Sir Graham Balfour School

A member of Insight Multi-Academy Trust

Year 09

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How does Year 9 differ from Year 8?

Year 9 is a time when students begin to prepare for their option choices.  Students are made aware that their behaviour choices and academic progress take on greater importance in establishing the right pathway for them moving forward.  Year 9 is about preparing students for GCSE level study in Years 10 and 11.

What help can my child access?

Your child’s Form Tutor is their first source of support.  Alongside this, students have access to our Student Support Manager and the wider pastoral team who are able to offer mentoring and support if needed. 

What support will my child get with choosing their options for Y10?

Every child in Y9 will have a pathways meeting in January.  Parents are invited to attend the meeting online and a member of staff will discuss and offer advice regarding the subject options available for your child in Year 10.  

Are there any year specific issues I need to be aware of?

Friendships and relationships can be a particular issue during this time as students become more aware of their personal identity, grow in confidence and begin to desire more independence as they move through puberty. Clear routines and boundaries are critical for children at this age even if they do not agree.  Being aware of your child’s social media activity can also limit situations from arising or escalating. 

There are regular advice and tips offered via our safeguarding newsletter and websites such as:

Teenage behaviour advice | Family Lives

Coping with your teenager - NHS (

What else can I do to help support my child in Year 9?

Listen to your child and encourage them to talk to you about any social issue or how they are feeling.  Encourage them to work through conflict calmly and in a mature way. They can seek advice from their Form tutor or our Student Support Manager, if necessary, to help navigate the dynamics of teenage relationships.  Encourage your child to look beyond Year 9 as to where their choices and their effort in school may be taking them. Talk about short- and long-term goals to keep them motivated to achieve and work hard.  Teenagers can often struggle with self-esteem and self-concept; positive reinforcement of their good choices and hard work will be well received and will help boost confidence.

Why is Year 9 about much more than options?

Options are obviously a really important part of Year 9.  Important decisions are made which have a lifelong impact on further education, jobs and career progression.  However, Year 9 is also important when it comes to establishing really good habits of study (see the list below) which will allow your child to begin their GCSEs/BTECs in a really strong position.  Please do speak to your child about getting these right and how important they will be during Year 10 and Year 11.

  • A positive focus, engagement and concentration in class.
  • Completing the extended writing or problem-solving activities in lessons
  • Good depth and quality of homework.
  • Effective revision techniques.


Where can I find out what my child is studying?

Curriculum - Sir Graham Balfour School

The link above takes you to the curriculum section of the school website.  You can click on each subject and then the year group to see the curriculum content in Year 9.  The focus here is very much on giving students a broad and balanced curriculum to follow where they can experience a wide range of subjects before they make their options choices.  The content of the subjects is challenging, with a focus on establishing the core knowledge and subject specific understanding needed to succeed at GCSE or BTEC study.

How much homework will my child get and how can I help with homework?


Year 9 Homework Timetable - Sir Graham Balfour School

Year 9 follow a Homework Schedule which can be found at the link above.  They will receive homework which will take them approximately 5 hours per week to complete.  We have arranged the schedule so that if students complete their homework on the night it is set, they will have no homework to complete over the weekend.  Homework is organised in this way for Year 7 to Year 11, so it will really help with homework if your child can get into a regular routine of doing homework each night and completing their homework away from distractions such as mobile phones, the TV, games consoles etc. 


Student Support and Help - Sir Graham Balfour School

If your child is struggling with the subject content in a piece of homework, then please see the link above for details of the various ways we can provide additional help and support to your child so they complete the work and hand it in on time.





Sir Graham Balfour School
North Avenue
ST16 1NR

For Sat Nav directions:

ST16 1NJ


01785 223490