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To think that this is terrible news for my children's education?

(485 Posts)
ICameOnTheJitney Mon 28-Oct-13 09:12:46

Axeing of Soft GCSEs to hit Drama and PE

Exam board insiders confirmed this weekend that subjects such as law, media studies, drama and PE were at risk of being culled from the list of about 58 GCSEs. One source said that as many as 20 subjects were under scrutiny

Why the arts? And surely PE is a VALID subject...not all children are academic and we NEED PE teachers and drama teachers and actors ffs!

Please tell me why, if this happens it's a good thing?

scarevola Mon 28-Oct-13 09:16:30

The article cuts out, as it's behind a paywall and shows only a preview.

It seems to be saying there will be a consultation. And that it's about GCSE - so presumably BTEC etc will remain unaffected?

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Mon 28-Oct-13 09:20:15

We won't need PE teachers and drama teachers if it isn't a GCSE!

ICameOnTheJitney Mon 28-Oct-13 09:22:31

But how could a child do a BTEC in performing arts say, if they'd not been able to access a GCSE in it? I did a GCSE in drama...and then got into a well respected and accredited London drama college where I did very well. Came out, worked as an actor for ten years before having DC.

I have friends who did similar...and who are still working as actors and many very successfully. Also some teachers in the mix. I'd like to know what the other subjects are....I'm sure there is room for a bit of a cull but drama and PE really?? What next? Art and design?

ICameOnTheJitney Mon 28-Oct-13 09:22:58

Kettles but we need athletes and actors and writers ffs!

babybythesea Mon 28-Oct-13 09:29:46

I suspect somewhere someone will say "If we have kids that can't read or write then you need to lose these 'soft' subjects so they can learn" completely missing the point that removing the GCSE won't add more '3Rs' time to the day.

And then in a few years time they will bleat that not everyone is academic and you need to be able to cater for those who aren't and it's silly to pretend everyone is Oxbridge material and we need people with talents beyond academia....

Standards aren't good enough apparently, so let's solve the problem by making those who are less academically able feel even more of a failure. Let's face it, it's not as through these replace English and Maths - most places (if they want GCSEs) state: "At least a C in Maths and English" (for example) when listing qualifications required for a job or similar, so people are able still to choose those if they are deemed important. They don't conceal anything - they just offer a broader range of choices which is surely a good thing?

I think that two fundamental things need to happen to Education in this country.

1) It needs removing from political power. It is too much at the whim of one man who has ideas drawn from his own (very limited) experience. Unfortunately the man in the post at the moment has his own advancement closer to the top of his agenda than the well-being of the education system and the kids in it. It needs to be exempt from being a political football, and policy instead created by people who know what they are talking about and who are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, including but not limited to all the main political parties.

2) It needs reform from the bottom up. We need to start by looking at a bunch of 3 year olds and asking "What do we want from and for this group when they turn 16/18/20" and then work out a coherent strategy to get them there, that starts in nursery and sees them up to college, if they choose to go that far. Not making piecemeal reforms at random stages.

Neither of these will happen but hey ho.

noblegiraffe Mon 28-Oct-13 09:30:11

Non-paywall version. The bit about soft subjects is at the end.

noblegiraffe Mon 28-Oct-13 09:32:00

I'm concerned at the bit where it says the new maths syllabus will be double the size of the old. It was already argued that the old syllabus was too much for a single GCSE.

I'm hoping it's an error and they mean maths will be a double GCSE in 2015.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Mon 28-Oct-13 09:33:09

Jitney - but you don't get to be an athlete by taking a GCSE in PE.

I do actually agree with you but feel your argument for sustaining these subjects is flawed.

lljkk Mon 28-Oct-13 09:33:34

I thought BTEC & GCSE were comparable, not that BTEC followed after GCSE?

frogspoon Mon 28-Oct-13 09:33:36

Well if GCSEs are designed to be academic, not vocational subjects, then those subjects wouldn't really fit the academic profile of the GCSE. There needs to be an equivalent recognised vocational qualification that has equivalent value.

Some students are more suited to an academic education, and misguided bright teenagers could end up taking subjects that would limit their options later in life e.g. a teenager who wants e.g. to be a lawyer may end up taking Law GCSE, when actually many good universities would prefer them to take History.

However if a students was less academic but e.g. a very talented sport person, they could take a vocational qualification e.g. a BTEC that would enable them to focus on improving their sports performance.

wordfactory Mon 28-Oct-13 09:37:27

I think what we need to sort out is equivalence.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with offering qualifications in law, media studies, creative writing, PE etc... but we need to stop pretending that there is an equivalence academically with the other more traditional GCSEs.

AnythingNotEverything Mon 28-Oct-13 09:38:52

It sounds like they're just "rebranding" the less academic subjects and calling them something other than "GSCE". They'll still be available to study.

wordfactory Mon 28-Oct-13 09:39:22

noble I saw that and thought shock too!!!

I'm no expert on the current GCSE in maths (though I know a number of maths teachers who think it doesn't give the best prep for A level maths), but double the workload!!!!!!

TheFallenMadonna Mon 28-Oct-13 09:39:40

BTECs can be done at different levels. eg level 2 (GCSEs are also level 2) and level 3 (like A levels).

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Mon 28-Oct-13 09:40:41

Frogspoon and word, this is currently the problem.

Many able students, but in particular those perhaps not from professional backgrounds, choose subjects at GCSE and A level that are not suited to an academic route that they wish to take.

Schools do not, in my experience, give correct advice - if they offer Law as a GCSE/A level, they will not say "but by the way, it's not valued by universities."

I think we perhaps need to define what constitutes an academic subject. There is nothing wrong with having qualifications in PE, drama or similar, but I can't pretend I feel it is advisable to allow students to take these to the detriment of other more academic subjects when a future in academics is what they ultimately want.

wordfactory Mon 28-Oct-13 09:41:46

Anyghting I think that's right.

And I'm actually in agreement with that (even thogh my DD is taking drama GCSE).

The current orthodoxy that all GCSEs are equivalent is a farce and actively closes doors to manybright students, whilst falsley holding open doors to students who are not academic in the least.

scarevola Mon 28-Oct-13 09:42:59

Thanks for linking The Telegraph version.

It looks like a renaming, not an abolition of a 16+ exam. But I had a look on the Ofqual site and couldn't find anything about this, so it's not yet terribly clear what might be afoot.

wordfactory Mon 28-Oct-13 09:43:46

weneed I'm involved i the Oxbridge access project, and am always shocked at the number of teachers and HTs who resisit that point.

It's very frustrating!

noblegiraffe Mon 28-Oct-13 09:45:02

There's already a GCSE PE and a BTEC PE which focus on different things. My school offers both. The GCSE is supposed to be quite tough, with a lot of biology.

Bonsoir Mon 28-Oct-13 09:45:45

I increasingly feel that the concept of GCSEs is fundamentally flawed. I think all children need to spend a lot more time on mathematics and mother-tongue than on, say, geography or religious studies. Children (and schools) are not able to access a curriculum that ensures sufficient basic skills for all.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 28-Oct-13 09:47:38

Is it Biology that isn't covered in Science GCSEs (and BTEC in fact, which covers the same programme of study)?

vj32 Mon 28-Oct-13 09:48:04

But if schools are giving incorrect careers advice surely that means we need better careers advice, not to restrict the number of subjects offered??

mrsjay Mon 28-Oct-13 09:48:57

you don't get to be an athlete by taking a GCSE in PE.

but if you are going to do sports science I would imagine a qualification in P E is essential,

Bonsoir Mon 28-Oct-13 09:49:51

I'm not sure that I agree that schools ought to be allowed to let DC have so much choice so young. There is a lot to be said for a common core right up to 16.

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