Choosing your options

How to help your child choose their Year 10 options

It doesn't seem that long ago that you were nervously sending your child off for their first day of secondary school, and before you know it, they are faced with the task of choosing their options for Year 10.

Selecting the subjects that they will ultimately sit GCSE exams for can come with a lot of pressure; which subjects are friends taking? What path will taking these subjects lead to? Which are deemed to be the best or worst subjects? Maybe even, which teachers will I be getting?

Here are some key bits of advice that may help them decide: 


Start by having a conversation. Find out which subjects your child enjoys, is making improvements in, or that they have had achievements/awards in.


You can talk to their teachers directly. If your child's teachers have noticed they have particular flair for a subject, or tell you they are struggling, take note. 

Certain subjects are compulsory; English, Maths and Science in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There can be some variations on mandatory subjects depending on the school, so do talk to your child's teachers. 

Make sure the choices are theirs:

Your child will have spent a long time discussing subjects, teachers, course and more with friends. Sometimes these conversations can lead to your child leaning towards a subject just because their friends are all taking it. 

Ultimately, your child will be taking these subjects for two years so they must be safe in the knowledge that when selecting them, they are doing so for the right reasons. It is a lot easier, when the workload gets heavier, that the student still enjoys the subject and doesn't dread going to lessons.

Future plans:

This is a simple one but very important. It's almost certain that subjects you take at A Level will have to be part of your options at GCSE.

If you want to go on that far, what subjects do you see yourself taking? This long term thinking also applies to university and careers.

It can be scary to think that far ahead but spend a little time dreaming. What would you like to do with your life?

Listen to experience:

Your child should seek advice from a number of sources. They don't have to follow every bit of advice, but asking teachers, close friends, careers advisors and yourselves can help separate some of the contenders until you have a selection they feel comfortable with.

Stay calm:

Try not to get too stressed. Everyone else around you is in the same boat, and it's highly likely most people will wish they hadn't picked one or two of their subjects later on. However, these aren't exactly life-changing decisions and they certainly won't define you as a person