In the Spring Term of Year 8, pupils choose from a number of optional subjects to study in Year 9.

At Year 9 the following subjects are compulsory for all students; Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Drama, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Studies and a Modern Language (either French, German or Spanish).

At this stage pupils can also choose to study from a number of subject options. In 2019/20 Walthamstow Hall implemented significant changes to the Year 9 curriculum which offers a wider degree of choice and flexibility.

The choices available in Year 9 start with the number of modern foreign languages studied. Students can choose to study either one or two modern foreign languages. Each modern foreign language in Year 9 occupies 4 lesson periods (2 double) each week. If a pupil decides to continue with two modern foreign languages into Year 9 they will have space in their timetable to study one additional subject from the following list. If a pupil decides to continue with one modern foreign language they will then have six lesson periods (3 double) in their timetable which will enable them to choose an additional three subjects from the options below:

  • Classical Civilisation
  • Latin
  • Food Preparation & Nutrition
  • Textiles
  • Three Dimensional Design
  • PE Theory & Leadership

See below for a summary of each of these subjects.

Pupils who wish to study Latin, Food or Textiles in Years 10 and 11 at GCSE will need to have studied these subjects in Year 9.

Pupils who wish to study Classical Civilisation, PE Theory or Three Dimensional Design at GCSE can do so without having studied these subjects in Year 9.

Pupils need to submit their subject choices by Friday 26 February via a form on MySchoolPortal.

A short film about the Year 8 options process with MR LEDSHAM

Optional Subject Summaries

Classical Civilisation

This is an innovative course for those who enjoy reading about Greek myths and legends, such as Helen eloping with Paris, which triggered the almighty Trojan War, won by the ingenious invention of a wooden horse. The story of Odysseus’ journey home from this war and his close encounters with the Cyclopes, Sirens, Giants and Lotus-Eaters is also studied. Pupils will also learn about how the Romans entertained themselves with their theatres, amphitheatres, chariot-racing, baths and dinner-parties.

Classical Civilisation is a stimulating blend of English, History, Drama, Philosophy, Art and Archaeology all mixed into one subject. Pupils do not need to know any Latin and will not be learning any Latin. They will need an enthusiasm for the ancient world and its immense contribution to the world in which we live today. It will also prepare pupils well should they wish to study this subject at GCSE.

Food Preparation & Nutrition

This course is designed to help students learn through practical tasks. They are encouraged to cook every week and will learn how to make a range of basic products that will enable them to design their own menus. The course will also prepare pupils, and is required, if they wish to go on to study this subject at GCSE.

The focus of the course is on practical cooking skills and developing an understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials.

While gaining an understanding of food safety, science and the choices we make as consumers, pupils will develop making skills from canapés to hearty meals.


Pupils continue to study the Cambridge Latin Course, including a range of grammatical concepts such as further cases and tenses, adjectives and relative clauses. Study of the language is supplemented by learning about life in Roman Britain and Egypt, including king Cogidubnus and his palace at Fishbourne and the importance of the city of Alexandria.

The approach to Latin in Year 9 is very similar to the one adopted in Year 8; if a pupil has enjoyed Latin so far, she will continue to do so. Studying Latin in Year 9 is normally a pre-requisite for taking the subject at GCSE.

PE Theory and Leadership

Pupils have the opportunity to complete the Sports Leaders UK Level 2 Award. During the course, pupils develop their communication and organisational skills to improve their confidence when working with others. These important skills can be applied to all of their subjects and add a valuable qualification to their CV. Pupils will also get the opportunity to take part in voluntary work in a sporting context with students from local primary schools; this works well alongside the service requirements of The Duke of Edinburgh Award.

PE Theory and Leadership sessions also develop pupils’ subject knowledge and are excellent preparation for studying GCSE PE.


This is taught in the main Art Department in the specialist textile areas. Pupils start from observational drawing, using inks, colour pastels and paint. Some choose to use photography and collage. Design development skills are introduced and pupils develop their own designs from their original drawings and observations.

Techniques taught are: screen printing onto fabric, batik, weaving, appliqué, using sewing machines and free machine embroidery, felt making, fabric dying, quilting and hand embroidery. Contextual studies are also a key element; pupils look at and learn from the work of various cultures and a variety of different textiles artists.

Studying Textiles in Year 9 is a pre-requisite for taking the subject at GCSE. The pupils develop skills that can be used and further developed if they proceed to GCSE.

Three-Dimensional Design

The course is run as a series of linked projects, in contrast to the short teacher-led projects in Year 8. Pupils work with more autonomy in preparation for the GCSE in Three-Dimensional Design.

The course starts with analysis of natural objects, looking at shape and form and translating pupils’ 2D drawings into 3D wirework sculptures. Pupils use these to develop their own structures, thinking and developing these as buildings with useable spaces. Pupils design their own pieces of architecture to a given Design Brief with a focus on a sequence of model making from concept to refined final outcome. Development of their ideas and evidence of their material experiments are recorded throughout in their sketchbooks. Final design proposals are presented to the class as if to a client.

In the summer term, pupils analyse geometry using Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs (2D Design, Procreate and Google Sketchup). In addition, they may receive teacher-led workshops in resin and pewter casting, wirework and ceramics.