GCSEs friends son wants to do more than nine school won't allow it.(97 Posts)
Is there anything they can do? My children are much younger so not in that position. Advice appreciated to pass on.
I'm assuming it'll be due to a timetable clash?
Hmm not sure, will ask. The boy is very bright and wants to do more so am surprised they cannot accomadate.
It's better to do 9 well than 12 averagely
There is absolutely no point doing more than 9 other than bragging rights
My son wanted to do an extra one which school didn't offer (astronomy), just because he was especially interested in it. He did it in his own time and school submitted the coursework for him and arranged the exams. But he had to teach himself, and we bought him all the books/resources he needed. Depends what the subject is, but could this work? Your friend may need to pay the exam fees.
DD is doing lots (12) - her exam schedule is killer in June
I suspect that schools have realised that with no more modules and retakes, they have to get the balance much more rigorous
its likely that DS will be restricted to 10
Schools design timetables for Y10 and Y11 pupils to accommodate the subjects they teach to GCSE level. There are no "free periods" at that age, so no possibility of fitting in an extra subject.
Heed the points from 17lf and purple potato. What is the additional subject he wants to do, and why is it so vital?
DS did 12 and it made for a miserable 2 years - he hated the fact that there was always a controlled assessment due. 9 is a much more sensible number, Ds would just have done his music and drama as extracurricular stuff rather than as exam subjects.
Will pass on the comments re course work and exam fees and try and find out why? Many thanks for the responses.
Universitys only consider your best nine. Dd's school will allow 10 but say they would not be doing you any favours by allowing more but do encourage extra curricular music, drama etc
I have known some children to do an additional one eg. unusual language at night class. Dd would like to do this with Japanese but it is all extra work and pressure. " Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!"
My DD's school do 10.
I know they offer Further Maths at lunchtime for able mathematicians, as an extra. My friends' DDs, different school, do 11 and both girls do one extra after school in what are called twilight classes. Might be worth your friend asking if there are any such classes at her son's school, although they might not be in the subject he wants to do!
Universitys only consider your best nine
Evidence for that?
DD is wanting to do Natural Sciences at Uni : they want 5 As at A level let alone GCSE
'Universitys only consider your best nine.'
That's not true.
Tell him to focus on getting 9 A*s. Much more useful than 12 As
Talkin piece. Where's your evidence for 5 As at A-level for natural sciences?
if the typical entry is A*AA there statistically have to be significant numbers above that
I have seen unis asking for 5 GCSE's including Maths/English and 2 A levels.
It's not quantity but quality.
If he is very bright I would imagine he would be doing maths, english lit and lang, three sciences and a language as compulsory subjects. That only leaves two other subjects so I can see why he may be struggling to narrow it down to 9. If there is a particular subject he wants to carry on with is there a possibility of getting a tutor and combine that with self teaching it?
Typical entry requirement, not inferring that you need 5 As. In my experience Oxbridge are less likely to want a straight 5A student
A typical offer does not mean an average offer. It means that is their usual offer but sometimes they make lower offers if they particularly want someone. I don't think
anywhere asks for 5 As.
TalkinPeace the fact that there are students with 7 A levels does n't negate the fact that only 3/4 are required and that many extremely bright people who perform very well at interview will only have 3 and have as much chance of getting in. You seem to make an unfounded assumption, probably based on what you have heard. Your DD will not be found wanting on not having 5 A levels if she has the other required attributes.
So much duff info in such a short thread......
Your friends son needs to look at the Uni's that he thinks he might be interested in and at their entry requirements for the courses he thinks he would be interested in. He needs to bare in mind that the requirements may well change by the time he applies.
That is the only way to get accurate information.
Morethan- I've seen you say that before. Could you say
more about it please? I I worry that it might be some special
Circumstance and people might get the wrong end if the stick.....
I can't link I'm afraid as can't remember which they were. I saw them whilst looking for ds2 19 last year.
It was 5 GCSE's even though all the schools do at least 9 round here.
They also do 3 AS level and then maybe 3 A2 if they are bright enough but more often they drop the general one they took at AS and do 2 A levels instead.
Forgotten the title of the AS they are all expected to take, its a general one.
Don't get me wrong I'm sure if competition is high, over subscribed etc the more GCSE's the better, but 5 good GCSE's and 2 good A levels will get you into uni. It may not be Oxbridge, but everybody isn't Oxbridge potential.
DD1 did drama outside school, when she was in year 9, although she is actually doing 12, now that she's in year 10.
DD2 is worried that she won't get much choice at her school, as they offer fewer options, but she can do music outside of school, at the place she has instrumental lessons, which will add another choice.
Can your friend's DS do similar?
Morethan- I would be happy to be proved wrong, but I think that might have been the minimum requirement on paper for a very few courses at a very few places. I think that in reality the chances of getting into univr
DS school could not accommodate because they aren't going to run extra entire twilight courses for just one pupil.
You need to understand why, OP.
Oops- into university with 5 GCSEs and 2 A levels are pretty slim.
DD2 is doing 9 this summer - I think she has 21 exams!
Plus she has already done lots of controlled assessments.
So I wouldn't recommend taking any more than that.
It could be worse- you could be in Scotland. Under the new curriculum some Local Authorities are limiting National 5 exams to 6 subjects while others are allowing 8 or 9. Guess where we live? So much for a level playing field! Goodness help you if you choose the wrong ones cos then you're stuffed.
We had a presentation a while ago explaining that it was a waste of time youngsters getting lots of GCSEs and ‘A’ Levels. The Universities were preferring fewer ‘A’ Levels with better grades. I’ve looked on-line for evidence of this but, so far, I can’t find it. I’ll keep looking.
@Talkinpeace re. "if the typical entry is A*AA there statistically have to be significant numbers above that"
No, you are reading that COMPLETELY wrong - this is about offers, not grades achieved. Talk to a (presumably Cambridge college) admissions tutor, either by contacting them personally or at an open day to find out what they are looking for. Also read this noting particularly the statement that candidates getting offers average 95% UMS mark in their best 3 subjects at AS.
Your comment doesn't even make statistical sense: the 'typical' offer means the 'most likely' or 'modal' offer - there don't have to be ANY offers higher than that for this statement to be true.
The only way it would ever make sense to do 5 subjects at AS level for Nat Sci is if you are really good at both Maths and Biology so you can't be sure which you will do best in, otherwise the sensible combinations are Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry or Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. In any case there is no reason related to university entrance to carry any more than your strongest 3 to A2 (unless that's something odd like 2x maths + biology in which case you need
help to talk to the admissions tutor and also check requirements for your backups).
talkin my DD is studying Nat Sci and was pooled for Cambridge. She hasn't got 5As and she was applying in the very competitive pre fees hike years. All her offers were 3As, apart from Birmingham which was AAB. I am pretty certain they are not even allowed to make offers based on more than 3a levels under the fair access strategies, as at some schools the pupils would not have the opportunity to study more. She did do 4 but that was really because she didn't want to drop any subjects. It is the normal practise at her very selective indie school, for students to take 4 ASs and then drop one and take 3 A levels.
She did Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Psychology
Dd will do 9- it's the maximum her school does
She turned down a place at a selective independent school where they also did 9 (10 if choosing triple science or extra curricular drama)
If you do more than 3 the offer can include more than 3.
VERY FEW universities will take students with only two a levels. Most of our students do 12/13 GCSEs followed by a usual 4 Alevels with some additionals. We often have students who get straight A*s in up to 7 A levels.
I think it's sad if you only get to choose two GCSEs. But that's just me. I regularly see students cope with 15 GCSEs alongside their extra curricular activities. As with adults, if you want something done ask a busy person!
At the selective school they do 4 AS dropping to 3 a levels
If dd get a place in the 6th form at her current school she will do 2 a levels alongside a level 6 di
2 a levels alongside a level 6 diploma so she will have some difficult choices to make.
Seems odd for a selective to drop to 3. It's the exception rather than the norm where I am.
Doctor most indies restrict the number of GCSEs to 10 and discourage doing strings of A levels beyond 3 or 4. They do so because they aim to educate pupils in the widest sense rather than be exam factories. More than 10 GCSEs and 3 A levels are simply not necessary. They won't improve your chances of getting to the best unis, Oxbridge is full of students that prove that is true.
Doctor my DDs school is regularly in the top 10 in the various A level league tables and more than 3 A levels is the exception.
Our experience is different. We teach more subjects anyway. Many don't want to choose between being a linguist/humanities person at that stage so they don't.
We send plenty to Oxbridge and Med School. Despite being a state school.
It does however encourage them to do the extended project qualification to help them develop the research and writing skills they will need at university.
State schools often seem to do more GCSEs/A levels than independent schools for some strange unfathomable reason
But with 10 GCSEs you don't have to choose between specialisms. My DD is a Scientist but she did two languages, History and Geography and Resistant Materials technology at GCSE,she was more than able to demonstrate she had breadth as well as depth.
pictures nothing to do with making the schools results look better?
We do the EPQ as well. It's rather a good one.
"We teach more subjects anyway" more than what? What subjects do you teach that nowhere else does
Doing 7 A levels is stupid. Just....stupid.
<sits on fence>
Shooting - Ancient Greek would be one example. I know a few other state schools do, but not many.
By the way doctor I am very supportive of the state system but one thing I am very sceptical about is the way in which some encourage their pupils to do lots of unnecessary GCSEs and A levels. There really is a danger that students will spread themselves too thinly and it is the school that benefits from the silly numbers.
"But with 10 GCSEs you don't have to choose between specialisms. My DD is a Scientist but she did two languages, History and Geography and Resistant Materials technology at GCSE,she was more than able to demonstrate she had breadth as well as depth"
So did mine doing 9. Not sure how much extra breadth doing two languages rather that one shows!
My son is doing 9 GCSEs, that was the maximum allowed - when I did mine (back in 1988, the first GCSE year!) we only did 8.
He is applying to selective 6th forms (one of which is in the top 5 state school 6th forms in the country, am not expecting him to get in so it's not a stealth boast!) - ALL base applications on 4 AS levels dropping to 3 A levels.
Curlew - why is it stupid if it's what the student wants to do and they can cope with the workload. It's a rarity, obviously, usually one student every two years or so. And it usually includes Maths, Further Maths, Economics and Business Studies (FM is studied in lunch time, Business Studies in one after school session a week). It works for us and our students.
My DDs school offers Ancient Greek, Latin, Classical Civilisation, mandarin , French, Spanish., Italian. It still won't allow a pupil to take more than 10 GCSEs.
Shooting - if our students can't cope with it, we adjust to fit them. We are not monsters. Just a very academic school.
curlew I was just illustrating that 10 isn't particularly restrictive. And actually the second language she decided to keep on German got her an offer of an internship in a German lab this summer, we really didn't ever anticipate it would be so useful!
It is stupid because there will be no time for doing anything else. 6th form should include sport, drama, music, debating, volunteering, learning about how to manage an independent social life.........
And it has no benefit whatsoever to the student concerned. It just means they haven't learned/the school hasn't taught them how to make difficult but intelligent choices.
Seems strange to me. My year 9s are moaning about having to drop subjects at the moment!
Doctor and you can be a very academic school and set sensible limits on the. Number of exams taken. The Heads at all the West London selective indies are very strict on that and you cannot accuse schools like St. Paul's of not being academic.
My dd's school is very academic too. Fortunately it also realizes that a 6th form is more than an A level machine.
Ds will go to that school
At GCSE they offer the usual core subjects including separate sciences. French German Spanish & Latin, music, art, DT, history geography RS Art Home Ec Textiles, PE
At a level there is also Govt & Politics, economics & business studies
Your Year 9s are only moaning because they think it is an arms race. I have seen parents post on here accordingly. They have been misled into thinking more is better rather than less is more and enables pupils to focus on doing well in the number of subjects that actually matter and have time for all the other activities that will broaden their minds and give them life skills as curlew highlighted.
Cardiff and Queens in Belfast consider only your top 9 for Medicine. Not sure about other subjects. They must be taken in same year.
I live in Northern Ireland and things are very different now to a few years back when lots of schools would have done Maths and English language at end of 4th year ( year 10 in England I think) and then further maths and English literature the next allowing more than nine.
If you wish to apply to University in the Irish republic you need a foreigh language GCSE. This is a good way of extdnding your options as you can have UCAS offers and Irish offers.
I'm going to withdraw now as I'm likely to start outing myself if I continue. My school has a different approach and we're very successful. It's right for our students; but not for everyone.
Well, dd is doing 13. It's ridiculous. I asked the school if she could drop some - at least one - they said no. She's OK, but Y10 is proving to be an absolute killer year for her. I expect Y11 will be worse.
Trouble is, she wants to do them all (except maths!), especially the two which only started this year and which therefore entail a huuuuuge amount of work.
The better private schools which are very academic seek to limit the numbers children do but more likely to 10 or 11, so they have more time for hobbies etc. I think that is very wise. There are too many state schools trying to push up their exam rankings with loads of GCSEs which just burden pupils.
I think mine are doing english lit, eng lang, French, 3 sciences, geog, history, maths and music - which is 10 (and 10 or 11 is not uncommon). I think 11 is too many and mine might do 9 if they drop down to 2 sciences. I did 8 with a 9th in the sixth form.
DS is doing English lit and lang, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, history, French and RS.
I did English lit and lang, maths, physics, history, economics, french and drama - and despite only doing 8 still managed to get a place at Cambridge to study law!
Posters claiming that some state schools try to push themselves up the rankings with doing more GCSEs need to stop and think. We are judged on a number of ways, one of which is the number of students getting 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C, another is 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English & Maths. Another is the number of students achieving 8 GCSEs at A*-C, another looks at the number gaining 8,5 and then 1 GCSE at A*-G, and then finally there's the number achieving EBacc. The published league tables don't have a spot for unnecessarily high numbers of GCSEs taken, and the average point scores only take into account the top 8 grades for each student.
mine go to an indie with fantastic league table and Uni admissions results. A few years ago new headmaster cut length of the school day and dropped GCSE max to nine (though top sets do maths a year early then furthur maths and can do latin and greek in one timetable slot). Since then they have rocketed up the tables and oxbridge admissions have gone up year on year, so something must be working.
DS1 did 6 a levels and his uni offers were based on three of his choice (though a few unis ruled out one of them being drama), if that helps.
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.
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
7 a levels and 15 gcses
What a waste of time
How can you ever be in a play/sports team/have a meaningful hobby /a life?!
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*
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.
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?
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
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.
The article says that the average student takes 10 GCSEs, and doesn't refer to state/indie at all.
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 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.
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......
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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*.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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