‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’ – author Dr Seuss
The spring term is my favourite part of the school year, not least because three of the most important dates in the school calendar take place.
We recently welcomed lots of families to our Year 6 Open Evening. It is a genuine pleasure to see so many familiar faces, either because we have older brothers and sisters here, or because the parents were once Ballakermeen students. Now their children will be joining us in September, after completing their final year of primary school. This event is all about giving children the opportunity to meet their new teachers, find their way around the school and learn about the many exciting activities they can get involved with at Ballakermeen. The staff do a lot of preparation for this event, to ensure those who are new to the school – be they child or parent – feel welcomed and at ease.
Year 9 Options Evening has recently taken place, which is the first step for those students who are about to make some important decisions – which subjects to study at GCSE. Some are compulsory, of course – mathematics, English language and literature, science and RE – but this is the first time a young person has choices to make, about which subjects they want to continue. They can even complete some of their studies at UCM (‘the college’ for those of a certain age!) Those choices should be guided by which subjects they enjoy, as well as their career aspirations. As Dr Seuss says, we can point ourselves in whichever direction we choose (irrespective of what age we might be). Once again, our staff do a huge amount of preparation for this night, so that the decision-making process is as smooth as possible for our students.
Then, on February 12th, it’s our Year 11 into Year 12 Open Evening. This is another important decision time for our young people, with those students who are completing their GCSEs in a few months’ time and aiming to stay on for Sixth Form, having to choose the subjects they will study at A-level. Many of you who are in this position will remember coming to your own Year 9 Open Evening two years ago and can draw from the decisions you made then. Hopefully the choices you took for GCSE have proved to be wise ones, but decisions about A-levels (guided again by our wonderful staff) provide an opportunity to alter your course slightly, or indeed forge a totally new direction, if that is what you want.
Whatever stage you or your children are at, I hope these events will provide the guidance and answers that will help you get the most out of Ballakermeen High School in the coming years.