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Options Evening

Bill Fisher
Options Evening
Traditionally, one of the most exciting times in a student’s education is when they get to choose which GCSE subjects to follow, culminating in one of the most exciting events in the school calendar, the Year 9 Options Evening.
Making curriculum choices is not new to our Year 9 students, though. At the beginning of their school journey students choose French or Spanish. Then in Year 9 they study the three arts subjects out of four that they chose themselves and they also choose which major technology modules to follow during the year.
But none of that diminished the sense of high expectation at last week’s Year 9 Options Evening. 200 families came to the short options talk in the hall, where they collected copies of the options brochure, and then moved off to the various presentations and stands representing each of the subjects on offer.
The talk in the hall from Mr Fisher and Mr Malik focused on the options process itself and reasons for choosing subjects. Mr Fisher emphasised the point that it is important to ensure that key subjects required for a successful future are thought about first. In particular, having 3 Ebacc subjects is an advantage (details of this in are in the brochure), before choosing non-essential subjects. Mr Malik stressed that is is not wise to choose options because friends are doing them, or because of rumour rather than evidence. He stated that the parents have a key role to play in helping their children think through choices carefully before making their own decisions.
Mrs McIldowie spoke about careers guidance and the critical importance of ‘soft’ skills like working as part of a team; Mrs McIldowie also advised that she and the Connexions officers are always available to discuss concerns that students may have.
The quality of subject presentations around the school was very high and we were able to benefit from using all the new study rooms in our fantastic sixth form area this year. Many current GCSE students came along to support the subjects they feel most passionate about, offering perspectives which complemented teachers’ explanations.
After the evening students were shared an online form to register their chosen subjects in order of preference. Students were given until the day they return to school after Easter to enter preferences. Until that date they also have the ability to recall the form themselves to make changes from their first thoughts.
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