Skip to content ↓

Year 8 Options Published

Options booklet 2017.

Students have begun thinking about options as part of the Learning for Life programme. Parents’ Evening and other key events in the next few weeks have been designed to make sure you and your child have as much information as possible to make informed choices about the subjects they will continue to study. For your information I have outlined the key events and dates below.


Options Booklet – 11th January, 2017

This was published on our website 11th January 2017 on the Options page or via the green link above. Paper copies will be made available through each child’s form tutor for those who do not have internet access. It contains information needed by students and parents to help select courses that students will follow through Years 9 to 11. Please take the time to look through the course information with your child and begin discussions about their possible option choices. We will explain the process to students in an assembly next week on Monday 9th January and during Learning for Life, and to parents during the talks at our Options Evening on 12th January.


Options Evening - Thursday 12th January, 4.30pm –7.30pm

The Options Evening runs for a three hour period to allow families to choose the most suitable time for them. You are not expected to attend for the full duration of the event. During the evening there will be opportunities for students and parents to attend a presentation and an Options Fair.  

  • Options Presentation – It is here that the full options process will be presented. This will be delivered three times during the evening at the following times;
  • Talk 1 - 4.30 to 5.00pm,
  • Talk 2 – 5.30 to 6.00pm,
  • Talk 3 – 6.30 to 7.00pm,
  • Download a copy of the options presentation.
  • Options Fair - A chance to come and talk to subject staff about the different courses on offer at Key Stage 4. This will be particularly useful if you want to find out about subjects that have not been studied previously, or to help choose between two equally desired subjects. No appointments necessary. Staff will be located in their subject areas so that students and families may also see the kind of work produced from older year groups and the facilities available. 

If you have any access requirements for the Options Evening, e.g. wheelchair-access or you require a translator, please contact Pamela Fulton on 01273 561281 or email who will assist you accordingly. 


Learning Enhancement Day ‘Taster sessions’ - 26th January 2017

During this day all Year 8 students will have an opportunity to attend special lessons to help them select their options. They will be choosing which lessons to trial over the coming week through an electronic questionnaire. The lessons they choose will neither guarantee them a place on those courses nor be taken as their choices. They are merely there to help inform and explore the differences between courses. There will also be some time set aside for reflection and planning.


Weeks beginning 16th, 23rd and 30th January 

Each Year 8 student will have an individual meeting with a member staff to help support their option choices. In addition to this, during this period Heads of Department and subject staff talk to Year 8 groups about their subject and form tutors discuss options with students. For students needing further information before making their choices Amanda Carroll, the School’s Careers Advisor, is available in school on Wednesdays. She will also attend Options Evening. 

We will also hold student clinics during lunchtimes over this period where Year 8 students will be able to discuss any specific questions they might have about a course with their peers already studying the courses in Years 9-11.


Applications will ‘go live’ from Monday 30th January and will be open for three weeks. Online forms will be emailed to parents for whom we hold a valid email address. Please note the options forms are now available on Varndean PLUS. Paper copies will be available for students to collect from form tutors for those we are unable to email.


Annual Report from Tutors – 10th February

Annual reports are written by form tutors and will provide guidance in addition to that already received from subject teachers at the Parents’ Evening in December.


Options Deadline - Monday 20th February 

This is the final date for options forms to be submitted either online or paper forms need to be returned to form tutors, approved and signed by parents. Either way, we ask that parents ensure that they have discussed the options with their child before forms are submitted.


What Happens Next?

Following the submission of students’ choices is the construction of options. During this time students will be informed if any amendments need to be made to their choices. For example, there may be some choices which do not work out because a subject may not run or may be heavily over-subscribed. Similarly, students may have made a combination of choices which is considered to be too narrow or restrictive or possibly not suited to their needs, despite the advice given previously. If this is the case Deputy Heads of School will discuss any changes that may be necessary with individual students. Parents may also wish to be involved in this process.

Final confirmation of options will be given out to students week beginning 19th June.

Choosing options is an important time and I do hope you will find our processes helpful. If you have any queries about the options process, please contact your relevant school base.