GCSEs friends son wants to do more than nine school won't allow it.

(97 Posts)
megcleary Fri 31-Jan-14 17:52:11

Is there anything they can do? My children are much younger so not in that position. Advice appreciated to pass on.

buggeringon Fri 07-Feb-14 20:51:13

Dds school is capped at 10

I asked head of academic studies why not more, he said universities look at you best 8, any more than 10 is a waste of time

mysteryfairy Fri 07-Feb-14 19:11:07

My DS1 got 9 A* at an independent school. He is in upper sixth now and has an Oxford offer. DS2 went to a super selective grammar and did 15 GCSEs. He is bright but not outstanding and has never liked school. He got 3A*, 10A, a B and a C. The B is in English language which he took in the autumn of year 10 and didn't subsequently get an opportunity to resit. We could have entered him ourselves but he still had gazillions of GCSEs to do and he was miserable enough with the utterly relentless coursework and revision.

He wants to study dentistry and the B in English excludes him for applying from about half of the 16 dental schools in the UK including the one that would have been his first choice.

The school send out crowing articles about how they are at the top of some league table for GCSE points. They are often in the local press for it. It's true DS2 does have more points than DS1 but the price of that is he can't apply for the course he would like to and we had two years that were an ordeal for us all. I felt like I was doing GCSEs again myself as he needed so much support and encouragement. DD in Y7 now and we had no doubt we would rather pay 7 years of school fees for a school that capped girls at 10 GCSEs than put another of our children through that ordeal.

summerends Fri 07-Feb-14 18:39:48

I think sometimes young people genuinely have problems narrowing down their choices at the A level stage, for example a scientist who needs maths and may be even further maths but also wants to continue a humanity or language. What is more time consuming, 4 / 5 A levels or IB? My impression is that IB is less flexible timewise compared to doing even a higher number of A levels.

Pantah630 Fri 07-Feb-14 12:40:15

DS2 at selective grammar, they do 12 gcse's plus a short course in Computing. A level wise, they can do up to 5 AS, the majority do 4, followed by 3-4 Alevels and the EPQ if they wish. He's an academic lad, unlike his elder brother and seems to be coping well. It doesn't suit everyone though, DS1 did 10 gcse's and struggled, each child is different.

hellsbells99 Thu 06-Feb-14 16:05:49

DD2 just applying for 6th form now. She needs Bs in the subjects she is taking for A level. She is on target to get a mixture of As and A*s in her 9 GCSEs plus she is taking an additional maths qualification. She really does not need any more than this and she has looked at uni courses etc.
Deciding on her AS choices is another matter - at the moment she wants to do 5 and the 6th form are telling her to cut it down to 4 and then go for the highest grades/ums marks that she can. They are giving sensible advice.

Adikia Thu 06-Feb-14 14:55:55

I have 14 GCSE's, I was home educated til my mum got ill and as I'd already started my GCSEs the school let me sit all 14, but I had to do the coursework and stuff for the 4 we couldn't fit in my timetable at home. It wasn't worth it, I spent year 10 and 11 miserable as hell, tired and stressed, my offer for grammar school 6th form was 5 A's (college wanted 5 C's inc. maths and English) and no one has asked more than have I got a c or above in Maths and English since

I was at a talk at one of the most academic boys schools not so long ago and they generally limit A levels to 3 or 4 max because they want the boys to be doing other stuff not just churning through exams.

LauraBridges Mon 03-Feb-14 14:07:17

(I don't think girls at NLCS do lots of GCSEs. I would imagine my daughter did about 10. I think if a girl is very very genius level clever she might do 6 A levels. I believe I gave mock interviews to one or two who were doing that but not in the last 3 years. My own children are PhD standard in how to do the very very minimum to achieve whatever they are after so I've never had to wrestle with a child wanting to do too much)

I have sat at a work dinner when two men my age were both showing off about their sons' recent 11 A* as if 11 A* were the badge of success - one son was at Haberdashers boys and the other one's son was St Paul's. Both boys had achieved 11 A*.

handcream Mon 03-Feb-14 13:49:09

Sometimes parents push their children into it, so that they can boast and impress their friends. Huge risk tbh - what happens if they reduce their grades by one mark because they are doing 4-5 instead of three.

Better three A's then 5 B's and C's.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 03-Feb-14 13:32:22

laura my DDs school sit alongside NLCS academically ( but possibly outperforms on the playing fields ;-)) and won't countenance more than 10GCSEs or four A levels ever, not even with Maths combinations . I am sure plenty of girls could do it but why would they need to? You could say they have added to the workload by now also focusing on EPQ but that gives the girls skills they will need at university, there is a point to it.

LauraBridges Mon 03-Feb-14 13:01:14

I spoke to a client 2 weeks ago who said her school (private to be fair by the way)... had had her do 6 A levels, I think it was. She then reeled off the names - it was a whole load of unacademic subjects and she hadn't passed them all. It sounded really pointless including photography etc. She would have been better with 3 normal ones in English, history etc.

However at my daughter's school which is one of the top 5 they do often have a girl who is genuinely a genius and some of those girls really can handle 5 (not my children). I am not keen on children doing some early either. I think doing the whole 9 or 10 at once is better and means your year before that is more relaxed and you have more time for fun.

handcream Mon 03-Feb-14 11:46:52

5 A levels is not correct! There is a view with some parents that the more GCSE's and the more A'Levels they do the better it will be.

I have seen this amongst my son's peers. They are as white as a sheets and often have little in the way of social skills. They are never available for sleepovers or to kick around a football. They are 'studying'. Is that really better overall for the kids.

BTW - my DS's go to selective schools with some very bright pupils.

Jux Mon 03-Feb-14 11:06:35

Yep, craggy. DD's school is a good state school, and has a reputation for great pastoral care, which was what dd needed at first. I knew she was bright to be OK academically wherever she went, so our emphasis was on finding somewhere where she would be happy and not bullied.

Her school has partially filled the bill, and is offering her GCSE opportunities which she may not have had at other local schools, but Ihave been concerned at her workload this year, and next year will be worse, I htink.

craggyhollow Mon 03-Feb-14 09:27:09

Some pupils at our local state take up to 14 gcses

I know this because they have a huge write up in the local paper every year talking about it and congratulating those children who get 14 gcses

Ironically it puts me off the school rather than encouraging me to send my kids there.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 03-Feb-14 08:37:39

Doctordonnas school sounds by her representation to be in the mindset that being an excellent school (presumably selective) with able pupils means they have to be an exam factory and sit these pupils for silly numbers of exams. They haven't stood back and queried whether that is really the best thing for their pupils......

Shootingatpigeons Mon 03-Feb-14 08:32:01

This thread started because one parent was asking how to persuade a school to allow a DC to take more than 9. Most parents advised 9 or 10 was fine, this debate only developed because one teacher waded in to defend their schools practise of letting DCs take many more and to take up to 7 A levels as well. A lot of parents then reacted to say that was crazy but the teacher responded by saying it was right for their pupils, it seems their logic rested on offering lots of subjects hmm the Head of AQA is highlighting that this practise goes on in some schools.

I am not saying it is the practise in the majority of state schools. In this area it only happens at one and that is an undersubscribed school (not especially underperforming in the government tables) desperate to make a name for itself. Every year on its website it will trot out the names of a handful of pupils who have been allowed to take these crazy numbers of exams. You cannot help but think that the decision to allow them to do so was more about being able to quote this on the website than their own best interests. I have seen a significant number of threads from parents concerned about the workload of DCs who were doing these large numbers of GCSEs. I am quite sure it goes on.

EvilTwins Mon 03-Feb-14 06:56:32

The article says that the average student takes 10 GCSEs, and doesn't refer to state/indie at all.

EvilTwins Mon 03-Feb-14 06:53:46

One poster claiming it's a good thing does not mean that loads of schools are doing it. Also doctordonna says the school she refers to is an excellent one, so hardly doing this to artificially inflate league table places.

It is not the case that state schools are forcing children to take umpteen GCSEs in order to make the school look good. That's just rubbish.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 02-Feb-14 22:31:25

Evil read up thread, there is a teacher Doctordonnanoble attempting to defend the practise at their school. I see no reason why they wouldn't be genuine. I have indeed read website boasts of children taking 15 GCSEs and the Head of AQA clearly regards it as an issue www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10478876/Children-sitting-too-many-GCSEs-exam-board-boss-says.html

curlew Sun 02-Feb-14 22:24:19

Just wondering where on the league tables is the stat for number of GCSEs taken- and how it advantages them to have kids taking loads?

EvilTwins Sun 02-Feb-14 20:58:38

Shooting - schools are NOT doing it. Not in my experience anyway. It's a mumsnet myth. I don't know of a single school which makes kids take lots of GCSEs. If you go back a few years, then there were schools doing BTEC diplomas and publicising them as 4 GCSEs. This is no longer possible as Edexcel tightened up the rules- as they should, as schools were taking advantage. Still, a BTEC diploma was still "4"
GCSEs in one subject, not lots of separate subjects. It does bug me that so many people post on threads like this without a clue what they're talking about and with prejudices (usually) about the state system firmly in place.

banania19 Sun 02-Feb-14 17:37:16

I am sorry but the poster who said her dd needed 5 a levels for natsci is wrong

2 went last year and both had 3 a*

banania19 Sun 02-Feb-14 17:35:51

7 a levels and 15 gcses shock shock

What a waste of time

How can you ever be in a play/sports team/have a meaningful hobby /a life?!

banania19 Sun 02-Feb-14 17:30:30

My dd is at indie single sex best results in county

They recommend no more than 10 or 11

She is English x2, rs, triple science, french, maths, history, art and maybe sports studies

They send many to oxbridge

I had 8 o levels, an ao level and 3 a levels and went to Cambridge

Shootingatpigeons Sun 02-Feb-14 17:24:42

Evil Twins And they don't want to publish details of pupils getting 15 GCSEs on their websites and other publicity?

It really is where the private sector and state schools diverge. Is it not possible that it really is not in the pupil's best interest if so many private school Heads are so adamant about limiting the number of exams sat, often in the face of parents who want it to be an arms race? In both my DDs years there were parents trying to challenge the policy and the Head would have none of it.

Why do you think that so many state schools are allowing pupils to take these crazy numbers of exams? So far no one has come up with a robust child centred defence.

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