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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

GCSE Preferences Advice and Form


Choosing your GCSE Preferences is an important process. 

This section of our website has key information about each of the available subjects.

You will also receive additional information over a period of time via a preferences booklet, assemblies and PSHEE lessons and a parents evening. 

See the schedule below of the support we are providing over the next few weeks and how to access it.

GCSEs, careers and your future - Educate magazine


Y9 Preferences Schedule 

Date Activity/Event
06/01  PSHEE Careers Lesson 1: My Interests
17/01 Preferences booklet and subject videos launched
03/02 Virtual Parents Evening
04/02 Online preferences form goes live on this page
09/02 PSHEE Careers Lesson 2: My Subjects
14-18/02 HALF TERM
23/02 PSHEE Careers Lesson 3: Career Pathways
25/02 Deadline for submitting your preferences via the online form

 Y9 Info

This page is a launchpad for all the advice and support that you need this year.  More general info can be found by following the links below

Careers Advice Clubs
Houses & Rewards KS3 Subjects
School Council Student Welfare

Y9 Preferences Process

Choosing your GCSE Preferences is an important process. 

This page will regularly update with all the info that you need over the coming weeks.

You will also receive additional information over a period of time via a preferences booklet (scroll to the end of this page), assemblies, PSHEE and lessons.

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 Course Structure

The majority of students are likely to take 9 - 11 GCSE subjects.  Your Key Stage 4 Programme of Study will comprise of:

  • Compulsory GCSE subjects
  • Preference GCSE subjects (selected from blocks)
  • Non Examined SubjectsPE (if not taken as a GCSE Subject) and PSHEE

Compulsory GCSE Subjects 

The following GCSE subjects are compulsory at NDHS:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • A Modern Foreign Language
  • Religious Studies
  • Science (Combined or Triple pathways – the Head of Science will assess which course is appropriate)
  • Physical Education (GCSE or non-examined – to be decided by the Head of PE

 Modern Foreign Languages Preference Block

As Notre Dame is committed to languages, you will continue to study your current language, French or Spanish, at GCSE.  You will select your current foreign language in your MFL Preference Block

You may wish to be considered eligible to study a GCSE in Japanese.  Your application will be based on your achievement in French or Spanish by the end of Y9and your overall attitude to learning and progress in other subjects.

If you wish to study second foreign language you will see them listed in Preference Block 1 and 2.

Preference Blocks 2022

 Read the drop-down boxes below to understand how to choose your preference subjects.  To view a video on a specific preference subject click on one of the links below.


Further advice on making informed decisions 

Choose for the right reasons

Choosing a subject just to be with friends is an unsound reason.  Friends who choose identical subjects will not necessarily be in the same class.  For example, if you choose History in one block, there is no guarantee you will end up in the same class as your friend who also chooses History, because we run several groups in each block.

Likewise avoid choosing a subject based upon who is teaching that subject.  We cannot forecast who will be teaching the various groups in the next academic year.


Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum is designed to offer you a broad education.  This will give you flexibility for future qualifications in post-16 education and career pathways.  Our Key Stage 4 subject pages include links to our relevant A level courses.  This will give you an idea of how the subject progresses and what pathways this can lead to. 

Enjoyment and Success

Enjoyment and interest encourage and motivate us to make the most of our abilities and can be a springboard to success in adult life - so what you enjoy must count.  Likewise, where you have been experiencing sustained success up until now will count.  So, check your attainment and attitude to learning grades in your Spring Term Report.

New Subjects

If you are interested in a subject that you haven't been taught before, speak to the relevant teacher/Head of Subject to find out more about the course.

Future Qualifications

Certain Post-16 courses, university courses and professions require qualifications in specific subjects.  We would encourage you to research Post-16 courses that may interest you via Russell Group Informed Choices

Full discussion between student, parent/carer, Form Tutor and subject staff will allow you to consider all the advice, and to make an informed decision. To find a list of the teachers in each subject visit our Teaching Staff Contacts page.

Future Jobs

Many of the jobs that you will apply for in your career don't even exist yet!  It is now common to have a number of very different jobs within your career.  Therefore, transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, research and analysis, being creative and enterprising are highly valued.

Make a Difference!

Career pathway in which you are able to improve the lives of others and/or our world are in particular demand.  They also have a high level of job satisfaction.

Online Parents Evening

We plan to hold our Y9 Parents Evening virtually.  We will provide instructions on this page for you to book appointments with your current core subject teachers.  You will also be able to book slots to talk to preference subject teachers to ask any questions that you have about their course.

The Online Preferences Form

To access the Online Form CLICK HERE.  The form will go 'live' to enable you to submit your preferences from Thursday 18th March.  We recommend that you wait until after the Y9 Parents Evening before submitting your preferences.  The deadline for submitting is to be confirmed for Spring 2022.

Advice on completing your Online Preferences Form 

You will submit your choice of Preference subjects via an online form.  The link to the form will be made accessible on this page from 1st March 2021. 

The deadline for submitting your form will be to be confirmed for Spring 2022

Select the language you have been studying in Y7- Y9 – you will continue to study this at GCSE

Your 1st Preference, in each block, is the subject you most wish to study alongside the compulsory subjects.

It is important you understand that your Reserve, in each block, is the subject that you would wish to study should your 1st Preference be unavailable.

Sometimes subjects are oversubscribed, in which case a limit on the numbers may be imposed and you will be allocated to your Reserve subject. 

Sometimes subjects are under subscribed, in which case the subject may not run at all and you will be allocated your Reserve subject. 

In addition, you might have selected a subject for which historical performance, grades in Yr7-9, demonstrate limited progress. In this instance we may make the decision to allocate you to your Reserve, or an alternative, more suitable subject; ultimately we want you to be successful in your GCSE courses. 

So THINK CAREFULLY about your 1st Preference and your Reserve subject in each block.

 Thinking Ahead to Post-16

We provide a broad curriculum which provides students with a diverse choice of options after their GCSEs.  However, you may wish to think about possible qualifications and career pathways that you may wish to take in the future.  Some of these routes require qualifications in specific subjects.

To help guide you through this process visit our Y10/11 Careers Advice page.

Post 16 Apprenticeships 

An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave.

By the end of an apprenticeship, you'll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.

We recently ran Zoom event on apprenticeships.  To watch a video of the event and to find out more visit our Apprenticeships page.

UK's Apprenticeship Week celebrates great talent

Want to explore some more?

Find out what a variety of former students did after they left Notre Dame by watching these videos.

We have special pages for career sectors that are particularly popular for our students and are in high demand in our region.

Book an Appointment 

If you would like an appointment with our Careers Advisor, Siobhan Whiddett, to discuss future options and progression routes, click here.

For additional advice and guidance, contact our Careers Team