Welcome to Bishop Challoner Catholic College

Choices at 14: Choosing your GCSE Pathways


Throughout February and March of Year 9 you will be given lots of information about the choices available to you. There will be a Pathways Evening at the start of March for you and your parents/carers to come and learn more about the subjects on offer to you. You will have to make your final decision on the subjects you would like to take in Year 10 and 11 around the middle of March.


Around February half term you will have a provisional Pathways Form sent home telling you what Pathways you can choose from. There are some subjects that are compulsory (English, Maths, Science and Religious Studies) for everyone, and students will be assigned a Pathway (Red, Blue or Green). Each Pathway will have a slightly different set of options.

What to choose from?

There will be a wide variety of subjects to choose from, depending on your Pathway. There will be both GCSE subjects and some Vocational Qualifications. Vocational courses are more ‘hands-on’ and will appeal to students who want to vary the way they work, and are assessed. Some of the choices on offer will be subjects you have done before (e.g. History, Geography, ICT) and some you may not have done before (e.g. Media Studies, Business Studies).

What do the Pathways mean?

You will be set a pathway according to your SATS scores Assessment results. However, they are not set in stone! The table explains what each Pathway will involve. 

Guided Pathways Criteria
Red Students who will study French and Geography or History (or both) 
Blue Students who will have the option to study French and will be required to choose Geography or History
Green Students who will be required to select up to four subjects from an available range 

Support available

There will be lots of information and support available to you when making your Pathway choices. There will be form time activities looking at careers and there will also be Pathway assemblies for you to find out more about different subjects, as well as the Virtual Pathways Evening where you and your parents/carers will be able to talk to teachers to discuss their subjects. There is also a Pathways Booklet on the website with lots of information about each subject, and advice on making your choices. You can also request a one to one meeting with Mrs Colgan, the Careers Adviser if you are unsure what to choose or how your choices may affect your future. To do this please email e.colgan@bishopchalloner.bham.ach.uk 

What do I need to know?

  • Teaching methods, workload and assessment vary between subjects so think about your skills and how you like to learn.
  • Choosing a balance of subjects will help to keep your future options open. The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a performance measure for schools. Choosing EBacc subjects may be useful as a guide to choosing subjects.
  • Find out more about new subjects. Think about how your subjects fit together. If you have a lot of essay-based subjects, for example, it might be useful to choose a practical/creative subject to complement your other subjects and demonstrate a different set of skills.
  • If you have a career idea, research it (Unifrog is a good place to start) and see what subjects are useful for this idea. Remember that you may change your mind in the future so keep your subject choices broad enough to allow for this.
  • Most jobs have set entry routes. Whether or not you intend to go to University, it may help to work backwards and look at relevant subjects for next steps when deciding what to do next.
  • University courses may require certain subjects at A Level, you may need a GCSE in a subject to study it at A Level. You can check University entry requirements on www.ucas.com


Your Year 9 Pathways should: fit your interests and abilities, be subjects that you are good at and think you will enjoy and complement each other and be broad.

Year 9 Pathways should not be chosen because: your friends have chosen that subject, because you think it will be easy, you like the Teacher or just because someone else said it's a good idea for you to do it.

Make sure you attend school Virtual Pathways Evening and read the Pathways booklet thoroughly.

For further information on choosing your Pathways use the following websites: