Science GCSE's(16 Posts)
I have twins in Year 9 of a school who start options courses at the start of Year 9, making their choices after Easter in Year 8.
We did not take up the places until after the rest of the year group had made their choices and been placed in sets. As a result I have had quite a few issues to sort out this year - mainly being put in sets too low but also some too high. It has been difficult to get 2 children sorted into options they wanted to do and in the right ability sets
Coming to the end of Year 9 there is just one outstanding issue for them both - Science. Both have been placed in Double Science but both are working at a level that indicates that they would have no problems doing Triple Science. I have been promised that the situation would be reviewed on a few occasions but have never had any feedback that has been convincing. Some (not all) of their Science teachers tell me up front that they should be moved / considered for Triple Science sets.
The blocker is the Head of Science. At both a parents evening and in a subsequent email conversation he is insistent that doing Double Science will not restrict any Science A Level choice (while also admitting only 25% of the current cohort of Science A Level students having Double) and that there is no room in the Triple Science sets.
Thank you if you got this far!
So the situation is that nobody in the school has said that either of the children would not be capable of achieving good GCSE's in Triple Science. The school say they will not 'remove' any of the current Triple Science students from the sets to allow my children to move up. State school class size of 30 in each set.
I'm not sure either of my children will pursue science A Levels at this point, I just want them to have as many options as possible and the maximum amount of GCSE's they are capable of.
Should I keep on trying with the school against the obvious and repeated objections of the Head of Science?
There have been lots of previous threads about this.
In a school that offers both double and triple sciences I think that the barometer for pushing for triple science with an eye on future A level options would be if a DC is in the top sets of maths with potential ability to do maths A level and therefore chemistry and physics. Otherwise aiming for the best possible grade with double sciences seems sensible.
You can definitely do science A levels with double science, so triple isn't essential. The problem seems to be that the triple classes are full so if your Twins were added, would this mean 2 other students would have to be dropped from the class. Plus the triple science will probably already be ahead of double science so if your twins were to swap over they would have to catch up missed work. It does seem a shame but I can see why the head of science is saying no to them moving up.
If the Head of Science won't accommodate them, you would have to escalate it with the head, who would have to force two other children to move to a lower set.
If your DTs are good enough to have a place in the group, this is what you will have to do. If they are borderline, you will have to consider whether it is worth the fight.
If 25% of the science intake for A level has double, then clearly it's not a barrier. But it would be better to do triple.
Alternatively, you could negotiate with the school to enter them for triple, and get a home tutor to teach the extra modules (one hour per week would be enough). Or try to negotiate for lunchtime tuition???
I wanted my DD just to do GCSE Biology due to her maths issues and am gutted that the government changes mean she now had to do double
Anyway the good news is that science teacher said that neither double or triple are that great a foundation for A levels and the school teaches the A level syllabus to accommodate this.
Bit rubbish that your DC are missing out on an extra GCSE high pass as a result though!
If they are not budding scientists, having double is fine. Why do they need to maximise the number of GCSEs they have? Better to have a high grade at double and get the best possible grades in 9-10 subjects rather than worry about triple. One of my DDs did triple and never went near sciences again, despite A* for all three. She didn't want to be removed from the top set so she did the three. I would not have fought for it though if she hadn't already been in the right set.
This type of scenario is one of the reasons where personally I prefer it that schools start GCSE teaching at the end of Y9.
My understanding is that the new 9-1 Science curriculum (both double and triple) will be better preparation for A level Sciences than the old GCSE qualifications.
The private tuition option for taking Triple Science may not be feasible as although this can cover the theory, there is usually practical work that needs to be done as well which needs to be assessed by the centre entering them for the exams.
As a science teacher myself I can confirm that taking double award rather than triple is no barrier to doing science at A Level or going on to do science at university.
I can understand your frustration at wanting your children moved up into a triple award groups, however do you really think it would be fair to remove two other students and put them down to double award if they aren't struggling with triple group? To you I understand your children are the most important thing, but from the head of sciences perspective your children aren't any more important, or deserving of a place in triple, than any other pupil who is capable of being there.
Ps I totally get why you're fighting for your child, I would do the same. Im just trying to explain why the head of science might seem like he isn't listening
I have just had the situation this week where my DD year 10 has asked to drop down from separate sciences to the core additional course instead.
She has decided that she won't be doing science for Alevel and is predicted currently the equivalent to A. In biology B in Chemistry and boarder line C in Physics. She took a view that she will be better off in the additional science set, all the content has now been taught and so from September in year 11 they get a whole year of revision and the opportunity to get A grades because of the reduced content and less intensity of this GCSE.
Her teacher agreed she could do it and would get high scoring results, rather than average for triple. She is happy, feels a huge relief and can put more effort into maths and other subjects now.
Do not under estimate the difficulty of the course material for triple!
Do they want to do triple science?
If they do & they enjoy science then you either need to tell the school they must accommodate it- or find a school that can.
To get them in a triple science set would mean moving two students down a set into double award. Our two top sets do triple award, other sets do double award (we cannot have mixed in one set). Triple means sitting 9 exams next summer (three for each science). Double award is fine, with a strong maths grade.
Do the students not have a choice?
It depends how important it is to them.
When dd chose her options there were a couple of subjects that she felt were non negotiable. Music was one, triple science was the other. If she could not be accommodated she would have moved schools.
My son on the other hand has already decided that he does not want to do triple science (he's year 7)
DS did Double Science, then a Physics A level and a Physics degree, it didn't hold him back at all
State class sizes at secondary have no upper limit. I teach a couple of Y9 groups with 32/33.
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