New Year is a time of thinking about things differently, gaining new perspectives and an opportunity to garner a different approach. However, in the same way as we go back to work and school, that opportunity is fleeting before all the daily minutiae sweeps us up and carries us along.
Young people are taking their first steps in their early careers in the next few months, deciding on their GCSE options. We may not look at this important decision as the first one on their career path, we may not even connect it up with all the subsequent career decisions they will be taking over the next few years. For some of us, it even takes us by surprise as we have not realised they have got so grown up! The importance of choosing subjects is reflected in a national scheme being rolled out in primary schools, www.primaryfutures.org, helping children understand the relationship between what they study in school and how it translates to the working world. Children as young as 12 years old are making decisions which will affect their future and they need our support.
Schools will publish details of what they will do, providing additional information on options, what subjects work well together and what ‘option blocks’ they offer. Some GCSEs are compulsory like English and Maths. However, as parents and carers, with knowledge of our children’s interests, talents and strengths, we are best placed to support their deliberations and cogitations. Despite their apparent bravado, young people feel the pressure probably more keenly than we would believe.
Let’s support our children by listening to them, supporting them and acknowledge this is the beginning of their career, resisting the temptation to do it for them. We need to give them the confidence to trust their judgement with the support of the school and us, their parents and carers.