Year 9 Pathways

As your child enters Key Stage 4 they will be beginning the study of GCSE level qualifications and preparing for examinations at the end of Year 10 and Year 11. These qualifications will determine what they can access at Post-16 education and further in the future, what career opportunities are open to them. 

At Horbury Academy we firmly believe that all children, irrespective of their starting point, are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum which will enable them to succeed both whilst at the academy and beyond. It is our intent that the experiences we provide our students through our wider educational offer, and specifically our curriculum offer, drives our vision Students First: raising standards and transforming lives. At Horbury Academy we are delighted to offer an innovative curriculum, which enables all students within our academy to fulfil their potential and develop the all-important knowledge, skills and qualities which will serve them well in later life.

As students move from Year 9 into Year 10 at Horbury Academy, they have a choice of the subjects that they wish to study at GCSE. This is beginning of their journey into studying specialist subject areas of interest at KS4.

Furthermore, we fully support the entitlement that students have to study the group of qualifications which the government calls the English Baccalaureate (EBacc): English, Mathematics, Sciences, one Humanities subject (Geography or History) and a modern foreign language (French or Spanish). To both support attainment in this important group of subjects and promote a broad and balanced curriculum for your child, we require all students to study at least one of the following subjects: Geography, History, French or Spanish at GCSE.

For many students it will be appropriate that they also study another one of those subjects and ensure students can attain the Full EBacc which, increasingly, higher education establishments are looking for: these subjects are also an excellent foundation for those who wish to go on and study A Levels in the ‘Facilitating Subjects’ (Biology, Chemistry, English, Geography, History, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, Physics). We will advise you if we believe that your child should be following the Full EBacc route and as always, provide specialist independent careers advice to ensure that you have access to impartial support during this process. Alongside all options information, as an Academy, we have subject specialist directors of English, Maths and Science which work across both of our academies and work closely with our Curriculum leaders of core subjects. They are key to helping students within each academy, to achieve their maximum potential to all students and play a vital role in ensuring that the transition into GCSE content within core subjects.

We understand that this is a crucial time and the choosing of qualification courses is very important. Whatever your child is hoping to study, and then do in later life, I am sure that you will find the Pathway process helpful, in the full knowledge that our sole aim is to put all students first: raising standards and transforming lives.

Mr N Ash

Vice Principal

Options Booklet


Year 9 Guided Pathways Information

Watch here

Guided Pathways – Progression Routes

It is critical that all students make Guided Pathway choices that will allow them to progress to education, employment, an apprenticeship, or other training/courses post 16.

The Pathway choices students make can also have an impact on the University they can attend and the course(s) they are able to access. If you believe that University is a pathway you might choose you need to think carefully about how your choice(s) now might/might not allow you to progress to a University of your choice – this is why this process is very important and we want to ensure that the pathway chosen, fits each student individually.

What will you study? The structure of the timetable will be very similar to the one you have in Year 9. The timetable week contains 25 x 1-hour periods: plus, five half hour periods of form time. The 25-period week is split into compulsory Core subjects, EBAC subjects and finally Pathway subjects.

English Baccalaureate

In December 2010 the Government introduced the English Baccalaureate or EBacc for short. This is not a qualification in its own right but a suite of qualifications that are gathered together under the same umbrella. At Horbury Academy, we fully support the entitlement that students are able to study this group of qualifications.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is “awarded” to students who achieve a Grade 5 or higher at GCSE level in each of the following subjects:

  • Mathematics

  • English

  • Sciences – this could be Combined Sciences (worth 2 x GCSEs) or Separate Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)

  • History and/or Geography

  • French and/or Spanish

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is highly regarded within education providers at Post 16 and gives students a wide range of opportunities to access many different courses and careers.

Types of Qualification – GCSE

This stands for General Certificate in Secondary education. It is a nationally recognised qualification. GCSEs have changed in all schools nationally over the last four years. GCSEs are now graded using the new 9 to 1 grading system, with 9 being the highest grade and grade 5 being the minimum grade to be defined as a “strong pass” by the Department for Education. Most GCSEs are assessed solely through written examination papers that are taken at the end of the course. Some subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Modern Foreign Language enter candidates at different tiers based on students’ ability, with only certain grades being available for each tier. Other subjects have only one tier and all grades are available.

Technical Qualifications

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum offers a wide range of subjects which provides a variety of academic and technical courses to choose from. Technical qualifications (OCR / BTECs) aim to help students learn about a specific industry or area of work. They are assessed through a combination of continued assessment (assignments) and written examinations. The Technical qualifications we offer at Key Stage 4 are Level 1/2 Technical awards.

Please note that Technical awards are just as difficult as GCSE qualifications and should not be seen as an easy option.

How to make your Guided Pathway choices

Step 1 – Explore this website and read our booklet

  • Consider the subjects on offer. Which ones will help you get into your chosen career or Post 16 course?

  • Think about your strengths and how the subjects on offer will match these.

Step 2 – Discuss your ideas

  • Have a chat with your form tutor and start to speak with subject teachers and subject leaders.

  • Be open minded and prepared to accept the advice of parents and teachers, they all have your best interest at heart.

Step 3 – Fill in the Guided Pathway form

  • Make sure that you number your choices in order of preference. The number one being your first choice. Choice one must be from the purple column. Choices two to five can made against any subject in any column.

  • Make sure that the form is signed and dated.

  • Please return by the deadline set by the academy. This will be completed remotely via a Microsoft form available on the Pathways website.

Step 4 – Guided Pathway process

  • The academy will consider the selected preferences and may wish to discuss them.

  • Subject preferences will be circulated to subject staff to confirm that they feel that you have the right subject package.

Step 5 – The academy writes to you

  • The academy will send a letter showing your finalised Guided Pathway subjects. The letter will be sent in the summer term.

Careers Guidance

Subject Videos

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small trust logo

The Accord Multi Academy Trust is an educational charity established in September 2016 that is currently made up of four academies who were the founding members of the Trust. In September 2016 Horbury Academy and Ossett Academy & Sixth Form College came together, moving away from their stand-alone Trust status and were joined in December 2016 by Horbury Primary Academy and Middlestown Primary Academy.

The overarching vision for the Trust is to work in one ‘Accord – celebrating the differences of each academy through strong collaboration in order to inspire all members of our learning community to be the best that they can be.

Trust Website

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