Are these GCSE choices too limiting?

(33 Posts)
CeliaFate Sun 09-Feb-14 20:17:36

Dd is taking her options (in Wales). Compulsory subjects are Maths, English, RE, Welsh, PE, PSE, Science - either Science which is 1 gsce, Science+additional science which are 2 gsces, 2 sciences or 3 sciences.

Dd wants to take Science (1), Art, IT, Welsh Bacc, German and Geography.

Our concerns are her choices contain too many "soft" subjects and not enough traditional academic subjects.

Are our concerns justified, or are her choices good?

MaureenMLove Sun 09-Feb-14 20:20:48

Does she have any idea what she's aiming for as a career/job? They don't seem soft at all to me tbh. I think that's quite a good set.

CeliaFate Sun 09-Feb-14 20:25:04

She's interested in photography but doesn't really have a firm idea in mind.

MaureenMLove Sun 09-Feb-14 20:33:59

DD does photography at college. She took it at Yr12. Strangely, she did almost identical subjects to your DD, with the exception of Welsh, as we are in England! grin

I think they sound just fine. Enough scope for her to change her mind on the photography between now and 6th form. (I hope she has the option for photography in 6th form?)

MillyMollyMama Sun 09-Feb-14 20:41:06

CeliaFate. Sorry to be dumb, but how many GCSEs is this? There seem to be a lot of compulsory ones. Are PE and PSE GCSEs?

I would consider double science, though, not single. About 10 GCSEs is enough. Could this be Maths, 2 x Science, English, German, Art, Geography, RE, Welsh and either PE or IT? Is the Welsh Bacc a combination of the above or a separate qualification? Is it necessary?

I don't think anything here is particularly soft, except the idea of single science, but it looks like overload!

CeliaFate Sun 09-Feb-14 20:48:26

The PE and PSE aren't GSCEs, but are compulsory. RE and Welsh are compulsory GCSEs and can be either short course for les academic or full GCSEs for more academic students.

Really it's determined on what science they choose. If she chooses single science she has 5 choices. Science plus additional she has 4 choices. If she did 3 sciences, she'd have 3 choices.

The Welsh Bacc as I understand it counts as 3 GCSEs on paper, but really it's only 1. confused. It's developing skills that employers are looking for - an awareness of socio-economic issues, political issues, knowledge of Wales as a country and its place in the world.

Double science better than single science, in my opinion. Otherwise they sound fine.

Disclaimer: know nothing about the Welsh education system.

MaureenMLove Sun 09-Feb-14 21:04:06

Is that what's worrying you? Whether she should do at least Double Science and drop an option? Which option do you want her to change?

I think the Art would be useful for future photographer, but not essential. Keep the Geography & German.

CeliaFate Sun 09-Feb-14 21:09:58

Yes, it's the single science that's concerning us. We'd like her to do double science and drop IT or Welsh Bacc. She really wants to do the latter and says the former will be essential for photography as they learn how to use editing programmes like photoshop! That sounds like an exaggeration to me, but what do I know?! grin

superlambanana Sun 09-Feb-14 21:13:54

Tell her to do what she enjoys, is good at, and will work hard at. IME (former teacher) that's the most likely success recipe! They do actually sound like a good combination anyway.

Chopchopbusybusy Sun 09-Feb-14 21:18:34

I'd agree that she should do additional science and I'd say she should drop IT. Both of my DDs found IT pointless.

NearTheWindmill Sun 09-Feb-14 21:18:58

Well my dd is doing GCSEs this year and you have totally confused me. She's doing:

Eng Lang
Eng Lit
Spanish
French
Latin
RS
Geography
Triple science (bio, phys, chem)
Maths

Less academic than that and I would be concerned.

Double science, you don't need to do IT to learn to use photoshop, loads of tutorials on the web.

Welsh bacc sounds like a load of hot air, and a total waste of time. Art is well worth considering if she wants to do photography, lots of the same processes of studying other artists work and applying their ideas to your own. DD1 quite often uses photographs in her art.

grin NearTheWindmill: I think you'd be hard pushed to find a more academic combination that that.

NearTheWindmill Sun 09-Feb-14 21:28:42

I was hard pushed to find a state school that offered it threebee and the one we found had lost its handle on behaviour and expectations shock.

kernowal Sun 09-Feb-14 21:34:02

near this is a genuine question, but why would you be concerned if someone didn't want to take 11 purely academic papers as your child seems to be doing? Very few schools would give the opportunity to take 3 languages and triple science, as far as I'm aware and most encourage at least 1 fluffier subject. 5 good GCSEs at grades A to C is is the holy grail for a lot of kids.

MaureenMLove Sun 09-Feb-14 21:35:10

I agree, dump the IT. Let's face it, unless it's IT where they learn how to write programmes, what teenager in this day and age, doesn't know their way round around a computer?

DD is doing Photography and until she started college, she'd never used Photoshop and didn't do IT at GCSE. She picked it up in an instant.

Keep Art. I think it comes hand in hand with Photography.

janeyjampot Sun 09-Feb-14 21:35:11

I think you need 2 sciences to do a science A level, so I'd want to include additional science just to make sure that you don't close any doors later, IYSWIM.

unless it's IT where they learn how to write programmes

My DS' school offers this as an alternative to ICT; it's called Computing.

MaureenMLove Sun 09-Feb-14 21:43:29

I think all schools have to do it now. It was new on the curriculum for the current Yr7s. We have certainly introduced Computer Studies.

Just like it was in the old days really! I did computer studies on the most enormous machines! grin

NearTheWindmill Sun 09-Feb-14 21:47:10

kernow I wouldn't be concerned if someone didn't want to take 11 academic subjects but I do think that if a school calls itself a comprehensive then it has to cater for the needs of the most academic and not offering those sorts of subjects does not.

I fully appreciate that five GCSE's are the holy grail for most but the comprehensive system is supposed to be designe to fit all not most. If it can't fit all then it can't call itself comprehensive in my opinion.

It's also very strange how even first division independents provide those sorts of subjects for dc who wouldn't necessarily make grammar school. It's a question of education compared to qualifications.

kernowal Sun 09-Feb-14 22:18:29

Thanks for explaining your reasoning near, but I've assumed that these subjects are the OP's daughter's shortlist of preferred papers, rather than simply the only options the school offers. I interpreted your comment as meaning that those were the only options a school should offer.

I agree with everyone recommending double science and art would give a bit of downtime each week. A humanity subject like geography is always useful to broaden her range. Would the Welsh bac be in addition to Welsh GCSE & is Welsh her first language or spoken locally? Let us know what she finally decides to do.

MillyMollyMama Sun 09-Feb-14 23:55:44

Hi OP. Can't really see many employers being desperate for the Welsh Bacc. The best bet is to go for the double science and the Art and Geography. IT has no bearing on Photography. If she is genuinely interested in photography she should be camera savvy by now and have photoshop to experiment with.

No-one really wants more than 9-10 GCSEs and these should include, in addition to the Maths, Science (x2) English (x2) and a Language (or two) a humanity, an art and possibly the RE and Welsh short courses. The less she does, the better her grades might be and no-one will expect any more than this, whatever she does in the future!

venturabay Mon 10-Feb-14 08:22:38

Celia that is not in any way a soft option list. She should do what she wants in any event unless there's a very strong reason to dissuade her. Art is an excellent choice to give her some variation, and get her out of the ordinary classroom. But like others, I'm not convinced by IT or the Welsh Bacc, if you really feel something should give.

NearTheWindwill it would be hard to see how your DC's list could be more academic tbh..... Would you genuinely be worried if a list included something such as Music, Drama or Art? I've always advised mine to include at least one subject on that list - on the basis that it's good to have a few lessons a week in a room without chairs and desks, doing something creative.

Music, Drama or Art? I've always advised mine to include at least one subject on that list -

That is sound advice, but only if they show some aptitude in one of those subjects or find them enjoyable! grin DS1 is not remotely artistic or practical. He is passionate about Classical Civilisation, so that is his first choice for a less rigorously academic subject.

venturabay Mon 10-Feb-14 08:51:24

Those are the only creative options at their school! Obviously problematic if they're rubbish at and hate all three..... Nevertheless I think the general point that something less academic thrown into the mix is good, not bad. I'm also not sure that less is good, as one poster suggested. Some DC would get bored by GCSEs in only 8 or 9 subjects and a broader education can surely never be bad?

venturabay Mon 10-Feb-14 08:53:12

Actually D&T is available too - one DC did that instead.

Theas18 Mon 10-Feb-14 09:26:50

That doesn't sound a soft list to me at all!

I'm assume the PE/PSE aren't GCSE courses?

CeliaFate Mon 10-Feb-14 09:29:12

Yes, the Pe and Pse are statutory but not qualifications.
So she'd be doing 11 GCSEs - Maths, English Lit,English Lang, Science,R.E., Welsh, Art, I.T., Welsh Bacc, German and Geography.

cardibach Mon 10-Feb-14 19:35:12

I'm a teacher in Wales, teaching Welsh Bac Intermediate which is what you are talking about (as well as teaching English, which is my subject!) I have to say I think it is of questionable value to more academic children who will get a good range of GCSEs and go on to A level. The Advanced Bac, on the other hand, is very useful for both University application and success once there as it teaches all kinds of useful skills.
I'd advise her to do another science in place of the Bac, I think - as long as she can do Advanced Bac in Sixth Form.

CeliaFate Mon 10-Feb-14 20:19:25

Thanks, cardibach that's good to know. I've read about it and it seems very vague and easy to do very little and pass iyswim, eg one of the activities to learn about Welsh politics was to visit the Senedd which seemed non-descript to me.

Bunbaker Tue 11-Feb-14 23:28:55

I didn't know that single science was an option. It isn't available at DD's school. The less able do a BTEC.

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