This week sees the Year 9's in conference, giving thought to their future, considering all the advice they are being given and making those oh so important choices.
I will repeat some of the things they will already have been told. They need to give themselves the best chance possible to get the highest grades. They should try to have a balance in their subject choice and they should choose the subjects that they have an interest in. All of the subjects will be tough at examination level so it is important that they enjoy what they are doing and that they learn to enjoy the challenge of work that is difficult. Modern foreign languages are highly thought of by the top universities but so are some subjects that you might not have thought would have been in that list, like Music.
There is often an issue around students not being able to do all the subjects that they would like to. There are only so many hours in a week so they will have to make some decisions. We have tried to keep the option blocks as flexible as possible to offer the greatest possible choice, but there are limits to what we can feasibly offer. If you compare our option choices with those of other schools you will see that we have not forced our brightest students to follow the full EBACC if they do not want to. If this affects our Ofsted judgement in future, as the Government has threatened that it will, we are prepared to accept that and do what we believe is best for our students, not what is best for the accountability measures.
Dr Caroline Haynes