Your choices at 13/14
How your choices could affect your future.
Although it is a good thing to start thinking about the type of courses, jobs and career you might like to do in the future, at 13 or 14 young people are usually just beginning to explore their options.
The choice of GCSEs and vocational qualifications available at 13/14 is quite limited. This is to ensure you continue with a broad range of subjects through key stage 4. When you are choosing for post 16, you will have a lot more choice and can start to specialise.
But, you do need to be aware that some choices you make now could have an impact on your future - so read on..
Choosing your Key stage 4 subjects:
GCSEs are the main qualifications young people do in key stage 4 (usually Y10 and 11 but in some schools this starts in Y9). You will be able to choose some of your courses, but there are some compulsory GCSE subjects like English, Maths and Science.
Some schools will also offer vocational qualifications alongside GCSEs. Vocational qualifications offer practical learning directly related to a specific job role. These can be a good option if you have a job sector in mind or if you would like to gain employability skills linked to a specific job area. Find out more about vocational qualifications and ask your school what's on offer to you.
Most GCSEs will be good general preparation for further learning and work so it’s not crucial to choose specific subjects to fit with a specific career, at this stage. However, there are a few things you do need to take into account when you are choosing your GCSEs.
GCSEs for advanced level at 16
If you are thinking about doing an advanced level course at 16, like A Levels, BTECs, etc. then find out what grades of GCSEs you will need to get on to the course.
GCSEs for university later
If you are thinking about higher education, be aware that because some courses and universities are so competitive, they will look at your GCSE results as well as later qualifications like A Levels, BTECs, etc.
Some university courses, like Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, etc. will be looking for specific GCSEs in the science subjects. And courses in Psychology, Business, English might require particular GCSE subjects and grades. Find out more about how Universities consider pre-16 qualifications.
If you are thinking about a university course you would like to do later, it is a good idea to check out the qualifications you need. Check directly with the institution, their websites often have this information, or by asking a careers adviser.
GCSEs for employment
Employers want good GCSE grades in English and Maths - so bear that in mind when your GCSEs get started!
Many jobs require GCSEs in English and Maths at grades A* to C.
Looking ahead, what you can do now!
At this stage, start to explore information and get an idea of your future choices.
- You can find out about the qualifications and skills needed in different job sectors through Level Up! or look for more detailed job and career information from other sources.
- You can look at courses available in colleges, training providers and universities in the South West and see what are the entry requirements.
- You can get advice from teachers, family and careers advisers.
The law has changed!
From now on students will need to be in some form of education or training until they are 18.
This does not mean you have to stay in school until you are 18, you can choose from a range of things: