Interferring with options (or not)

(16 Posts)
OldJoseph Sun 08-May-16 11:44:45

DD had made her option choices weeks ago , they were a reasonable mix with one choice I wasn't happy about but since it was only one subject I let it go. There are two reasons I wasn't happy about her doing this subject: She's made no progress this year and the department has had staffing crisis which hasn't been resolved.

Now she want to change one of her options, which will mean she's doing two subjects I have reservations about. There's no guarantee that she will be able to change but if she can I'd like her to really reconsider all her options, including the one where she's made no progress.. I've e:mailed her form tutor / head of year and I'd really like her to talk to relevant teachers but I suspect she won't.

FWIW she chose her options early on, didn't waver when all the other pupils did and because she was so sure of what she was going to do she didn't really make the most of options evening for example.

So, any experience out there? Did you interfer then regret it? How did you make your DC see why a particular subject wasn't a good idea? She's of average ability if that makes any difference?

HSMMaCM Sun 08-May-16 12:47:34

That's a hard one. We did offer guidance for options and steered DD away from art and food tech, because she's not very organised. She didn't choose exactly what we would have wanted her to choose, but she did listen to us and only did one that we would definitely not have chosen.

You might just have to be prepared to take up the slack for any lessons where they are falling behind for whatever reason.

OldJoseph Sun 08-May-16 13:00:11

I feel as if I am in a loose loose situation. Food tech is her preference over a language. It's a lot of writing and not a lot of cooking and I don't think there will be an A level option by the time she reaches that stage. Plus I could do without the stress that comes from providing ingredients every week or every other week.

It's drama I'm more worried about. One of the teachers left early on in the year, since then it's been cover supervisors, supply and other teachers taking the lesson and she's made no progress. If the drama department were in a better state and she'd progressed I'd be much happier her doing it. DD is optimistic that the department will improve, I'm not.

Thanks for your reply.

OldJoseph Sun 08-May-16 13:08:46

Plus, now we're doing it after the cut off date we will be doing it in a rush!

lljkk Sun 08-May-16 13:16:08

Doesn't a lot depend what she wants to do later? What are her plans after GCSE and do her other choices allow her to pursue those plans? For most kids those choices would be completely fine.

Is drama her 'no progress this year' subject?

Part of doing the GCSE should be her organising the ingredients, even if that means organising a shopping list for you.

Drama: I'm told that it's lots of writing, can depend hugely on group work (so lousy partners = harder to get good grades). What would she choose instead of drama?

I am very thick so I can never tell with these threads if OP is open-minded or only wants advice "how can I make them do what I want them to".

OldJoseph Sun 08-May-16 13:29:47

lljkk- yes drama is her subject she's made no progress in and the reason she's keen to do it now is because a couple of non-drama teachers have said some kind things to her about her acting. There used to be a drama club at school which she didn't want to join and she didn't get many parts at her primary school, I'm not convinced drama is her thing but the praise from her RE teacher and a cover supervisor has gone down well (she's had no positive feedback from the drama teacher who hasn't left) Like I said I'd be happier doing drama if the department was in better shape.

I've shown her where she's made good progress (French) this year and where she's on high levels (Art, RE, music) but she's not interested.

As to what she wants to do next....she wants to work with animals but not as a vet or a vet nurse but as a carer and then as an RSPCA officer. This is not a great idea for a girl who can't stand sick and isn't the person clearing out her pets weekly.

I suppose she's lacking self awareness (not unusual in a teen) and has a distorted image of what her future could be.

HSMMaCM Sun 08-May-16 15:08:21

Can she arrange an appointment with the drama and food tech teacher to go through what each course involves. DD had to write loads of essays for drama and the group work was a nightmare with other people not rehearsing. She did have a great teacher and a passion for acting though.

Do you have a shop nearby where you can send her to buy her own ingredients without you having to drive somewhere ?

OldJoseph Sun 08-May-16 15:46:56

Yes that's what I would like her to do-speak to her teachers. I don't want her changing her options without talking to someone who has more insight than her mother. The teachers arn't really supposed to put her off their subject though.

She thinks she's not very good at various subjects, despite the evidence on her record and now she thinks she's good at drama, despite the evidence on her record.

HSMMaCM Sun 08-May-16 16:59:53

DD's teachers didn't actively try to put her off subjects, but they did tell her the brutal truth.

Balletgirlmum Sun 08-May-16 17:05:19

There have been big changes in the new drama GCSE. Dd had always planned to do it but doesn't like the new syllabus (I got the impression the drama teacher doesn't either)

Having acting ability does not guarantee success in GCSE drama. Would she perhaps be persuaded to take private LAMDA coaching instead? That's what dd is going to do. Grades4/5 LAMDA are seen as equivalent level to GCSE (though a smaller qualification & grades 6-8 are in the UCAS tariff (grade 8 distinction has roughly the same UCAS points as half an a level.

I'm a big advocate of the arts & I took a level theatre studies myself back in the day. but in this instance I understand your reservations.

elephantoverthehill Sun 08-May-16 17:18:15

Food Tech syllabus has changed for next year too. It is called something else now. It maybe called Food and Nutrition? Much more theory by the sounds of it, and I have not witnessed much training of teachers for the course. I would personally try and steer in the direction of tried and tested courses rather than your Dd being a bit of a guinea pig in all her subjects.

OldJoseph Sun 08-May-16 18:18:05

You've given me lots to think about. I'm even more against drama now.

It did cross my mind about doing it out of school as a hobby but I've other DC to consider (they all do something and there isn't much spare time) and I suspect there's nothing near us or I would have heard about it by now. I'll speak to a couple of people who might know, just in case I've missed something.

Sadusername Sun 08-May-16 20:40:46

A good few years ago my oldest DD switched from GCSE geography to drama without me knowing. She absolutely hated it, her class was full of boys who were trying to avoid more academic subjects and messed around. She didn't like the teacher who left halfway through the course, luckily. The only time I intervened was when the boys made some foul sexualised comments but other than that I just felt somewhat smug. Though I never got her to admit she regretted changing!

Balletgirlmum Sun 08-May-16 21:01:13

I think GCSE drama is a fantastic option for those who understand the demands of the course. It's quite academic, lots of writing & analysis but you also need to understand the practical applications of theatre.

Unfortunately too many see it as a lighter easy option.

Spam88 Sun 08-May-16 21:38:45

I did drama for GCSE. I was always very academic and quite shy, and apparently my parents were very shocked when I said I was going to take it, but it did wonders for my confidence. Some times the other skills and experiences are more important than what grade a kid might get at the end of it.

She definitely should speak to all the relevant teachers beforehand to get all the necessary information to allow her to make the decision. And they may not be supposed to put her off, but I haven't come across a teacher who wouldn't tell a kid straight if they didn't think they were up to it.

Also, take comfort in the fact that she'll be doing all of the compulsory subjects, and therefore will have a good broad base of qualifications. She's not going to be closing any doors with her subject choices at this stage.

OldJoseph Mon 09-May-16 20:35:36

Update, she's gone back to her original options.

I agree there's nothing wrong with GCSE drama, it's just at DD's school at the moment I don't rate it as an option (see earlier posts about lack of progress and qualified teachers).

Oh and if she'd taken GCSE Food Tech that's one where they may not be an A level in the near future, if the government gets its own way.

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