Option Pathways

Advice and Guidance for the GCSE Option Process - making the right choices for you.


You will need to think very carefully about the choices that you would like to make at Key Stage 4 and it’s important that you appreciate the size of the commitment you are making.  As you may be aware, all young people are now required to continue in education or training until their eighteenth birthday. The subjects that you choose now will influence any potential A Level, college courses, and apprenticeships, and will form the foundation of your continuing education leading to university, training or employment.


On this webpage you will find a range of useful information to help you choose your options. There are copies of our option booklets - which will allow you to record ideas and ‘next steps’. We are here to help you throughout the process – please talk to your tutor, Head of Year, subject teachers or myself if you are unsure about your option choices.

Mrs Farrow, Assistant Headteacher of Curriculum.


Choosing the subjects you wish to take for GCSE can be a difficult one.  We aim to support our students through this process by working with them in the following ways; 

  • Assemblies to guide students  through the process of option choices
  • Options evening for students and parents to attend (this will include subject staff giving advice)
  • Time within tutor groups to discuss option choices
  • Taster sessions
  • 14+ interviews with a senior member of staff


    Option Choices

    The pathway a student follows will dictate how many options they are able to take. Below is a brief summary of the 3 pathways students at Stowmarket follow and the options they will have:

    English Baccalaureate Pathway

    This Pathway is designed for the more academically able students and will allow them access to the English Baccalaureate. Beside English, Maths, Science, non GCSE PE, Religious Education and PSHE, you can take four other GCSE’s.  We would like you to take a language, humanity subject and then you can choose two of your own GCSE courses.  In the Languages block you can choose between French or German. In the humanities block you can choose between Geography and History.

    Mixed GCSE Pathway with the option of obtaining the English Baccalaureate

    Most of our students will follow this Pathway. Beside English, Maths, Science, non GCSE PE, Religious Education and PSHE, you can take four other GCSE’s of your choice.  We ask everyone to take a humanity subject – either History or Geography.

    Focussed Pathway

    This is a bespoke pathway for a small number of our students will take English, Maths, Science, non GCSE PE, Religious Studies and PSHE.  You will also study functional skills and employability for life.  You will then have the option to choose 2 additional GCSE’s.

    Key Dates:
  • 13th February: Key Stage 4 Options Booklet issued to students/parents at the Options and Information Evening.
  • During the week of the 25th February some subjects will be offering taster sessions in subjects that have not been studied in Year 7 and Year 8.
  • During the week of the 2nd March : Individual interviews will take place with senior members of staff.  Options forms should be handed in then.
  • 13th March 2020: Final deadline for Option Choices forms.


Before all these events take place we advise that you look at the Starting out Booklet, it is a guide for parents which explains their child’s options, the learning routes and qualifications available, and what support they can expect to receive. 

For more information on Option Pathways please contact Mrs Farrow, Assistant Headteacher Curriculum via email K.Farrow@stowhigh.com

Click here for Ebbac Options Booklet

Click here for Focused GCSE Options Booklet

Click here for Taster Session Timetable