With the Covid 19 pandemic leading to the cancellation of this year’s public examinations, it’s not surprising that there has been a lot of coverage in the media of the challenges facing GCSE and A Levels students. However, we should also consider those in Year 10, who are now more than half way through their GCSE courses. For many of the country’s 14 and 15 year olds, this should be the term when they begin to think about their plans beyond GCSEs, including A Level or equivalent.
It was with these challenges in mind that the Sixth Form and Careers department at Moreton Hall, the independent day and boarding school near Oswestry, decided to put together a virtual Year 10 Roadshow to help local young people begin to think about their post 16 choices. Caroline Lang, Senior Sixth Form Tutor explains “we were acutely aware of what an unsettling time this is for Year 10 students. Moreton Hall has its own sixth form so in planning online guidance and advice for our students, we turned to our own sixth formers, including those who joined us new for their A Level programme, to share their experiences of choosing subjects. Our own Year 10 students have found this an effective and positive experience so we decided to approach other local schools with the offer of a Year 10 virtual roadshow”
Building on previous partnerships between the two schools, the Priory School in Shrewsbury was the first port of call for the Roadshow. On Wednesday, 24th of June, Priory School students took a break from the sunny weather to explore the future choices available to them.
Sixth former Molly from West Felton who joined Moreton Sixth from the Corbet School is an aspiring medical student who is studying Biology, Chemistry and History. She was keen to endorse the Careers team’s message that it is absolutely possible to choose an eclectic combination of subjects at A Level, allowing a student to keep their future choices broad. Molly says: “Choosing varied A Level subjects not only keeps your options open for further down the line but also gives variety in your education and allows you to do any subject that you really enjoy and want to do!”
Isobel from St Martin’s who joined Moreton Sixth from Lakeland Academy wanted to stress the importance of researching where to study as well as what to study: “It’s important to look at lots of different places to find out where’s right for you and what kind of environment you will work best in. When I was deciding I looked everywhere, and seeing the differences between the different sixth forms and colleges, really helped me figure out where I wanted to go.”
One of the most exciting aspects of A Levels is choosing subjects not available at GCSE. The Moreton Hall Roadshow girls talked about the experience of studying subjects as diverse as Further Maths, Economics, Psychology and Textiles. For one Priory student this was another particularly valuable aspect of the event: ”It has definitely made me want to look around other colleges more and consider my options. I particularly enjoyed hearing from the students who are already studying their A Levels as it has made me consider aspects I need to find out before choosing her subjects e.g. amount of essay writing involved.”
As well as Carol France from the Careers and Enterprise team at the Priory School, the Roadshow attendees were joined by Shelley Robinson, Enterprise Coordinator for Shropshire Council. She commented: “This was a really clear, unbiased presentation on how to select A Levels and where you want to study, with advice from current students on the realities of studying A Levels. It is great that Moreton Hall is reaching out to the state secondary sector to share their expertise and knowledge.
This week, the Roadshow team will be virtually at the Corbet School and the Moreton Hall team are excited at the prospect of further events in the coming weeks.