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To think that secondary schools need to offer core subjects like maths?

(87 Posts)
Feelingoptimistic Wed 19-Aug-09 10:21:21

I am just shocked that apparently there are some secondary schools in the UK that no longer offer what I consider to be core subjects, like maths, physics and chemistry. To be honest, I think that a school that does not offer these subjects is not a "proper" school. Of course, not everyone has to do these subjects, but they should be offered and promoted.

The thing is that there are many jobs you can't do without those subjects (engineering, medicine, anything science related, anything related to IT, etc.)

I am reacting to this article:
www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/aug/19/traditional-alevel-subjects-dropped

My dd is only very young, but I would hate to find myself in a position where she is forced to go to such a school and misses out on a good education.

Sorry - rant over, but I am really puzzled by this. I went to a state school (not UK) and did all those subjects with pupils from many different backgrounds...

BlehdyDM Wed 19-Aug-09 10:28:31

I agree. It is terrible that these schools are dropping more academically challenging subjects, presumably to assist their League Table rating (one of the stupidest things ever, IMO). This is only going to disadvantage their pupiles further, particularly if the top universities have preferences for more traditional subjects.

BlehdyDM Wed 19-Aug-09 10:32:22

Also, why don't they promote things like traineeships and apprenticeships?

RustyBearwantsachange Wed 19-Aug-09 10:33:56

Firstly, that article is talking about A levels which are optional anyway; students often change schools after GCSE so they can take the subjects they want to. Maths & Science are still currently compulsory up to GCSE.

Secondly, there is no indication that any of the schools referred to didn't offer the subjects concerned - simply that they didn't enter any pupils - it could have been that no pupils wanted to do those A levels. (In fact, when I was in the sixth form of a good grammar school over 30 years ago, nobody in my year actually took Geography, but it would have been available if wanted)

Thirdly, if your DD is very young, it's likely that the whole system will have changed by the time she's a teenager - with children having to stay on after 16 in future, the range of courses offered are likely to change anyway.

edam Wed 19-Aug-09 10:39:11

Agree with Rusty, but I would wonder why a school had no-one taking A-level maths, seems very odd. If I was choosing a secondary for ds that would worry me. Even if he wanted to study arts subjects, raises questions about the teaching, leadership and direction IMO.

Rusty's also right about it being a bit early to worry, btw.

Feelingoptimistic Wed 19-Aug-09 10:51:04

Sorry, I don't fully understand GCSEs and A levels (as I didn't go to school here) so sorry if my comments were a bit uninformed, but I guess it still does show a worrying trend.

onagar Wed 19-Aug-09 10:52:26

It's crazy, but I bet hardly anyone will care. For many these days school is just childcare. Somewhere to put them until they can leave home and go onto benefits.

RustyBear Wed 19-Aug-09 10:58:26

I agree edam, that I'd look very carefully at the Maths GCSE results at a school that didn't have any one taking Maths A level, and would want to ask why no-one was taking the A level.

screamingabdab Wed 19-Aug-09 10:59:24

I won't be sending my DCs to a school that doesn't offer individual sciences at GCSE

Feelingoptimistic Wed 19-Aug-09 12:53:19

I think onagar is right - no one really cares.
I guess most of the parents for whom such subjects are important have options - so they can choose what secondary school to send their DC to - ie move, go private, etc.

The whole system is a disaster.

courtneylovescox Wed 19-Aug-09 12:56:33

and some of us are just stuck with the school we have to send our children to we cannot move or afford private.

to say most will probably not care is insulting.

danthe4th Wed 19-Aug-09 12:58:20

Until you have children at secondary I doubt you understand what is on offer and the current system, I had no idea what was offered and now with diplomas for engineering, hairdressing etc there is a wide choice to suit all,they still all have to take the core subjects as well as th diploma.
Scteaminabdab many schools now offer double or triple science, my daughter is doing biology but within her PE gcse it gets very complex, she is also doing the double, we had many meetings at school to help decide what options were available so I wouldn't worry yet.She is also hoping to complete her maths gcse within the first year moving on to higher maths in the second.

Feelingoptimistic Wed 19-Aug-09 13:02:46

Courtney - I agree with you - that's my point - this is an important issue because there are lots of people who don't have a "choice".

Danthe - sounds like your DD is going to a great school. You are lucky.

Reallytired Wed 19-Aug-09 13:04:22

Its not as bad as it seems. In many areas schools club together to offer a range of a
A-levels. A-level physics is best taught to a class of at least 12. If the class is smaller then it hard to pay for all the resources it required and impossible to have interesting discussions.

My A-level physics class only had 5 people in it. We did not have the full complement of lessons and did nowhere near enough practicals. The physics class was taught by the deputy head who did not put much effort into planning. Frankly it was a mircle that I managed to get a grade B and no thanks to the teacher.

I believe I would have done better if I had been in a bigger class with better planned lessons.

Tortington Wed 19-Aug-09 13:10:30

i think only core subjects should be taught until the end of year 9.

when each kid then has a GCSE in maths, english, science. they can chose what subjects to do nxt ( as per options)at this stage the kids who hate academia can do apprenticeships/sport/art/music specialism

the trouble is that schools have been forced into a position where they are socially educating on behalf of the government. healthy eating, citizenship for example. which is a quick way for the govt to try to ease societies ills.

problem is when you have kids with no qualifications, who are disafected by the education system - teaching them about nutritionally balanced diets is laughable.

I also think that there should be summer schools for catch -up

and that kids should stay behind a year as per america - if they aren't up to grade.

i think the latter will be a deterrent for kids to just piss about bullying teachers and put more pressure and thought into education by the young person and perhaps their parent.

kids have lunch and break times for exercise. i think these times should be used by the pe teachers with football, basketball and other team games. IME a school has 4 PE teachers and this means that years 7-9 could be covered over the course of 1st break, lunch, 2nd break ( yrs 10,11) would be taking a sports specialism and taught accordingly.

all govt social propaganda should be banned from the education system. if they want good citizens they need to invest in schools,. in education. it is only through education learning and gaining a qualification that children will feel empowered to take forward their Future.

Feelingoptimistic Wed 19-Aug-09 13:21:35

Custardo - I agree with all your points.

mrz Wed 19-Aug-09 14:19:19

I think the report is slightly misleading in that it is only at A level some schools aren't offering these subjects and post 16 many children change schools to study the subjects they want at a higher level with specialist teachers (which is why there are 6th form colleges ) I would be more concerned if they weren't an option for younger children.

screamingabdab Wed 19-Aug-09 15:09:25

Thanks for your response dan smile

Of course, I'm probably talking out of my arse, because I won't be able to exercise a choice, either, as others have said

MillyR Wed 19-Aug-09 15:26:59

I agree with abdab. One of the main reasons I chose a science specialism secondary school for my DS was the option to do 3 single sciences at GCSE. Discussion about science qualifications has been had on MN before, and double or triple science are not the same as doing 3 single sciences.

asdx2 Wed 19-Aug-09 16:50:09

The local sink school did do away with the core subjects instead timetabling 15 lessons out of 25 opening minds which apparently were lessons to enthuse the pupils desire to learn. The other 10 lessons were PE, drama, dance and technology and PHSE.
Funnily enough parents didn't have an open mind to the idea and falling attendances and surprise surprise hardly any GCSE passes meant that it was ordered to close september 2010

mrz Wed 19-Aug-09 17:17:18

No wonder they were closed, they were breaking the law asdx2

There are some subjects that you have to study - like English, maths, science, RE and PE. In England you must also study ICT and citizenship.

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 19-Aug-09 17:32:37

I don't agree with whoever said it is too early to worry.
If you're one of those people for whom private could be just about affordable but only just, it may be necessary to start saving now.

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 19-Aug-09 17:38:36

I think academically bright children should have a right to certain core subjects including separate sciences and more than one foreign language.

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 19-Aug-09 17:39:27

sorry, 'core' was a typo there, I just meant certain subjects.

Nighbynight Wed 19-Aug-09 17:57:00

dd is going to a school that doesn't offer history or geography, and only offers one foreign language, at GCSE level. All 3 sciences are offered, but she has to choose just 1.
She has a load of cruddy subjects like Work & Technology, Craft & Textiles etc insteadangry

This is a school of the type attended by around a third of German children - a hauptschule.

The reason dd is in this school is because she missed (by 1 grade in 1 subject), the average needed to attend the more academic school. Everything depends upon the grades, no allowance is made for personal illness, stress, being a foreigner, etc.

We are going to look for alternatives - online qualifications, evening classes. But dd is fortunate, that I studied at university and know what to look for.

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