Thanks for replies. It still seems like a very crazy stupidly rigid system. That screws up labour mobility among parents, as well. I went thru a truly modular secondary system and the school boards would just assess which units were transferable and which still needed to be taken. There is no national curriculum, likelihood of mismatch unlikely because there is no fixed curriculum. Fully transferable. Kids move all the time at any time in secondary according to their needs.
No wonder people get so completely het up about finding the "right" secondary.
I've only lived here 20 yrs. I wonder what else about GCSEs I still don't understand.
We're half thinking of moving back to my home country, anyway.
It's not a great idea, but it's not always the complete disaster portrayed either. Dd had to change schools in October of year 11 when her school closed suddenly and I called all the schools in the area to find the best fit with her exam boards and what she'd already done to find out what syllabuses they offered and what would be possible to timetable. In the end another private school stepped in and offered a near perfect tailored solution and dd ended up with excellent GCSE results that were actually quite a bit better than predicted and didn't have to drop any subjects either, but there were a couple of other state schools that could offer something quite workable for nearly all subjects too.
All completed exam results and controlled assessments (both complete and incomplete) can be transferred between schools. Some subjects are easy to transfer - maths for instance is pretty similar in contect whichever board you do and there is no coursework. RE is also simple in terms of no coursework, but was tricky in our case as she'd already completed one module and learned a fair bit of content towards the next, but RE teachers seem to be very accomodating and seemed happy to have her in a class doing something different to the rest. MFL was easy in terms of what's taught, but we ran foul of schools doing things in different orders, so she had done the exams in year 10, and needed to do all the CAs in year 11, whereas most schools reverse this, but with plenty doing retakes of CAs in year 11 that didn't seem to be a major issue. The most esoteric subject she did that no other school in the area offered was possible to do via distance learning, so that was quite straightforward. The trickiest important subject to match was English (set books all different and no other school in the area did her syllabus), but there are a lot of transferable skills and as long as the school will go along with what's already been done and enter a child for a different syllabus having a tutor to cover the syllabus specific stuff is a possible way forward or iGCSE is a possiblity.
I think with GCSEs becoming linear that will make such moves a bit easier in future too, but I'd avoid it if at all possible. If you must then research new schools carefully and think about tutors to fill the gaps.
GCSEs are a two year course and schools can teach the syllabus in any order. So even if you are lucky enough that the exam boards are the same and the timetable allows the same options choices, it's unrealistic to expect the transition to be smooth.
My boys are in yr9 and yr11. It was clear that we would either move this year or stay put for two more years.
That's the price paid for choice! If GCSE English lit for example specified exactly which 3 books had to be studied then moving wouldn't be so bad, but schools tend to like to choose the specific books/period of history etc that suits their classes best damn them!
It would be a bad move. It's not just about the exam boards and the coursework. To a certain extent the teachers can work around that in many subjects. The situation would be just the same with A levels and to a certain extent A levels is easier as if you move just after the AS level, at least the A2 is a different exam.
I used to work in a school abroad for kids whose parents were posted there in the armed forces and we often had the move in the middle of the GCSE scenario to deal with as it was out of the families' control (many families choose to use boarding school at that age though, for this exact reason). It can be done but it is difficult for the child, not least because they have to settle into a new school and make new friends, which thy may find difficult at that age.
I would strongly advise against it unless it is necessary. Move right after year 11 and then your child can start afresh at the beginning of A levels - they won't be the only new kid in the sixth form as pupils often change school at that age.
Reading anecdotes online, This appears to be a nightmare move, that will utterly destroy the child's GCSE results. The only possible way to salvage even a half-decent result (at least a C) and then only for some subjects, would be to HE and do IGCSEs instead.
Is that true?! Is the English system really that inflexible and impossible? Do families with kids age 14-16 just resign themselves to the fact that they are not able to move house very far?! Why do different schools have different exam boards with completely different timetables & requirements, for the same subject, anyway?
I just cannot believe how rigid and non-transferable the system is. Truly shocked. Are A-levels just as bad, btw?