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WEEK 16 - Friday 14 January 2022

Option choices - why are they so important? 

I remember it like yesterday. I was 13 years old and enjoying most of my school experiences. In particular, PE and all extra curricular sports activities. I attended everything possible including football, tennis, cricket, badminton, table tennis, athletics and many more. On this particular day I turned up to school and was informed that I would be speaking to a careers advisor to discuss what I wanted to do in the future. I no doubt would have been informed about this career’s meeting at an earlier time but had not prioritised it as other school activities were clearly more important to me at that time. I was wrong! This first meeting with a careers advisor should have been my main priority on this day as it was the first opportunity I had to discuss my future once I had left school. I cringe when I remember my response to the question “what do you want to do as a career when you leave school?” My 13 year old response was very quick, and delivered with a misplaced confidence…..”I'm going to be a professional footballer, Sir”. Now… looking back I can now fully appreciate the professionalism of the careers advisor's response. He didn't laugh and spit out his coffee. He discussed the likelihood of this happening in the first instance. But more importantly he discussed what my back up plan was if my budding football career didn't quite happen. I didn't have any real ideas of careers that I was passionate about at that time, which is absolutely understandable. But what I did receive was some amazing advice that I pass on to my students when we talk about option choices.

I was told to make subject choices that I enjoy doing. To choose subjects that I am interested in and to choose subjects that I will perform well in. I was advised to NOT choose subjects based on my friendship groups. Choose subjects that give me the platform to succeed in, which will then open more doors of opportunity when you get to the end of year 11 and will be at a more mature level to decide on your future educational or professional pathway. I absolutely believe this advice all those years ago have allowed me to make the decisions that have led me to my chosen career pathway. I genuinely did not know that my working life would be in education when I was 13 years old… but, because of the option choices I made in year 9, it provided me with the range of options at the end of year 11 that allowed me to join the sixth form and continue my education in the environment of my choice. 

As I write this blog, I am preparing for the year 9 Options fair that all students will attend. This is an opportunity for students to speak to subject staff and 6th Form students who have studied different subjects. It’s an amazing opportunity for year 9 students to ask questions which will allow them to make better choices to ensure they are successful at KS4. This is just the beginning of their options journey. Students will receive their Options booklet the week commencing 24 Jan 2022. Please take the time to discuss this with your child and to help and guide them in their choices. After the half term holidays, each student will speak to Mrs Price and her team about their option choices. We will always try to ensure that students are on the right courses for them to achieve outstanding outcomes and will work closely with parents to discuss any potential issues or concerns. 

As I mentioned at the start of this blog… My first career choice never came true (I blame injury and a poor diet!) but my option choices, made with the support of my teachers and parents, have allowed me to be successful in my chosen career pathway. Please speak to your children and give them the advice that I truly appreciate as I reflect on my time as a 13 year old student.  

If you have any concerns or questions please contact me at hoyy9@hessleacademy.com 

Mr Leckenby

Head of Year 9

Mrs Newman

Assistant Head of Year 9