Advice for students and parents
Although a bewildering array of choices may be on offer in Year 10 and 11, it may be useful for students to consider the following few key points before discussing their option choices with their parents.
Many students will tend to opt for subjects which they enjoy most, regardless of whether they coincide with the areas in which they perform best. To an extent they are right to do so; two years spent in lessons which are unpalatable is a grim prospect, and a committed pupil is likely to work harder at improving weaknesses in their work. Thoughtful choices may be made if previously written subject reports, assessments, tests and corrected coursework are considered. Parents and teachers should encourage students to compare ‘track records’ and potential results in favourite subjects with other subjects in which the results may be better.
Some students show a real flair and commitment to subjects by the age of 13 or 14. They may want to do three sciences, particularly if they hope for a career in medicine or veterinary surgery, or to concentrate on languages or performing arts. Recent policy has been to discourage early specialisation; young people need a varied background in preparation for working life. Before students narrow their options they must remember that their interests and skills are still developing.
Students often need encouragement to assess which subjects they may need in the future. Different courses, colleges and professions have different requirements; Entry requirement details may be obtained through careers guidance and advice. students should refer to the work carried out in their learning pathway plans to assist with their decisions on option subjects. They should also ensure that they seek advice to ensure that they follow the right pathway for them at an appropriate level.
There is a large variation of coursework/controlled assessments from one subject to another. Some subjects involve no coursework/controlled assessments - others involve coursework or controlled assessments which can contribute to anything from 20-60% of the final mark. Parents and teachers need to discuss whether students are better suited to one or other form of assessment.
Teachers and Friends
Students should not choose subjects because they like the teacher or because their friends are intending to opt for the same subject. Friends may not be placed in the same option group and no guarantee can be given that the same teacher will be teaching the same group of students in upper school.