Helping your Child with their GCSE options

I can’t quite believe we have reached the stage of GCSE options, but yes it is time for my eldest to choose her GCSE subjects! It does seem like age 13 is too young for the children to be making choices which may impact their future.

For some it is such a difficult choice, especially if they are still unsure of what they want to do when they are ‘older’.

Attend any meetings re GCSE Options

Most schools will have some form of options evening before the children have to pick their GCSE’s. It is important that you attend with your child to see what subjects are available and also to speak to the teachers. You can find out what the GCSE will involve, what future careers it could lead to and also see some work by previous/current GCSE students. This is turn will help you have a detailed and meaningful conversation with your child when discussing their options.

Have discussions regarding the GCSE options available

This goes without saying. Talk to your child. Discuss their future aspirations. Talk about their strength and weaknesses. Discuss what they enjoy doing.

And reassure them if they are still unsure about their choices. The core subjects HAVE to be studied; English, Maths and Science. So even if they are unsure about their future careers these will be covered.

And of course make sure they know you are there for them and support them in their choices and simply advise them to do their best.

Encourage your child to explore all options

This is necessary, especially if they don’t know what to choose but even if they are pretty certain about the subjects they want to do. We recently attended an options evening and the eldest was pretty adamant about which subject teachers she wanted to speak to.

As she is still not 100% about what she wants to do in the future, I gently encouraged her to explore some more of the subjects available. Her school has a wide range of GCSE’s subjects available compared to when I was at school. These include Photography, Media Studies and more.


One thing that was completely new to me was the mention of the EBacc. The EBacc is The English Baccalaureate. This was set up in 2010 and it is to encourage children to study a broad range of subjects. To gain the EBacc students must study:

  • English
  • Maths
  • The Sciences
  • History or Geography
  • A Language

Although the eldest’s school have mentioned the EBacc, and are making children choose between History and Geography, they are not making a language compulsory.

However it seems that having a language at GCSE can be favourable when applying for uni and a few universities actually require a language. If your child already has a rough idea of what university they want to go to then it is advisable to check their entry requirements.

You can find out more about the EBacc via the government website: English Baccalaureate.

Remember it is their choice

This is important. Having come from a family, and to an extent the culture, which seems to pretty much dictate all life choices of their children, I am adamant my children will do exactly as they please. Now by this I don’t mean you should sit back and leave them totally to it but talk to the children knowing that ultimately it is their choice. Gentle guidance and discussions are the way forward. For example I have advised my eldest that it is probably a good idea to do one language. Her Spanish teacher has said she is already above average and could easily get a good grade. However it looks like she won’t be taking it. But I am fine with that…it is her that has to study it for 2 years and if her heart isn’t in it then it will be a waste as she may not do her best.

Image Credit: Stock Unlimited

Do you have any advice on helping your children choose their GCSE’s? Please do share in the comments!

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