Guided Choices

Year 9 is an extremely important year for students as it is when they make their Guided Choices. They are deciding which subjects they would like to carry on studying at GCSE. This is an information page for Year 9 students – and parents/carers of those students – who are about to decide on their next stages at Rudheath Senior Academy.

Our Guided Choices process is designed to allow our Year 9 students make key decisions about their future with as much support and guidance possible. These are important decisions for our students as the subjects chosen will help to shape a curriculum that will suit interests and future career needs.

We have designed a curriculum offer which:

  • is broad and balanced across a range of both academic and vocational subjects
  • allows students to pursue courses in areas of particular talent or interest
  • provides a level of flexibility to meet the needs of students who might require support
  • links clearly to further study and future employment.

On this website area, you will find detailed information on all subjects that we offer from Year 10 onwards. The English Baccalaureate is a key part of our Guided Choices programme at Rudheath Senior Academy. Students who opt for a Humanities subject – either History or Geography and a Modern Language will qualify for the English Baccalaureate which is recognised by the Russell Group Universities. English Language and Literature, Mathematics and Science are compulsory components of our KS4 curriculum for all learners.

If you have any further queries then please contact your subject teachers or:

  • Mrs Christine Williams, Deputy Headteacher
  • Mrs Rebecca Rive, Director of Year 7-10 Assessment & Outcomes
  • Mr Phil Brown, Head of Year

by emailing

Expectations are high for our Key Stage 4 students at RSA. We believe every student can achieve and succeed, whatever their ability. Good attendance and punctuality are crucial for success and are a basic expectation for all students. Students are well supported and our excellent pastoral system links very closely to the curriculum.

Subject teachers report on student progress each term and form tutors will meet students regularly with for academic reviews. In addition to this, learners will meet with their Head of Year over the course of the year to review progress and to set targets to take learning to the next level.

At Key Stage 4, students are challenged to organise and manage their study time in and out of school. Assemblies and enrichment activities remain an important part of school life, alongside a rich careers education to offer pupils insight into the real world of work, further education and training.

Rewarding students is very important to us. During each term in Key Stage 4 we will have achievement assemblies where we acknowledge and celebrate hard work and encourage success. So there are lots of interesting times ahead! The first stage is to decide the subjects to study.

We believe at Rudheath Senior Academy that our Guided Choices Process reflects the high aspirations we want all for all of our students. All choices are guided. This means we will look at your child’s assessment data and information from their teachers to support subject choice.

While we envisage that all the courses in this booklet will run, there are things beyond our control. For example, if too few students choose a course, then it might not be possible for it to go ahead. It should be stressed that the selection of a subject is not an automatic guarantee, rather than an expression of interest. We will try to ensure that all students are able to study the subjects where they have expressed an interest, however, if we feel that the student is not suited to a subject, or type of learning we may advise against the selection. We appreciate your understanding and support in this.

All students will take a core curriculum which consists of GCSE English Language and Literature, GCSE Maths, GCSE Combined Science (or one of the options will be to follow the Triple Science route) and Core PE.

GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. GCSEs take two years to complete.

For GCSE’s, a grading scale of 9 to 1 will be used, with 9 being the top grade. This will allow greater differentiation between students and will help distinguish the new GCSEs from previous versions. Assessment will be mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills.

There will be new, more demanding, content which has been developed by the Government and the exam boards. Courses will be designed for two years of study – they will no longer be divided into different modules and students will take all their exams in one period at the end of their course.

Exams can only be split into ‘foundation tier’ and ‘higher tier’ if one exam paper does not give all students the opportunity to show their knowledge and abilities. The exams are structured like this to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to show what they are capable of without being put off by questions that are too hard or too easy. Subject teachers will decide which is the most appropriate tier of entry for each student.

GCSEs are the main entry requirements for continuing study at Level 3. They are also the minimum educational requirement for many jobs.

BTEC Firsts and Technical Awards allow (Level 2) learners to develop their knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context.

BTECs provide a tried and trusted progression route to further study, to an apprenticeship, or employment. They are skills-based qualifications that will help students to develop the practical real-world knowledge/experience and skills needed to
progress and succeed through both academic and professional life.

Assessment will be made up from assignments that are internally assessed, and external written based tests. Courses are designed for two years of study and will be divided into different modules.

When thinking about which subjects to choose, consider the following:

What is the subject about?
Speak to subject teachers and older students about their experience with the course.

Do you like the subject?
Most people do better studying subjects they enjoy and in which they have achieved success.

Will you be able to cope with the subject?
Some subjects require practical skills. Some need more writing than others. Some involve research out of school. Find out from the teachers concerned whether they think you would be good at the subjects which interest you.

Consider careers and future goals
Think about which subjects are relevant to your future goals, including future college courses, jobs after school, apprenticeships, university. You can learn more about career guidance on our Work Readiness pages. You can also develop employability skills and consider your future job opportunities through the START programme.