Year 8 Guided Pathways - St Wilfrids Catholic High School and Sixth Form College

Year 8 Guided Pathways

Welcome to Year 8 Guided Pathways

Presentations from the Head of Year 8, Miss D Moorhouse and Deputy Headteacher, Mr E Larrington


At St Wilfrid’s we believe that each student has a right to access a varied and exciting curriculum. In its widest context, the curriculum is everything related to the school including the normal school timetable, assemblies, liturgies and what happens during break and lunch times and in the wide range of  extra-curricular activities on offer.  Our curriculum aims to challenge and encourage every student to strive to achieve their full potential.  We have flexibility within our curriculum to allow students to follow a pathway that is appropriate for them.

In Years 9, 10 and 11 students will follow six core subjects and are guided to study up to four others from a wide variety of subjects that are accredited through GCSE and Technical Awards.

Religious Education, English Language and English Literature, Mathematics and combined Sciences are core subjects (in addition to non-examination PE).  Students are asked to express a preference to study four additional subjects. Students will be required to express a preference to study at least one of: French; Spanish; Geography or History.

By constantly seeking ways to raise achievement, we have developed a curriculum where the needs of every student are addressed.  Students should use their latest assessment sheets to support the identification of subject preferences.  Following the Guided Pathways’ Evening on 19th February 2024, students should discuss their preferences with parents, then access the SIMs Options package through the website or Student App to select their chosen subjects.  Opportunities will be provided for students to access the SIMS options package during the Guided Pathways’ Evening; however, this can also be completed at home.

Four preferences should be entered, along with one reserve subject.  We are guiding students to express preferences to continue to study a broad and balanced curriculum:

  • a modern foreign language i.e. French or Spanish
  • a humanity i.e. Geography or History
  • an art/creative/performance subject
  • a technical/sciences/other subjects

In identifying preferences, students should consider the subjects where they are making good progress and those subjects where they are meeting at least their expected standard.  They should remember to also consider those subjects that are related and require similar skills.

The deadline for the completion of subject preferences is Monday 4th March 2024.

An additional guidance video has been produced to support the selection of Pathways subjects using the Sims Options App.  This has been shared with students already but is available to view below.

Students have now reached the stage where they can express some preferences about the subjects that they will study at Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11).  They have had the opportunity to find out about each subject and have reviewed their own strengths and interests.  Students will be given further guidance and personal interviews where needed. We appreciate that having to make this choice can be daunting, however, we will guide students towards subjects in which they can be successful and that will enable them to progress into further education, apprenticeships or employment.  We strongly advise that students use the guidance provided and select subjects that meet with their interests and strengths.

We ask that students read the information on this site very carefully and discuss preferences with parents/carers.

Students should speak to teachers in different subject areas to obtain support and advice that will help them to make informed decisions.

From the beginning of Year 9 students follow a programme of courses leading to GCSE and technical qualifications. Some courses form part of the core curriculum and students will be guided to follow four other additional subjects. All students will complete GCSEs in six core subjects and express preferences for four additional subjects.

The Core (Compulsory) Subjects

Religious Education.

All students will complete GCSE Religious Education in Year 11.

English Language & English Literature.

All students will complete GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature in Year 11.

All students will complete GCSE Mathematics in Year 11.

Most students will complete GCSE combined Science trilogy, this course includes Biology, Chemistry and Physics (previously dual award Science).  Some students will be guided to study separate GCSE’s in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Core Non-Examined Subjects

All students will complete courses in Core Physical Education and PSHE.  These courses are not accredited.

Guided Pathways
In order to ensure that a balanced curriculum is followed, students will be encouraged to consider studying subjects in four curriculum areas: Modern Foreign Languages, Humanities, Arts/Performance/Creative subjects, Technical/Sciences/Other subjects.  All students will be guided to study one or more of French, Spanish, Geography and History.

Students should be aware of the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects which are: English, Mathematics, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and either Geography or History.  Students studying a Modern Foreign Language will be advised to consider following this EBacc suite of subjects.

Modern Foreign Languages
The large majority of students will be guided to continue to study GCSE French and/or Spanish.  Teachers of these subjects and the Head of Year will provide this guidance.

Students are able to study GCSE Geography and/or History.

Open Subjects
After identifying Modern Foreign Language and Humanities preferences, students have additional subjects for GCSE or technical qualifications to consider. Selecting one subject from each curriculum area gives a broad and balanced curriculum, however, some students may wish to specialise in an area of particular strength by studying more than one subject from an area or a second Modern Foreign Language or  Humanities. Students can express a preference to study:

Arts/Performance/Creative Subjects

Art and Design





Performing Arts


Physical Education

Technical/Sciences/Other Subjects

Business Studies

Computer Science

Design and Technology

Food Preparation and Nutrition


Triple Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)


Students will be asked to identify preferences for four subjects and one reserve subject.  We make every effort to run all courses but it will depend on the number of students in the group and the resources available. There may also be certain combinations of subjects that we are unable to accommodate.

GCSEs have recently been reformed.  The main features of the new GCSEs are:

  1. A new grading scale of 9 to 1 – 9 being the top grade
  2. Assessments will involve written exams at the end of Year 11 with some subjects having a smaller coursework element
  3. There will be new, more demanding content which has been developed by the government and the exam boards
  4. Courses will no longer be divided into different modules and students will take all their exams in one period at the end of the course.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Head of Year 8, Miss D Moorhouse if you have any additional queries.

Responding to initial Disclosures

It is important to stay calm and keep the environment you are in as relaxed as possible, this will help to support the young person. Remember, issues around sexting are a safeguarding issue, and you should therefore ensure you follow your setting’s safeguarding policies and processes.

If you are not a DSL, you should refrain from asking for further information about the imagery.

Remember not to use language that implies blame or judgment. Recognise the courage it has taken to speak up and reassure them that they have done the right thing by raising their concern. Let them know that you will need to pass on this information to the DSL and be clear that this is so that you can provide the best possible support for them.

You can find out more about how to handle a sexting incident with our downloadable guidance.

This will close in 0 seconds

Responding to a Sexting Incident as a non-DSL

The 2020 guidance from the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) shares the following guidance on how to respond to an incident involving sexting.

  1. Report it to your Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or equivalent immediately, your setting’s child protection policy should be followed, and the young person should be reassured about the reporting process and support available from DSLs.
  2. It is illegal to view, share, save, or request that the young person share or download the imagery. If you do see the imagery by accident, you should report this to the DSL and seek support.
  3. Do not interfere with the imagery by deleting it or asking the young person to delete it.
  4. Do not request further information regarding the imagery from the young person.
  5. Do not share information about the incident to other members of staff, any young people involved, or parents and carers.

For further information, read the UKCIS guidance overview here.

This will close in 0 seconds

Responding to a Sexting Incident as a DSL

Every instance of sexting is different, and there are many factors to consider when responding to a sexting incident, including aggravating factors such as:

  • Adult Involvement
  • Intent to Harm: Instances of abuse, blackmail, and coercion.
  • Reckless Misuse: Images sent without consent or without thought, but without intent to cause harm.

To find out the full guidance on how to address and assess a sexting incident with consideration of any aggravating or experimental factors, DSLs should read 1.6 ‘Understanding motivations and behaviour' of the UKCIS Guidance.

As a DSL, it is important to gather as much information as possible, including:

  1. Information on whether the incident involves images, videos, or messages.
  2. Who is featured in the content.
  3. Who sent the content.
  4. If any adults are involved
  5. Where the content is located.

It is essential to record all decisions and steps taken during a sexting incident. Any documentation should explain why certain actions were or were not taken. Examples of this include explaining why it was not necessary to report an instance of sexting to the police, and why it can be handled internally. Remember, your approach should be child-centric and all decisions need to be justifiable and taken in the best interests of the child.

Once a sexting incident has been addressed, it is essential that your organisation reviews the case to see where procedures and responses can be improved or learned from. In line with your setting’s safeguarding policies and practices, you should ensure the child is provided with appropriate post-incident support as required.

This will close in 0 seconds

Reporting to the Police and/or Local Authorities

There are occasions where sexting incidents do not need to involve the police, such as when an incident is ‘experimental’ rather than ‘aggravated.’ An experimental incident involves the sharing of nudes or semi-nudes without adult involvement and with no apparent intent to harm or reckless misuse.

Aggravated or abusive incidents of sexting should always be reported to the police through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Once an incident has been reported to the police, they will be able to ensure a thorough investigation through the collection of all evidence. Any incident reported to the police will be recorded as an incident on their crime systems.

If a device needs to be passed on to the police, the involved devices should be disconnected from Wi-Fi and data and turned off immediately. The device should be locked in a secure place until the police are able to collect it.

To find out more information about the reporting process, you should read 1.9 ‘The Police Response’ of the UKCIS Guidance.

This will close in 0 seconds

Informing Parents

Generally, when incidents are disclosed, it is best to tell the parents or guardians of any young person involved. Exceptions can include when there is a risk or harm to the child by doing this, or if the young person expresses that this could cause a genuine problem.

Whether to tell the guardians or not is ultimately up to the DSL's discretion, however, they should always ensure to record and justify their decision within the establishment incident logs.

If the parents are informed, it is usually best to support the young person and involve them in deciding how to approach the conversation, by finding out what would make it easier for them (e.g. being present at the time or not).

This will close in 0 seconds

Reporting CSAM

Any incident that includes CSAM content online should be reported to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), who can identify and remove any content that includes child sexual abuse imagery.

You can also encourage children under the age of 18 to use Report Remove to help get an image or video of themselves taken down online. Report Remove is provided by IWF and Childline, and keeps the young person informed at each stage of their report, whilst providing further support when necessary.

This will close in 0 seconds