Year 9 Pathways

At Hampton High we are committed to offering a broad and balanced curriculum, which prepares our students effectively for adult life. Our aim is to ensure that when students choose their GCSE pathways in Year 9, they feel prepared and are able to study courses that suit their needs and aspirations.

The rigorous pathways process, led by the Head of Year, ensures the best pathways are selected for each individual student. We take into account a multitude of considerations, with the students at the centre of the decisions. The families role in the process is vital, and therefore we have presentations and videos for you to browse so that you can support your child's decisions and help them to make informed choices.

It is important to be aware that upon commencing their GCSE studies, all students will study five core subjects:

  • English language
  • English literature
  • Maths
  • Science, combined or triple science
  • History and/or Geography

In addition, most students will follow a course in a Modern Foreign Language if they are able to. The remaining two subject choices make up our pathways process.

GCSE Courses





Course Outline: There are 3 main parts - 100% written examination 1) Medicine through time, 1250 - present. Thematic study. 2) Henry VIII and his ministers 1509-1540 and Superpower relations and the Cold War 1943-91. Causation 3) Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39. Historical interpretations.

Skills Learnt: critical thinking, creating arguments and reaching justified conclusions, historical source analysis, explaining causation and consequence, independence and how to conduct research.  

Skills Required: An interest in history and the past, ability to problem solve, communicate ideas and thoughts, conduct research and work both independently and collaboratively.  

A levels/further education & potential Careers: A-level and degrees: History, Classics, Law, Politics. Careers: Lawyer, archaeologist, journalist, researcher, lecturer.

Any other information: History is all about exploring important events from the past, studying interesting people and trying to work why things happened and how to prevent future tragedies. You also learn how to argue effectively and how to investigate and read sources, especially important today with so much ‘fake news’ around.  

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics 



Course Outline: Exam 1 = 1 hour 45 minutes on Religions. (Christian beliefs and Practices and Islam Beleifs and Practices) Exam 2 = 1 hour 45 minutes on Philosophy and Ethics (Religion, War and Peace, Religion and Life, Crime and Punishment and Families and Relationships).

Skills Learnt: Discussion, analysis, evaluation, independent thinking, team work, comparison, self-confidence, conclusion writing, argumentative writing and essay writing skills. 

Skills Required: An interest religious beliefs and practices, enthusiasm and open minded. A great way to develop your discussion and argumentative writing and verbal skills. 

A levels/further education & potential Careers: The skills learnt in RPE are great for a career in Law, Social work, Politics, Medicine, Police, Education, Youth Work, Nursing, TV and Film, Environmental work, Charity and many more! 

Any other information: RPE is great ‘all rounder’ GCSE with transferable skills to all other subjects and career paths. It is an excellent subject to debate and discuss multiple issues within society and a subject that analyses the modern world and people within it. 




Course Outline: 100% examination based. 3 exams: 1. Living with the physical environment (weather and tectonic hazards, climate change, ecosystems including hot deserts and tropical rainforests, coastal and river landscapes) 2. Challenges in the human environment (urban change, economic development, resource management including energy, food and water) 3. Geographical applications (fieldwork and skills).

Skills Learnt: Environmental responsibility, cultural awareness, evaluation of real world problems e.g. poverty/pollution, analytical skills (data representation of maps/graphs/diagrams and statistical analysis), critical thinking, map reading skills, teamwork whilst collecting fieldwork, literacy.

Skills Required: Enthusiasm for the subject and an interest in the wider world/current affairs.  

A levels/further educatioersn & potential Care: Part of the government’s EBacc so is recognised and favourable by all universities. Good career avenues:

  • Leisure, travel and tourism
  • Engineering
  • Business studies and commerce
  • Nature conservation
  • Armed services
  • Geology/volcanology
  • Sales and marketing
  • Government and politics

Any other information: We run several field trips to develop real world understanding and research skills, such as:

  • Westfields, Stratford to study urban regeneration
  • Beverley Brook to compare a river profile downstream
  • Optional ‘awe and wonder’ trip - in February 2020, this was to the Bay of Naples in Italy! 

MFL (Modern Foreign Languages)



Course Outline: 4 skills assessed in a final exam: Listening (25%), Speaking (25%), Reading (25%) and Writing (25%). All skills are tested around 5 Themes: Identity and culture; Local area, holiday, travel; School; Future aspirations, study and work; International and global dimension.

Skills Learnt: confidence, problem solving and thinking logically, creativity, performing under pressure, literacy, listening skills, memory skills, cultural awareness. 

Skills Required: to be open-minded and to be open to new experiences and cultures; to be ambitious.

A levels/further education & potential Careers: All local colleges and Sixth Forms offer Languages at A Level. Universities look favourably at applicants with a GCSE and/or A level in Languages. UCL has made it a requirement for admission to all its courses.

Any other information: Career opportunities are endless because being able to speak a foreign language is a skill which you can apply to any job and which will enhance your life opportunities. Language skills will make you more employable and a true citizen of the world. 




Course Outline: 3 Components C1: Devising (40% of whole course) make your own play. C2: Performance from text (20%) scripted performance C3: Theatre Makers (40%) written exam explored practically.

Skills Learnt: Collaboration, problem solving, creativity, confidence in public speaking, performance skills, design and director roles, empathy, scriptwriting, organisation, leadership, performing under pressure.

Skills Required: Enthusiasm for the subject! All other skills are developed throughout the course.  

A levels/further education & potential Careers: All jobs within the performing arts industry. Drama is also sought after as it demonstrates you are confident and can work in a group. A Level & BTECs in performing arts subjects. Perfect step into drama school.  

Any other information: You will be constantly working in a practical way, we run theatre trips, workshops and have visiting professionals as often as possible. You can follow performance OR design routes in C1 and C2.




Course Outline: C1: Performance (60% of whole course). 1 solo performance, 1 group dance performance and 1 solo or group choreography. C2: Written Exam (40%) Explored practically and through theory.

Skills Learnt: Collaboration, analytical and interpreting, creativity, confidence and performance skills, choreographic skills, organisation, leadership, performing under pressure, building interpersonal skills with others.

Skills Required: Enthusiasm and commitment for the subject! Having an extra-curricular interest in dance is beneficial but most skills are developed throughout the course. 

A levels/further education & potential Careers: All jobs within the performing arts industry including performance, choreography, stage production, dance writing, dance administration and producing. A Level & BTECs in Dance or performing arts subjects. Perfect step into dance schools and colleges.

Any other information: As well as trips to the theatre and visiting dance artists, students in Year 10 get to take part in Aspire. This is a dance performance project in collaboration with Rambert Dance School Twickenham School and Spring West Academy. 




Course Outline: 3 components C1: Performing Music (30%). solo and ensemble C2: Composing Music (30%. 2 compositions. C3: Listening (40%). Study of 12 set works.

Skills Learnt: Collaboration, problem solving, creativity, confidence in public speaking, performance skills, music creator, empathy, using music software, organisation, leadership, performing under pressure. 

Skills Required: Enthusiasm for the subject! You will be required to perform and should have playing or singing ability to a grade 4 standard. 

A levels/further education & potential Careers: All jobs within the music industry including sound engineering. Music is also sought after as it demonstrates you are confident, resilient and possess self discipline. A Level & BTECs in performing arts subjects. Perfect step into Music school.

Any other information: Whilst Music is primarily a practical subject you will need to be able to write about 12 set pieces. If you have the drive and determination to learn your instrument (inc, voice), then you will be perfect for the course!

Food Preparation and Nutrition



Course Outline: There are 3 main parts to the course 1: Class work leading to the written exam [50%] 2: NEA 1 [20%] in year 11 Practical Food Science investigation 3: NEA 2 [30%] in year 11 Food preparation task to include a 3 hour practical exam. 

Skills Learnt: Organisation, preparation, following sequences, various practical skills, using a range of tools and equipment, independent thinking, making use of data, nutritional analysis, writing longer answers, justifying choices.

Skills Required: A commitment to practical work is essential regardless of ability as you will learn as we go move through the year! 

A levels/further education & potential Careers: At present there is not specific ‘A’ level Food course but there are plenty of other courses that use food including catering and sciences, ‘A’ level chemistry can lead to work in the food industry or work in Dietetics and nutrition. Other jobs include working as food designers, in health care, teaching, marketing, hospitality and agriculture. 

Any other information: You all love to cook and this GCSE gets you to delve into food and find out how and why things happen; how ingredients work and how this contributes to our outcomes. We aim to cook each week so you must be committed to this and have your ingredients ready for all occasions. 

Fine Art

Course Outline: The course is made up of Coursework (60%), which is completed through class work and home study via a Personal Portfolio, and through an Externally Set Assignment (40%)/ Exam Brief, which is completed over a supervised period of 4 months, accumulating in a 10 hours controlled practical exam over 2 days.

Skills Learnt: Practical skills include drawing, painting, photography, print, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media.  Students will learn how to collect and record ideas, research and evaluate the work of other artists in order to inform their own practice and to refine and develop their ideas in preparation for a final piece. 

Skills Required: Organisation, a passion for art, a curiosity for the world, an ability to focus over a period of time on practical work, an ability to dedicate time outside of lessons and a willingness to learn new skills.

A levels/further education & potential Careers: To study Fine Art or Art History at University/ Art College, to pursue a creative career as a Fine Artist, Sculptor, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Photographer, Animator, Architect, Product Designer or Gallery Curator.

Any other information: This GCSE allows you to develop your individual creativity through your individual interests. We are passionate about developing your genius and encourage you to bring your personal talents and interests into the classroom. You will also have opportunities to exhibit your work in person and through online exhibitions.

Art Textiles

Course Outline: The course is made up of Coursework (60%), which is completed through class work and home study via a Personal Portfolio, and through an Externally Set Assignment (40%)/ Exam Brief, which is completed over a supervised period of 4 months, accumulating in a 10 hours controlled practical exam over 2 days.

Skills Learnt: Practical skills include drawing and painting as a starting point for work in textiles, printing techniques, machine stitching, fabric painting, batik, fabric collage, fabric embellishment, pattern design, computer aided design, embroidery and 3D textiles.  Students will learn how to collect and record ideas, research and evaluate the work of other artists and designers in order to inform their own practice and to refine and develop their ideas in preparation for a final piece.

Skills Required: Organisation, a passion for Textiles and Art, a curiosity for the world, an ability to focus over a period of time on practical work, an ability to dedicate time outside of lessons,  a willingness to learn new textiles skills, including operating tools and machinery.

A levels/further education & potential Careers: To study Textiles, Surface Pattern Design or Fashion Design at University or Art College, Textile Artist, Textile Maker/ Designer, Fashion Designer, Interior Designer, Merchandiser, Fashion Journalism/ Illustration, Fashion Photographer.

Any other information: This is a brand new GCSE and allows you to develop your own interests in Textiles, Surface Pattern and Textiles. You will be given a unique opportunity to take creative risks and to learn advanced textile techniques that will inspire exciting careers in this area.




Course Outline: The course is divided into theory and practical assessments. The theory consists of two papers, which are worth 60% of the final grade, and is assessed as the end of year 11. The NEA involves 3 practical sports, of which, one must be a team sport and one must be an individual sport. The practical is worth 30% of the final grade. Finally, the NEA includes a written piece of course work (worth 10%) which involves an analysis and evaluation tasks around a performers strength and weaknesses.

Skills Learnt: A greater understanding of the body, Psychology, Biomechanics, Social Cultural aspects, the role of the media is sport. The ability to discuss and evaluate information and create an argument.

Skills Required: A commitment to the theory work is essential due to the weighting of the grade. Performing in sport outside of PE lessons and at a club level is important to access the practical component.

A levels/further education & potential Careers: GCSE PE can lead into a range of future courses. Students typically move onto A Level PE and BTEC Sport at Level 3. These can lead into a number of career paths such as; coaching, teaching, physiotherapy, sport science roles.

Business Studies



Course Outline: The assessment for the course is 100% exam based. The exam papers consist of different styles of questions including multiple choice, short answer, calculations, and extended writing. Topics may include human resources, operations, advertising, and finance. 

Skills Learnt: You will cover a huge range of topics and learn about a new part of business each term. We will discuss small local businesses to the biggest international corporations. You will also develop essential entrepreneurial skills that are highly transferable.  

Skills Required: Everyone already has some business knowledge - even if you don’t realise it. You’ll use reading, writing and mathematical skills, but you don’t need to be an expert.  

A levels/further education & potential Careers: There are lots of further education Business Studies and business related courses such as Economics, Marketing, Accounting, and many more. Any career/workplace will value core skills you will learn in Business Studies. Alternatively you may want to start a business and become you own boss…  

Any other information: Business Studies is a new subject for 2021-2022 at Hampton High and presents an exciting opportunity to be part of the first cohort. We are looking for students who are enthusiastic, interested in debating ethics, national/global current affairs, creating new product ideas, etc.  

Media Studies


Course Outline: 2 Written Exams (70%) and 1 Large Coursework Task (30%)


A levels/further education & potential Careers: Journalism; TV and radio production; graphic design; web design; music industry; gaming companies etc.

Any other information: Helps to train your brain to think deeper about media messages: - what do media producers want from you, and how do they construct their messages.

Triple (separate) Sciences



Course Outline: Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught separately by subject specialist science teachers. Each discrete subject is divided into topics that are delivered through out Y10 and Y11 leading towards 3 individual GCSE qualifications. In addition to a number of required practicals, students will sit 6x 1h45 final exams (2 in each subject).

Skills Learnt: Some content is not widely used in everyday life, but the skills used to acquire it are invaluable, this is why science is a core subject. 

Skills Required: Practical skills are assessed in lessons and contribute towards the final grades via the exams.

A levels/further education & Exam Board: AQA potential Careers: Most 6th form institutions require a grade 6, or better, in two subjects for admission to an A-Level science course and grade 5 in both maths and English language.

Any other information: Triple science includes additional content, over and above the trilogy course, this requires extra teaching time in the form of one option block. 

Pathways Timeline

Date Action
Wednesday 19 January Letter sent to families outlining 'Pathways' Process
Monday 24 January All week: New GCSE Taster Sessions
Monday 7 February Student Assembly outlining 'Pathways' Process
Thursday 10 February Year 9 Pathways Evening including Presentation
Friday 11 February Pathways Questionnaire sent home
Friday 25 February Deadline for Pathways Questionnaire
Friday 1 April Letters sent home confirming Pathways

Further Support

A fantastic article that sets out 19 questions for you to ask yourself when thinking about your GCSE pathways. The questions are below, but more information is available in the article. It is important to consider your response to many of these questions as it is likely you have thought them! Please note any starred questions as they may not be relevant to our school.

  1. Should I base GCSE pathways on what I am good at?
  2. Should I base my GCSE pathways on what I enjoy?
  3. Should I choose a GCSE pathway because I like a teacher
  4. Should I choose a GCSE subject because my friends are doing it?
  5. How much should money and future salary be a factor when I am choosing GCSEs?
  6. Whose advice should I listen to when choosing GCSE pathways?
  7. **We require students to take 9 GCSE subjects, so you will not be able to chose more or less.
  8. Are my A-Level choices affected by the GCSE choices I make now?
  9. Do universities care about which GCSE pathways you choose?
  10. Should I think about how courses are marked when choosing GCSE pathways?
  11. What’s the difference triple or double sciences?
  12. How important is it to get good grades in my GCSEs?
  13. What’s the difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ subjects?
  14. ** We only offer GCSE courses at Hampton High
  15. How useful is GCSE advice from online student forums?
  16. Does my final GCSE pathways list look balanced?
  17. Does it matter if I’m in a lower set for my GCSEs?
  18. Will I ever regret my GCSE choices?
  19. How can I cope with the immense stress of choosing GCSE pathways?

Who to contact for more information:

Further information about subjects – subject teachers and heads of subjects. Contact details are available from the school website.

Careers advice and requesting a careers meeting:

Queries regarding the options process:

Further advice about options, careers, or progress – your child’s tutor:

Information regarding future support with Exams and Access arrangements

Further information available

BBC Bitesize: Everything you need to know

The Uni Guide: How important are GCSEs when it comes to university?

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