Useful Links

Useful Links

GSO Test

Raising the achievement of All

Year 8 GCSE Guided Options Pathways 2021

Welcome to the Year 8 Guided Options page of our website. This page contain all the information you will need to understand our core curriculum, option choices available and student pathways we offer.

The curriculum at Icknield High School encompasses every aspect of a young person’s learning; everything we do is underpinned by our overriding philosophy of ‘Raising the Achievement of All’. In order to give students a broad and balanced experience, we continue to offer a wide range of subjects at KS4. Whilst we encourage students to immerse themselves in their studies and choose subjects which cater to their potential and capability, we strongly encourage students of all abilities to follow the English Baccalaureate pathway.

Our students begin their Key Stage 4 courses at the beginning of Year 9. The primary reasons for this are:

  • We value the creative arts subjects and are proud of the fact that all students leave the school with a GCSE in this area. Offering a three year KS4 curriculum allows us to ensure that students have the maximum possible exposure to creative subjects. As we know that our community tends to favour more scientific-based subjects, this is an important consideration in ensuring that students have a broad and balanced subject portfolio.
  • Unlike many schools locally, students still have a choice of four GCSE option subjects. Therefore, students maintain the breadth of curriculum for longer; we do not narrow or homogenise our KS4 offer to accommodate extra time for repeated exam practice.
  • A greater proportion of our students are taking the EBacc at KS4, and the government have identified languages and humanities as being more difficult than other GCSE option subjects. The three-year KS4 model enables us to achieve outstanding outcomes at grades 9-5 for students who study the full EBacc.
  • Our careers programme across KS3 is fully personalised, enabling students to make informed choices when picking their options subjects at the end of year 8.
  • Feedback from our key stakeholders, particularly parents, indicates they would prefer for children to continue to pick their option subjects at the end of year 8 to allow their children to specialise early.
  • Since the introduction of the new, more rigorous GCSE specification, we have seen a significant rise in referrals from doctors for students suffering from stress and anxiety. Whilst we have put into place numerous strategies to support students with dealing with exam pressure, we believe that delivering KS4 over a three year period allows our students to feel more secure when sitting their terminal examinations at the end of year 11.
  • Our wider curriculum offer is being taken up by the vast majority of students to develop their cultural capital.

Year 8 Guided Options letter to parents

Options Presentation

Year 8 Options booklet

Subject Presentations 

Art and Design

Year 8 Options Art and Design PDF


Year 8 Options Business PDF

Computer Science

Year 8 Options Computer Science PDF

Curriculum Support

Year 8 Options Curriculum Support PDF

Design Technology

Year 8 Options Design Technology PDF

English Language and Literature

Year 8 Options English PDF

Ethics and Philosophy

Year 8 Options Ethics and Philosophy PDF

Film Studies

Year 8 Options Film Studies PDF

Food Preparation and Nutrition

Year 8 Options Food Preparation and Nutrition PDF


Year 8 Options Geography PDF


Year 8 Options Graphics PDF

Health and Social Care

Year 8 Options Health and Social Care PDF


Year 8 Options History PDF


Year 8 Options Maths PDF

Modern Foreign Languages – French, German & Spanish

Year 8 Options Modern Foreign Languages PDF


Year 8 Options Music PDF

Physical Education

Year 8 Options Physical Education PDF


Year 8 Options PSHE PDF


Year 8 Options Science PDF


Year 8 Options Textiles PDF