Whilst we are often asked when conversations around making decisions for the future should take place at home or in school, the fact is that there isn’t one right answer to this. So, rather than recommend a specific time in which these decisions need to be made, we recommend instead that students and families engage in an ongoing dialogue on this important topic.
That being said, there are some key milestones as students progress through the Higher Phase (Years 9-13) that are worth considering as the conversations had and decisions made at these key junctions are important in helping to clarify intentions and open up potential future pathways and opportunities.
Year 9 - Starting to think about the future
When students join the Higher Phase at the start of Year 9 they embark upon an important year in which they are both completing Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) and getting ready for the challenges of Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11).
From Term 1 of Year 9 students are encouraged to make use of our Unifrog platform in order to engage students in starting to think about their futures by building their personal profiles and exploring the many university and careers choices open to them.
In Term 3 of Year 9 our students have, for the first time, choices to make as to the subjects they wish to study. This is both an exciting time and a prompt for them to start considering the pathways they wish to pursue. Student voice is an important part of the process, with opinions being surveyed as a first step in the timetable optimisation process. Each student then meets with a member of the Higher Phase Leadership Team for an individual consultation to select their optional subjects.
At this stage we definitely recommend for all students to keep their GCSE and IGCSE subject choices broad and varied. At this stage there is no need for students to feel under pressure to decide on what they would like to study at university and therefore how they should shape their subject choices. Instead, they should focus on where their strengths and interests lie across a mix of different subject types. By choosing subjects they are interested in students have the best chance of excelling in their chosen courses, setting them up with a great foundation for future AS Level studies in Year 12 and their A Levels in Year 13.
Year 11 - Exploring competencies, interests and next steps
Having commenced their GCSE and IGCSE studies in Year 10 and proceeded into Year 11, students start to look ahead to their post-16 options.
It is at this stage that students start to specialise, with most selecting four subjects to pursue at AS Level in Year 12. Students are also encouraged to consider pursuing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), an independent research programme that both supports the development of key academic skills and provides an opportunity to explore an independent area of interest.
Having indicated initial areas of interest earlier in the year, in Term 3 all students participate in individual future intentions consultations, again with members of the Higher Phase Leadership Team, in which they explore their aspirations and receive guidance and support in making subject choices that will further their ambitions.
This important decision making process is supported by information sessions, assemblies and an ongoing dialogue designed to help each student make the best choices for them. Individual student plans are all reviewed by the Assistant Head Teacher (Sixth Form), Mr Tom Campbell, who has a wealth of experience in supporting students as they transition into, experience and graduate from our Sixth Form.
Years 12 and 13 - Preparing for life after Sixth Form
Our AS and A Level programmes of study are designed to equip students with a broad range of skills and experiences so that their potential future pathways are broadened rather than narrowed through specialism at too early a stage.
Importantly, when choosing the subjects they wish to study we guide all of our students to think about and understand the importance of gaining a transferable, interdisciplinary skill set. The world of work is forever changing and traditional pathways to a career which may exist now, may not continue to be applicable in the future. As such, it is important that we help them prepare for this by building a robust, competitive skill set which will prepare them for success in a diverse and changing jobs market.
Our Sixth Form students benefit from highly personalised support with university applications and careers planning, led by Mr Tom Campbell with the support of academic and pastoral colleagues working with Year 12-13 students.
One thing we encourage students to do is to think about their education not as a specific destination, but as a journey. Some students will have a very clear idea of what they want to do. Others won’t and that is absolutely fine.
It is not unusual for some students to have a limited idea of the breadth of career options that exist simply because they haven’t yet been exposed to them. As such, it is important that we help them to explore their options, particularly for those who may not have a clearly defined idea yet of where their interests lie. Helping students to identify what they are passionate about and how they wish to contribute to our world is key as we can then help them work back from that, identifying the skill sets and subjects they would need to pursue that direction and achieve their ultimate goal.
Interested in joining the Higher Phase at BSK?
We hope we have helped you to better understand how we guide our Higher Phase students at The British School of Kuwait towards a pathway which equips them for the world of work and empowers them to pursue their career ambitions.
We welcome enquiries from prospective families considering admissions into Years 9-13 and would be delighted to hear from you. Our Admissions Team can be contacted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning +965 1830456.