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Introduction

The transition from education to workplace is one of life’s essential journeys. Its relative success, the incumbent challenges it unravels and the smoothness and ease at which it takes place is dependent on the choices we make at the age of 14 and 15 years, i.e. during year 9 within a British based educational setting.

The students here at Day Waterman College transfer to a range of educational systems (British, American, Canadian, South African and European) and study towards a variety of qualifications and certifications (A levels, Foundation Diplomas, International Baccalaureate, SATs, High School Matriculation, European Baccalaureate). Across all of these there lies a common thread: the requirement of a broad and balanced education that includes English, mathematics, a foreign language and a science. The curriculum offer for our year 9s as they move towards the beginning of their IGCSE studies is designed with this common thread in mind. The core subject and options choice provision here at Day Waterman College endeavours to meet the entry requirements of the different educational settings to which our students are applying for year 12 places.

The options process itself is not an isolated experience defined by the simple selection of ‘favourite’ subjects. It is embedded within the rigour of a full and rounded programme incorporating the Morrisby Career Profiling exercise, a series of ‘What Are Your Options’ assemblies and lessons, an Employment and Careers Exhibition event and the Parent Consultation and Option Day held during the course of term 2. Additionally, it is supported by the marrying of current assessment levels, the Morrisby Profile, the Yellis IGCSE prediction tool with ‘teacher to student’ counselling. Finally, where student choice and parent preference appears to be misaligned with this body of information, the Head of Year 9 and the Vice Principal Academics will interview the student (and parent where necessary) to strengthen the options process. This will culminate with the student being rewarded with a personalised curriculum programme securely supported by a body of evidence and experience.

Every year here at Day Waterman College, Easter break marks the end of the KS3 curriculum programme of study. As we open term 3, the year 9 timetable will convert to the delivery of IGCSE curriculum material across the full range of KS3 subjects. These studies will not be a ‘trial’ phase or represent ‘taster’ courses. They mark the formal commencement of the IGCSE programme of study. This means that all learning will contribute to an IGCSE exam course. By the end of June, each student will be fully aware of the demands of the full curriculum offer and they will be asked to verify their choice of subjects for the coming September term.