Students are approaching the end of Key Stage 3 and now need to make choices about the subjects that they will study in Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11). The choices that they will make in the next few weeks will have implications for further education and future career opportunities. It is important to be aware that all young people are required to continue in some form of Education, Training or Work with Training until the age of 18. In addition to supporting progression post-16, well-considered choices also contribute a great deal to the motivation and success of a student during Key Stage 4.

Tips on making the right choices

1. List the pros and cons

Take a piece of paper, divide it in two and write down the advantages and disadvantages of your decision. Then work your way through each of your points and think about how important each one is to you. What seems the best choice on balance?

2. Look ahead

Say you’re choosing your GCSE options and are trying to decide between art and ICT. Where could either choice lead? Does one choice reduce, maintain or increase the options open to you further down the line?

3. Start at the end and work backwards

This only really works if you know what where you want to go. So if you have a job in mind, what training or qualifications will you need? If you need a degree, what A-level subjects will you need to get a place on a university course, and in turn will you need any set GCSE subjects to take your chosen A-levels?

4. Consider effort v. results

How much time and energy will you have to put into each option and what is the likely result? Back to art or ICT – if you’re naturally good at art you may get a good grade without much effort, but if you’re not so gifted at ICT,  you’ll have to put in a lot more work to get the same grade.

5. Rate your options

This is a way to compare the value you place against each option. Say you’re choosing a sixth-form college, you could set measures such as course content, college facilities and journey time and score colleges out of five for each measure. You can also create an overall score for each option but bear in mind that some measures may be more important to you than others (if you want to get technical, you can always give a double score to any measure you think is more important).

6. Consider the mix

Try not to think about your choice purely in terms of A or B (yes it’s art or ICT again), but think about what else is going on (such as your other GCSEs). Which option is a good fit or welcome break from your other choices?

7. Remove extremes

List out all your options and strike off those at the top and bottom such as the best and worst; most and least expensive; nearest and furthest. What are you left with?

Where will my subject take me?

When making the right decision about what subjects to study, it is sometimes helpful to understand where those subjects will take you in the future. Even if you are not quite sure you will understand that a lot of the subjects you take will lead you down particular pathways.

Please see the posters attached as a guide to what future careers the subjects can lead to.


  • Parents guide to choosing options at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5- Booklet attached called Parents guide.
  • Start Profile website- Please see ‘Websites’ section for details of how to log into the website.
  • Year 9 Options Evening presentation from Mr Morris, Careers Lead
  • National Careers Service- this will provide more information about different careers-
  • UCAS- This provides more information to those who know that they want to go to University.
  • Careers East Sussex- This is the website students use to apply to College they leave in Year 11.


If you would like to arrange a careers interview to discuss your son/daughter’s options then please don’t hesitate to contact Mr Morris at to organise one.