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Making Choices in Year 9 2018

Our Year 9 pupils are investigating which subjects to study in Key Stage 4.

At our Key Stage 4 Curriculum 'Choices at 14' Evening on Thursday 25 January 2018, some of our Key Stage 4 pupils and a former pupil shared their experiences of making choices and how school life differs in Key Stage 4 and beyond. You can read their speeches below.

Tom (Year 10)

Making your choices can be a daunting time. You worry that if you get it wrong now it could affect your long term prospects. What can you do? I am going to share with you my personal 4 Step Guide to help you out.

STEP 1: Think about which subjects interest you the most and which ones you feel most comfortable with. For example, I find learning about different countries really fascinating and how events in the past have shaped our present and possibly our future intrigues me.

STEP 2: Talk to your tutors, your teachers and your parents. They can give you lots of ideas and points of view which you might not have thought of  yourself. The school has an array of resources available in the library and the careers conventions were really helpful when I was considering my choices. My decision to study all 3 Sciences was definitely influenced by what others who knew me advised.

STEP 3: Do you already know what you want to be when you 'grow up'? Great if you do, but don't worry if not. Keeping my options open was incredibly important, because - if i am honest - I still don't know what I want to do. My choices will allow me to delay that decision for a bit longer because i have a range of subjects covering the Sciences, Humanities, Maths and English (of course) and an additional Language which could be useful in future careers.

And finally,

STEP 4: Just be true to who you are!

Good luck!

Poppy (Year 10)

I was in your shoes this time last year and this is how I made my decisions.

First of all, I didn't know what I wanted to do in the future, and I still don't, but I looked at which subjects I liked, which for me was along the more creative path, like Art and Humanities.

It helped to listen to my teachers' and parents' thoughts about whether I had the skills passion to carry on with certain subjects.

Also, I didn't want to carry on with a Language because I felt like I wouldn't get much use out of it, but I ended up choosing it at the last minute because it looks excellent on college applications and it can turn out to be fun and rewarding.

You have to remember to keep all doors open for those of you uncertain of your direction, in case you have a change of heart. Key Stage 4 is more intense that Key Stage 3 but bear in mind that these are subjects you are interested in. I don't think that the work gets harder, there is just more of it and it is important to keep on top of this.

Don't worry about choices boxes, ask staff and good luck!

Sam (Year 11)

Key Stage 4 is just a term used to signify the start of your GCSE courses, and ultimately it plays a key role in determining how successful you will be in the future. School work will be harder. Homework will be more frequent. Your stress level will rise through the roof sometimes! But you must understand that, believe it or not, all these things are actually good!

The GCSEs that I chose to take were Music, Product Design, French and History, as well as the Core subjects. I really want to pursue a career in either Architectural Design or Music, so I'm hoping to study  A level 3D Design, Music Performance, Music Tech and Maths next year.

Year  10 was not a huge shock for me, as I knew full well that the workload would increase. But everyone is different. It hasn't ·been easy and I know I've a lot more work still left to do, but I won't give up. I know what I want to achieve. All you need to remember is that Key Stage 4 isn't something to worry about. You will soon get into the swing of things and feel more comfortable.

A key bit of advice that I can give you is to try not to get distracted by your peers. This is easier said than done but, trust me, you will need to keep your focus and keep your mind on the end goal. You need to make time for your friends and the fun stuff. For me that's music and playing guitar with my band.

Another bit of advice is to take every opportunity you're given. A turning point for me that brought the reality back into focus was when I travelled to Ghana to volunteer in two school projects helping to build a new toilet block and new classrooms. It made me really appreciate how fortunate I am. After that trip I set my mind on exactly what grades I wanted to achieve and ever since I have been taking the necessary steps needed in order to achieve the results I want this Summer.

Be organised! Leaving homework  to the last minute is a bad idea, it just ups your workload even more. Every decision you make has a consequence. It's up to you whether it's a good or a bad one.

My final bit of advice is to take it steady. "It's a marathon, not a sprint", as many say. You need to have a balance between work and relaxation. Yes, GCSEs are important, but at the end of the day they are really a key to unlock the next door, whether that's a college course, an apprenticeship or a job.

Ella (Year 12)

I am a former pupil at Deer Park and left last year. I've never really known what I wanted to do when I'm older, so it has always been important to keep my options open. I was given lots of support and advice when deciding which subjects to study in order to put me in a position where I would be able to access a wide range of A levels.

Due to my wide varied interests, ranging from Drama and Maths to Science-based subjects, I was given accurate advice which would allowed me to choose options that enabled me to pursue a variety of subjects. I chose to study History, Drama, German and Triple Science along with an optional extra GCSE in Statistics. The information I was given whilst making my choices meant that I could go on to secure a place at Cirencester College, where I am currently studying Sociology, Drama, Psychology and Maths.

During my time at Deer Park I was not only given great support in the classroom,but I was, also, given the resources necessary to learn independently at home in order to prepare for my GCSEs, where I achieved 3Bs, 2As, 3A*s, a 7 in English Literature, an 8 in English Language and a 9 in Maths. It was because of the guidance at Deer Park that I gained the confidence needed to go on to study my A levels which I am currently  enjoying and I am predicted top grades in. As well as this, due to the extra-curricular opportunities given to me in the Expressive Arts Faculty, I have gone on to take part in the Sundial Theatre company and have performed in one of their productions.

It is because of the skills I acquired during my time at Deer Park that I have become an independent learner and I have the confidence and the ability necessary to achieve my predicted A level results and go on to further education. I still haven't made a firm decision about my future but I am considering a degree course in Psychology. My advice to you when considering your options is to listen to advice from your teachers, and, if  you are not sure yet of your long term plans, choose a broad range of subjects in order to keep your options open for the future.

Find out more about  Year 9 Options...