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Teachers: PSHE: Ability

Last Updated: Tuesday June 14 2005 15:52 GMT

How do we decide what to study?

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Study and careers


After-school computer clubs just for girls are being set up in schools.

The Computer Clubs for Girls (CC4G) pilots have worked so well, they will be set up in 3,600 UK schools from September.

It's part of a drive to get more girls into the IT industry.

Learning aims
  • How we decide which skills are useful
  • How we can identify the right course of study

Read the Press Pack report:

Play 'The skills weakest link'

Now run through the following scenarios and the skills linked to them. At the end of each section (e.g. technology) take a vote on which skill is the least useful of the four.

A character from the CC4G computer package

  • Use e-mail
  • Send a text message
  • Install software
  • Programme a VCR

    Job seeking

  • Iron a shirt
  • Word-process a letter
  • Read a train timetable
  • Scan a newspaper (for advert)

    Survival skills

  • Light a fire without matches
  • Skin a rabbit
  • Grow vegetables
  • Drive a car

    Earning potential

  • Drive a car
  • Fast and accurate typing
  • Speak German fluently
  • Build a web site

    Be a winner

  • Run 100 metres in record time
  • Score the most goals in the Premiership
  • Win a Wimbledon title
  • Win the National Lottery (4 million)

    A family home

  • Look after a young baby
  • Fix things around the house
  • Express your feelings
  • Make sure bills are paid on time

    How did students decide what was a useful skill?

    Its context?
    Your gender?
    Your family's values?
    How money conscious you are?
    Your experiences?

    Main activity

    How will you pick which subjects to study?

    Specialising in some subjects and dropping others is part of growing up.

    Below are some reasons for picking a subject.

    Ask students to rank these reasons from best to worst.

  • You've heard it gets you a well paid job
  • You like your current teacher
  • It is what your mates are doing
  • You enjoy the work
  • You did well in your exams
  • It has got good facilities
  • It helps you get a particular job you want
  • Your parents want you to do it
  • Your older brother did it and says it's good

    Print this list as a worksheet

    Give out a copy of the list. Students can cut out the reasons and re-arrange them on a piece of A4 paper. When they are happy with the order, they stick them in place.

    Students annotate the re-ordered list to justify where they placed reasons.

    Extension activity

    Swap lists with another student. Add labels to show why someone might disagree with each of their choices.


    When you choose what to study you are swayed by outside influences. The more you can play to your real strengths, the better you will do. Recap examples of influences. How can you stand up for what you want to do?

    Teachers' Background
    • Computer Club for Girls (CC4G) will aim to bring to life the fun and excitement of a career in technology for 150,000 girls, aged 10-14, from September. The programme, being rolled out nationally to 3,600 schools, gives girls the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities from designing their own celebrity posters or magazine covers to creating a fashion show or mixing music.

    • 3,500 girls have been involved in the pilot in the South East over the last three years and over two-thirds of these said they would be more likely to consider a career in technology after participating in the club. Teachers involved in pilots also report that clubs have had a knock-on benefit to other school courses as ICT skills are used to help students with their coursework.

    • Karen Price, of e-skills UK, said: "At the moment, women make up only 20 per cent of the IT workforce. Add to this the fact that only 20 per cent of those undertaking IT-related degree courses are women. We need more women to consider technology-led careers and to do so we need to show young girls what an exciting and varied career they can have.

    • Education and Skills Secretary, Ruth Kelly said:

      "It is absolutely vital that we take every opportunity to help girls recognise the relevance and attractiveness of careers in science and technology. "

    For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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