It’s Time To Choose Those GCSEs

Last week I went along with my daughter to her school for a GCSE options evening. 

I know, I know, it feels like she’s only just started at primary school, and yet here we are.

It was a well organised event, a talk giving us some guidance and reassurance around selections and how to choose subjects.

As a slight aside, there was also a suggested extra curricular reading list supplied as they’re encouraging everyone to read more as they see the impact reading has on GCSE performance. My daughter’s read quite a few of them already and I have several more on my shelves so we’re all covered on the reading front. Of course!

We could then go off to visit the classrooms of the subjects on offer as options, listen to the teachers explaining what will be covered, the work and exams involved, why it could be beneficial to study and who would be good at it. 

It was good, a useful evening, and there was the chance to grab a quick chat with teachers along the way. 

Of course my daughter will have to study English Literature, English Language, Maths and Triple Science. These are all core subjects at her school, so that’s 6 and the bulk of her timetable covered. 

She is then able to choose 3 other subjects, plus she needs to pick a language, either French or Spanish. She enjoys Spanish more than French so that’s that one sorted, just to choose the other three now. 

There’s a lot of choice, which I think is great, but it can make it harder to narrow stuff down. 

Unlike some schools I know of, the optional subjects can be chosen in any combination. They’re not in certain boxes and with you needing to pick from certain choices. 

She doesn’t have to do a humanities subject and the only restrictions are not being able to do Art and Textiles (not a chance!) or more than one of DT, Textiles and Food Technology. Again, not an issue here. 


She has a couple of ideas of what she’d like to do career wise, but she’s not set on things yet and they don’t really sway her choices. I do think it’s hard, I mean how many 14 year olds do know what they want to do? 

They reassured us that GCSE options needn’t dictate future study anyway, as she could pick something up at ‘A’ level that she doesn’t study at GCSE, as long as it’s not a core subject or a language. This was good to hear, she likes knowing that if she misses a subject over Years 10 and 11, she can always return to it in Year 12. 

I’ve suggested she choose the subjects she loves. The ones that she’d be happy to see on her timetable and look forward to. And on the flipside, imagine how she’d feel if certain subjects were no longer on the timetable, would she miss them?

Year 10 is good in that she can drop several subjects that she really doesn’t like, goodbye Art. But there will still be a lot of her time spent on subjects she wouldn’t choose to do if given the choice, we’re looking at you Chemistry. 

Things are going well for her at school. Reports and parents’ evening have been good and she’s happy there, but I can feel that she’s lost interest in a few subjects, so I’m hoping stripping them out will help her to focus on the ones that she needs to and she can enjoy more of her time.

The options evening was great at helping her to pin down the choices she will make. We still have a report and parents’ evening over the coming days before she needs to submit her selections in a couple of weeks time. 

Although I find it surprising that we’re already at this stage with her, time goes by so quickly, I also know that she’s got this. 

My daughter works hard, has always been curious and quick thinking, and when she feels confident in her subjects, she absolutely excels at them.

I think GCSE time will be great for her, a chance to focus on fewer subjects, though there still seem to be a fair few. I’m looking forward to seeing how she finds the changes. But first, let’s get those choices made and then she can enjoy the remainder of Year 9. 

Are your kids at this stage now too? 

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6 thoughts on “It’s Time To Choose Those GCSEs”

  1. Kimberley Atkinson

    gosh – in NZ kids only do 6 subjects at IGSCE (international version of GCSEs). i have no idea how one would fit so many subjects into a high sch time table – some things they must inly be doing 1-2-3 times a week?!

    1. We’re used to it being 9 or 10 here, it’s been like that since I was at school, quite some time ago now! And yes, I think it works out that you’re doing 2-3 times a week on each subject, something like that. The next stage, ‘A’ levels, you usually choose 3 or 4 subjects.

  2. How is it even possible your girls is on with picking her GCSE options. I still think of her as that little tot from years ago.
    I found the options evening at school really helpful. It’s interesting how different schools work. My girl got to chose 3 other subjects after the core one’s and thankfully didn’t have to pick a language. She did have to choose either History or Geography as one of her 3 choices and picked Engineering and Photography as the other two.
    Picking something she loves is the way to go. I found that my girls were more willing to revise if they enjoyed the subject.
    Good luck to your girl. x

    1. I know, I feel the same way! They are useful evenings, and it’s good to hear you have similar thoughts on it, as it’s got to be better for them if they go for the subjects they enjoy x

    1. GCSEs are the qualifications you get at age 16 here, so you usually work for them over two years, years 10 and 11 here. Typically you study 10 subjects this way. What’s the equivalent for you over there? High School Diploma or do you have separate exams and qualifications like us?

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