Advice Piece by Isla Williams
The end of the year brings excitement for the next! I asked a few people from each year of our school to give their advice for being in the year they are moving on from to hopefully help people moving up some support.
‘You don't have to bring all your books in your school bag, only what you need for the day. Another important piece of advice that I would give you is that first impressions are very important so that you have a good relationship with your teachers and with your fellow pupils.’
'High school is scary when you're first here but I became a lot more confident soon after the start of the year. Teachers are there to help and they will definitely help you to find your way around the school. You have your form group who you get to know pretty well as all your lessons are with them so you get to know people right from the beginning. My favourite part of year 7 is exploring different subjects like going in the lab for Science, it is interesting and lots of fun and a lot better than primary. Good Luck.'
'First of all I would like to say: don't worry! You may or may not have gotten used to high school by now but either way Year 8 isn't too intimidating. However, if you do have any worries, I suggest really enjoying the subjects that you like and making the most out of them, get to have a feel for what you like because in Year 9 you choose your GCSE options. Obviously that's nothing to worry about. I would also advise you to keep up good relationships with teachers, friends and classmates because it's always good to have great and positive relationships with people since that is how they will view you/remember you. I also advise you to join clubs and councils e.g. Junior Choir, School Council, Eco Council etc . They are a good way to meet people with the same interests as you, and that way you can develop friendships and connections. To round this off I will just say work hard (but also make sure you balance the work with free time at home) and once again don't worry about anything because Year 8 will be fine!'
'Year 8 is daunting for every Year 7 however the times in this year are fun and exciting. You may be worried about leaving your form group for lessons, but this allows you to meet new people and see new talents. Many of my closest friends now are in different forms but our bands are a way of talking to each other. This brings me on to my next point, bands. You may have heard of them or not but either way, a band is where you get mixed together with new people and until the end of Year 9 they will be your classmates. If you’re worried about lessons, don’t be. Teachers are there to help with anything and everything. Teachers are lenient when it comes to homework deadlines (Although I advise doing it early) and will always hear your reason and give you enough time to complete it. Year 8 is a wonderful year, full of laughter, games and happiness. Good Luck!'
‘Moving into year 9 is a sign to start working hard. Keep up with homework in all subjects. I was off most of year 8 with covid and rugby injuries and did not do as well because i didn't keep up with my class and eventually that caught up to me. Be kind to people in your year no matter what people say, if you're nice to all people you're never going to be alone. Pick your options wisely. Moving up into year 9 means you're going to be picking your GCSE options. Some people might say that it's going to be easy and others might say it was one of the hardest things they needed to decide in highschool so far, but if you choose the subjects you find will take you to a pathway to a future job there's nothing wrong with that. Choose a backup option if you can’t be in your first pick class, there is lots of support so you shouldn’t worry too much.’
'Picking option choices is what everyone is told year 9 is about but it’s honestly much simpler than the rumours let on. It will seem like a life-or-death task. You will feel that you are not ready or responsible enough to pick your choices. You will get told at the very beginning that this is going to be a big year for you. You will also be told and told and told, (until it’s drilled into you), that you must take what YOU want and what you ENJOY. You will be told a lot of things and feel a lot of things but what works best that I’ve learnt is that last line. Take what you enjoy: don’t think about what job you want to do when you’re old enough in 6-7 years time, don’t think about your favourite teachers and best friends. Think about which subjects you laugh in, that make you smile when you see them on your timetable in the mornings, think about the subjects you anticipate going into. Think about you. Understandably, lots of pupils don;t enjoy any lessons or may not want to pick a few of them. Yet I guarantee you, there is no possibility of you picking “the right one”. Do not forget that your teachers and friends can help you if you are feeling conflicted. Dropping subjects is part of the process and you should trust the process. It’s not the end of the world if you make a choice and begin to second guess yourself. Essentially, taking a step back and reflecting on your work with a fresh mind through the chaotic last few months is all it takes to see what you enjoy and dislike. You have the choice to change it afterwards. Just remember that this will not be the make-or-break of your Bassaleg journey.'
'Don’t let others interfere with your option choices - it may be nice to have friends in your class but not if it risks you regretting your decision. Also, respect your parents' input but try not to let them control your final decision as what they think is right for you may not be what you believe is right for you. Pick a subject you enjoy - this may appear obvious but is not always considered when making the overall decision. If you don’t enjoy a class then how can you reach your full potential in it?
GCSEs are all as hard as each other so picking the 'easy option' doesn't work. As you are in a higher year you may think assessments are incredibly important; though it is important that you finish your work to the best of your ability it’s not worth compromising your mental health for.'
‘Don’t leave revision to the last minute, flash cards are really helpful for me but you should find the way you revise best as soon as possible. Year 10 is lots of fun because the lessons are the subjects we’ve chosen so they’re all interesting. Teachers know we want to be there so that improves our relationship with them. My best piece of advice would be to ask for help as soon as you are confused as it can lead to you becoming really behind!’
''Focus from the start and make a good impression with your teachers. Don't put revision over your mental health but still make sure it is a priority, you will realise that most people are revising too and you're not always missing out on any social events'
‘I know it might sound stupid but actually revise even if it’s only a small amount each eek, getting a routine down as early as possible really helps and will make exam time a lot easier. Year 11 is tiring but it’s still so much fun and although school and exams are very important, a balance with a social life is just as important.’
'Have lots of fun outside of school and have a good outlook that supports your learning, if a piece of homework is due then just do it as soon as possible so you don't get overwhelmed and can take part in social activities when they come up. Year 11 is hard but definitely manageable. If you're struggling with the workload or anything to do with your mental health them definitely reach out, it's so important especially when the pressure will only increase throughout the year. You've got this!'
Start making revision resources as early as possible, I've already started them for year 13 as the workload is difficult to adjust to. if you have any doubts about your options in september, change them!! It’s better to swap subjects early on than end up just dropping it later on in the year. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help in lessons, there’s a lot more info given each lesson compared to gcse and you move from topic to topic pretty fast, if you need more time or help, ask for it, teachers are there to help!'
'Year 13 was one of the best years, make as many friends as possible and enjoy every second! If you really don't enjoy a subject and you don't actually need it then talk to Mr Powell, it isn't worth the stress and shouldn't affect your other subjects'