Year 9 Choices 2010
This magazine looks at the choices you'll have to make about the subjects you are going to study in years 10 and 11. You'll also find information about your Connexions Service and advice on making career decisions.
You may be confused or worried about just which subjects to take - most teenagers are. Why not make a start by reading this magazine and having a go at all the quizzes?
It's also a good idea to:
? read your own school's options booklet
? get your free copy of the Connexions magazine 'Which Way Now?' or read it on the website: www.connexions-direct.com/whichwaynow
? look at what’s on offer in your local consortium (see pages 6 -7)
There's also more information about subject and career choices, plus interactive quizzes, on the local Connexions website: www.connexions-hw.org.uk
You can get your copy of 'Which Way Now?' from school or by ringing 0845 602
2260. There's also a website you can use to find out more:
You may have been given a copy of this booklet to read in year 8 to help you to prepare for the choices you'll need to make about what to study in years 10 and 11. It's never too early to start planning - you'll be amazed at how quickly the time goes.
Your Learning Journey
Your learning journey - the courses and subjects you take in years 10 and 11 - will be individual to you, depending on the direction that you choose.
Up until now, you and your friends will have studied the same subjects and some subjects are so important that everyone will have to carry on taking them as part of their learning. However, you'll also be able to make some choices about what YOU want to study in years 10 and 11.
It's important to make sure that the direction you choose will help you to gain the skills, experience and qualifications that you'll need for your career and educational plans - but do remember that whatever route you take it will include the essential subjects and skills that everybody needs.
There are four main directions on offer at the end of Year 9:-
GCSEs Most young people take GCSEs in Years
10 and 11, often alongside other
qualifications such as the Diploma
Diploma at Foundation or Higher Level On offer in some areas in a range of with GCSEs and/or other applied subjects/lines of learning qualifications
Work-related courses with GCSEs Programmes such as Young
and/or other qualifications Apprenticeships and qualifications such
as NVQs, OCRs and BTECs Personalised learning programmes Individual programmes agreed with your
school if you are not ready to move on to
GSCEs or level 2 courses yet
What lies ahead….
There are big changes ahead in the qualifications and learning field, with four main
progression routes developing for 14 – 19 year olds.
Some new words and phrases are being used to describe them – but don’t worry! We’ve given you some brief explanations below to help you.
1. GENERAL – the term used for courses which have a mix of subjects, not directly
linked to jobs or work (like GCSEs and A Levels)
2. DIPLOMA – this route (described in detail on pages 5-7 of this document) is set to
grow in the near future, with many more subjects and ‘extended’ versions available
3. APPRENTICESHIPS – another growth area, where learning is linked to training for
4. FOUNDATION LEARNING TIER – all the preparatory courses and learning
(including personalised programmes), for students not ready to move on to GCSEs
or other Level 2 options, will be part of the Foundation Learning Tier which is under
What will I have to carry on studying?
Your core group of subjects will be:
? Functional Skills
Plus you'll carry on studying careers education, citizenship, PE, religious studies, sex What are Functional Skills? and relationship education and work-related learning. Functional skills are the practical skills of English, maths and information and communication technology (ICT).
Everyone needs these skills, as you use them in everyday life, in learning and will also use them at work.
They are so important that you have to carry on studying them in years 10 and 11. You will be able to study them as part of the new Diploma, your English, maths and ICT GCSEs, or as separate functional skills qualifications.
What courses can I choose?
Each school has its own options that you will be able to choose from but the courses on offer will probably include:
? A range of GCSE optional subjects - from familiar subjects such as history, art, and French, to more applied subjects such as health & social care and leisure & tourism.
? The Diploma - on offer in some areas at Foundation and Higher level in a range of broad sector areas and subjects such as Construction & the Built Environment, Creative & Media and Engineering. To find out more about the Diploma see pages 5-7 of this document.
? Work-related courses such as Young Apprenticeships leading to qualifications like NVQs or BTECs. These courses may include spending part of your week with an employer, at college, or with a training provider.
Personalised Learning Programmes
If you are not yet ready to move on to GCSE qualifications or a Higher Level Diploma, and need a bit more time to build your confidence and gain basic qualifications, your school may offer you a personalised learning programme.
If this applies to you, you'll get lots of help to pick the courses and qualifications that suit you best and will help you move forward.
Some of these options, such as Young Apprenticeships and Diplomas, could take up to two days a week of your study time - for the rest of your time you will work towards GCSEs and other qualifications. So, if you are taking either of these options it's important that you do lots of research and make sure that you will enjoy what you will be studying.
DO check all your option subjects carefully
How do I find out more about the different subjects?
? your school's options booklet.
? your online local Area Prospectus. This has information on all the local courses
and training for 14-19 year olds. You can check what's on offer:
in Herefordshire at: www.myherefordshire.com/14to19prospectus.aspx or in Worcestershire at: www.worcestershire14-19prospectus.co.uk
? the careers library in school.
? e-CLIPS - an online careers library. You can use them at school or by clicking on
the e-CLIPS link on the home page of the local Connexions website -
? the subject information in the magazine 'Which Way Now.' You can read it on the
web by going to www.connexions-direct.com/whichwaynow or ring 0845 602 2260 to ask for your free copy.
? any information on courses such as Diplomas, offered by the consortium of which
your school is a member. Your local consortium may have a website. For example,
the North Worcestershire ‘Continu’ and ‘Forward’ consortia each have a website
which gives details of all the courses they offer - www.continu.org.uk and www.forwardconsortium.org.uk
The New Diploma
As the Diploma qualification was introduced only recently we have given more
information to get you started - see pages 5-7 of this document. There is also
information about all the different qualifications on the local Connexions website -
DON’T choose subjects just so that you can stay with your friends
What if I don't know what to choose?
Start by making a list below of all the subjects you are thinking about doing:
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Now find out more about each of these subjects to work out which ones you'll enjoy
the most and do the best in.
Need more help?
Your Personal Tutor at school will be the first person to talk to if you want more help
with your option choice. Don’t forget that your tutor will be working with you for the next few years - so it’s a good idea to start sharing your ideas and plans with them.
Your Connexions Personal Adviser will also be happy to discuss your options with
you. Ask for help.
Subjects & Careers
Choosing a career can be very exciting but can also be worrying, especially if you haven't a clue about how to get started.
Just how do you:
? find out information about all the different jobs?
? go about deciding which jobs will suit you?
Where should I start?
You can find loads of information about jobs by using:
? the web - the best site to start with is www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u (it's got a database of 800 jobs)
? books and leaflets - find them in your school or your local Connexions centre.
Some of the Diplomas may be available as an option choice in 2010. The full range of Diplomas will be phased in gradually until they are all available everywhere by 2013.
A Diploma is a mixture of classroom learning and hands-on practical experience - including at least 10 days of work experience - to help you to learn about:
? A broad job sector area - such as Creative & Media or Construction & the Built Environment
? Functional skills - maths, English and ICT - the core bits of these subjects, which are needed to cope in life and at work
? Personal, learning, and thinking skills - including such things as team working and study skills.
What broad job sector areas will there be?
Diplomas will be on offer by 2013 in 17 broad job sector areas:
Title Pilots National offer
Construction & the Built Environment From 2008 By 2013
Creative & Media
Society, Health & Development
Business, Administration & Finance From 2009 By 2013
Hair & Beauty Studies
Environmental & Land-based
Manufacturing & Product Design
Public Services From 2010 By 2013
Sport & Active Leisure
Travel & Tourism
Humanities & Social Sciences From 2011 By 2013
Languages & International Communication Science - at Foundation and Higher Levels
Science at Advanced Level From 2012 By 2013
What levels will there be?
The Diploma will be on offer at 3 levels, Foundation (level 1), Higher (level 2) and
Advanced (level 3):
What levels can I do?
Alongside your GCSEs you may be able to choose a Foundation or a Higher Level
Diploma. Why not discuss with your teachers or tutor which level would suit you best?
Advanced Diplomas are only on offer for students aged 16+.
What can Foundation and Higher Diplomas lead to?
Diplomas lead to the same opportunities that are on offer to students doing general
GCSE courses. So for example, you can go on from:
? a Foundation Diploma, to a Higher Diploma, Extended Higher Diploma, GCSE, or
other level 2 course, or into employment, or work-based learning (for example an
? a Higher Diploma, to an Advanced Diploma, Extended Advanced Diploma,
Advanced Progression Diploma, AS or other level 3 course, or into employment, or
Thinking longer term?
Advanced, or Advanced Progression Diplomas, can lead on to a Degree or other
level 4-6 course, or into employment or work-based learning.
Are Diplomas offered by schools?
All Diplomas are offered through a consortium. A consortium is an arrangement
where schools and colleges work together to provide courses.
The consortiums that are offering Diplomas to students in their area are:
Herefordshire 14-19 Consortium - All Herefordshire schools and colleges.
? ContinU - Wyre Forest schools and colleges
? Forward - Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa schools and colleges
South Worcestershire Network
? Aspire - Worcester City schools and colleges ? EPiC - Evesham and Pershore schools and colleges ? Upton and Malvern - Upton and Malvern schools and colleges.
Find out more
Diplomas are being offered in a wide range of subjects locally - why not find out more?
A good starting point is the official Diploma website. It has information about all the
Diplomas and links to more information about specific Diplomas:
Worcestershire local Area Prospectus:
Worcestershire hub: http://worcestershire.whub
North Worcestershire area:
The South Worcestershire Network will have their information online soon. Ask your
PA for details or check the local Connexions website: www.connexions-hw.org.uk
Herefordshire information at: www.myherefordshire.com/14to19prospectus.aspx What questions could I ask subject teachers?
Go along to your school's options evening and ask a few questions . . .
1. What will the subject or course cover?
2. Is it like any other subject or course?
3. Will I have to travel to another school or college to study this subject or take the course that interests me?
4. What jobs or higher level courses will this subject or course be useful for?
5. Will there be exams?
6. Will my coursework count?
7. How much homework will there be?
8. Will I do work experience as part of the course?
9. Will I do well at the subject and course?
DO use your local online prospectus to find out details about subjects and courses
What if I don't know what sort of jobs might suit me?
Why not use Fast Tomato?
What is it?
? is a computer program you can use on the internet
? uses interactive questionnaires to find out what you like and are good at ? suggests ideas for school subjects, careers, further education and higher education courses and jobs that may suit you as an individual.
Where is it?
? It's on the web - just type in: www.fasttomato.com
Is it free?
Yes. You may have been given a user name and password by your school in a careers education lesson. If you haven't got one yet you can go straight to the site and take part in a free trial. Just click on the 'Not Registered' link on the login page and follow the instructions.
If you've tried to get ideas and you're still in a muddle it's a good idea to talk to your Connexions PA - s/he will be able to help you.
Other software programs you may find in your school include Job Explorer Database (JED), Pathfinder, Kudos or Odyssey Plus.
DON’T choose subjects just because you like the teacher I like a particular subject - could I use this as a starting
point to find out about jobs/careers that might interest me?
If you really enjoy a particular subject this can be a brilliant starting point for finding out about careers that could interest you.
You can use your free copy of the Connexions magazine 'Which Way Now?' to get
started. This magazine has a subject file that lists some career suggestions for each subject. You can read it on the web by going to
www.connexions-direct.com/whichwaynow or ring 0845 602 2260 to ask for your
There's also more information about subject and career choices on the local website - www.connexions-hw.org.uk
Why not check out our subject and job ideas pages to find out more?
www.connexions-hw.org.uk also has links to fast tomato, e-clips and jobs4u.
Where can I find out more?
? There's loads of information in your school's Careers library or you can pop in to your local Connexions Centre.
? If you want to use the internet but don't have access at home - you can use it for free at your local public library or Connexions Centre.
? E-CLIPS - an online careers library with information on subjects, choices, and qualifications, as well as further and higher education, plus all you need to know about jobs. You can use them at school or by clicking on the e-CLIPS link on the home page of the local Connexions website - www.connexions-hw.org.uk
More brilliant starting points include:
? The jobs4u careers database on the web. You'll be able to check out detailed information about a range of jobs and discover just what subjects and qualifications you'll need. Check it out at www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u
? Your local Connexions website www.connexions-hw.org.uk This site's got information about how to choose your options and careers, plus links to lots of other useful sites.
The most important reason to choose a subject is that you enjoy it and are likely to do well at it.
I’ve no idea what career I want to do in the future - don’t I
need to know before I choose my subjects?
When applied courses take up all your option choices, for example the new Diploma,
don't worry, as all the Diplomas are as broad based as possible to keep your options
open. Although they are applied to a broad-based job sector area they also cover
the key subjects - English, maths and ICT - and you will be able to add in other
essential subjects like science. This means that you could change direction if you
decide that this applied sector isn’t where you want to work in the future.
If the subject/course is:
? vocational - about a job, for example an NVQ in Food Preparation or ? applied - about a broad job family, for example a Foundation Diploma in Construction & the Built Environment or Creative & Media, this can be an opportunity
to find out more about a job or a group of jobs.
Will I need specific subjects for the job I want to do?
For most jobs you just need a number of general GCSEs or applied or work-based
equivalent qualifications, but for a few jobs you will need specific subjects at GCSE
or a higher level.
Did you know? English is the most commonly asked for GCSE for courses, training, and jobs, closely followed by maths and then by science.
What type of jobs may ask for specific subjects as entry
Art and Design based jobs such as fine artist, graphic designer, sculptor, illustrator,
animator, or wallpaper designer usually require you to take an art or design based
course at a high level. For higher level art and design courses you'll need a portfolio
of work, and evidence of drawing skills. Taking a GCSE art and design course, or a
Foundation or Higher Diploma in Creative & Media, can be a useful way of starting to
develop both your portfolio and your drawing skills - as art and design course
admission tutors like to see both your artistic/design abilities and how your skills have
developed over time.
Engineering and Technology professional level jobs such as civil engineer,
architectural technologist, or structural engineer usually require you to have taken
maths, plus physics or an equivalent construction or engineering Diploma, at a higher
level (Level 3). Design and technology at GCSE, or a Foundation or Higher Diploma
in Engineering or Construction & the Built Environment, can also be a useful subject
to demonstrate to employers/universities your technical ability and interest.
Language based jobs such as translator, interpreter, or European lawyer, usually
require you to have studied two languages. This is to give you a broad base to go on
and do the higher level language study you'll need for these competitive jobs.