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Curriculum options

Young people have the following choices to make at the key times during their education.


At 14 years-old

All students will follow the core curriculum through GCSEs. The subjects that you have to study are:

  • English
  • maths
  • science
  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • physical education (PE)
  • citizenship
  • religious education (RE)
  • work-related learning
  • careers education
  • sex education

There will also be subjects you can choose to do. Your school will give you a list of courses in an options booklet or prospectus. Not all schools offer the same courses.

Some schools group subjects together under option blocks and you will need to choose a subject from each block. This can limit the choices you have and may make choosing your subjects a bit trickier - especially if 2 subjects that you wanted to study are in the same block.

You may need to study certain subjects or qualifications for some careers. Ask yourself what sorts of careers and job families interest you. If you already have an idea, you need to find out if you need any particular subjects or qualifications to get into that area of work. You can find this out by visiting The National Careers Service.

Think about picking the subjects or qualifications you might need when you go on to further or higher education.

To study some subjects at A level, you will need to have a GCSE in the same subject. If you have an idea about what you want to go on to after year 11, talk to your tutor to see if you're making the right subject choices.

If you don't know what you want to do, later on, choose a broad range of subjects that will help you to keep your options open. Even if you do know what job you want to do in the future, it's OK to change your mind over the next few years.

The subjects you pick don't have to relate to a specific job - it's OK to choose some just because you enjoy them or are good at them.

For curriculum developments for GCSE visit our school improvement information.

At 16 years-old

After year 11 you must do one of the following until you're 18:

  • stay in full-time education, like sixth form or college to take A levels, BTECs, City and Guilds or OCR National qualifications
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

At 18 years-old

After a one-year course in sixth form or college you can choose:

  • further study at college or sixth form apprenticeships at various levels
  • traineeships or study programs
  • part-time education or training if you're employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week
  • volunteering - find out about volunteering in Derbyshire or visit Do-it for more information

After a 2-year course in sixth form or college, you can choose:

  • higher education courses at various levels at university or college - UCAS has more details
  • apprenticeships at various levels - find an apprenticeship or visit UCAS
  • employment - competition is strong and what is available varies - explore Not Going to Uni and have a backup plan
  • learn more about gap years - there is a huge variety of activities that you could pursue
  • further education - a few students will continue their studies at this level before moving onto university
  • volunteering - find out about volunteering in Derbyshire or visit Do-it for more information