GCSE options in year 8

(18 Posts)
Blaggingit Sat 08-Oct-16 17:58:21

I looked around our local secondary school recently and it was mentioned that they choose their GCSE options around Easter of yr 8. This sounds really early to me but perhaps this is normal now? Am I worrying about nothing?

yeOldeTrout Sat 08-Oct-16 18:10:49

A) might change in 2 yrs time when your DC is there
B) DC school has them start choosing by end of yr8. I like it, most parents I speak to like it, but most MNers hate it. They will tell you why.

AChickenCalledKorma Sat 08-Oct-16 18:11:26

Some schools are starting GCSEs in year 9, so it's not abnormal but it's not universal either. Personally, I agree that it's a bit too early and doesn't give the students long enough studying the full range of subjects. On the other hand, it gives them three years to cover the GCSE course, which is now harder as a result of Govt reforms.

My daughters' school starts GCSE Science and Maths in Year 9, but all other subjects in Year 10. They chose their options in the March of Year 9 and went onto a full GCSE timetable at the beginning of Year 10.

I'm really glad DD1 didn't have to choose in year 8 - she would have had far less clue at that point, whereas by year 9 she was pretty clear what she wanted to drop.

OddBoots Sat 08-Oct-16 18:24:58

Increasingly it is a two stage process. They choose a couple of things to drop at the end of year eight then drop a few more at the end of year nine.

At dd's school that is what they do and if they feel during year nine that they have made a mistake they as allowed to request a swap (no guarantee but they try to do what they can).

chocolateworshipper Sat 08-Oct-16 21:23:08

DD's school do limited options at the end of Y8, but can change their mind at the end of Y9. I think it works well - you know by the end of Y8 whether you have any talent for drama, art or music and which DT you prefer

PrincessHairyMclary Sat 08-Oct-16 21:30:32

At our school students choose all of their options in Year 8. For some it's far too early, for others it works well. Year 9 is a bit of a limbo year now that SATs have gone

nicp123 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:37:05

GCSE options would not be taken in Year 8 by anybody here. I know couple of parents nearly got me in a panic recently; therefore, I can tell you that here, the schools are actually starting now explaining about the GCSE and the new 1-9 system of grading, also some Mock Tests might be organised at some point after Easter in order to inform the subject leaders before they will start planning for next year.

Blaggingit Sun 09-Oct-16 07:37:59

Thanks for the replies. So perhaps it is becoming more common but it appears that the reason for doing this is so that the kids can do GCSEs over 3 yrs rather than 2 so that they can cover the curriculum and get better results in the end. But the result is that they have to start to specialise rather earlier than previously.

ihearttc Sun 09-Oct-16 08:40:54

The High School DS1 has just started takes them at the end of Y8 as well. He is really excited cause he knows exactly what he wants to study already and cannot wait to not have to do drama or Art!

PrincessHairyMclary Sun 09-Oct-16 09:32:24

We still do the programme over 2 years but finish the course a bit earlier so can spend time supporting students to review any gaps in their knowledge and revise effectively.

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 09-Oct-16 09:34:41

Blagingit yes, that's it in a nutshell.

Balletgirlmum Sun 09-Oct-16 09:43:48

I hate the idea of choosing at the end of year 8. It's too early to specialise to that extent. I would not send my child to a school with that system.

Dd chose all her options at the end of year 9. It meant she did history, geography, ICT & drama for an extra year. All subjects she enjoyed but isn't taking to GCSE. She would however have benefitted from being able to drop art.

Ds's school have a great system. At the end of year 8 they are given some optiins but they are not GCSE options. They have to keep their language & history & geography but can choose to take another language up as well if they want to. They can then choose up to 3 creative subjects to keep out of music, art, food tech, textiles, d & t etc.

Their actual final GCSE options are then taken at the end of year 9.

Drivingmadness Sun 09-Oct-16 10:24:41

Here they will drop a few subjects in year 9, and they start slowly with their GCSE course but those are in those subjects that everyone has to take anyway (maths, schience, etc)

Blaggingit Sun 09-Oct-16 11:25:00

I must admit I am finding the whole "choosing a school" thing overwhelming because I am not presented with the same info to make a fair comparison. It is hard trying to work out what we thing will be best for the kids.

OddBoots Sun 09-Oct-16 11:39:55

Not only are you not given the same information but once you are there they can and do change things.

goodbyestranger Sun 09-Oct-16 22:54:45

Seven of my DC had to choose options in Y8 and it's never thrown up a problem.

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 10-Oct-16 08:45:03

Also bear in mind that they do actually carry on a big range of subjects into GCSE. English, maths and science all compulsory. Many schools will also insist on a humanity and/or a language. They don't really have all that many genuine "options".

So although I prefer waiting till year 9, it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me if the school was otherwise good.

Also, if you're finding it hard to choose between two or more schools, the chances are they will all be perfectly reasonable choices. So don't feel like it's essential to get too bogged down in the details.

redskytonight Mon 10-Oct-16 09:34:11

Depends how many choices they have. DS is at a school where they pick options in Year 8, but they are still taking a good range into Year 9, so for him this basically means he can drop the subjects he hates/has no aptitude for (apart from English which he is stuck with grin ).
I think there is only one subject he will drop that he will be sorry about - so for him the "con" is 1 year less of one subject.

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