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Strangford College, Newtownards

Year 10 options

At Key Stage 4, we strive to ensure that students can choose subjects tailored to their own particular interests, strengths and career aspirations.  Distinct GCSE Pathways - Burgundy and Silver Pathways are created to reflect the all ability nature of the College.  Teachers, students and parents collaborate to offer help with the decision making process and to ensure that students embark on the most suitable Pathway, to ensure individual success.

The College requires that certain core subjects must be studied namely: Religious Studies, English Language and Mathematics.

Burgundy Pathway is the more traditionally academic route, whilst Silver Pathway provides a more vocational curriculum.  Both pathways have a core curriculum of English, Maths, Science, Religious Education, Physical Education, and Personal Development and Careers.  Burgundy Pathway offers a full range of GCSE Courses and aims to prepare students for A Level Study.

Silver Pathway provides a more vocational programme, although students on this pathway may opt for Sixth Form study on completion.  Courses offered on Silver Pathway are either GCSEs, or carry GCSE equivalence, which means a student successfully completing this programme can achieve up to 8 GCSES, or their equivalent.

The following subject can be offered for GCSE, and the final selection is decided after close consultation with students and their parents. This menu is reviewed annually:

Art & Design; Biology; Food and Nutrition; Physics; Chemistry; Further Maths; Media; Business & Communication; Child Development; Drama; Engineering; English Language; English Literature; French; Geography; History; Home Economics; ICT; Journalism; Mathematics; Music; Occupational Studies; Physical Education; Religious Education; Core Science; Additional Science; Spanish; Technology and Design.

The time when students need to make their subject choices for GCSE is very important. 

Strangford College will offer in-depth information booklets to help in the decision making process.  Each subject area is described in terms of coursework component, examination requirement and career implications.  There will also be an Options Meeting in the College when parents and students will have the opportunity to discuss your proposed choices with subject teachers and careers specialists.


Making Choices at Year 10

Entitlement Framework and Progression

As part of the Entitlement Framework, schools in North Down and Ards have grouped together as the North Down and Ards Learning Community (NDALC) to offer access to ‘applied’ and ‘general courses’. This school offers several applied courses, some of which are taught here in school and some through our links with South Eastern Regional College.  The qualifications that can be obtained within NDALC are shown below:

Level 1       GCSE grades D-G

                  BTEC introductory certificate and Occupational Studies

Level 2       GCSE grades A* - C

                  BTEC First Certificate and Diploma and Occupational Studies

Level 3       AS/A2

                  GCE Applied

                  BTEC National Award

The following diagram illustrates how young people can follow different progression routes towards particular career goals.

Level of Qualification

General & Applied


Vocational Qualifications




Phd  (Doctorate)



Professional & Senior Management


   Masters Degrees /

Post Graduate Certificate & Diplomas



Degree / Honours Degree



Higher National Diploma

Higher National Certificate

Foundation Degree



Professional Diplomas

NVQ Level 4



A Levels

A/S Levels

National Certificates & Diplomas

NVQ Level 3




A – C

First Certificates & Diplomas

Occupational Studies

NVQ Level 2





D – G


Certificates & Diplomas

Occupational Studies

NVQ Level 1



Useful Websites

This is a very useful broad based website that contains an A-Z of careers and case studies amongst other useful material.  It is tailored to cater for a Northern Ireland audience. The parent zone gives some advice about Year 10 subject choices.

This is an extensive careers website which is designed to supply information and advice for young people.  There is specific advice for subject choices in Year 10 (NB as this is an English website the equivalent school year to NI Year 10 is English Year 9).

The Prospects site gives careers extensive advice for people who will study degree courses.  Use of the search engine is particularly useful to find information on different areas of graduate careers e.g. on different types of Journalism etc.

This is the website for application to UK universities.  It gives information on the available courses offered this year.