SMMA logo
Image asking questions about options

How to make good choices

8 February 2018

In the next half of Spring Term, our Year 8 students choose which subjects they’ll study at Key Stage 4, leading to GCSEs.

It’s a big decision. And at St Mary Magdalene Academy we make it earlier than in some other schools. That’s because we believe choosing in Year 8 gives each student more time to study their favoured subjects, to research them in depth, and to discover the areas they find most interesting. It makes the learning process more enjoyable – which leads to better results.

If you have a child in Year 8, please make sure you’re talking through their options now. We’re here to help at every step towards the options deadline of 2 March. And we have lots of support and advice to offer:

1. Themed assemblies took place earlier this term, offering students practical, down-to-earth advice, such as our simple guide to good and bad reasons for choosing.

Bad reasons

My friends are picking this too
I like the teacher
My parents really like this subject!

Good reasons

I really enjoy this subject
This subject is one of my strengths
I’m not sure what I want to do in the future, but this gives me a good balance of subjects

2. The Fast Tomato careers guidance website has a wealth of resources, and an easy checklist of questions. All Year 8 students should have their login details. Why not work through it together?

3. Our Options Workbook is packed with detail on courses and fun exercises to complete before 20 February. All Year 8 students have received a Workbook – please spend some time looking through this over the half-term break.

4. Options Evening is 20 February, 6–7.30pm. After brief presentations by Headteacher Mrs Linsley and Director of Learning Mrs Sharp, parents and children will have the opportunity to browse through the ‘marketplace’, with stalls on every subject, and heads of department available to answer any questions. Please be sure to come along, and collect your options form on the night.

options flowchart

5. Indvidual meetings are available for any parents, carers and students who would like more help.

6. The deadline for returning your options form is 2 March 2018.

7. All completed forms will be reviewed by a senior member of staff to make sure each student is playing to their strengths and choosing a balanced range of subjects. At this stage, we may contact parents and carers to arrange a brief meeting if we feel some further discussion might help secure the right combination of subjects for your child.

8. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us, by emailing Elaine Sharp.