8, students will be provided with option choices, which means each individual can follow a programme of study which will allow them to progress to further/higher education or employment.  Option subject choices offered to students will be based on their Key Stage 2 attainment predictions along with their progress during Key Stage 3 and their mock exam results. You can be assured that the Academy will place your child on the most appropriate pathway for them to succeed. Therefore, not all students have access to all subjects, however all students have a good range of options to select from.

All pathways offer the opportunity to follow a core curriculum which includes: English Language, English Literature, Maths and Science GCSE’s as well as Physical Education. In addition, they have some optional subjects in which students have an ability, talent and interest. As an Academy we expect students will study at least one humanity subject (Geography and/or History). It is Academy policy that a large number of students will be expected to study French and/or German alongside their options and this will be indicated on their personalised options form.

Over the coming weeks, we would like you to discuss optional subjects with your child as it is important they make informed choices as it may be difficult to make changes once all students have chosen due to set sizes, staffing and timetable restrictions. To support this process staff have placed short videos on SharePoint giving descriptions of the subject and assessments involved. Moreover, students will have subject assemblies for those subjects that are new to their curriculum and have the opportunity to discuss further with relevant faculties/subjects as indicated in this booklet.

Good reasons for making option choices are:

  • Because students enjoy a subject,
  • Because students are good at the subject and/or
  • Because it will support their future career choice.

It is also recommended that the options chosen provide a balanced range of subjects in order to provide choice in their future study. It is important that a subject is not chosen because a child likes their current teacher as they may be with a different teacher next year. Choosing a subject to follow friends is also not a good idea as they may be in a different class and this may not be relevant to their own career pathways.

In addition to the subjects above all students will follow a Personal Development Programme. This programme is designed to support students by covering the topics of Work Related Learning, Careers, Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE), Enterprise, Personal Finance and Citizenship. Some students will study a Functional Skills based course and/or an ASDAN course in Personal and Social Effectiveness. More details of these courses will be provided to those students on these pathways.

Subjects shown in purple are the core curriculum and will be studied by all students. These are the subjects that are essential for students when entering further/higher education or employment later in their lives.

We offer both GCSE and vocational subjects as options to suit a range of learning styles. Where the subject is vocational, this may be a BTEC Level 2, Tech Awards and other Technical Awards. The vast majority of students studying a vocational qualification will be working towards achieving a level 2 qualification (which is equivalent to a GCSE).

Please note, we may change course specifications (see current information on subjects) during the duration of a programme of study, where there is a specification change imposed by the board and/or we feel it is in the best interests of the students on the course to change the specification to enhance their progress and attainment.

On the personalised options’ form, which will be provided to your child just prior to the parents evening on Thursday 7th March 2024, students should indicate their choices against the subject(s). We will endeavour to ensure that students get their choices, but this is not always possible as some subjects have limited places, some subjects may not be viable (numbers and staffing) and so students may be asked for a follow up choice.

Some subject combinations are not advisable options such as choosing two subjects with very similar subject content and skills such as the combinations below. Therefore, in these areas only one from each of these should be chosen:

  • Art or Art and Design;  
  • Design Technology or Textiles
  • Business or Business Enterprise.

Please note, some subjects will only be offered to certain students for educational reasons, where this is the case and you wish your child to be considered for this subject, please discuss this with Ms Cook.

Over the coming weeks prior to the Options form being issued on March 7th, it is important that students find out about the courses and what the style of assessments are and gather a variety of information to make informed choices.

Over the coming weeks students should:

  • speak with their teachers,
  • speak to their Form Tutor and other Pastoral staff
  • consult with yourselves
  • listen to the subject presentations carefully and the videos on SharePoint
  • review the SharePoint subject sites,
  • read the booklet
  • refer to the website and subject specification websites for courses
  • Use the Library Resource Centre to gather information
  • Engage with their careers booklets and information given in form time Careers presentations

Please encourage your child to find out as much as they can about a course before they choose their options.

It is not always easy to change options in September or after they have started the course for a variety of reasons, so it is important to make the right choices.  Changes will only be made in exceptional circumstances and students will be expected to catch up on all the work missed.    

If you have any questions or concerns regarding option choices or pathways available, please do come to the parents evening on Thursday 7th March 2024 to discuss with subject teachers or if you are unable to do so, please do not hesitate to contact us through and we will ensure that you will be contacted or your child can speak with Ms Cook, Associate Principal or Mrs Price, Assistant Principal. Ms Cook and Mrs Price will be available from 4.30pm on the Parents evening to answer any further questions.

Options forms will need to be returned by Friday 15th March 2024 at the latest to Ms Pace (in the Art Block).

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