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.