Year 8 – Choosing Subject Options for Year 9

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 additional subject options, offering a wide degree of choice and flexibility.

The choices available in Year 9 start with the number of modern foreign languages studied.  Pupils can choose to study either one or two modern foreign languages, each occupying four lesson periods (2 doubles) each week.
i.) Two modern foreign languages: if a pupil chooses this option they will have space in their timetable to study one additional subject from the list below.
ii.) One modern language: this option allows space for a pupil to choose three additional subjects from the list below.

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

See below for a summary of each of these subjects.

Pupils who wish to study Latin, Food Preparation & Nutrition 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 or Three Dimensional Design at GCSE can do so without having studied these subjects in Year 9.  

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 pupils 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.

Sports 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.

Sports 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 and photography, then develop their ideas using inks, colour pastels and paint. 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. Students are encouraged to work in 2D and 3D form.

Contextual studies are also a key element; pupils look at and learn from the work of various cultures and also consider social and political issues and how these have influenced the work of a wide variety of textile artists and designers.

Studying Textiles in Year 9 is a pre-requisite for taking the subject at GCSE. The pupils develop skills and knowledge 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 the three material areas as preparation for the GCSE in Three-Dimensional Design.

The course starts with the analysis of natural objects, translating and developing drawings of shape and form from two to three dimensions. These take buildings and architectural sculptures with useable spaces as their inspiration.  Pupils learn and use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs (2D Design, Procreate and Google Sketchup) as well as Computer-Aided Manufacture (CAM) using the laser cutter to develop their own structures.  Pupils then design their own ceramic teapots based on a broad theme, pushing the boundaries of possibility while learning key skills and techniques.  Development of their ideas and evidence of their material experiments are recorded throughout in their sketchbooks.

In the summer term, pupils develop their skills further in CAD work.  In addition, they may receive teacher-led workshops in resin, pewter casting and wirework.

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