Which of these GCSE options have the least coursework?

(86 Posts)
KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 20:01:20

DD is busy outside of school - so we need a lighter option

So which should we pick? (she has to pick 2)
GCSE Applied Business
GCSE Catering
GCSE Graphics
GCSE History
BTEC Drama
BTEC PE
GCSE Child Development
GCSE Media Studies
GCSE Photography

We have rejected GCSE Art, Photography, Resistant Materials & Psychology and BTEC Art & Design as we thought they would be time intensive.

She will be doing English Lang & Lit, Maths, Science (2 I think), Geography, Spanish, Music, (she has already taken BTEC Dance & BTEC Science)

KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 20:20:33

Bump?

Leeds2 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:39:21

I don't know, but I would've thought photography had a lot of course work. I know my friend's son was struggling because he had taken A* photographs, but wasn't prepared to put the time in to make sure his folder of work was presented properly, I think meaning a paragraph describing each photo taken.

I thought course work was being done away with, anyway.

Sorry, not much help!

KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 20:42:01

Really? That would be good

She doesn't really need 12 anyway but rules are rules

Hassled Tue 29-Jan-13 20:43:32

It's all controlled assessments these days, Katy - so you go away and prepare, some in class, some at home, and then write it up in class under tightly controlled conditions. With my older kids there were hours and hours of writing at home - not any more.

With her ability and interests I'd go for the PE, and with the knowledge that she would have picked up by osmosis along the way I'd go for Child Development grin.

KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 20:46:27

The controlled assessments seem OK - it's just she has little or no time for homework at all

I wondered about PE & either Child Development or Catering or maybe Drama

She'd rather do none of them

Drama doesn't have much by way of written controlled assessments, but please don't let her do it if she'd only be taking it as a lighter option hmm

There's lots of group work, rehearsals, visits etc, and it's blimin' annoying for peers when one member of a group isn't really committed.

KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 20:50:51

Well actually she wants to study Musical Theatre so Drama would be good; but we'd have to fight for it as they don't like the children to do Music & Dance & Drama

KatyMac Tue 29-Jan-13 21:03:25

I suppose it's worth the fight - damn I was after an easy life

NewFerry Tue 29-Jan-13 22:15:19

Sorry, I appreciate this may be controversial, but given that your dd is taking 2xBTEC already, along with 7 GCSEs, if she were mine I would push for at least 1 more GCSE.

As an aside, a friends dd has just been accepted at drama school. Her dd took the standard 11 GCSEs required by the school. Off the top of my head, I know these included 2xEnglish, maths, 2x science, RE, dance, drama, music, and a technical subject. Alongside at least 8 dance classes each week, plus drama group, and most holidays were spent on dance courses. She also plays a musical instrument to a high standrd and sings in school choir and jazz group. She is incredibly talented, and she would say she is not hugely academic. However, she is very organised and she coped with the very heavy workload.

Good luck to your dd in taking this path.

Dominodonkey Wed 30-Jan-13 00:14:36

Little or no time for home work? At gcse? Don't worry about the options, she is unlikely to do well in any subjects with a parent who clearly thinks that extra curricular activities are far more important than education.

SirBoobAlot Wed 30-Jan-13 00:26:49

You might as well pat her on the back and say "Don't worry about your GCSEs, you have fun outside of school" if you are honestly going into her most important years at school with "we need a lighter option" as your priority.

And it really don't matter what her outside interests are, or how they will relate to what she wants to do, if she doesn't have good GCSE results, she will be set back regardless.

Think you really need to change your perspective on this. She will have to work hard for whatever subjects she studies.

Startail Wed 30-Jan-13 00:29:14

History Y7- Y9 produced vast amounts of HW so DD refused to have anything further to do with it.

Unfortunately it's maths and prep for controlled english assessments that cause work here.

GCSE drama only causes work for me (washing black clothes) not HW for DD.
Music causes very little.More I guess for DCs who need to practice an instrument (DD sings and would do lessons and choir anyway, singing's what she dies best), Geography a bit and Art quite a bit.

Mind you art is rather like a piece of string, you can make it take as long as you like. DD likes messing.

Startail Wed 30-Jan-13 00:29:58

does best

KatyMac Wed 30-Jan-13 08:11:04

She intends to be a professional dancer & spends 18 hours a week studying - part of that at vocational school; she is leaving home at 16 to go to vocational school for 3 years & when she has spent 8-10 years dancing she will go to university as a mature student to study for the 'next career'. She has one chance in her life to do dance, now at this age; I returned to study many times during my work life - taking anything from short term courses with no qualifications through NVQ (several), to degree & yesterday I completed a post graduate qualification.

The idea that education can only be done at 16 is sad imo.

She vocational studies are equally important to her academic studies & I have requested that she does 8 over 3 years rather than the 14 the school prefers. My request was refused. They have allowed her to drop 2 and replace some with BTEC. I'm not allowed to flexi school and she would rather not home school although it could be practical. What little time she has I would rather she spends on English, Maths, Science, Spanish & Geography - the ones I consider important.

I think she has 8 GCSEs in mind which is what I think appropriate; at 30/35 her place at uni will be based on the study she does immediately previous to that not what she did 15-20 years ago

webwiz Wed 30-Jan-13 08:15:33

@SirBoobAlot making sure the workload is manageable whether or not you have outside interests is a very sensible thing to do. The courses offered are very coursework heavy with the exception of History but as the OP's daughter already has a balanced list of subjects including a language, a humanity and an arts subject then consideration of the last two does come down to what will create the least extra work.

cory Wed 30-Jan-13 08:58:31

Dominodonkey Wed 30-Jan-13 00:14:36
"Little or no time for home work? At gcse? Don't worry about the options, she is unlikely to do well in any subjects with a parent who clearly thinks that extra curricular activities are far more important than education. "

You fail to allow for the fact that in some families the extra-curricular activities are going to be the most important part of somebody's education.

There are many times in life when you can take GCSEs but a dancer has to learn while she is young.

My db at this age spent far more time working on his violin playing than he did on school work. He still did extremely well in his grades and is now a professor of an academic subject. Even though he did not stay in music forever, the work ethic and sheer stamina he acquired as a teenager stood him in good stead when he switched to academe later in life.

KatyMac Wed 30-Jan-13 09:36:36

Thanks to everyone that understands

So we go with Drama & ???

GCSE Applied Business
GCSE Catering
GCSE Graphics
BTEC PE
GCSE Child Development
GCSE Media Studies

Still 6 to choose from.....

webwiz Wed 30-Jan-13 09:44:10

In the circumstances I think I would go for media studies,if there's any coursework but it should all be done in school and it won't have additional out of school commitments.

mollymole Wed 30-Jan-13 09:44:37

My son has just retired from top level athletics and was told long ago by a huge household name athlete that ' you can study at any age but you will only be young and fit enough to follow your dream for a short time'.

Toomuchtea Wed 30-Jan-13 09:53:59

Drama was a good one for my DD, but as ATruth says, it does get stressful at the end if not everyone in the group is committed. DD is very keen, but two in her group were not, one in particular only turning up to one rehearsal. The whole piece had to be re-written in the end and DD missed out on her A* because her rewritten role wasn't long enough to get the highest mark.

And yes, you can't put the dancing off. Good luck to your DD. It sounds as if she's already worked incredibly hard. Good for her.

LIZS Wed 30-Jan-13 09:58:15

What does she want to do . tbh I think 12 is ridiculous if you do them for the sake of it . Better to get good grades in say , 10 imho. Media Studies is seen as "soft" but at least you can demonstrate analytical skills whereas History could be heavy going. How come she is selecting so late though isn't she already year 10/11?

KatyMac Wed 30-Jan-13 10:05:01

She did Dance & Science BTEC in Yr9
Geog & Spanish over yrs 9 & 10
Music in Yr 10
End Lang & Lit, Maths, Science over yrs 10 & 11

& she has to choose 2 options for Yr11 (she is in yr 10). She would rather spend the 5 hours a week stretching/practising and doing coursework for other subjects. She has an arrangement with her form tutor that she sits at a table outside her room during PE/ethics and does coursework/homework. But they won't allow any more hours spent that way.

HSMM Wed 30-Jan-13 10:18:37

DD is doing drama, which she is hoping will also help with the performance aspect of her dancing. She decided art was too time intensive. She could have done PE and used dance as one of her activities.

HSMM Wed 30-Jan-13 10:19:59

We are still planning academic A levels before dance college ... but we'll see.

HSMM Wed 30-Jan-13 10:22:19

DD also suggested child development, but I told her she'd be bored, as she knows it all already .

KatyMac Wed 30-Jan-13 14:15:22

It's so hard helping them make the right choices

I dont know about BTEC PE, but ds1 does GCSE PE and that is a lot of writing and hardly any sport IYSWIM.
its very involved, and he has had to do a lot of stuff at home.

DD does GCSE drama, which doesnt involve a lot of writing but a fair bit of time doing group work in the evening and weekends.

Media studies...hmm it sounds less effort to me than business or graphic design or catering.

DD1 did media studies as an extra GCSE in Y10 (they compressed English into Y11), and it a) wasn't especially hard, and b) didn't involve very much outside class study.

DD2 is going FT at GCSE (and has people who wanted to do catering in her class as there weren't enough to run both courses) - that does involve out of school work - the controlled assessment/project has lots of research, and the regular practicals involve quite a bit of writing up.

circular Wed 30-Jan-13 18:05:00

DD1 Does Btec Sport (which I think is a Btec PE with sport chosen over dance). It is compulsory at her school, done in core PE time. She never has any homework and does no after school stuff for it. On track to get a B with minimal work.

Agree re considering the workload when lots of extra CA done.
Often an extra academic option can be less work than the practical subjects.
She chose triple science option over Drama or Catering and is glad she did judging by the workload some of her friends doing these have. Art seems to be the highest.

Would the Applied Business be useful for your DD considering she may well be self-employed as a dancer?

Februaryfun Wed 30-Jan-13 18:10:50

Art is a good option if she enjoys it.
Coursework is completed during lessons. One homework a week.
60% of mark before final exam of 40%
If a student manages their time well it shouldn't affect outside activities.

Coconutty Wed 30-Jan-13 18:22:24

Art is a lot of coursework, wouldn't be my choice in your shoes. DS1 does loads of work at home although he is predicted A* so wants to do well.

Media studies is easier, not very highly regarded by all accounts - a soft subject and one that most seem to enjoy.

Have you asked the school for advice? I would prefer 10 good GCSEs than 12 half arsed ones.

homework Wed 30-Jan-13 18:51:49

What about cooking , most work done in class and theory will always be helpful to have this knowledge as a dancer. Don't know how work heavy it is though , but just a thought really . Best wishes whatever she choice she makes. What school surggested , they must know that she short on time and what her plans for future are , are her teachers not being more helpful and understanding of her plans .

KatyMac Wed 30-Jan-13 20:50:36

It's options evening (our third) tomorrow - I was trying to get a feel for them all

I'll chat to the teachers but it's Drama (if they let us) & business or catering or media (I think)......I can see us coming back tomorrow with 'latin' or something really wierd wink

KatyMac Thu 31-Jan-13 19:59:55

We have been told that in DD's 'particular circumstances' Drama should be fine & we went with Applied Business as the teacher said nearly all the work has to be done during lessons - she quite understood our position

Child Development & Catering both had an extreme amount of home/coursework; we didn't even look at Media in the end

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 31-Jan-13 23:06:01

Don't really know about the ones in your possibles list, except for gcse Media Studies, which seems banal and also has required making posters etc.

But gcse psychology is on your reject list - I always thought that looked pretty straightforward - no controlled assessment component, learn a text book and regurgitate it in the exam.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 31-Jan-13 23:07:40

Oops, thought I'd read the thread but missed your last post! Sounds like a good resolution smile

KatyMac Fri 01-Feb-13 18:20:25

Thanks
It'llbe a couple of weeks before we find out what she gets

lljkk Fri 01-Feb-13 18:58:19

Thanks for starting this thread, KatyMac.
I couldn't help but guffaw (fitting, I know!) at DominoDonkey's first post, in her ignorance about your DD's life.

KatyMac Fri 01-Feb-13 22:08:58

She is a bit unusual; not many kids put in 16 (plus) hours training plus 12 hours of travelling each week

You guys know that but maybe I should have been more explanatory in my OP. She is fairly unique.

During the Olympics she was training as hard as the athletes & it's such a short career - study comes later (as long as she gets 5 at C incl Eng & Maths, I will let her follow her heart. She dropped to a D in English last term & I threatened to reduce her classes, by the next half term she had a B)

Dominodonkey Sat 02-Feb-13 00:18:51

Not sure why you think I am ignorant? In fact I am damn sure that I know as much or more than anyone else on this thread both about secondary education and the entertainment business.
As a teacher I would expect the OP's daughter to do exactly as much home work as any other student and make decisions based on future careers or personal enjoyment not on which requires the least work.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 02-Feb-13 07:51:31

@katy I know quite a few kids who put in 16 hours of practice a week. And more than 12 hours traveling. And they all seem to do normal academic GCSEs although not, admittedly, more than 11 or 12. And no BTECs.

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 10:10:12

Anyone who has been on MN since time immemorial ages knows how dedicated KatyMac's DD is about her hoped for career. How very driven, motivated & determined she is. How KM has wrung her hands worrying that it was too much & she would over do it (fretted for years), and was investing too much in her dreams. That girl is the epitome of everything our own (lazy disorganised directionless) teens aren't.

The girl will make something of herself for sure. She doesn't need tough academics right now, she'll easily do them later if needed. Hence my snurking at someone who would criticise KatyMac for being supportive of her daughter's dreams.

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 10:10:59

Besides, for those of us without highly motivated DC it's jolly useful to get some comparisons of workload for different GCSEs.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 02-Feb-13 10:40:43

Actually, lljkk speak for yourself. My teen (and pre teen) daughters are not lazy and they are at least as highly motivated as Katy's, and spend at least as much if not more time on their 'things'. And I know kids who do much more. As will most kids doing dance theatre or music or sport. Particularly those who live somewhere in the sticks. Katy's daughter is not unique. Not remotely unique. But she seems to be both over and underselling herself at the same time on qualifications which seems silly. What happens if she breaks her leg? Decent qualifications shouldn't be seen as an unnecessary thing.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 11:02:06

Look I didn't mean to cause trouble or offence; I know my daughter & 8 GCSE's will be plenty for her to do well at. She can concentrate on the subjects we consider important and any further qualifications she gets are just extra - probably in her case BTECs.

There has been some research done suggesting that for some children studying fewer subjects leads to higher grades - my uncle who was a head of 6th form told me this and after some discussion with her he has been helping with her academic decisions but he is on holiday just now, so we couldn't ask him plus MN has been helpful before.

If she suddenly can't dance before she is 16, she will of course do A levels but not at the local college as it isn't really suitable. The schools we are looking at have suggested that 8 good solid GCSE, with hopefully 2 B & the rest C will get a place; but that she only 'needs' 5 at C to go to any 6th form college in our county (ideally English, Maths, Science, a language & a humanity)

There has always been the concern, from her form teacher that if she did the 14 GCSEs the school prefers she will get a range of C, D & E grades based on her predictions; I'd rather this didn't happen.

HSMM Sat 02-Feb-13 11:23:32

Katy. I'm sure (like me) you are covering all your academic bases. I have been watching with interest, to help DD choose her 12th GCSE subject. Her school has also been very supportive and helpful.

Dominodonkey Sat 02-Feb-13 11:45:43

I still stand by what I said - however I do agree with what others have said about the large amount of gcses being unnecessary. It is hard for teachers to argue against the oft repeated claim that gcses are getting easier when students seem to be able to fit 3 or 4 more in than happened 15 years ago.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 12:22:47

HSMM we all try our best

I just hope the advise DD gets from her teachers, friends & family is right for her; it's so hard second guessing the future. I was asked for my O level certificates this week, for the first time since about 1990 - which was so odd as they were so long ago.

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 13:29:48

I don't subscribe to the MN mantra that BTECs are worthless (indecent) qualifications.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 02-Feb-13 14:52:23

14 GCSEs seems ludicrous. DD1 who is at one of the top performing state grammars in the country is doing 11 and actually, I reckon that is at least 1 more than she needs. 14 would be more than overkill for someone getting all As. For someone getting low grades it seems lunatic - she would do much better to concentrate of, as Katy suggests, 5-8 GCSEs and try and get good grades for those. 8 good grades is a far better look than 14 so so grades, it really is. As far as BTECs go, they don't add much. Katy's DD probably already has multiple qualifications that carry UCAS points, so why would she need BTECs on top of those and 8 decent GCSEs? She wouldn't.

NonnoMum Sat 02-Feb-13 15:02:22

Ok - here's my suggestion FWIW...

(Also, please bear in mind that different exam boards offer different specs of GCSEs/BTECs so go back to the teachers to see exactly which ones your school offers.)

I would suggest she doesn't do PE or Drama or Dance anything that would involve group rehearsals/teamwork.

She should do the ones that she can work on independently, so as to not let others down i.e sit at home and write a history essay might be easier for her to time manage than to get together with others after school and rehearse for an assessment.

Just a thought.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:01:41

Is it BTEC Performing Arts? IFAIK, BTEC Drama doesn't actually exist. If it's BTEC Performing Arts, and it's the new spec, then be aware that she can do dance as her individual showcase (which is the externally assessed bit) and so that would be a good option for her.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:24:16

Interesting - the booklet says Drama BTEC (Exam Board www.aqa.org.uk & Exam QAN code:500/7141/5)

So what does that mean?

She already has an (unconfirmed) A* in Btec Dance (apparently)

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:31:45

AQA doesn't do BTECs.

AQA website

Edexcel is the board that does BTECs. I teach BTEC Performing Arts.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:33:22

That QAN is EDEXCEL BTEC Performing Arts. See here

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:35:12

Actually, that's not true blush She wouldn't have an A* in BTEC anything, though, BTECs are marked Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction*.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:35:52

I really am starting to worry about the school <shakes head> is there any point doing Dance & Drama or are they duplicate qualifications?

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:36:43

Yes sorry - she has just corrected me too Distinction* in something she did last year & hasn't been submitted yet as she was too young <sigh>

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:41:35

It very much depends on whether the dance was the old spec and this year the new- they're different, but essentially she would have BTEC Performing Arts x2. If I were her, though, I'd still do it- she will enjoy it and it won't be too much work.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 19:42:04

Oh yes, I remember the "too young" thing. Total bollocks.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:47:04

That sounds really daft

Say they are both new syllabuses (syllabi?) or one new one old or both old

It's daft

I'm still convinced they have cocked up big time with her Dance last year; not entering them because they were "too young" seems bizarre

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:51:02

I think I will email the head of options

How does this sound
"Sorry but I have a few questions for you:

#We still have no results or certificate for the BTEC Dance DD did last year; could you clarify what is happening?
#Both BTEC Dance & Drama are with AQA as their exam board (in the booklet) but I cannot find either on AQA's website?
#Could you find out if the BTEC Dance you offered last year and the BTEC drama you are offering next year are the old or the new specification?"

Is there anything else I should ask?

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 19:58:46

Is there an age requirement for BTECs?

HSMM Sat 02-Feb-13 20:40:03

DD is taking her dance GCSE in yr 9 and has been offered a place on a BTEC dance course in yr 10 (not sure if we're doing that).

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:05:07

It's unlikely that last year's was the new spec - it was only introduced this September. There were massive changes in the Level 2 BTECs because of Mr Gove and his general stupidity angry so last year, she would, I assume, have done BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Performing Arts (Dance) The new spec is BTEC Level 2 First Award in Performing Arts. They have to do 3 units - Preparation, Performance and Production (mandatory unit, internally assessed), then one out of Acting Skills, Dance Skills, Musical Theatre Skills, Music Performance Skills and Production Skills (BUT - be aware - unless the school is HUGE and there is more than one group, it is HIGHLY unlikely they will allow individuals to choose - I only have 14 in my Yr 10 BTEC group, and they're all doing Acting Skills - it would be a complete nightmare teaching and assessing different units for different kids as the requirements are different, so if it's being marketed as BTEC Drama, then I'm guessing they'll go with Acting Skills) and then the externally assessed Individual Showcase, for which students CAN choose acting, dance, musical theatre, production skills or music performance. For that one, the exam board sends a brief and each student chooses how to respond to it.

So the two specifications are different. She won't have done the new spec last year, but the new spec isn't compulsory yet - there were a couple of years' grace where schools could choose one or the other. I would imagine that they will be doing the new spec this year, but it's worth finding out. Either way, she will end up with BTEC Performing Arts twice on her CV, but they will have different titles.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:08:02

Oh, and I don't believe there is an age restriction. I did BTEC First Certificate Performing Arts with the whole of Yr 9 in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 - there was no problem with entering and certificating. Almost all students in the year group achieved the qualification. We didn't do it last year because of cost implications angry and obviously there's "no point" in doing it any more because it wouldn't count for the headline figures (grrrrr)

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 21:25:07

I am so frustrated about the Dance thing

Will it really be OK to have 2 of the same qualification? It seems very odd

Am I being fair asking these questions of the school?

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:33:13

I think you should ask the school:

1. What's going on with last year's BTEC Dance? Why hasn't DD been given her results and certificate yet?
2. What exactly is the BTEC Drama? I cannot find it on the AQA website. Is it Edexcel BTEC Performing Arts, and if so, is there any point in DD taking it when she already has a Level 2 BTEC in Performing Arts (Dance)?

The fact is, though, GCSEs and Level 2 BTECs cease to be meaningful once a child is beyond a certain age. They are merely a stepping stone, IMO, to the next stage of education. Your DD needs to focus on gaining relevent experience and building her vocational training, so that she can pass auditions to get into the colleges/schools she wants to at 16. No one will care what her GCSEs are, will they? As long as she gets the basics, then she's not closing any doors. If she (and you ) think she'll enjoy BTEC "Drama" then she may as well take it. That's what I think anyway. FWIW, the Yr 9s who did BTEC First Certificate with me went on to take it in Yr 10/11 and increased their qualification to a BTEC Level 2 Diploma - essentially 4 GCSEs in 3 years.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 21:37:06

Thanks so much EvilTwins

We are struggling atm as she has been poorly (possibly Glandular Fever) & she has a course at Urdang at Half-term that I think we need to cancel as she has missed so much class sad

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 21:41:41

My
Much younger dd has similar aspirations to Katy's. the difference being that she will go to an academically selective secondary school (top if league tables in our area) but will only be required to do 9 Gcse's - no btecs or anything. It's a school with a string Oxbridge tradition.

Katymac is entirely justified in thinking all these extra qualifications are not helping her dd.

They will still hopefully end up degree level qualified but entry to their chosen courses will depend on performance at audition hence the need for the hours of training

My dd is very lucky to be going to such a school. If she was going to a different school in sure we would on a few years be asking he same questions.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:43:24

What a shame sad An ex-student of mine trained at Urdang (I taught her when she was at secondary school) and she loved it.

I think you should allow DD to choose the subjects she thinks she'll enjoy. As long as she has English, Maths and Science covered, she'll be fine. You are right in that, if she chooses to go to university as a mature student, her qualifications as a 16 year old will be largely irrelevant.

Hope she feels better soon.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 21:44:20

And dh teaches for the type if school/college they aspire to. They won't care about results as long as they are capable of writing a basic essay for the academic part and passing the audition.

EvilTwins Sat 02-Feb-13 21:48:36

Katy, I find it bizarre that your DD's school is so obsessed with quantity of qualifications. In the past, it could be put down to league tables, but there have been so many changes recently, and all schools now know that only certain qualifications will count, and only two non-GCSE subjects. For me, that means that slogging away to get my Yr 11s through a BTEC Diploma (4 GCSEs) is pointless for the school (though not necessarily for the students) as it will only count as 1 in the league tables. Your DD's school sounds like one of the qualification chasers, but it put unnecessary pressure on the students. League tables will only accept 8 subjects per student, so why try to get them through 14 GCSEs/equivalents? For whose benefit is this?

I know you've been battling with it for ages, though, and that the school is immovable. I guess my advice would be to play a different sort of game now - let DD choose her subjects based purely on what she wants to do, and sod the school.

I might be in this position in a few years... my DTDs are only 6 but are already showing a love of all things theatrical. smile

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 21:53:27

There is a school near to me that put their more able students in for 16 equivalents and the rest 14. It's a sought after school but dd will znOT be going there - madness.

KatyMac Sat 02-Feb-13 21:55:11

But her yr 11 is year 3 of doing it this way

I feel sorriest for yr8 going into yr9 who are just starting sad

bigTillyMint Sat 02-Feb-13 22:19:08

Evil, that is interesting - I didn't know that only 8 subjects could be entered for the league tables - is this a new thing? Would they be the ebac subjects plus the ones they did best in? How does it work?

I agree, 14 subjects seems like madness but seems to be what happens at the DC's school...

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 22:22:29

At the school dd will go to they do English, English Lit, Maths, 2/3 sciences, then 2 or 3 free choice (3 if double science, 2 if triple) a language is strongly recommended.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 22:23:04

That doesn't add up. I've missed a subject somewhere.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Feb-13 22:26:02

Just checked its 3 or 4 free choice subjects.

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:40:17

From my (limited) knowledge...

AQA offers a GCSE Drama course (with a written exam at the end) - no performances can be done in groups of less than two.

AQA also offers GCSE (Applied) Performing Arts - it might be that she can do a 'dance' option within that

GCSE Dance is also offered by AQA.

(I might be slightly out of date).

Whether Dance/Drama/Performing Arts are different depends on how the school delivers the courses.

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:42:27

And sometimes the Head of Options might not know the minutiae of the different courses. In fact, they probably won't.

BettySuarez Sun 03-Feb-13 14:49:26

Haven't read the whole thread so apologies if already mentioned but the PE GCSE has a surprising amount of written work (physiology, nutrition etc)

I would imagine the same to be true of Bus Studies, History

EvilTwins Sun 03-Feb-13 21:37:30

Tilly, AFAIK, it's the top 8 subjects (inc & exc English & Maths- 2 separate calculations) and then EBacc is yet another calculation. Within that 8, only 2 can be equivalents, even if (as with my yr 11s) they've done a BTEC diploma, which is equivalent to 4 GCSEs.

bigTillyMint Mon 04-Feb-13 06:33:46

So, Evil, what happens when they have done 13+ straight GCSE's - not a BTEC in sight?

EvilTwins Mon 04-Feb-13 17:21:02

They use 8 of them for the headline figures. I guess it's supposed to even the playing field a bit - looking at quantity not quality.

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