GCSE Choices 2013 (exams 2015) support thread

(207 Posts)
DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 15:27:08

Here we go....options choices this month, exams in summer 2015. We're choosing options at the moment but I've not come across a support thread.

Does your DC know what they want to do already or are they needing a lot of help deciding?
Where have you gone for information?

We get a booklet this week apparently and then have a meeting at school to discuss listen to a sales pitch by the teachers discuss the options that are best and then we have about 2 weeks to make a decision.

Sparklingbrook Fri 15-Feb-13 23:30:38

What are 'reserve subjects'?

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 08:27:04

DD was asked to give one reserve subject in case she couldn't have one of her choices.
She has now decided that she might do graphics (commercial design) instead of fine art but it doesn't fit so we are going to put the options down in the space provided for options that don't fit and see what the school can do. She can do her main options but graphics is only in one of the four columns and so it doesn't work.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 08:32:30

Well done SanityClause smile
My DD wants to do triple science, applied engineering, geography and either fine art or commercial graphics plus maths, 2x English, ICT, RE, Sports and then AS Critical Thinking.
Unfortunately commercial graphics doesn't fit because it's only in one column, as is applied engineering but that one works because it is in the same column as triple science which is also in another column - unfortunately the same one as graphics but the school did a presentation and said that each year they move subjects from one column to another to accommodate what pupils want so we will see. It all revolves around triple science because she wants to go into science for her job and wants to do sciences at A level.
Welcome Sparklingbrook, seen you on a couple of other threads, just off to check out wanted down under...

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 08:34:16

There are 'columns'? confused

Hi Dizzy,. smile

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 08:42:15

We got given several forms, one for each pathway. The idea being that each pathway suits a different academic ability - there is the extended baccalaureate which is for children in sets 1&2, the baccalaureate for sets 3&4 and a vocational pathway for sets 5&6. Each pathway is not setting by ability, for example if you are set 1&2 and choose history you might be in class with somebody from set 5&6 who has chosen history. That said, triple science is only available for set 1&2.

If it is any help, the columns are:

A: applied engineering (single), art and design, computing, drama, french, german, sports science, triple science

B: art textiles, business and economics, dance, drama, french, geography, history, music

C: applied engineering (double - columns C&D), art textiles, AS ICT, Catering, geography, graphics, history, resistant materials, triple science

D: applied engineering (double - columns c&D), art and design, business studies, creative ICT, french, german, product design, resistant materials, sport science

they choose one from each column and then have the option to write in their 4 preferred choices on the form if they don't fit the columns.
DD wants applied engineering from A, geography from B, triple science from C but she wants either graphics from C or art and design from D but graphics clashes with triple science so we need to talk to them after half term.

Chavvytastic Sat 16-Feb-13 08:48:18

We are just in the midst of all this and off to a meeting later this week. My DC is very keen to a linguist or language teacher and has been for a few years now.
At DC schools they have to do Maths,Eng x 2, Dbl or Triple Science and Modern Foreign language.

DC has opted for:

dbl science
French
Spanish
German
History
Latin and Greek

Not sure it is balanced enough myself but will see at the meeting next week. Does seem pointless DC opting for art etc because they are just not very creative/good at that kind of thing but flies at languages, so it seems daft not to take them.

OddBoots Sat 16-Feb-13 08:50:13

My ds has very little choice, most of the choosing is done for him but his subject teachers, he gets a choice between History and Geography and a choice between Spanish and French then gets one free choice.

His science results will decide if he is double or triple, his English results will decide if he does lit and his maths results will decide if he does the fast-track (with a view to doing it as an AS in Y11).

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 08:50:44

Dizzy thanks That is really helpful. I will have a chat with DS1 over half term and try and get some decisions made prior to the meeting in March.

It seems complicated but I guess once you get into it and it's all done it will be fine. I can't even remember choosing mine. blush

Theas18 Sat 16-Feb-13 09:07:52

Very interesting to see how other schools do things.

We are pretty relaxed as this us our 3 Rd dc through the system so we know that what eve she chooses will be fine. All the choices are academically rigerous and Russell group compliant (selective school so much easier for them offering choices I think).

It is quite hard to completely close of career paths at this stage -ok if you don't do French gcse it'll be tricky to do at uni , but apart from that, even a set of choices that looks"science based" if it included English x2 and a humanity could became an arts profile at A level.

Dd2 has few options-looks like they will be Spanish, geography, history and music.

Interestingly the schools reaction to the terminal exams is to teach a lot if core subjects (they all do triple science for instance) over 3 years.so by the end of year 9 they will be half way through gcse curriculum, finished in year 10 and year 11 is spent polishing/extending.

Don't worry about ebacc-it's a measure for the school not the child.

My biggest tip is make sure your child knows about the courses, if need be find out the board and look in their website. Then choose what the love and are passionate about. As ever don't choose for teachers that you like our what your mates are doing.

Theas18 Sat 16-Feb-13 09:12:25

I do think we are lucky-the kids choose freely and someone (with a huge bottle if paracetamol for the headache it must cause) then sorts the classes to give everyone their choices!

No blocks of subjects, no if you do x you can't do y . I still resent subject blocks from my own O level choices-hated German. Still had to do it.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 09:45:56

Thanks Theas18, my DD isn't going to do a language so that's reassuring to know.
Sparklebrook, that was the columns for the top sets, I have the ones for the middle sets and the vocational pathways if you (or anybody else) wants them. They may vary from school to school though, I don't know.
Behind, that sounds like he has made good choices. DD is strongly focused on science and not humanities as she hates history so she's not going to really be able to do anything to do with the humanities or languages as she isn't doing any. With science, engineering and either art or graphics (commercial design) it's hard to see where she will end up going if she decides that she doesn't want to do science at university; at the moment she either wants to be a vet or a forensic scientist and knows that she certainly does not want to be a teacher - a decision which I think will benefit her and any potential pupils in the future as she doesn't have the right personality grin

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 09:49:17

Sorry, sparklingbrook, didn't mean to get your name wrong blush

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 09:58:46

I didn't notice Dizzy. grin

DS1 is in top sets so we will see how it goes.

creamteas Sat 16-Feb-13 10:10:36

At our school they ask the DC what they think they might want to do and draw up the option blocks from that, so they change every year. You then get to choose one subject from each block. Even if schools don't make the blocks (columns) explicit, they will be there as it is the only way to timetable grin.

Popular/important subjects will appear in two or three blocks, and less popular ones only in one or two.

Our option evening is not till March, but if it is the same as the previous DC they will have 4 choices. Core were Eng, maths, double science, PE & ICT . You also have to take one of Geog, Hist or RE but these also appear in the option blocks so you can choose more than one of these. If you want to do triple science, this would be one of your options.

DS is thinking about triple science, astronomy, French & photography, but until we see the forms will not know this is possible.

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 10:18:02

Where does PE fit into all this?

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 10:46:52

DD will do two hours of PE a week, they all do.

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 10:48:25

Oh right. But not actually take a GCSE in it?

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 11:12:09

And some opinions of subjects that should be avoided would be good if anyone can. There seem to be some I have not heard of before.

I still can't get used to RS being RE. RS was 'Rural Science' at my school. grin

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 11:35:42

The booklet we have says they do Core PE and have two hours, lesson 1 is performance or yoUR Sport (their capitalisation, not sure if it is relevant) or Fit4Life and lesson 2 is Sports Leadership or Entry level certificate.
I don't know any more than that, but in the options they can choose to do sports science (a cambridge national I think) if set 1/2 and sports studies in set 3/4 or 5/6.

Rufus43 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:00:54

My son is doing English, maths, history and geography.

He is in top set for maths and science but had been advised that triple science is only really necessary if he wants to be a doctor or vet so he will probably just do double science. It's a shame thought because he can only do statistics if he does triple science.

He wants to do business studies and then either French or more likely citizenship.

Two things concern me and I wonder if anyone can help me. Is citizenship a bit of a cop out? Does it seem a bit like a non subject? And if he foes not do triple science will colleges and universities think that he was not capable of doing it as opposed to not wanting to do it!

creamteas Sat 16-Feb-13 12:05:54

At our school, PE is a compulsory exam subject. Top sets do GCSE, lower sets do BTEC Sport.

IMO there are no absolute subjects to be avoided. Providing you have a good range of options, and the essentials (Eng, Maths and at least double science) then the only issue is the interests, strengths and weaknesses of the child in question. You do need to think about what they might want to do at A level, but that is also linked to the individual child.

At most unis, the only things we care about subject wise for GCSE is that they have English and Maths.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 12:13:49

I would go for triple science as a lot of science degrees ask for two sciences so if you have three then you have something extra to offer. Vet degrees as for two sciences but DD has been told she will need three. She's less keen on physics but still wants to do it.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 12:15:20

creamteas, thanks. do you work for a university?

creamteas Sat 16-Feb-13 12:20:49

Dizzy yes I'm a social science admissions tutor smile

At ds's school pe is a core subject, one they do not do an exam in. Unless sporty bods choose to do PE GCSE.

But they still have to do PE, a set number of hours a week (cannot remember how many off the top of my head)

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