GCSE Options

At Royal Russell we offer a broad range of subjects at GCSE, to be taken in Year 11 or, in some cases, Year 9 or 10.

Choosing subjects to take to GCSE can be a thought-provoking and sometimes daunting and difficult process. Selecting the subjects a student will study at GCSE does entail some tough decisions, so subject teachers, House Tutors, Heads of Department and Housemasters and Housemistresses are all available to talk parents and students through this process. Ultimately, these courses will equip students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in GCSE examinations in Year 11, and will form the foundation of their further studies in our Sixth Form in Years 12 and 13.

The opportunity to choose is an exciting one, and we will encourage and support our students every step of the way through this important phase of their studies to make the right personal choices. When choosing GCSE options, students should consider:

  • The subjects you enjoy most
  • The subjects you are best at
  • The subjects you need to have studied for a particular career.

Please click here to view the GCSE Options brochure.

Core GCSE Subjects

Students will take the following seven compulsory GCSE subjects:

English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Modern Foreign Language (MFL). 

These are compulsory subjects, although the exact GCSE or IGCSE course selected will vary according to the students' levels of attainment.  

Students will also follow non-examined courses in Personal, Social and Health Education, Careers and Physical Education/Games.

Choice of Modern Foreign Language (MFL) 

Students must choose either French, Spanish or German as their choice of MFL. German is available only to those who have previously studied it for at least one year. Students may choose a second language as part of their additional subjects (please see below). 

For those students whose first language is not English will instead study English as an Additional Language, or the Curriculum Assistance Programme. 

Students who have received Support for Learning in the past should discuss this option with their Tutor, Language Teachers and Learning Support Staff. The Curriculum Assistance Programme may be a more suitable option, in which case they will study nine rather than ten subjects at GCSE.

Options Timeline

Read the GCSE Options Booklet, student reports, and think about choice of subjects for study


Attend the GCSE Awareness Evening


Attend the Parents’ Evening - an opportunity to discuss options with teaching staff


Complete the ‘Options Form’ which will be sent out in February


Options groups are put together - this may require a discussion with a small number of students whose preferences cannot be easily accommodated within the timetable


Begin the study of GCSE courses for examinations in the summer 2 years later.

In order to have a balanced programme of study, we recommend the choice of a Humanities subject and a creative subject, although neither is compulsory.

Those wishing to study two Modern Foreign Languages select the other language from the list of subjects under Additional Subjects.

Some students may decide that the Curriculum Assistance Programme will offer a better learning outcome for them. They should select that in this section and will study nine rather than ten subjects at GCSE.