It’s that time of year when students are considering their options for GCSE. Of course, the priority is that they make the right decisions for themselves as individuals, and we’ve created a poster you can download for FREE to help you ensure they understand this.
But when a student has a talent or a passion for your subject, how can you help to encourage them to take the leap and choose it over another that may not be such a good choice for them, but perhaps would allow them to stay with their friends, for example?
We asked the former teachers in our team and current teachers on our social media to tell us what their top tips are. Here’s what they said:
Make sure you explain how your subject is different at GCSE than KS3
This is really important to make sure that you only recruit students that will be motivated and engaged. If your subject changes dramatically from KS3 to GCSE, make them aware of this – for some, they may be far more interested in the topics covered in the GCSE.
And those that won’t find the work stimulating could become unmotivated and disruptive, making life difficult for all.
Showcase students’ work from previous years
This is a great way to illustrate that first point of making it clear how the course will differ to what they’ve studied at KS3. It also gives them a better indication of what they’ll be covering and what kind of skills they’ll develop.
Get older students to give a presentation on their experience of the subject
This is a fantastic exercise for both sets of students – for the older ones it will give them some practise of their public speaking and presentation skills and for the younger ones it will give them a fantastic insight into the course from the students’ perspective, which only the students themselves are qualified to give.
Although you want to discourage those who will be unmotivated, you shouldn’t try to discourage those who may not be chasing the higher grades. For some, aiming for a Grade 1 will be a challenge but, as long as they have an interest in the subject and are willing to work hard to achieve their personal best, you should embrace them in your department.
Engage with all your KS3 teachers or arrange for the Head of Department to visit lessons
Remember that not all KS3 teachers will be familiar with the GCSE course, which can limit them with regards to how much they are able to promote it.
Therefore, you will need to either liaise with them directly, to ensure they have the correct information to pass on to the students, or you will need to arrange for the Head of Department to go into lessons to speak to students directly.
Promote extra-curricular activities and any trips you’re offering
Make sure you let your students know about any extra-curricular opportunities available. Run a lunchtime or afternoon club, signpost relevant opportunities outside of school and collaborate with other departments. These extra opportunities could help an undecided student to choose your subject.
And if you run a regular school trip to support the GCSE course, make sure you let them know about it! You could put up a display board to showcase all the previous trips and you could also ask older students to include something on the trip in their presentation to the younger ones!