Schools and Education have changed so much and one thing I am often asked by parents is how to choose a school now. My answer is to look beyond Ofsted reports and spend time visiting schools and looking at what they offer. I have previously given my suggestions when choosing a primary school but many students now also change school for A Levels. Some students change because their current school is a 11-16 school and some because of the types of courses on offer at their current schools.
School children now have to stay in some form of Education or training until their 18th birthday. They can do apprenticeships, vocational courses at Further Education colleges or stay on for A Levels. At this time of year some young people are still undecided on their next stage of Education and much obviously decides on GCSE results.
Tips for deciding what to do next.
1. Talk to your current teachers. They will know you and hopefully know your strengths and weaknesses. let them give you suggestions. Careers advice is limited at schools and I actually think those that have taught you will be best able to guide you.
2. Visit the other options there will be open days especially after results and especially at FE colleges. Look at what is on offer. Colleges are good at marketing themselves, take their brochures and course details. Look at the roller banners from auraprint which will advertise courses you may not have considered. There are so many choices out there and FE can be very different to schools. There are courses on small animal care, hairdressing and the trades for example.
3. Think about the future. If you plan on going to Higher Education and see University as a possibility look at what subjects are preferred for your chosen courses. STEM subjects are going to be in great demand in the future according to Government and industry predictions. Some courses have preferred subjects so make sure that you don’t exclude yourself.
4. If you are changing education providers just because you want a change think carefully about that. Changing schools, friends and teachers is not always easy. You will have built relationships with your teachers over the past five years and got used to their teaching style and practices and the grass is not always greener on the other side!
5. Consider how you will get to the school / FE college as it can be expensive if using public transport.
6. If you are sporty, musical or crafty and likely to be involved in extra curricular activities have a look at what is on offer. Getting an education is about more than just qualifications. Again you will want more than qualifications on your UCAS form or CV
7. Pick subjects you enjoy because you will need to spend hours studying them.