I think all of the secondary schools in Wokingham choose their options in year 8. I also thought this was too early, and one of the reasons we tried for the GS. All the Reading schools choose in year 9 I think. I live on the border so at least I got a bit of a choice.
Her school do start the GCSE sciences in year 9, but since they are compulsory I don't have a big issue with that.
DD would have loved to chance to drop a couple of her least favourite subjects earlier though.
One problem with some schools doing it and some not is that it makes it difficult to change school after year 8. If DD was fed up of her school I don't have the option of moving her to one of our local comps as they have already Started GCSE courses. All schools should choose at the same time.