However, the process of helping students focus their thoughts about life after BIS begins lower down the school and is an important part of our role. Sessions that deal with decision-making and an introduction to Higher Education and potential career pathways are introduced across Key Stage 3, through Wellbeing classes and assemblies. Indeed, just last week a Year 9 CUG-led assembly aimed to focus thoughts on potential IGCSE choices and input to Years 7 and 8 will follow later in the academic year.
Similarly, Year 11 students have this week finished a series of Wellbeing lessons delivered by the CUG Team, during which they received 3 presentations and follow-up research and response tasks. These sessions and the tasks looked at the link between the IBDP, university and potential career pathways and encourage students to conduct research into their potential IB subject choices and consider how they might influence future plans or aspirations. The slides are attached to the bottom of this blog for your interest. Student responses and engagement will form the basis of discussion in the 1 to 1 meeting that every Year 11 student will have with a Guidance Counsellor after half-term, the schedule for which will be made available to students by the end of this month.
There can be no doubt that the more research and reflection students undertake in relation to their future plans, the more relevant information at their disposal to make the best decisions for their individual needs. The CUG Team strongly believes that this process should start in earnest in Year 11 as students begin to think about choices that will shape their next 2 years and beyond. To that end, it has been heartening to see how many Year 11 students have heeded this advice and engaged with our University Visits Programme over the last few weeks. Speaking to the visitors and representatives from a diverse range of global colleges and universities and asking specific questions is the ideal way to absorb and gather useful information about countries, education systems and aspects of the various application processes.
Mark Twain wrote that “the secret of getting ahead is getting started” and this certainly applies to the Year 11s who have attended the visits, as they are already developing an understanding of some key issues related to Higher Education. The fact that this is occurring long before Year 12 and the IBDP can only be positive in enabling students, and their families, to discover more about what is available to them in terms of a university or college education. The CUG Team will be present at next week’s IB Options Evening to answer any questions that you may have about potential pathways that students may be considering.
In the meantime, we encourage all our students, including Year 11, to continue to engage with our University Visits Programme and take away as much value as possible from it.
Dr Simon Finnigan, Senior University Guidance Counsellor