Transitions

7th August 2009 at 01:00

St Modan's High in Stirling serves a large and disparate area, which is evident in the further education choices its pupils are making as they prepare for the transition from secondary to college or university. Decisions made have been influenced by some teachers, who have been instrumental in their guidance and support outside the school remit

JAMES LEYDEN

I'm looking forward to it

I'm going to Forth Valley College to do a BA or HND in communications and media, depending on results. I've always seen myself as a creative writer - mainly horror and fantasy.

I was pushed by my parents to apply. Being shy, I couldn't motivate myself. Sometimes I think I should have applied last year, but I'm glad I didn't. I wanted to tell myself I'd got through all of sixth year.

You can't fault the teachers. They're strict and impose rules. You'll moan and complain, but it does help you get into good habits. This year has shown me that you need to study. I liked my RMPS Higher teacher, Miss Gordon, because she got us into discussions. My English teacher, Mr Breen, was a big help. He asked about the application, gave me a reference, and Ms Cowie, my maths teacher also asked about college.

In S6, careers advice classes were more about universities. There were no people in from the college - it was a waste of a period. You heard about finances, which was helpful, but a lot was common sense, like advice on loan sharks, and I wasn't planning on going to Big Johnny for a loan.

I'm from the Raploch. I work in a department store, which opens your eyes to corporate business - it's pretty ruthless. Work increases your confidence, which helped with my college interview.

I'm not sure what to expect. It'll be a kick up the backside, or it'll be fine, but I'm looking forward to it either way.

ANNE STIRLING

Ms Bagley was big influence

I'm hoping to be a history and modern languages teacher. If I get the results, I'm going to Stirling University.

I'd always wanted to be a zoologist, but something changed this year. I have a passion for history. I had a really good teacher whom I'm close to, Ms Bagley. She understood how to get ideas across. She'd use images and when we were younger she'd get us doing artistic work. She was the one person I could go to if anything was going on, like when I had family problems. Ms Bagley's been one of the nicest people, and my biggest influence at school.

I went to see a careers adviser out of school, but we didn't hit it off. She told me to think about night school if I didn't get the results, but I'd prefer to work and save up. If I don't get the results I need, I'll be gutted - I've worked so hard. I'll feel I've let myself down. But it won't be the end of the world. It'll give me time to get my head together.

EMMA WEIR

Now I'm ready

I'm going to Glasgow

University to do English and history of art. I thought I was too young last year. Now I'm ready to go.

Teachers have told us university's a lot different. You're not going to get pushed and won't get into trouble for not doing work. The teachers you're close to really help. My English teacher, Ms Douglas, is the reason I'm doing English. She's told me about her days studying, that it'll be really hard because they throw a lot of information at you. She said you have to be more independent, and that I'll flourish.

I used to go to Stageworx dance school in Stirling but had to give it up because of my exams. I choreographed the last three school shows, and was 13 the first time I did it. I wanted to be a dancer, but after seeing my brother enjoy himself so much - he's at Glasgow University - I've changed my mind. I can always do dancing later.

EUAN MCPHERSON

I want an apprenticeship

I was going to leave school last year but I had a couple of interviews for apprenticeships and didn't get in, and I snapped a tendon in my leg and was on crutches for six months. But I loved school and being around my friends anyway.

I've got a place at Forth Valley College for a one-year NQ to become an electrician, but I want to get an apprenticeship. I'd rather be a mechanic, like my dad.

I sent out about 20 or 25 letters in April-time, but I only heard back from eight or nine and nobody had anything. I've managed to get a couple of interviews for apprenticeships. There were 200 sitting a test for the first, and only 15 got interviewed.

I'm always nervous about interviews, but I've had a few now. I got help from a Careers Scotland adviser. But sometimes careers advice at school seems more for people going to university. My parents have helped me a bit. I was quite nervous before my first interview, in June. I'd been writing things down and trying to memorise them, and practising every night for weeks with my dad.

Euan got a four-year apprenticeship as an electrician

Change is not always relished by pupils at Fairview School in Perth, an all-through school for youngsters with severe and complex needs. Here we feature some senior boys, set to join the New Skills course at Perth College after the holidays. They have been preparing for this moment for the past year, but do they feel they are ready?

ALASTAIR GILLIES

I'll miss the girls

I'm looking forward to getting on the football team at Perth College. There's no team here. We have some lunchtime practices. We use the academy (Perth Academy) gym because ours is too wee.

Football has been my dream since I was a little kid. I like drumming too. I started in S1, and that Christmas I got my own drum kit. It was cool. I chose drums because the guitar hurt my nails all the time. My favourite music is Green Day. My favourite teams are the Saints, Celtic and Man U and I hate Barcelona.

I'm going to Leicester for the Special Olympics. Last year I was in Glasgow. I'm an expert on breaststroke, one length. Last year, I got three gold medals. A guy nearly got the touch, but I got it before him. I keep the medals in my cabinet at home.

I'll miss the girls (when I leave Fairview), because they are a bit younger, but I'll get peace from the teachers.

STUART ZWETSLOOT

I like baking

Our new school is very cool. It's got more stuff to do, computers and maths. This year we've been doing our independence course. We made our own packed lunch.

I cook. I like making vegetables and steak. I like baking at home with my mum, making chocolate mallow tray bake. I used to make hot chocolate fondants. I've got a work experience job in Cafe Taboo. I work in the kitchen peeling cucumbers and that. I'd like to do that after school or work here in Fairview and do some teachers' work and help people with their learning.

My speciality is swimming. I do front crawl, breaststroke and back crawl. I like doing breaststroke because it's easy.

I will miss Fairview. I'll miss this class. I'm looking forward to college but sometimes I struggle about leaving here. College is not very suitable for me.

SCOTT RITCHIE

Acting is a work in progress

My favourite subject is art. I've been copying my face. I made it out of papier-mache. It looked like me. Weeks and weeks of work went into that.

When I go to college, I've decided to be in a band. I'd like to be a singer. I'll get my lessons and that - drum and guitar lessons. You've got to do a bit of everything to be a singer. I did a French rap. It was quite easy. The teacher tells you all the words. Then you just sing right from the heart.

I'm also interested to be an actor and to act. My favourite band is Queen. "The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond" is my favourite song. I'm trying to make a film of Queen. I'm trying to act like Freddie. I've got to think about it a bit more, though, because it takes a long time to act. The flow chart helps to tell me what comes next. It's a work in progress.

I'll miss Fairview. I'll miss my friends the most. We'll be in the same place next year but we could be in different classes.

TERRY RENDALL

We'll be busy

When we go to college to do the New Skills course, we're probably going to be busy working. When we went before, we did gym, computers, science, cooking - even break-dancing. I like doing everything.

The teachers and my friends have been my favourite bit about Fairview. The teachers help us in a lot of subjects, tell us what's right and wrong and keep us out of trouble. They are easy to chat to. If you have any problems, you can just ask to talk to them. A lot of my friends are going to college and there will be other people from last year at school. It will be easier, because they know all the rules. It's harder if you have to learn from someone you don't know.

(This year) we've helped down in the primary classes. It's fun because we're letting them see what it's like being a bit older. It's teaching us how to play with the little ones and making us learn about what they like to do. I also like doing sport. It's just fun to get some exercise into me. We won the shinty cup this year. I was really happy.

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