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Helping your children choose their Options

It’s that time of for year 9 pupils to choose their GCSE options . Parents, don’t panic.

Our children will study 9 GCSEs. They will be awarded five GCSEs in the core subjects – English Language, English Literature, Maths, Science (2 GCSEs) and they will then supplement that with the 4 GCSEs that will be awarded in their 4 option subjects.

One of the key things your child will be facing is the anxiety and stress that surrounds making big decisions that could affect the rest of their life.

One of the most helpful things we can do as a parent is help to reduce that stress. Choosing GCSE subjects can be seen as an exciting step, in building a future.

Parents – these are not your GCSE options, and they do not represent your goals and future. These decisions are for your child to make.

The BBC have some key points to help us support our children at this time;

Parent checklist

  • Do investigate subjects you don’t know about
  • If your child isn’t sure about which subjects to pick, but has an idea of which area they’d like to work in eventually, identify the kinds of subjects that they would need to do this kind of job
  • Speak to their Head of Year for more information on the options process. Some schools also have a Head of Options or Head of Careers specifically to help with student and parent enquiries. Local schools will be holding online meetings this month to help your child with this decison. Be sure that you know when these are and attend with your child.
  • Caution them against taking a subject just because their friends are doing it or because they like the teacher, because you never know when either is going to change.
  • If you don’t agree with the options your child is choosing, try to compromise, but also remember that ultimately this is their call. As one of the first major decisions about their future, having a positive and supportive attitude will help empower your child now, and later in life
  • Know their strengths. It pays to find out how different subjects are assessed: this could be practical work, coursework, extended writing, exams or a combination of these. It is worth considering if one subject will play to your child’s strengths more than another, as assessments become more intense in the final two years.

There is a great BBC Bitesize, here, that covers this topic, We highly recommend watching it with your child.

If you have any handy tips to share with parents to help them support their children at this time , we would love to hear them, please contact us via Familylife on our contact form here.

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