Anybody willing to speak up for a 3 year ks4?

(33 Posts)
Verycold Thu 14-Nov-13 18:40:45

I started another thread about my dd's gcse options. She is in year 8 and will start her gcses in year 9. It is an Ofsted outstanding in all categories superselective. Their reasoning for the three year ks4 is that it gives time to do extras, go deeper, do extracurricular stuff. On the other thread this was much criticized, so I am now hoping for some more arguments/insights/experiences.

lljkk Thu 14-Nov-13 18:59:28

Friends IRL have repeatedly told me that think 3 yrs is good, although they just might mean it's hugely better than a 1 yr programme.

Slight tangent, but if someone is on a 1 yr GCSE program, would they have a full range of subjects right up to end of y10, or even on a 1yr GCSE programme would they still be narrowing down sharply by y9-10?

That's my only beef, I think English education narrows too early, but I think it always has (?) As a foreigner, I think a 1 yr GCSE programme is nuts, but I don't know if 3 yrs is worse or better than 2 yrs.

DS is at a school with 2 yr GCSE schedule & Dd is at a school with 3 yr GCSE schedule. So ask me again what I think in 4.5 yrs time.

lljkk Thu 14-Nov-13 18:59:43

*they think 3 yrs is good...

Verycold Thu 14-Nov-13 21:37:33

Thanks. I do agree that the English school system specializes very early.

greyvix Thu 14-Nov-13 22:37:33

3 years is good: introduce skills in year 9 and start exam work or controlled assessment in year 10.

NorthernShores Thu 14-Nov-13 22:39:43

I don't like that it makes them choose earlier. I remember doing German in years 8 and 9, geography, music and tech that I didn't continue. A 3 year gcse means missing out on the wider curriculum I think.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 14-Nov-13 22:41:16

I don't think it is a good idea. Dds school doesn't do it, partly because as a vocational school they sometimes assess out after Year 9.

The selective school ds will hopefully go to doesn't do it either.

OddBoots Thu 14-Nov-13 22:42:36

I think it is probably fine for some children and not so fine for others, as a parent with an August born son I wouldn't have liked it for him as it would have made him choose very young but I'm sure some of the older children (for year) would get on better with it.

OddBoots Thu 14-Nov-13 22:44:00

(for what it's worth my ds is now y10 so this is based on how much he changed and matured over the course of Y9)

If she's in year 8 the school may change their mind about this anyway. New specifications are being introduced in 2016 that will make three year ks4 pretty pointless.

Verycold Fri 15-Nov-13 08:17:44

Dd certainly wont mind giving up the tech subjects asap, question is whether that is actually good for her.

onebananatwobanana Fri 15-Nov-13 09:17:57

Looking back I regret dropping some subjects like a stone as early as I could, not because I wished I had done more exams, but for my general knowledge and all round education. DC have to narrow down too soon and the only benefit of doing a 3 yr ks4 is so DC can jump more efficiently through an exam hoop - how depressing.

The school can provide"beyond the curriculum" activities in other ways, through clubs, lectures, debates, independent learning projects etc. IMO that is much more interesting and provides more life skills than sitting in a classroom learning more "stuff"

lljkk Fri 15-Nov-13 09:49:21

I suppose the narrowing at GCSE isn't so bad, it's the narrowing at A-level that I see as most damaging. I'm saying this partly from professional observations of how my brit-educated peers have missed out on education that I got as default because of coming from a system which stays quite broad right up to the 1st or 2nd yr of Uni. This is very relevant if you end up in very inter-disciplinary work like I did.

There's an argument that end-of-yr exams will actually lead to more GCSEs being taken early than now.

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 15-Nov-13 09:57:05

My DD is doing a three year KS 3. They have to do the Ebacc so a humanity and a language had to be chosen. They also have compulsory PE (she is doing short course) full course RE and triple iGCSE Science. They then could choose three additional options one of which had to be a DT subject (as they have specialist engineering status at her school.) This many GCSEs would be far too many to do in any detail or depth over two years. Some say it's too many but it means she is able to choose both her passions- Drama and Music.

In year 9 she started her options subjects (and she was delighted to get rid of some of the subjects she really didn't enjoy) but they had lots of extra stuff as well such as Duke of Edinburgh (compulsory part of the PE curriculum), Prep for working life (very useful with them looking for work experience placements at the moment and they also achieved an NVQ from this), and also ICT functional skills ( ditto).

She also had the opportunitiy to experience controlled assessments in subjects she is really good at, such as Drama and English- both of which she acheived A* in.)

They had loads of trips and extra curricular type days in school throughout year 9 which I felt broadened her experiences and at the same time made a low key start to her GCSE courses so much so that now in year ten it is still fairly relaxed- in fact it has meant that she has been able to keep up with all the extra curricular performing arts classes she attends (15 hours a week at the last count) without it impacting on her grades.

They only take a few GCSEs early (half of the RE, short course PE and one English).

Carefully thought out it can work really well.

My older DD did two year GCSE courses and it just seemed to be about exam technique and how to answer questions- no opportunities to work around the subject at all.

Verycold Fri 15-Nov-13 11:08:00

I think that sounds good Birgit

noblegiraffe Fri 15-Nov-13 11:11:46

If they are doing some subjects early, then that's bad. Statistically, early entry leads to worse results than if the exam was sat at the correct time.

Verycold Fri 15-Nov-13 13:06:11

No no early entries

noblegiraffe Fri 15-Nov-13 13:42:11

Most 3 year KS4s involve kids sitting exams early. Taking three years to do a two year course seems a bit excessive, especially for a superselective. Bright kids should be able to do the course more deeply than normal in the standard two years just because they get through the content more quickly.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 15-Nov-13 15:22:09

There are some schools that offer 3 year KS4 to allow children to study more subjects and this is mostly without early entry.
Schools use a 3 year KS4 of expand sideways tend to have very good results. One example has 91.4% of GCSEs at A* and A.

noblegiraffe Fri 15-Nov-13 16:56:36

If it's a superselective you'd expect those results anyway though.

lljkk Fri 15-Nov-13 17:02:43

In the vein of "my child is not a statistic"

I don't mind if DS takes GCSEs 1-2 yrs "early", even if that means a C instead of a B etc. Because he's not on a track where it can matter that much. It's quite possible that something else could happen around the end of y11 which means he's even more likely to not give a darn & not make any effort (fed up etc.) So by taking them over a few yrs we will hedge our bets in several ways against all the other things that could wrong at different times. Most 6th forms only require CCCBB, and I've heard of loads & loads of ways that kids can retake GCSEs once they are 6th form age to get better marks if they decide it does matter.

That's if he is even suited to going to 6th form. Otherwise it really doesn't matter.

As for my high achiever child; still not bothered. Still fine if she takes them "early". I am not keen for her to get on such a super competitive track that the difference between A & A* makes so much difference. If she has the drive to succeed on that track, she'll find a way after all.

noblegiraffe Fri 15-Nov-13 18:06:39

But it does matter lljkk. The difference between a C and a B could be the difference between being accepted onto an A-level course or not. Getting an A* instead of an A is a big advantage. I can only speak for maths, but those that get an A* are far less likely to flounder and drop out. Early entry also affects A-level choices in that students are far less likely to select an A-level in a subject that they haven't studied for a year.

NoComet Fri 15-Nov-13 18:18:43

Two years stress and worry is quite enough. Y9 is the last year of childhood the last year you can mess about in subjects you know you'll never do again.

Only to suddenly realise you actually like art and want to do it for GCSE after all

DD1 wouldn't have made the right GCSE choices in Y8.
DD2 thinks she knows, but another year would still be useful

Verycold Fri 15-Nov-13 18:25:58

The thing is that the school claims it removes pressure.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 15-Nov-13 18:31:13

Both of my ds started GCSE's in year 9, although the argument for this was far different.
They were both ordinary state schools in a deprived area, it was thought that by getting some out of the way it would build confidence for them in the core subjects.
So y9 they did RE, Technology, some business quals equiv to GCSE and in y10 they did Maths, English and some more, then in y11 they completed and did any resits or higher papers etc.

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