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13 Feb 2015

Anne Everest - Head's Message 13-02

Snowdrops in the gardens and the gradually lengthening hours of daylight are clear indicators of the advent of spring.  This is the time to look ahead, plan holidays and consider options for the future.  This week our Options Evening was held for fourth and fifth form students and their parents.

Our older girls, from Upper Four upwards, will soon be making decisions about their education that have the potential to affect the direction of their careers - and therefore their lives.  After three years of a broad secondary education, our Upper Four students now have to make a choice of subjects to take to examination level.  By now, of course, they have a good idea of where their strengths lie - and we would always advise them to go with their strengths.

Naturally, we are also keen to promote the principle of a broad education during fifth form, and so we recommend that the girls all continue to take at least one language, social science and science, whatever their talents suggest at this point, in addition to compulsory English and mathematics.  It is important at this stage that no pathways become closed off and that they continue to have as many options open to them as possible: some girls may well have clear and precise ideas about their future already, but those ideas may change over the next few years, and we have to be ready to adapt to such change.

Conversely, even our much older students may not yet have an absolutely clear idea of a future career path.  For these students, a reasonably broad choice of subjects at the best possible grades would seem the best way forward.  Some degree courses, even vocational ones, are competitive but not necessarily prescriptive about required examination subjects: the grades achieved become more crucial.  The advice to play to one's strengths thus becomes even more cogent in these cases.

In Upper 6, the girls are now beginning to see the fruits of all their previous work and decision-making about subject and course choice.  Offers from universities are coming in, many of them unconditional and based on success at Higher; the next difficult decision will be which university to choose.  Again, we are here to help and give advice on the best way forward for each individual.

Whatever their preferences and talents, we shall be providing structured support to help our students and their parents with the challenging choices that lie ahead.  And this time next year, when the first spring flowers begin to appear, we shall be just as enthusiastic about doing this all over again with our younger students.

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Anne C Everest                                                                                 
Head, St George's School for Girls         

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