Which of these GCSE options have the least coursework?

(86 Posts)
KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 20:01:20

DD is busy outside of school - so we need a lighter option

So which should we pick? (she has to pick 2)
GCSE Applied Business
GCSE Catering
GCSE Graphics
GCSE History
BTEC Drama
BTEC PE
GCSE Child Development
GCSE Media Studies
GCSE Photography

We have rejected GCSE Art, Photography, Resistant Materials & Psychology and BTEC Art & Design as we thought they would be time intensive.

She will be doing English Lang & Lit, Maths, Science (2 I think), Geography, Spanish, Music, (she has already taken BTEC Dance & BTEC Science)

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 02-Feb-13 14:52:23

14 GCSEs seems ludicrous. DD1 who is at one of the top performing state grammars in the country is doing 11 and actually, I reckon that is at least 1 more than she needs. 14 would be more than overkill for someone getting all As. For someone getting low grades it seems lunatic - she would do much better to concentrate of, as Katy suggests, 5-8 GCSEs and try and get good grades for those. 8 good grades is a far better look than 14 so so grades, it really is. As far as BTECs go, they don't add much. Katy's DD probably already has multiple qualifications that carry UCAS points, so why would she need BTECs on top of those and 8 decent GCSEs? She wouldn't.

NonnoMum Sat 02-Feb-13 15:02:22

Ok - here's my suggestion FWIW...

(Also, please bear in mind that different exam boards offer different specs of GCSEs/BTECs so go back to the teachers to see exactly which ones your school offers.)

I would suggest she doesn't do PE or Drama or Dance anything that would involve group rehearsals/teamwork.

She should do the ones that she can work on independently, so as to not let others down i.e sit at home and write a history essay might be easier for her to time manage than to get together with others after school and rehearse for an assessment.

Just a thought.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:01:41

Is it BTEC Performing Arts? IFAIK, BTEC Drama doesn't actually exist. If it's BTEC Performing Arts, and it's the new spec, then be aware that she can do dance as her individual showcase (which is the externally assessed bit) and so that would be a good option for her.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:24:16

Interesting - the booklet says Drama BTEC (Exam Board www.aqa.org.uk & Exam QAN code:500/7141/5)

So what does that mean?

She already has an (unconfirmed) A* in Btec Dance (apparently)

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:31:45

AQA doesn't do BTECs.

AQA website

Edexcel is the board that does BTECs. I teach BTEC Performing Arts.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:33:22

That QAN is EDEXCEL BTEC Performing Arts. See here

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:35:12

Actually, that's not true blush She wouldn't have an A* in BTEC anything, though, BTECs are marked Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction*.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:35:52

I really am starting to worry about the school <shakes head> is there any point doing Dance & Drama or are they duplicate qualifications?

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:36:43

Yes sorry - she has just corrected me too Distinction* in something she did last year & hasn't been submitted yet as she was too young <sigh>

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:41:35

It very much depends on whether the dance was the old spec and this year the new- they're different, but essentially she would have BTEC Performing Arts x2. If I were her, though, I'd still do it- she will enjoy it and it won't be too much work.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:42:04

Oh yes, I remember the "too young" thing. Total bollocks.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:47:04

That sounds really daft

Say they are both new syllabuses (syllabi?) or one new one old or both old

It's daft

I'm still convinced they have cocked up big time with her Dance last year; not entering them because they were "too young" seems bizarre

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:51:02

I think I will email the head of options

How does this sound
"Sorry but I have a few questions for you:

#We still have no results or certificate for the BTEC Dance DD did last year; could you clarify what is happening?
#Both BTEC Dance & Drama are with AQA as their exam board (in the booklet) but I cannot find either on AQA's website?
#Could you find out if the BTEC Dance you offered last year and the BTEC drama you are offering next year are the old or the new specification?"

Is there anything else I should ask?

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:58:46

Is there an age requirement for BTECs?

HSMM Sat 02-Feb-13 20:40:03

DD is taking her dance GCSE in yr 9 and has been offered a place on a BTEC dance course in yr 10 (not sure if we're doing that).

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:05:07

It's unlikely that last year's was the new spec - it was only introduced this September. There were massive changes in the Level 2 BTECs because of Mr Gove and his general stupidity angry so last year, she would, I assume, have done BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Performing Arts (Dance) The new spec is BTEC Level 2 First Award in Performing Arts. They have to do 3 units - Preparation, Performance and Production (mandatory unit, internally assessed), then one out of Acting Skills, Dance Skills, Musical Theatre Skills, Music Performance Skills and Production Skills (BUT - be aware - unless the school is HUGE and there is more than one group, it is HIGHLY unlikely they will allow individuals to choose - I only have 14 in my Yr 10 BTEC group, and they're all doing Acting Skills - it would be a complete nightmare teaching and assessing different units for different kids as the requirements are different, so if it's being marketed as BTEC Drama, then I'm guessing they'll go with Acting Skills) and then the externally assessed Individual Showcase, for which students CAN choose acting, dance, musical theatre, production skills or music performance. For that one, the exam board sends a brief and each student chooses how to respond to it.

So the two specifications are different. She won't have done the new spec last year, but the new spec isn't compulsory yet - there were a couple of years' grace where schools could choose one or the other. I would imagine that they will be doing the new spec this year, but it's worth finding out. Either way, she will end up with BTEC Performing Arts twice on her CV, but they will have different titles.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:08:02

Oh, and I don't believe there is an age restriction. I did BTEC First Certificate Performing Arts with the whole of Yr 9 in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 - there was no problem with entering and certificating. Almost all students in the year group achieved the qualification. We didn't do it last year because of cost implications angry and obviously there's "no point" in doing it any more because it wouldn't count for the headline figures (grrrrr)

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 21:25:07

I am so frustrated about the Dance thing

Will it really be OK to have 2 of the same qualification? It seems very odd

Am I being fair asking these questions of the school?

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:33:13

I think you should ask the school:

1. What's going on with last year's BTEC Dance? Why hasn't DD been given her results and certificate yet?
2. What exactly is the BTEC Drama? I cannot find it on the AQA website. Is it Edexcel BTEC Performing Arts, and if so, is there any point in DD taking it when she already has a Level 2 BTEC in Performing Arts (Dance)?

The fact is, though, GCSEs and Level 2 BTECs cease to be meaningful once a child is beyond a certain age. They are merely a stepping stone, IMO, to the next stage of education. Your DD needs to focus on gaining relevent experience and building her vocational training, so that she can pass auditions to get into the colleges/schools she wants to at 16. No one will care what her GCSEs are, will they? As long as she gets the basics, then she's not closing any doors. If she (and you ) think she'll enjoy BTEC "Drama" then she may as well take it. That's what I think anyway. FWIW, the Yr 9s who did BTEC First Certificate with me went on to take it in Yr 10/11 and increased their qualification to a BTEC Level 2 Diploma - essentially 4 GCSEs in 3 years.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 21:37:06

Thanks so much EvilTwins

We are struggling atm as she has been poorly (possibly Glandular Fever) & she has a course at Urdang at Half-term that I think we need to cancel as she has missed so much class sad

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 21:41:41

My
Much younger dd has similar aspirations to Katy's. the difference being that she will go to an academically selective secondary school (top if league tables in our area) but will only be required to do 9 Gcse's - no btecs or anything. It's a school with a string Oxbridge tradition.

Katymac is entirely justified in thinking all these extra qualifications are not helping her dd.

They will still hopefully end up degree level qualified but entry to their chosen courses will depend on performance at audition hence the need for the hours of training

My dd is very lucky to be going to such a school. If she was going to a different school in sure we would on a few years be asking he same questions.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:43:24

What a shame sad An ex-student of mine trained at Urdang (I taught her when she was at secondary school) and she loved it.

I think you should allow DD to choose the subjects she thinks she'll enjoy. As long as she has English, Maths and Science covered, she'll be fine. You are right in that, if she chooses to go to university as a mature student, her qualifications as a 16 year old will be largely irrelevant.

Hope she feels better soon.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 21:44:20

And dh teaches for the type if school/college they aspire to. They won't care about results as long as they are capable of writing a basic essay for the academic part and passing the audition.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:48:36

Katy, I find it bizarre that your DD's school is so obsessed with quantity of qualifications. In the past, it could be put down to league tables, but there have been so many changes recently, and all schools now know that only certain qualifications will count, and only two non-GCSE subjects. For me, that means that slogging away to get my Yr 11s through a BTEC Diploma (4 GCSEs) is pointless for the school (though not necessarily for the students) as it will only count as 1 in the league tables. Your DD's school sounds like one of the qualification chasers, but it put unnecessary pressure on the students. League tables will only accept 8 subjects per student, so why try to get them through 14 GCSEs/equivalents? For whose benefit is this?

I know you've been battling with it for ages, though, and that the school is immovable. I guess my advice would be to play a different sort of game now - let DD choose her subjects based purely on what she wants to do, and sod the school.

I might be in this position in a few years... my DTDs are only 6 but are already showing a love of all things theatrical. smile

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 21:53:27

There is a school near to me that put their more able students in for 16 equivalents and the rest 14. It's a sought after school but dd will znOT be going there - madness.

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