year 8 options 2021


Over the past year, the pandemic has impacted the school in ways it had not been possible to imagine and the impact on learning, wellbeing, planning and outcomes are still being ascertained.
As part of normal structure, we were due to engage our Year 8 pupils in the options process that would begin mid-February and finish mid-March. This process would normally involve face to face meetings with all pupils and families and the optional support of our dedicated careers advisors. With the return of pupils in the week of 8th March, this has obviously not been possible.

The delay in options, along with the process of evaluating and planning to consolidate and master the essential building blocks for KS4 has left us having to rethink our structure over the coming months and years to be able to best support our learners. 

Current Year 8 pupils have either missed or had impacted at least 55% of their KS3 curriculum time, making reasoned options choices impossible. In addition, any delay to the options process past Easter makes it impossible to have the timetable for September 2021 completed in time. 

As a result, the only choice is to delay the options process and subsequently delay the move from KS3 into KS4.


Changes for 2021
Following significant thought, analysis, and discussions across the school we have made the decision to modify the current structure to enable out Year 8 pupils to have a longer period of time following the Key Stage 3 curriculum before being asked to make their options choices. We will be:

  • Moving the options process to early September, hopefully allowing face to face meeting with parents to take place.
  • Year 8 pupils will continue to follow the Key Stage 3 curriculum from September until Christmas.
  • A new timetable will be written to take effect from January 2022 where our current Year 8 pupils will move to their GCSE options subjects.

In the image below (click to zoom) you can see a visual representation of the change with Green = KS3, Blue = KS4 and Red = Options process

Image

Rationale
When the school first moved to a 3 year Key Stage 4 back in 2017, the driving force behind it was to facilitate pupils being able to take a fourth GCSE option subject whilst still fulfilling the Governments drive for EBacc subjects to be promoted.

After significant analysis of curriculum time across the school, it will still be possible to retain this 4th option choice at GCSE with Key Stage 4 being reduced to c2.5 years. If we were allow current Year 8 pupils to begin their GCSE options subjects at the beginning of Year 10, we would have to reduce the choices to only 3 subjects.


The coming year
Over the coming months, up until the end of the academic year, we will focus on providing all of our pupils with the best support and positive experiences possible.
Towards the end of the academic year, we will share with pupils and parents the details of the options choices available so that you will have the summer holidays to think, discuss and narrow down your decisions.

In the new academic year, September 2021, the process will begin giving you the chance to talk through your choices with a member of the senior team ready for the move into Key Stage 4 in the January of 2022.

If you have any questions related to this matter, please contact Mr McGuinness via kmc@sjcs.org.uk