GCSE Choices 2013 (exams 2015) support thread

(207 Posts)
DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 15:27:08

Here we go....options choices this month, exams in summer 2015. We're choosing options at the moment but I've not come across a support thread.

Does your DC know what they want to do already or are they needing a lot of help deciding?
Where have you gone for information?

We get a booklet this week apparently and then have a meeting at school to discuss listen to a sales pitch by the teachers discuss the options that are best and then we have about 2 weeks to make a decision.

Magdalena45 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:45:35

It is hard, my daughter knows most of what she wants but there are a couple of spaces free... and about 6 potential options to fill them. Parents' evening this week. If I get any useful insight, I will report back! Does your DC know what sort of area they might be interested in for the future?

fubbsy Mon 11-Feb-13 15:56:16

My dd wasn't sure what she wanted to do until we went to options evening. They have 4 choices, but she had 7 things she was thinking of.

My dd's school have been great with giving out information. Options evening was certainly helpful for dd. Yes the teachers give a bit of a sales pitch, but they also tell what topics they will be covering. So, for example, my dd picked history rather than geography because she liked the topics better.

I also managed to have a little chat with the deputy head (even though dd was embarassed about me approaching her) who steered us in the right direction.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 15:58:17

Mine is pretty certain yes, they just need to choose between French/German, History/Geography and Fine Art/Music. She wants to do triple science.
We had parents' evening last week and got no useful insights they, they all wanted her to do their subject. I'm told that is fairly typical really. Hopefully we will know more at the options evening - I will report back as well as that is this week.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 15:59:42

That's good about being told the topics, hopefully that will help DD make her choices of the language and humanity that she does and then to choose her "fun" subject (her words not mine) from art or music (she knows both will be a lot of work).

Erebus Mon 11-Feb-13 16:32:10

Our issue is that the school don't let DC undertake courses unless they're likely to get a good pass! Right now I am making DS1 revise Science as he has a Science assessment 'in a couple of weeks' which is when his options booklet has to be in by. Coincidence?! I have pointed out that us ticking the triple science box will be noted when it comes to his result, but it doesn't say 'Tick here to do triple science' it says 'tick here if you wish to be considered for triple science'. The booklet needs a bit of interpreting. It describes all the courses but you have to read between the lines esp in the IT/computing options to work out if the qualification is aimed at lower ability DC who won't manage the full GCSE or at selected higher ability DC who can do better than the GCSE! It's not necessarily obvious!

Erebus Mon 11-Feb-13 16:37:10

Actually, the pressure is on for DS, a bit. He didn't get offered Statistics GCSE taken in Y10 but that only goes to the top 27 out of 270, bearing in mind there are some very clever DC in the school (3 in Y9 already have A* Maths A levels...); he was then 'borderline' for a second MFL (he was given the choice and declined)- it's automatically given to the top 2 groups (in their MFL), so 54 DC;but the top 3 groups (in science) get triple science, about 90 out of 270. I believe DS is in that category but he will have to do a serious rethink about his future if he doesn't get triple science!

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 16:43:25

I haven't seen the booklet from DD's school yet, however we have had a letter which says we will be told which pathway is most appropriate for our DC. I've heard somewhere that they have to be level 6 for triple science but also that the government have now removed this requirement.

Good luck to your DS1, keeping my fingers crossed that he does well at the assessment. At DD's school the top X number of children get to do triple science, last time I was told anything she was fine thankfully.

DS submitted his choices (via online Frog thingimijig) last night. The school held form-tutor progress reviews, an options information evening and then a meet-the-teacher evening to help. Special assemblies and talks on certain subjects were also given to the pupils during the course of several school days.
We were advised which pathway our child would be on and what options would be available for them.
Ds is top set science so provided he is still top set at the end of Y10 he will be put in for further additional science which will give him three science GCSE's.
He had to choose one humanity (he has gone for history) and one mfl (he has gone for German) and then two free subjects (he has gone for geography and drama)
I feel he has chosen well.
Now we just have to wait and hear he has been given his choice of subjects. He had to put down a reserve just in case though...

Erebus Mon 11-Feb-13 17:00:22

DS wants to do:
Business and Communication System (Y10)
Eng Lang
Eng Lit
Computer Science
Systems Control (electronics)
Triple science

I think it's a bit sciency myself! But we have parents eve before then and they have 2 more assemblies.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:46

Erebus, I hope that the pressure is off him soon, it all sounds very tough.
Wasn't it easier when we did the exams when we just got our choices automatically?

Erebus Mon 11-Feb-13 17:10:30

Nah, DS needs some pressure on him tbh. For the first time ever, he got a 2 for 'effort' on his last report - in Science! That's 'doesn't always fully concentrate'. I believe he'd actually have better served by attending a school that kept a certain degree of pressure (or 'expectation') on him from Y7 instead of this sudden mid-Y9 rev-up.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 18:22:22

Ah, now I see. DD's school tend to keep the pressure on from Yr 7 and it has served her well in a lot of ways.
I take it that your DS wants a career in IT/Science then, that's a lot of IT related stuff, stuff that I hadn't expected to see offered to be honest.
DD wants to do Latin but I doubt that it is offered at her school.

Erebus Mon 11-Feb-13 19:59:40

I lay my trust in the school to know what they're doing! That's the only way through this! But the way I see it is they know they can carry on the way they do (slackish Y8...) because they know us parents will pick up and help apply the necessary 'pressure'!

TBF, the school does have the runs on the board. It's a true comp but it's 92% '5 GCSEs inc Eng & Maths' and 58% Eng Bacc demonstrates they've done it all before- like maybe putting the frighteners on a clever-enough but slacking off boy near the start of Y9!

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 12-Feb-13 12:32:44

Yes, I lay my trust in them as well, though it means telling my inner control freak to shut up and mind her own business.
92% 5 GCSEs is impressive, it's about 62% here after an awful OFSTED report three years ago.

Incogneetow Wed 13-Feb-13 21:28:20

ds2 changes his mind every day.
Depending on what he's read, who he's spoken to, etc!

ds1 knew which GCSE options he wanted to do from wk1 of yr7.
ds2 is not like that!

DizzyHoneyBee Thu 14-Feb-13 16:24:13

DD has come up with two shortlists, namely triple science, geography, art and design plus the core subjects then either French or Applied Engineering for her last option. She'll then do the standard English Language and Literature, Maths, RE and ICT so will end up doing 12 GCSEs. She also wants to do A/S level critical thinking.

Options evening is tonight so we'll see what they have to say, our main concern is that if she doesn't go for French (which she doesn't like) then she won't have the English Bacc. but we're not sure if that matters for university.

fubbsy Fri 15-Feb-13 10:17:19

English Bacc probably doesn't matter for university. Have you seen the Russell Group's Informed Choices? It's mostly about A level choices, but there is a section on GCSEs.

They say "the English Baccalaureate includes academic subjects highly valued by the Russell Group but is not currently required for entry to any Russell Group university. With the exception of English and Maths, and in a few cases a Modern Foreign Language, most universities have no universal entry requirements in terms of GCSE subjects."

IMO the more important thing to think about would be to make sure her GCSE choices will allow her to do the A levels she might want.

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 15-Feb-13 21:03:58

Thanks, that's good to know. She wants to do science at A level (all 3) so as long as she does triple science she is fine.

Hello. Can i join? DS1 is a summer born 13 year old and seems so young to be doing this. Meetings after half term-then decision time.

Hi Sparkling <waves>

Ds is August born, so 13 and has just submitted his options last Sunday (they were due today)
The process itself was less painful than feared and we had plenty of time to meet teachers, talk about subjects etc.

It will be fine smile and for us parents there is always wine

Thanks Behind. It just seems to have come round so soon. smile He has no clue what he wants to do career wise.

It has, hasn't it smile

Ds has a vague idea of what he wants to do in the future but nothing definite so has kept his options open by going down the triple science route and double humanities.
I feel he has chosen a well-rounded-covers-all-bases set of GCSE's which should allow him to do most A levels smile

HoraceTheCheese Fri 15-Feb-13 23:17:34

We had options evening and parent's evening this week. DD already knew what she wanted except for which MFL - she prefers German but her report seemed better for French. Unfortunately one teacher was ill and the other overbooked but we spoke to the deputy head who looked into it and said she's fine to do German . So:
Eng x2
Science x3 (separate subjects, the chemistry is an accredited iGCSE from a different board for some reason)
Computer Science
reserve choice RS

SanityClause Fri 15-Feb-13 23:28:49

Wow! Our forms had to be in on Monday, so all done and dusted.

DD1 is doing Maths, 2x English, RE, DT (Textiles) ICT (actually an OCR, I think) Dual science (but they are allowed to go on to study individual sciences at A level/IB) French, Geography, Dance and something called the Enrichment option, which is an extended project, equivalent to a GCSE, and then AS Critical Thinking in year 11.

She is currently doing GCSE Drama outside the school.

Her reserve subject is Music.

She loves English, but doesn't know what she wants to do, yet, career wise.

What are 'reserve subjects'?

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 08:27:04

DD was asked to give one reserve subject in case she couldn't have one of her choices.
She has now decided that she might do graphics (commercial design) instead of fine art but it doesn't fit so we are going to put the options down in the space provided for options that don't fit and see what the school can do. She can do her main options but graphics is only in one of the four columns and so it doesn't work.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 08:32:30

Well done SanityClause smile
My DD wants to do triple science, applied engineering, geography and either fine art or commercial graphics plus maths, 2x English, ICT, RE, Sports and then AS Critical Thinking.
Unfortunately commercial graphics doesn't fit because it's only in one column, as is applied engineering but that one works because it is in the same column as triple science which is also in another column - unfortunately the same one as graphics but the school did a presentation and said that each year they move subjects from one column to another to accommodate what pupils want so we will see. It all revolves around triple science because she wants to go into science for her job and wants to do sciences at A level.
Welcome Sparklingbrook, seen you on a couple of other threads, just off to check out wanted down under...

There are 'columns'? confused

Hi Dizzy,. smile

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 08:42:15

We got given several forms, one for each pathway. The idea being that each pathway suits a different academic ability - there is the extended baccalaureate which is for children in sets 1&2, the baccalaureate for sets 3&4 and a vocational pathway for sets 5&6. Each pathway is not setting by ability, for example if you are set 1&2 and choose history you might be in class with somebody from set 5&6 who has chosen history. That said, triple science is only available for set 1&2.

If it is any help, the columns are:

A: applied engineering (single), art and design, computing, drama, french, german, sports science, triple science

B: art textiles, business and economics, dance, drama, french, geography, history, music

C: applied engineering (double - columns C&D), art textiles, AS ICT, Catering, geography, graphics, history, resistant materials, triple science

D: applied engineering (double - columns c&D), art and design, business studies, creative ICT, french, german, product design, resistant materials, sport science

they choose one from each column and then have the option to write in their 4 preferred choices on the form if they don't fit the columns.
DD wants applied engineering from A, geography from B, triple science from C but she wants either graphics from C or art and design from D but graphics clashes with triple science so we need to talk to them after half term.

Chavvytastic Sat 16-Feb-13 08:48:18

We are just in the midst of all this and off to a meeting later this week. My DC is very keen to a linguist or language teacher and has been for a few years now.
At DC schools they have to do Maths,Eng x 2, Dbl or Triple Science and Modern Foreign language.

DC has opted for:

dbl science
Latin and Greek

Not sure it is balanced enough myself but will see at the meeting next week. Does seem pointless DC opting for art etc because they are just not very creative/good at that kind of thing but flies at languages, so it seems daft not to take them.

OddBoots Sat 16-Feb-13 08:50:13

My ds has very little choice, most of the choosing is done for him but his subject teachers, he gets a choice between History and Geography and a choice between Spanish and French then gets one free choice.

His science results will decide if he is double or triple, his English results will decide if he does lit and his maths results will decide if he does the fast-track (with a view to doing it as an AS in Y11).

Dizzy thanks That is really helpful. I will have a chat with DS1 over half term and try and get some decisions made prior to the meeting in March.

It seems complicated but I guess once you get into it and it's all done it will be fine. I can't even remember choosing mine. blush

Theas18 Sat 16-Feb-13 09:07:52

Very interesting to see how other schools do things.

We are pretty relaxed as this us our 3 Rd dc through the system so we know that what eve she chooses will be fine. All the choices are academically rigerous and Russell group compliant (selective school so much easier for them offering choices I think).

It is quite hard to completely close of career paths at this stage -ok if you don't do French gcse it'll be tricky to do at uni , but apart from that, even a set of choices that looks"science based" if it included English x2 and a humanity could became an arts profile at A level.

Dd2 has few options-looks like they will be Spanish, geography, history and music.

Interestingly the schools reaction to the terminal exams is to teach a lot if core subjects (they all do triple science for instance) over 3 years.so by the end of year 9 they will be half way through gcse curriculum, finished in year 10 and year 11 is spent polishing/extending.

Don't worry about ebacc-it's a measure for the school not the child.

My biggest tip is make sure your child knows about the courses, if need be find out the board and look in their website. Then choose what the love and are passionate about. As ever don't choose for teachers that you like our what your mates are doing.

Theas18 Sat 16-Feb-13 09:12:25

I do think we are lucky-the kids choose freely and someone (with a huge bottle if paracetamol for the headache it must cause) then sorts the classes to give everyone their choices!

No blocks of subjects, no if you do x you can't do y . I still resent subject blocks from my own O level choices-hated German. Still had to do it.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 09:45:56

Thanks Theas18, my DD isn't going to do a language so that's reassuring to know.
Sparklebrook, that was the columns for the top sets, I have the ones for the middle sets and the vocational pathways if you (or anybody else) wants them. They may vary from school to school though, I don't know.
Behind, that sounds like he has made good choices. DD is strongly focused on science and not humanities as she hates history so she's not going to really be able to do anything to do with the humanities or languages as she isn't doing any. With science, engineering and either art or graphics (commercial design) it's hard to see where she will end up going if she decides that she doesn't want to do science at university; at the moment she either wants to be a vet or a forensic scientist and knows that she certainly does not want to be a teacher - a decision which I think will benefit her and any potential pupils in the future as she doesn't have the right personality grin

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 09:49:17

Sorry, sparklingbrook, didn't mean to get your name wrong blush

I didn't notice Dizzy. grin

DS1 is in top sets so we will see how it goes.

creamteas Sat 16-Feb-13 10:10:36

At our school they ask the DC what they think they might want to do and draw up the option blocks from that, so they change every year. You then get to choose one subject from each block. Even if schools don't make the blocks (columns) explicit, they will be there as it is the only way to timetable grin.

Popular/important subjects will appear in two or three blocks, and less popular ones only in one or two.

Our option evening is not till March, but if it is the same as the previous DC they will have 4 choices. Core were Eng, maths, double science, PE & ICT . You also have to take one of Geog, Hist or RE but these also appear in the option blocks so you can choose more than one of these. If you want to do triple science, this would be one of your options.

DS is thinking about triple science, astronomy, French & photography, but until we see the forms will not know this is possible.

Where does PE fit into all this?

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 10:46:52

DD will do two hours of PE a week, they all do.

Oh right. But not actually take a GCSE in it?

And some opinions of subjects that should be avoided would be good if anyone can. There seem to be some I have not heard of before.

I still can't get used to RS being RE. RS was 'Rural Science' at my school. grin

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 11:35:42

The booklet we have says they do Core PE and have two hours, lesson 1 is performance or yoUR Sport (their capitalisation, not sure if it is relevant) or Fit4Life and lesson 2 is Sports Leadership or Entry level certificate.
I don't know any more than that, but in the options they can choose to do sports science (a cambridge national I think) if set 1/2 and sports studies in set 3/4 or 5/6.

Rufus43 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:00:54

My son is doing English, maths, history and geography.

He is in top set for maths and science but had been advised that triple science is only really necessary if he wants to be a doctor or vet so he will probably just do double science. It's a shame thought because he can only do statistics if he does triple science.

He wants to do business studies and then either French or more likely citizenship.

Two things concern me and I wonder if anyone can help me. Is citizenship a bit of a cop out? Does it seem a bit like a non subject? And if he foes not do triple science will colleges and universities think that he was not capable of doing it as opposed to not wanting to do it!

creamteas Sat 16-Feb-13 12:05:54

At our school, PE is a compulsory exam subject. Top sets do GCSE, lower sets do BTEC Sport.

IMO there are no absolute subjects to be avoided. Providing you have a good range of options, and the essentials (Eng, Maths and at least double science) then the only issue is the interests, strengths and weaknesses of the child in question. You do need to think about what they might want to do at A level, but that is also linked to the individual child.

At most unis, the only things we care about subject wise for GCSE is that they have English and Maths.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 12:13:49

I would go for triple science as a lot of science degrees ask for two sciences so if you have three then you have something extra to offer. Vet degrees as for two sciences but DD has been told she will need three. She's less keen on physics but still wants to do it.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 12:15:20

creamteas, thanks. do you work for a university?

creamteas Sat 16-Feb-13 12:20:49

Dizzy yes I'm a social science admissions tutor smile

At ds's school pe is a core subject, one they do not do an exam in. Unless sporty bods choose to do PE GCSE.

But they still have to do PE, a set number of hours a week (cannot remember how many off the top of my head)

I am so glad of this thread. DS1 goes to school 12 miles away by coach so I never see another parent. sad

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 13:38:38

I don't either, my DD walks to school with her friends and I barely know any of their parents; just one who she was friends with at middle school and their DC wants to do something completely different from DD.
Sparklingbrook, if it all gets too much we can always meet up in a pub somewhere seeing as we're localish to each other!

I do feel strangely detached. He has been there since last June and we haven't had a parents evening yet. grin Thanks Dizzy. smile

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 13:47:14

Gosh, DD's school do one every term.

treas Sat 16-Feb-13 19:02:19

Ds is YR8 and having to choose GSCEs now before moving into college in September for YR9. First time the college and school has done this so we have had lots and lots of information starting with a meeting on the first day back after christmas holidays.

Ds won't have to make final choice until March but has already made most of his decisions. Recently been advised that Ds will be on accelerated route - meaning he'll be able to do ScX3 if he wishes.

He is choosing -

Music or German

Music has current upper hand as it would be his creative / lighter option. Although he loves German and has been told he has a talent for it he has only started it last September (6 months) in comparison to French which is nearly 4 years.

As to what he wants to do when leaving school? Your guess is as good as mine but I think he has left his options fairly open with the options he has chosen.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 21:00:18

Music GCSE is a LOT of work from what we have been told by the school, it's a great creative option but it is not a lighter option.

DS1 is thinking of doing Art. I am not keen. No aptitude for music fortunately. smile

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 21:06:08

DD is doing art and design or commercial design. I wasn't convinced at first but she is good at art and music (heaven only knows where she gets that talent from!) but she is keen to do art and I reckon that she can get away with one non-academic subject alongside her other choices.

I have visions of my dining table being buried under art projects for the next few years Dizzy. And endless trips to Hobbycraft. But a non-academic option would be good for him.

Coconutty Sat 16-Feb-13 21:12:45

DS1 is in year 10 and says that Art is his favourite option. History is less popular among his friends as is ICT. Music is very intense but the kids who are musical really enjoy it apparently.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 21:13:42

Oh no, don't mention Hobbycraft - I hadn't thought of that! I suppose it is better than blowing the house up trying recreate splitting the atom or something......as for the dining room table, that assumes you can get your teenager out of their bedroom!

So how does it work with the Art Coconutty? Is there stuff all over the house 'in progress'?

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 21:15:28

My DD is keen not to do music because she can't stand the music teacher (and having met said teacher, I can sympathise), they are great at their job but not easy for DD to get on with. Therefore she is doing art, she's much more keen on that and spends hours every day drawing. She's got grade 3 music and that will have to do.

Sorry if it makes me sound like I would be hindering DS's artistic work. It's just that if he is given a length of time to do an ELP he is hopeless. Stop. Start. Stop. Panic. Do it the night before very noisily. sad

spudmasher Sat 16-Feb-13 21:25:57

Glad I found this thread....and a bit worried at the same time!!!
My DD will be taking 9 GCSEs and that feels like not enough.
Eng lit
Eng Lang
Science x2
Expressive arts

Worried. She only does 3 days a week so I suppose that's the price we pay. I'm hoping we've not made the wrong decision earlier on as she would love to go to uni. Looks like 11 is the norm. But she will still do 3 or even 4 a levels I hope.
Will the lack of GCSEs make a difference? Any ideas anyone?

spudmasher Sat 16-Feb-13 21:26:57

And maths. Obv. Doh.

Coconutty Sat 16-Feb-13 21:27:36

He's quite tidy with it, sparkling lots of sketching and the odd painting. Does take up a lot of time but he said it's relaxing. He does the bigger stuff at school and stays late once a week to use their materials.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 21:28:44

I think there is an increasing tendency for people to focus on quality and not quantity so I can't see a problem with it. When I was at school people usually did 8 or 9 but my DD will be doing 12; that seems like a lot to me.
There is a university admissions person on the thread, maybe they can comment.
Glad that you have found us Spud.
Do you mind if I ask why she only does 3 days a week, are you partly home educating?

spudmasher Sat 16-Feb-13 21:35:26

Not at all DizzyHoneyBee, she is at a performing arts school and has been since Year 7. They do three days academic and two acting, dancing and singing.

She has worked in theatre and tv during that time and has missed school but they do their best to fill the gaps and they are only allowed to go to auditions if they keep up with their academics.

But the focus changes after Easter when they commence the GCSE courses and I am wondering now if it is a good idea to spend so much time on the vocational side. It just makes me nervous, but the vocational stuff does provide a certain amount of rocket fuel to the academics. She knows there will be no work unless she's performing in the academics.

But 9 feels like not many compared to some.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Feb-13 21:37:55

Oh right, I see. It sounds like a good balance then, there is more to life than academic stuff and she's got options with her sciences plus a language and a humanity - to my inexperienced mind anyway. Better 9 with good grades than 12 average ones.

spudmasher Sat 16-Feb-13 21:46:52

I hope so.......the school felt like a good idea at the time and she has had a ball, but we are feeling very wobbly now with just the 9 GCSEs.
She has a few credits under her belt so we are hoping she can go on to a vocational college for A levels but the industry is so fickle.
I suppose she could always do more GCSEs in the future if need be.
What we do have is a vision from her- brief stage/ screen career followed by a career in directing/ casting. So at least she has a path mapped out to aim for!!! That seems like half the problem for many on this thread......but at age 14/ 13 how are they really meant to know???!!!!!

SanityClause Sat 16-Feb-13 21:56:02

Dual science isn't two sciences ie say, physics and chemistry, but not biology. It's a bit of each. So at DD1's school, if you get at least an A for the, say, physics exam, you can do physics at A level/IB. So in theory, you could do dual science at GCSE, and three sciences at A level.

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 22:00:22

spudmasher we had a parents evening last week about options and the head said that the government has just said that they should only do 8 GCSEs and absolutely no more. They are worried that children are being made to do more and more to outdo the competition and have no time to do anything else so in future the emphasis really will be on 8 good ones. At my DDs school they have reduced it from 12 to 10...And they also said that universities worry more about the grade profile than the number so 8 As or A*s is much better than 8*s and 1B...confused

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 16-Feb-13 22:01:37

Hi smile

Ds has just handed his option form in. He's doing:

English lang and lit
Chemistry and Physics
German, Spanish, Latin and (possibly) Greek
RS and History.

I know no one from his school either. sad

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 22:02:52

You all sound lovely, can we make this our school gate and meet again? smile

spudmasher Sat 16-Feb-13 22:08:26

YippeeTeenager..........that makes me feel better!!!! I'm going to google that tomorrow. It does make sense to get some decent grades rather than lots of mediocre ones. But my Dd will still need to really focus as the 3 days will need to suffice. I really hope she can get all she needs during her academic days.

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 22:15:40

My DD has to choose now but she's only in Year 7 - they do a 3 year GSCE course rather than 2. She's only just turned 13 so it seems much too early to be worrying about what will look better on a university application. I think she's going for:

English Lit
English Lang
Computer Science
Philosophy and Ethics

I think she should be doing a language really? [hmmm]

Yippee this school gate is the best one I have been to. grin I don't get to do school gates any more, DS1 on the coach and DS2 bikes.

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 22:16:24

Oh no, that was supposed to be a hmm

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 22:20:36

Me too Sparklingbrook, school gate is horrible, should be banned and everyone should collect their DCs at the school drivethru... grin

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 16-Feb-13 22:22:38

A language would be helpful, Yippee. Does she have any idea of the sort of job/career that she wants to go into?

OddBoots Sat 16-Feb-13 22:24:09

I'm just coming to the end of my school gate time as dd is in Y5 and walks part way by herself now. I've been quite lucky to have good parents to chat to over the years, we catch up via facebook now we meet less often.

It's really good to chat here and see what other schools do.

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 22:43:02

Hi LadyMaryQuiteContrary, she doesn't really know - she quite fancies being an architect. She's very strong at maths, sciences and art. The school have said that they don't absolutely have to do a language and that they could do Latin instead of a modern one. If she could do 11 then she'd do Latin but with only 10 she can't fit it in. I'm thinking she should maybe do Latin instead of Philosophy and Ethics but that would be a shame as the P&E course sounds really interesting and she's very keen. What do you think? She's really good at Latin and they've said she could do Latin and Greek as one option, that would lead to 2 separate GSCES...Any advice very gratefully received. I want her to choose herself - but not get it wrong! confused

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 16-Feb-13 22:49:03

I told ds to think about what he enjoyed and stick with that. Latin is fun if you can grasp it but would serve no purpose if she wants to be an architect. Philosophy and Ethics teach a different way of thinking and she'd always be able to use the skills that she picks up from studying this. Ds wants to be a barrister so Latin is useful. He's ditched biology because he doesn't like the idea of dissecting things. I did explain that it's not all like this, he couldn't study all he wanted to though so something had to go.

Theas18 Sun 17-Feb-13 09:14:02

Someone asked for advice about what not to do:

If say fine art unless you are seriously gifted/wasn't to continue.

It was terrible for dd1 -so much work-more that you can ever envisage, and shewas disappointed with an A, having been led to believe she was working at A* level.....

My 2 who have done it so far have found music very easy but they have been very experienced and able.the performance stuff was straight forward. I'd they are going to struggle with that side, think about it.

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 09:16:43

Languages are useful, but not essential, and can always be picked up later on. Many unis offer language classes outside of the main degree.

Lady Schools obviously differ, but none of mine have ever dissected anything at GCSE level.....

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 17-Feb-13 10:41:55

They've already dissected an animal heart, creamteas. He didn't want to do that so sat on the opposite side of the room.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 17-Feb-13 12:09:43

Can I join please ? We're a bit behind with options evening not happening until next month. The rest of my friends had it to contend with last week but DD has gone to a different school.

We've obviously discussed it but not seen the leaflet yet. Current plan is :

English Lit
English Lang

We had a letter saying DD talented at Art and asking us to encourage her to either Art, photography or textiles. Have heard dreadful things about Art course load. I don't know anything about photography but DH pointed out it might be a useful skill to have in every day life so going with that.

She's not keen on Spanish or Geography but prefers them to History and French so going with those from the point of view of trying to get a good balance. Guess we'll decide further when we finally get the booklet.

treas Sun 17-Feb-13 12:57:51

DizzyHoneyBee - wasn't suggesting Music to be a light option just the lighter option out of the ones ds has chosen for GCSE.

Unfortunately, ds's music teacher has mentioned in ds's hearing that he would have no trouble in doing well in Music GCSE, so now I have to be the voice of
doom reason and nag remind him that he has to work hard and pull out all the stops as he'll have to do group performances.

DizzyHoneyBee Sun 17-Feb-13 14:17:31

Sorry treas, didn't mean to suggest that you were suggesting that, more I didn't want you thinking it was lighter in terms of work and then finding that your DS had a terrible shock!

Why do teachers have to say that....my DD has been told that she will have no problem getting A*/A and I was not impressed, it's stupid IMO because she may not get A*/A and it just puts the pressure on, though it does allow for semi stealth boasting on MN grin...just wish they wouldn't do it, it's futile.

I much prefer this school gate too smile

MelodyBaker Mon 18-Feb-13 16:14:24

Can I join?
dds school do some Gsces in year 10 and some in year 11.
She's doing (if she gets them!)
Maths (compulsory),
English lit and lang (compulsory)
Rs and citizenship (compulsory)
Core and additional science (compulsory)
Business studies (her choice)
Spanish (her choice)
Geography (her choice)
And history (her choice)
all very academic!

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 18-Feb-13 17:27:08

Course you can Melody, the more the merrier smile

doglover Mon 18-Feb-13 19:15:22

Our dd is planning to study:

Eng Lit
Eng Lang
Media Studies

I'm a bit 'meh' about the Media Studies selection but she really doesn't want to do Spanish or Astronomy which are the other options. If the rest of the subjects are conventional, does it matter if she's got a 'studies' in there?!!

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 18-Feb-13 19:23:17

I wouldn't have thought so; she is doing triple science which is a good academic base and she's got a language and a humanity. I'd encourage astronomy because I did it and loved it it is a great combination with physics but I'm sure one "studies" is OK too.
My DD is doing much the same as yours - she's doing the same but has swapped history for geography, engineering for music and art and design for media studies.

doglover Mon 18-Feb-13 19:35:57

Thanks, dhb. Our dd is not really 'sciencey' - top set and will do well - but loves her English, History and Music. I'd feel a bit mean encouraging her to do another subject that isn't really her thing, if you know what I mean. Her A levels will probably be the 3 subjects listed above - she can't wait to drop maths and chemistry!!

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 19-Feb-13 11:59:29

Out of interest, what made you encourage her to do triple science rather than other stuff that fits with the ones she will do at A Level, geography and stuff like that?
Just curious, not being critical.
What does she want to do after A levels?

doglover Tue 19-Feb-13 15:42:55

Because she's in the 'accelerated' set - they started their science GCSE courses last Sept - they have no choice for these subjects. She's ok-ish about it - all her friends are following the same pathway.

Gosh, the whole after A level bit is a complete mystery! Our dd is starting to really stressed about the whole uni / career thing. She doesn't want to teach (I'm a teacher so can completely understand that!!), doesn't want to work in an office, doesn't want to do anything ................................ Can you see a pattern here?! We make suggestions and nothing is currently 'right'. She is seeing a Careers person after half term so hope that might give her some pointers.

There does seem to be a lot of pressure on them to get their future mapped out at a very early age.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 19-Feb-13 16:00:23

I don't get why some schools teach GCSE's over three years. Surely it's a 2 year course? confused

MelodyBaker Tue 19-Feb-13 16:02:49

My dds school do them over 1 year! I think its ridiculous

FrogPrincess Tue 19-Feb-13 16:06:22

OOh just the thread I need!
Dd is doing
English Language
English Literature
and is choosing the following options
and either Classical Civilisation or Music

Now, any advice on which she should pick out of these two? She is very good at English (level 8) and History (level 7), and also at music (although a bit lazy, she is talented, plays cello, bass guitar, sings and has just begun acoustic guitar). Her dream is to study English at Oxford or go to RADA!!!


DizzyHoneyBee Tue 19-Feb-13 16:27:07

doglover, now it makes sense. They have a pathway like that at DD's school but she still gets a choice about triple or core science; although they have recommended the advanced one it doesn't mean she has to do it and would be able to choose the vocational one if she wanted. That would be over my dead body entirely with my support!

frogprincess, welcome. I think I'd go for music if I was your DD.

DizzyHoneyBee Wed 20-Feb-13 14:57:12

OK, here we go again - I thought we had got it sorted but a letter has just arrived which has sent us back to the drawing board.
DD has just had a letter saying that she has been identified as having a particular talent for art and that the teacher is keen for her to have the opportunity to do art so is offering her a place on an hour and a half long lesson after school to do art gcse. The reason for this is a lot of academic students who are talented at art have been dropping it in order to do a more academic subject.

Now DD had already planned her options to include art. As well as the core subjects she is doing triple science, applied engineering, geography, fine art and AS level critical thinking. She'll be doing 12 GCSEs in all.

If she switched art to the after school class then she could do either business studies, french or german in it's place. She wants to do science at A level and university so I (and she) don't think any of those are particularly worth having to extra lessons after school so she can do art. I also think that 13 GCSEs is too much work and not a good idea and she agrees so I think we'll politely say thanks but no thanks.

Any thoughts please?

webwiz Wed 20-Feb-13 16:22:00

12 GCSEs is more than enough - DS is in year 11 and doing 11 + an ict thing and its loads of work. I wish he was doing less actually but he'll have to grit his teeth and get on with it as not long left now.

Incogneetow Wed 20-Feb-13 17:29:09

I would be reluctant for students to do an extra-curricular subject, unless they can't do it otherwise. 1.5 hrs after school lesson will also require several hours of independent work - ie homework - for the subject too.

ds1 is a very able student, but is actually only doing 9.5 GCSEs (standard at his school). He's in yr11 and is doing exceptionally well in all subjects, and has had some time over the past two years to pursue some of his own interests too. Those 9 top/very high grades will be sufficient to enable him to do pretty much anything in future, there's no need for more. (He did Maths, 2 Eng, Triple Science, German, History, IT GCSE).

Given a free choice he would have liked to have done a few more: another language, maybe Classical Civilisation, Statistics... But it would have a been a huge amount more work required.

Blimey Dizzy, just when you thought it was all sorted. sad This options malarkey is confusing. I don't even remember doing my options. Other than dropping Cookery because the teacher was a witch.

DizzyHoneyBee Wed 20-Feb-13 18:55:03

DD and I have come to the conclusion that it's not worth it, she would be choosing another subject for the sake of it. Thanks for the comments here, it's helped confirm that we've made the right decision.
I can remember my options, completely useless for what I decided to do later on but such is life.

She may get another letter tomorrow about another subject Dizzy. grin

DizzyHoneyBee Wed 20-Feb-13 20:13:50

Don't say that!!! It'll be music if she does.....but hell will freeze over before she does that as she doesn't like any of the music teachers and it is a lot of work when she already has a fair whack of work with what she has chosen already.

If they offer DS after school lessons he would have to get the late bus home. It leaves at 5pm. sad

Horsemad Wed 20-Feb-13 22:17:29

Can I join please? Have DS1 doing GCSEs this year and DS2 is 14 this week & is just choosing options now, he wants to be a primary school teacher.

He is choosing

Resistant Materials

will also do

Eng Lang
Eng Lit

They have to choose one reserve subject which in his case is German and one reserve technology which will be Product Design.

Not looking forward to 2015 as will have one doing A levels and one doing GCSEs shock

DizzyHoneyBee Thu 21-Feb-13 07:51:52

Welcome HorseMad, you'd get on well with my DD if your moniker is anything to go by.
Many sympathies re A level and GCSE timing.

Horsemad Thu 21-Feb-13 10:19:47

Thanks Dizzy -yes, was rubbish family planning!! grin

You have a Horsemad in the family I take it?

FrogPrincess Thu 21-Feb-13 10:25:09

Thanks DizzyHoneyBee, may i ask why music rather than classical civilisation? And how heavy is the workload in Music? I assume for CC it will be similar to History?

MelodyBaker Thu 21-Feb-13 18:32:09

Dd got a letter (she handed her form In 3 weeks ago) today saying she has been picked for triple science and it will not take any space up for her chosen options and too see her head of year tomorrow to tell her what she's doing.
It would be instead of core and additional.
What should she do? I think she shouldn't as she wants to be a history teacher and won't need it. She wants too but its 18 hours a fortnight...
Help!!! I thought we had done this bit

DizzyHoneyBee Thu 21-Feb-13 21:20:42

Frogprincess, I just thought music would be good with there already being a good choice of academic subjects. I think the workload is hefty but have no experience other than what people have said.
Melody, I'd go for it, it's a good back up option and it's an extra GCSE.

MelodyBaker Thu 21-Feb-13 21:28:02

I think she will go for It. It does take up a lot of time though. I never really got good grades in science and would like dd to have a chance.

LynetteScavo Thu 21-Feb-13 21:40:59

treas mentioned maths x 2. What is that?

DS is doing Eng X 2 and Science X 3, but I haven't heard of maths X 2.

He has chosen Business Studies as one option. He is also doing RE (complulory) and Geography.

I'm panicking now that he should be doing History rather than Bushiness Studies, but as he is already doing two humanities it wouldn't matter. (He was thinking of photography, but is not artistic so I discouraged it, and pushed him towards Business Studies) It has be suggested to me that RG uni's won't like it, but I can't find any evidence of that.

Incogneetow Thu 21-Feb-13 22:00:22

In some schools top sets do Maths GCSE then statistics GCSE.
Others do Maths GCSE then FSMQ

LynetteScavo Thu 21-Feb-13 22:08:17

He's top set. What's FSMQ?

Incogneetow Fri 22-Feb-13 07:46:03


At my son's school they just do the straight Maths GCSE at the end of yr11, no other Maths qualification.
There's really no need for them to do endless extra qualifications. He's doing them this time and is predicted A* in Maths, and a selective sixth form have happily accepted him to do Maths and Further Maths on that basis, even though many of their own students do FSMQ.

LynetteScavo Fri 22-Feb-13 09:07:45

Oh, thanks. As far as I know DSs school just offer maths.

Does anyone think Business Studies is an unwise option?

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 22-Feb-13 09:18:38

Horsemad, yes I have a horsemad in the family - my DD.
Re business studies and the Russell group, have a look at Informed Choices as it may give useful advice for that and other subjects.

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 22-Feb-13 09:23:03

I also found this:

The list of courses they like i.e. more theoretically based, give the greatest flexibility or "facilitate" in the admissions processes are as follows:

Mathematics and futher mathematics
Languages (modern and classic)

List of generally more vocational based qualifications they mention as less preferred include:
media studies
Art and design
Business studies

which was here

and these:



DizzyHoneyBee Fri 22-Feb-13 09:25:33

Apparently students applying to university should have at least two of the facilitating subjects at A level. It looks like GCSEs are less important, though they do say that Maths is important and you should have a C at GCSE or better if you are not offering Maths A level. I expect that depends on what you want to do at university but I think that a C at Maths GCSE is probably a popular request from universities for some degrees.

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 22-Feb-13 09:32:39

Other stuff from informed choices that looks useful to know:

Universities may ask for a specific number of GCSEs (or their equivalent).
For example, a number of medical courses ask for five (sometimes more)
A* grades.
GCSE English or another standard level equivalent is very often required at
Grade C at least. At many universities, this is a universal entry requirement
for any course. Mathematics is only slightly less commonly asked for.
Occasionally, a university will require a foreign language for entry to any
course, for example, University College London has introduced such a
requirement from 2012 entry.
For many courses a B grade at least in GCSE English is needed with
science and engineering courses in particular often specifying this. Equally,
courses such as Business and Psychology, which may attract applicants
who aren’t necessarily strong mathematicians, commonly ask for a B grade
in Mathematics and, in some cases, sciences.

As this document demonstrates, the English Baccalaureate includes
academic subjects highly valued by the Russell Group but it is not currently
required for entry to any Russell Group university.

The GCSE or other standard level entrance requirements for individual
degree courses are quite varied. In some cases, a particular subject or
grade is required at standard level if it isn’t being offered at advanced level.
The summary below gives an idea of some of the GCSE requirements that
you might come across for certain degree courses. Remember that these
are only examples. It’s important to check university websites for detailed
requirements before applying.
• Applicants to study Medicine are usually required to have very good GCSE
results in Maths, Science, and English.
• For a degree in English, universities often look for applicants to have a GCSE
in a modern or classical language.
• For a Business degree, a grade B in GCSE Maths is often required.
• A grade B in Maths and sometimes Science is often required for a degree
in Psychology.
• To study a science subject at university (including Biology, Chemistry or
Physics) applicants who are not offering Maths at advanced level will often need to have achieved a grade C in Maths at GCSE.

LynetteScavo Fri 22-Feb-13 10:58:36

Thank you. So it doesn't seem to make any difference if he does photography or BS - and I'm sure he will do much better in BS than photography.

I'm going to speak to the school about him doing History rather than BS. It's a lot of humanities, though- RE History and Geography, isn't it? confused

OddBoots Fri 22-Feb-13 11:33:13

I've been a little worried as ds seems to only being doing 7-9 GCSEs (Eng lit and 3rd science depends on his results in a few months) which is standard at his school and that doesn't seem many but now looking at the university entrance requirements I think maybe doing fewer of them but spending proportionally more time on each shouldn't hinder him much if at all. I could just be talking myself into that to stop myself getting into a panic though!

LynetteScavo Fri 22-Feb-13 18:44:15

OddBoots, personally I think it's better to do less subject, and achieve higher grades than do more subjects and do less well in each one.

I think as long as you have 5 B's required to do A'levels (that's what it is for DSs school and the other school we were considering for A'levels - don't know about elsewhere) then it should be fine. I think Uni's, unless the course is really popular, look mostly at A'level results, and people get far too worked up about what GCSE reslults will mean long term. Although I'm prepared to be told otherwise.

5madthings Fri 22-Feb-13 19:03:31

We are at this stage as well, ds1 is aug born and in yr 9. He moved schools in nov as we werent happy with old school. The new one is great.

He has to take

Eng lang and eng lit
Triple science
Citizenship studies/re
Ict btec

Then will also do
Computer science

He is in top sets for everything and doing great, his parents evening was embarrassingly positive just before half term. But i am pleased he has settled in so well and is now enjoying school again smile

LynetteScavo Fri 22-Feb-13 19:38:59

5madthings, are you worried about no language?

DS will be doing
English X 2
Science X 3
Product Design (I want him to do something vaguely arty)
Business studies - which I'm now going to desperately try to change to History. DH is rolling his eyes. DS says "whatever".

Jux Fri 22-Feb-13 20:03:44

DD has just chosen. There wasn't a great deal of choice, tbh, as apparently she had to do 3 sciences (it's the law??? Dd did not say this, her tutor did). This meant that in the end she had to choose between art and music, which was a massive problem.

So she is now doing

Ancient history - which apparently is two GCSEs

She's fab at French, English and History, RE and Art. Is not so hot on maths, but is somewhere in the middle of the top set (but she hates it). She's not done any German but nor has anyone else at the school so they have an introductory course at the end of this year to prepare them. Her language teachers seem confident.

It looks like a lot of work to me. Mind you, it was normal for pupils to do 10-12 O levels in my day (I didn't!), so maybe it's OK?

cricketballs Fri 22-Feb-13 20:08:39

Lynette - I am pasting a post I put on MN earlier this year to put your mind at rest regarding Business...

There is a huge preconception that business is a soft subject mainly mn however if you actually look at the spec there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

The subject content has a huge range from ownership types, legal, finance, HR, motivation, basic economics, marketing amongst other things which gives students a insight into the world of work and a taste of the different aspects to a business which every working adult will face at some point in their careers.

The skills needed to achieve a high grade are on a par with the traditional academic subjects, for example there is a lot of analysis and evaluation skills needed; especially in the controlled assessment.

Business Studies enables students to understand the real world that is happening now; gives them an insight into what they will be facing (no matter what career path they follow) in the future; gives them a taste of several different aspects to a business and is one of the most popular subjects studied at degree level in either its pure business form or as an specialised aspect.

But my main defence of my subject is that this is basic common education that every young adult needs to make sense of the world we live in, to make sense of the decision that are made at work, to try and make sense of the decisions made by governments, to understand the implications of these decisions etc - in fact it should be compulsory wink

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 22-Feb-13 20:34:56

My DD had very little choice-compulsory core, triple science, history or geography, Spanish or French, full course PE and RE.This left her with three free choices one of which had to be a DT subject... So she chose ICT, music and drama. Thankfully they do these 13 GCSEs over three years so not quite as pressurised as one might think. They also all do the duke of Edinburgh bronze as part of their PE in year 9 and

Having said that the huge number of compulsory subjects to enable the ebaac means that, unlike many of her friends at other schools, she was allowed to take both of her passions- music and drama.

5madthings Fri 22-Feb-13 20:35:06

lynette i am a bit concerned but he hates french. His french teacher sats he will easily get a b grade if not an a but ds1 hates it. So i think its bwtter he does subjects he enjoys.

I had forgotten to say statistics is an after school extra the maths teacher is running as an extra for ds1 and a few others. He said ds1 is the most able mathematician he has seen at his age blush

Ds1 was also interested in media studies possibly but i worry its a 'soft' subject and he would have to drop history or geography to do it.

ByTheSea Fri 22-Feb-13 20:49:47

DD1 has to take maths, english X 2, biology, chemistry, physics, religious studies, critical thinking, ICT (completing in Y9), history or geography, French or German, and 2 additional options (she needed to pick 3 just in case). She has chosen history and German and also Latin and psychology, with Spanish as a third voice is Latin or psych are not available. I think she'll be ok with this selection. She's an all rounder with particular strength in languages and humanities. It's very academic but it's what you'd expect of her super-selective grammar.

ByTheSea Fri 22-Feb-13 20:50:32

Oh yeah, she has statistics too.

I'm amazed at how little choice some of your children have, seems like Gove is getting his way!

Does anyone have a ds doing dance gcse, or and older child that has done/is doing it?


webwiz Fri 22-Feb-13 22:53:10

DD2 did dance GCSE - what do you want to know maddie?

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 23-Feb-13 08:51:00

DD won't be doing a language either, it did concern me a bit at first but she wants to concentrate on science so I'm just living with it. She's doing applied engineering, triple science, geography, art and design and AS level critical thinking for her options and then English x 2, Maths, RE, PE and ICT.

The school do DofE for those who want it but she's doing it outside of school with a club she is a member of, we're just sorting out her voluntary work at the moment.
She could do an extra academic subject and do art and design after school but we've looked at the list of what is on offer instead of art during school hours there is nothing that makes it worthwhile doing a subject after school

5madthings Sat 23-Feb-13 09:52:01

dizzy ds1 was offered as level critical thinking but having spokem to friends who teach in high schools about it we opted against.

Hi webwiz, I guess just how high does the standard of dance need to be. Ds does musical theatre, but not ballet or formal dance lessons. He is considering them.

It's a boys school and dance is a new GCSE for them. He would be hoping to aim for a grade B. I think I'm feeling a bit nervous about it as it's not likely to be chosen by many boys.

Any advice would be welcome, thanks smile

webwiz Sat 23-Feb-13 12:51:58

Maddie for DD2's course they had to learn a set work and perform it as well as write their own choreography for a group dance. DD2 had years of experience doing ballet and scored very highly on the set work but the choreography turned into a bit of a nightmare! If you have a lot of dance experience then you have developed a good memory for dance movements but that doesn't mean you can't do well with enough practice. Because DD2's group were all such good dancers they ended up taking the GCSE in a year but normally they would spend a lot of the lesson time covering dance technique.

If you know what exam board your DS would be doing then you will be able to have a look at what set work they are using (they keep the same one for a few years) and there will usually be a million you tube videos of it that you can look at and judge the standard. If he's willing to give it a go then it sounds like he'll be fine.

Webwiz, thanks very much for the info. We have looked on you tube and he feels he would be able to do those dances. Think he will start start ballet classes as well to help with posture and poise.


webwiz Sat 23-Feb-13 17:18:06

Hope he enjoys the course Maddie and is a bit more reassured now.

DizzyHoneyBee Sun 24-Feb-13 20:15:16

5madthings, what did your friends say?
We've just filled in the form as she is taking it to school tomorrow so at the moment she's ticked the box for critical thinking but we can change it and keep the form until the 1st.

5madthings Sun 24-Feb-13 20:19:20

They didnt seem to think it worthwhile tbh. Said its very boring and can easily be done at a later date if a student wants/needs it but not worth doing at gcse age as its better to focus on getting good gcse's. None if them.had anything positive to say about it! Sorry if thats not what you wsnted to hear!

DizzyHoneyBee Sun 24-Feb-13 20:25:19

Thanks 5madthings. With the other subjects that DD has picked then I think they will have to take centre stage anyway so I will leave it with her doing it and be prepared to advise dropping it if need be. I think DD is expecting to be doing something like philosophy though it looks different from the example paper I saw online!
It's worth knowing, thank you.

GreenShadow Fri 01-Mar-13 13:03:08

Hello all.
New to this thread, so apologies if I am going over old ground.

We had DSs options evening last night and he has always loved and wanted to do history so we took a a look at the syllabus. It seems a little odd - they only study the American West 1840 - 95 and Medicine in history. It's the OCR board.

He's now uncertain as to whether he actually wants to take History. Is this a very wide spread syllabus? What areas do your DC study?

Horsemad Fri 01-Mar-13 15:50:46

Mine's doing Medicine, Vietnam War & not sure what else in History.

Horsemad Fri 01-Mar-13 15:52:35

We've got Options evening next week. Can't believe I'm at this stage with my baby!!
Where has the time gone? sad

GreenShadow Fri 01-Mar-13 15:59:04

Thanks Horesmad.

There's so much history that is closer to home and of more relevence than 19th Century America, it just seems such an odd choice to me.

Hi Horse. smile We have Options evening on Monday. An hours talk followed by a meet the teacher thing.

Horsemad Fri 01-Mar-13 18:27:39

Hi Sparkling - does he know what he wants to do when he leaves school?

Green have asked my DS1 and he's doing American West and also Surgery in addition to the ones I mentioned earlier. His board is Edexcel.

Tinks313 Fri 01-Mar-13 20:16:33

Hi, I'm feeling a bit disappointed DS had his option meeting today at school and he is not able to take two humanities, not enough students at his school want to take two humanities, so he has had to drop one. He will now be doing:-
Triple science
Eng Lang & Lit
Law (GCSE), this is instead of History.

I guess he will also be doing the compulsory short RE/citizenship course.

I'm disappointed because this is a young lad (year 8) who has no idea what he wants to do in the future and I felt his option choices kept his options open with the two humanities. I'm not sure Law GCSE a good option, or what use it'll be. No real interest in Law. Says it was the best available option in the block.

Not a clue Horse. grin

Horsemad Fri 01-Mar-13 22:19:09

Mine says he wants to be a primary school teacher - or a footballer grin

Are they supposed to know at 13 what they want to do for a career?

Horsemad Fri 01-Mar-13 22:38:22

I still don't know what I'd like to do confused

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 01-Mar-13 22:42:09

We've done the form and submitted it, though this evening it is debatable if my DC will live long enough to take her GCSEs! angry Teenage attitude anybody?

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 01-Mar-13 22:42:46

Love them really lol grin

grin Dizzy DS1 has just had the mother of all strops. He has just come in from footy training and asked if he can have a carton of Orange juice. I said to make himself some squash. Huge explosion. confused

Jux Fri 01-Mar-13 23:56:40

Sparkling, I was well into my 30s before I'd worked out what I wanted to do. Thanks to evening classes etc I had been able to chalk up loads and loads of knowledge since I was 18, so getting a degree was pretty straightforward - and they still had grants (I think I was the last year to get anything like it, paltry as it was. WHen my friends had gone to Uni and I had gone to work - 70s - the grants were more than I earnt!).

OTOH, my younger brother knew when he was 11 what he wanted to do. DH was about the same age.

My daughter has known what she wants to do since she was less than 5.

Despite those 3 people, though, I think it's exceptional to know for sure what you want to do when you're only 13 or so. Though quite a few of dd's contemporaries want to be famous grin

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 02-Mar-13 10:56:59

I was in my 30s too. I always knew what I didn't want to do, well guess what I ended up doing?! I did do well at it but was glad to give it up and retrain. My to both know exactly what they want to do.

As for being famous, I hate it when that is the only ambition that some teenage girls have sad

Jux Sat 02-Mar-13 13:28:50

Yep, and teen boys too.

Tinks313 Sat 02-Mar-13 22:36:04

DS not able to take History due to option blocks. He had chose GCSE Law a a reserve option (but was not expecting to need it). Now tells me he really does not want to study law GCSE, but is thinking of asking to swap to Latin. I'm not sure how best to advise. Just wondering what others would recommend.

DizzyHoneyBee Sun 03-Mar-13 07:36:29

If he's got a good mix of academic subjects for the other options then why not use the last one to choose something that he really enjoys? My DD has done that and opted for fine art as her last one.

MelodyBaker Sun 03-Mar-13 09:19:10

Dds school are faffing us around. Should have had her choices last week. Now we will find out maybe this week more likley the week after.
Dd is climbing the walls! She is desprate to know what she's got. It's rather hilarious that whenever a brown envelope has arrived in the post she asks me to open It as it must be her options and then a meltdown when its a Amazon order.etc!

Hope your all good and your dc will know.soon

OddBoots Sun 03-Mar-13 16:09:24

My ds won't know until May. sad

Is there any need to see the teachers? And if so which do you see and what do you say?

We have an hour's talk in the hall to start with tomorrow. It's going to be a long night....

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 16:18:09

sparkling I found it quite helpful to talk to the teachers and see what they thought re ds1 taking their subject at GCSE. Obv some are compulsory but re the optional ones it helped to get an idea on hoahr is currently doing and how he could be expected to do in GCSE and to find out a bit more about what theory entailed coursework/exam wise and what would be co red re history/geography etc. Our problem was that actually as ds1 is a top set student and expected to get a and a* grades that all the teachers are Keen for him to do their subject.

He has chosen now. 8 compulsory and then history, geography, computer science and statistics.

Thanks 5. Was it chaos like Parents Evenings can be-with big queues for the teachers?

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 16:27:28

Yes it was chaos, we had specific time slots but everyone seemed to ignore them and it was a free for all sad

One teacher we didn't get to see but he really impressed me actually by phoning me up during half term! And we had a lovely chat despite the mad things being noisy, he has three kids himself so got the half term chaos! I was impressed he took the time during the holidays to call me and he was very helpful smile

One bonus was free tea/coffee and biscuits at our evening!

I will have my elbows at the ready. grin

Horsemad Sun 03-Mar-13 17:19:55

Ours is Parents Evening and Options combined, we have appt style here - everyone ignores that and it's a massive free for all grin

OMG Horse, that should be um, interesting. You may need wine

Horsemad Sun 03-Mar-13 17:34:37

grin I think I may Sparkling!!

I remember it well from DS1 - it is chaotic!

creamteas Sun 03-Mar-13 22:31:16

sparkling it is worth finding out teachers think your DC would cope with the subject.

IME you also get an idea of your child's popularity in the staff room. At DS1's option evening the teachers were implicitly shouting 'pick me', 'pick me'. whereas for DS2 it seemed to be the opposite hmm

Sounds bit scary cream. I know his Art teacher wants him to take it but he doesn't want to do Art. Same with Geography. sad

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 22:43:56

Ds1'sfrench teacher went on about how good he was etc, and asked if he would be doing French, ds1 very tactfully said he wasn't sure... At home we know he hates French and it was never an option.

Tbh the evening wasa bit embarrassing for ds1and us as his teachers raved about him and wanted him to do their subject.I am thrilled he is doing so well but worry he has set the bar high for his siblings, ds2starts there in sept and he is a very different child... Bright but 'spirited'....

We have one of those DS2 types 5. grin Middle School here though so they don't get him at High School til Year 8.

DS1 wants to do German but not French. Tomorrow evening could be interesting/cringey grin

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 22:49:42

Yes it was def 'cringey'i feel like if I mention it I am one of 'those' parents with the perfect child. And then there is ds2... Ha ha!

creamteas Sun 03-Mar-13 22:55:26

GCSE option evenings are a bit of a strange experience, just have to get through the last one with DS3 now...

RatherBeOnThePiste Sun 03-Mar-13 23:01:25

Evening all wine

Our letter goes in tomorrow. <Nervous laugh>
On my phone now but going to read all tomo. Seems ridiculous choosing options. DS really can't be old enough, can he?!

I can just imagine-

Art teacher to DS1 'Are you going to take Art?' DS1- 'I'm not sure yet Miss'.

Same question to DS2 in 3 years time-'No Miss'.


Hi Piste. No they are not old enough for all this. sad

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 23:04:39

With ds2 it will be "no way I would rather eat my own puke" or some such wise added comment blush

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 23:05:18

Wise arsed comment...

grin 5. I can't rule him saying that out TBH. I assumed DS2 would be the same as DS1 but it hasn't worked like that. DH and I are fairly quiet people and so is DS1 but DS2's personality has come as a real shock!

5madthings Sun 03-Mar-13 23:15:08

Its funny how different they can be!

Ds3 is similar to ds1. Ds4 is similar to ds2... And dd...well not sure but at 26mths she already knows what she does and doesn't want...

I can't believe I have another four children to get through the high school and teen years... What was I thinking?!!

creamteas Sun 03-Mar-13 23:53:25

5 I have four, and the teen years get easier as you know the ropes, and stop fretting over the details. So with eldest I worried about what age to do this and that, but now I look back and see what a waste of time it was because teens do what they want with or without you

Two have now left home which is definitely easier grin

AmazingDisgrace Mon 04-Mar-13 00:01:25

Totally agree it gets easier with subsequent DCs..Fretted like mad for DD quite chilled out with DS1 who's just done his. Triple science History, Geography and Latin. Everything else was compulsory including his MFL in German

5madthings Mon 04-Mar-13 00:04:00

Oh so glad there is hope! Tbh we have had three days of grumpy teen and ds2 and ds3 bickering; poorly ds4, plus i have my period and a non sleeping toddler... Dp took them all out for a few hours today before i throttled them! Still tomorrow is another day grin

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 04-Mar-13 10:30:52

We have had DS choosing GCSEs and DD choosing A levels, hers was much harder as it really will impact on the next steps after school.

In addition to the core subjects, he will do geography, history and electronics. He will do double science, and his language is German.

Can't believe he is old enough or mature enough. I vote we all have lots of gin lined up.

AmazingDisgrace Mon 04-Mar-13 10:43:20

DD chose her A levels a couple of months ago so the pressure is on now to ensure she gets the grades at GCSE. Yes gin and lots of it

Horsemad Mon 04-Mar-13 15:36:23

I find it weird that DS1 has chosen his A level subjects before he's done his GCSEs!

Logistically, I know it has to be done this way, but it felt very strange.

Sparkling - good luck for tonight grin

Thanks Horse. DS1 has come home with a 40 page booklet titled 'Options Pathways' and a form to put his choices with subject columns and 'reserve choices' boxes. confused

They had an assembly today and were told 'it's not as complicated as it seems'. Let's hope so.

Now what to wear..........

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 04-Mar-13 20:23:18

Sparkling, it's not as complicated as it seems when you get down to it. We had that booklet as well and the form sounds much the same.
We sent the form in last week and I've forgotten about it now, thankfully as we have Important Visitors at work the next two days (remember what my occupation is!)

Thanks Dizzy. Well we are back and he has lots of decisions to make re Triple/Double Science and the Baccalaureate thing. German and History a definite, probably Business Studies. The 4th choice is proving a bit harder.

DS1 says he's worried about how hard the next two years will be. sad

Horsemad Mon 04-Mar-13 23:01:30

It can be a bit daunting for them, but hopefully he has good teachers and it won't be too bad for him.

The teachers were lovely. It was a rare treat to actually go into the school. He goes on the coach. So I got to put some names to faces re teachers and his friends. smile

He has until the 15th to get the form back. They have vertical tutoring so I have told him to go in tomorrow and quiz some of the year 10s in his tutor group about what the subjects are like.

BackforGood Mon 04-Mar-13 23:18:07

Can I join? Been to dd's parents evening, and separate options evening within 4 days of each other - not quite sure I've understood the logic of that hmm
Been really surprised by her school - no-one has been encouraging her to take their options, even though all her reports are excellent, levels are excellent, everyone starts off saying how lovely she is to teach. Found it really wierd, as I have an older ds at a different school. When it was his trun, the teachers were, as other have said above, virtually dragging him over to thier tables to sign him up, even though he's more...er... how can I phrase this... shall we say ...'more of a challenge to teach' than dd, and never, in a million years was he ever going to get above average grades.
Really wierd how they do it differently.
Still not sure what to put for dd's options - the 3 she's edging towards are definitely not what dh wants her to do, but then, he hasn't been to the options evenings or parents evening.....

crazymum53 Tue 05-Mar-13 09:07:28

Am lurking on this thread as we will be having to choose next year. Seems to be much more choice available these days.
My dh has always resented the fact that his father chose his options for him and then wondered why he didn't get top results! Yes you can guide your children and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of possible options with them but they may lose motivation is not given some choice themselves. There are many subjects that you can study at A level or degree level without a GCSE in that subject so dcs may have another chance to study some options.

SanityClause Tue 05-Mar-13 09:15:59

There is a really useful booklet from the Russell Group, which give details of probable A levels required for various degree courses. You can download it from this page. It does also mention which GCSEs are useful.

DD1's school has a sixth form handbook, which gives details of GCSE requirements to study an A level, there. So, we worked through it, to make sure she has lots of bases covered with her GCSEs.

She doesn't know what she wants to do for a living, so it's more a matter of keeping as many options open as possible, for her.

Horsemad Tue 05-Mar-13 09:16:25

We've told our DC to choose subjects they enjoy - they have to do all the important ones anyway such as Maths English and the 3 Sciences, plus a language so it doesn't leave a lot else to choose from.

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 29-Mar-13 09:10:05

So, how is it all going? All decisions made?

My DD said that her school have started speaking to some people about their options and trying to rejig things so they can get as many people in the options they want and so on. She's not been spoken to so is assuming that she has her options.

speedology Fri 05-Jul-13 20:06:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

BlotOnTheLandscape Sat 27-Sep-14 18:43:23

Yes, I know it's a zombie thread - I couldn't find a new one.
We've just had the exam timetable - frighteningly real now!

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