28 April 2023

Choosing your GCSE options in year 8 may seem overwhelming. However, it also signifies an exciting time in your life where you get to choose what you’d like to study for the first time! Taking the first steps towards shaping your future and being able to focus on what really inspires you.

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a useful guide to our GCSE pathway and what to consider when choosing your options.

The essentials

Firstly, the good news is that at LHS we offer a three-year GCSE programme, which means you have more time with your subject teachers and to develop the necessary skills to succeed.

At GCSE students take a range of compulsory subjects (or BTEC and vocational equivalents) plus four or two GCSEs of their choice depending on their interests.

The eight mandatory GCSE subjects for all LHS students are English Language, English Literature, Welsh Language, Maths, Maths Numeracy, Science and RE.

Science can be taken as either a double or triple GCSE, but this is decided at the end of year 9.

All students also study for the Welsh Baccalaureate and take PE – listed on timetables as ‘games’, this is not the same as GCSE PE unless chosen as an option.

Your options

On top of the mandatory GCSEs, you will study for, you get to choose up to 4 options, and this is your exciting opportunity to shape your curriculum in line with your passions, interests and skills.

Depending on which subjects capture your imagination and fit with any future career ambitions you might have, there are several options to choose from across creative subjects, humanities, languages, social sciences, and technology. See the table below for the full list of what’s on offer!*

Designed to cater for as wide a range of interests and aptitudes as possible, as well as GCSE’s LHS also offers BTEC and vocational qualifications.

When choosing your options, you will be asked to put them in priority order. However, students’ needs are accommodated wherever possible and in September, there will be a window where you can change options if you discover one of your GCSE choices really isn’t for you.

CreativeArt, Drama, Music, Music Practice, PE, BTEC Sport, Photography, Media studies, Hair and Beauty, Barbering
HumanitiesGeography and History
Social SciencesBusiness Studies, Digital Tech, GCSE Health and Social care, Computer Science
TechnologyGCSE Food and Nutrition, GCSE Engineering Design, GCSE Product Design, GCSE Fashion and Textiles, BTEC Engineering, BTEC Construction

Making the right decision

Understanding the process is the easy part! Choosing your GCSE options can feel like a big responsibility. However, throughout year 8 there are a number of assemblies, subject teacher sessions and parents and student’s evenings where you can discuss your choices and explore what’s best for you.

In reaching your decision, there are some Do’s and Don’ts which might help.

Do choose based on;

  • What you enjoy – if you are passionate about a subject and genuinely interested you are more likely to study hard for it and develop your understanding of it.
  • What you’re good at – think about subjects you’ve had a particular flair for or done well in since starting high school, these will make good GCSE options.
  • What your career plans are – obviously it is still early days but even if you have loose career ambitions it’s worth checking what post 16 courses or higher education courses your GCSEs fit well with (or are required, in some cases)

Don’t choose based on;

  • What your best friend or group of mates are doing! The social aspect of school can feel very important, certainly in your first couple of years, but don’t follow the crowd and end up taking a subject you’re not keen on. LHS is a big school, and you may not end up in the same class anyway.
  • The fact you like your current subject teacher – having a good teacher certainly makes a subject more enjoyable but be certain you really enjoy it too, not just the teaching. Chances are you won’t necessarily have that teacher for GCSE in any case.
  • The subject being new – GCSE’s do give you the chance to study new subjects but really consider if it’s a case of being excited at the prospect of something being different or whether it really is for you (and in line with your future career plans!).

With you every step of the way

If you’re still unsure, don’t feel under pressure to rush your decision. Take your time and remember that it is not a ‘first come first served’ system at LHS.  If you’re uncertain about your career ambitions at this stage like many, choosing a balanced combination of GCSE options and working hard to do well will still set you in good stead for the future.

And it goes without saying that at LHS, the year 8 pastoral care team are with you every step of the way. Ready, alongside your parents and carers, to advise and help you make the right choice for you.