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GCSE Italian - anywhere in SW London

(38 Posts)
tempo Mon 20-Mar-17 17:02:04

Hi, my son's school doesn't offer GCSE Italian. But he really wants to do it as he thinks it's an easy "extra". His father is Italian. MY DS's Italian is excellent in comprehension, ok in spoken but he has never done any written work. I am more or less bilingual but past experience of teaching him/helping with homework has not been positive, and anyway I don't know the syllabus nor can I facilitate the actual exam.

Does anyone know of somewhere in London (preferably SW London) he can do a course/sit the exam? I am hoping for him to do it in the next academic year 2017/2018.

Grazie!

chantico Mon 20-Mar-17 22:06:56

I can't really answer your main question, but schools will sometimes enter their pupils for GCSEs which are not taught subjects in the school but for which the DC is a plausible candidate. My DCs school does this for 'home' languages.

Have you asked? Because that might solve the exam centre question, if not the tutor one.

JoJoSM2 Tue 21-Mar-17 13:11:04

Just ask the school that enter him. As chantico said a lot of children take a GCSE in their home language. In terms of preparation, find an experienced tutor. The exam format can be researched online - sometimes there is a presentation to be prepared so it's important to do your research and some practice papers even if it seems dead easy to your son.

user1490123259 Tue 21-Mar-17 20:51:38

Most children take their home language GCSEs in their normal school. Just make sure he does it in year 11, or it won't count.

daisypond Tue 21-Mar-17 21:11:36

Why does doing it in another year apart from 11 not count? Lots of children do GCSES in all sorts of years. One of mine did one in year 9, and it counts.

I did GCSE and A-level Italian a few years ago as an adult in Lambeth College, south London. I don't know if they still teach it, though, due to cutbacks in adult education. The City Lit teaches it, I think, but that's more central London.

user1490123259 Tue 21-Mar-17 21:18:58

no GCSE taken in year 9 counts for anything.

user1490123259 Tue 21-Mar-17 21:23:48

Its way too easy to take GCSEs singly, they only count as an indicator of acheivement or potential if taken together.

Home language GCSEs normally don't count either, as they are taken as foreign languages, and so very easy to get A* in if you are a speaker. Not like English language GCSE for English speakers. no where near.

If you are hoping for your child to use their home language to count towards their GCSE total, for sith form application, uni, jobs, etc, they need to take their home language at the same time as all other GCSEs, and pretend it was a foreign language. This is only realistic if it is a language routinely taught in UK schools as a modern foreign language. Italian should be fine.

It would be a disadvantage to take a langauge GCSE that is obviously a home language, and NOT get an A* in it.

And of course, all GCSEs MUST be declared, it is considered fraud not to include one in an application.

daisypond Wed 22-Mar-17 13:11:46

"No GCSE taken in year 9 counts for anything"
How do you work that out? Of course it counts. It wasn't a language, it was another academic subject. The school would only let them take it if it was confident they'd get A*. It's quite common for schools to put pupils in for some GCSES in year 10 as well, if you're taking 13 or 14 subjects and the school are confident you can get A/A*. And of course some pupils take GCSES in year 12, too, especially maths and English - because they're needed, therefore they count.

Sometimes home language pupils don't do spectacularly well in their GCSE. Often it's the written side that lets them down.

tempo Wed 22-Mar-17 17:32:40

thanks all.

Of course it will count! I took an O Level in AS year which counted. I know plenty of people who take all sorts of GCSEs early and they count.

Unfortunately his school won't arrange for the exams, I have already asked. This is mainly due to the aural/oral part which they cannot provide for. If it was a simple question of invigilating a written paper or two they wouldn't have a problem.

I will continue to investigate.....

user1490123259 Wed 22-Mar-17 18:44:35

It absolutely does not count for anything, please don't be misled about that.

Joinourclub Wed 22-Mar-17 18:51:04

user explain what you mean by 'does not count'.

Obviously if you take it in year 9/10 or 11 it still is a GCSE with a certificate and everything! Do you mean colleges won't accept it as one of the 5 'passes'?

hesterton Wed 22-Mar-17 18:55:42

It counts for nothing to the school. But it still counts for the child.

hesterton Wed 22-Mar-17 18:55:58

I mean the Yr 9 one.

hesterton Wed 22-Mar-17 18:58:14

And a child who takes, say Urdu or Chinese when it's their home language have done bloody well. Any home language in fact - because they have bothered to learn to read and write it which is really hard for many languages. A home language GCSE is a record of a set of skills which that child has and deserves.

hesterton Wed 22-Mar-17 19:01:40

Op, you may need to help the school find a speaking examiner for the 25% of he exam which is oral. It's relatively simple - I have trained everyone from 6th form students to school cleaners to act as GCSE community language examiners with excellent outcomes. Good for your son. And I hope the school supports this.

user1490123259 Wed 22-Mar-17 19:36:55

It counts for nothing to the school. But it still counts for the child.

it counts for nothing for the child, it is not used as a GCSE pass for most sixth forms, jobs, apprenticeships, or further or higher education places. However, it MUST be declared, so if it isn't an A*, then you have an exam result round your neck which helps you not at all, but can make you look bad.

it may very occasionally count, in the event of a dead heat between two candidates for the same position for example, but mostly it won't.

(It doesn't count for the school either) It doesn't count for anything.

user explain what you mean by 'does not count'.

Obviously if you take it in year 9/10 or 11 it still is a GCSE with a certificate and everything! Do you mean colleges won't accept it as one of the 5 'passes'?

it doesn't count as a GCSE pass, if you do it in year 9, that what I mean.

GCSEs are too easy if you take them individually, so they only count if you take them all together.

It doesn't count as part of the entry requirement of qualification towards taking an A level, or IB either.

For example, I recently this year saw a child with A* in Englsih Lit and A* in English lang being turned down to do A level English, because the GCSEs she had in English were taken in year 9. This means a) that they were a lot easier to pass, as taken as a pair, not a set of 10 -12. and b) she had done no English at all for the two years prior to applying to do A level.

So her GCSEs didn't count.

Thats what I mean by not counting.

hesterton Wed 22-Mar-17 19:48:36

But this is the first year the new GCSE English will be taken so I am a bit confused as to how she has already been turned down.

And my experience of students getting into post 16 provision with community language GCSES is clearly different from yours. You make it sound like there is no value in learning to be literate in another language. Why ever not ?

user1490123259 Wed 22-Mar-17 21:50:34

what are you confused about?? GCSE English has been around for 30 years!

No, I'm not saying that there is no value in being literate in another language. I am saying there is no value in taking any GCSEs in year 9.

user1490123259 Wed 22-Mar-17 21:56:19

And a child who takes, say Urdu or Chinese when it's their home language have done bloody well.

not really, its a second language qualification. So for someone who speaks it as a first language to take it as a second language qualification isn't any great achievement.

The equivalent of an English speaker answering questions like....

John and James went to the cinema

A) how many people went?
B) where did they go?

so roughly pre-junior school level.

And home language speakers will get A* almost without exception.

Which is fine and counts towards their total, if
1. They take it in year 11, and
2. It isn't obviously a home language,

so from your example, Chinese would count a lot, as it is a modern foreign language taught in schools ( as long as it is Mandarin) but Urdu not so much

hesterton Thu 23-Mar-17 05:42:01

Your logic is so flawed. Learning to write in Chinese, or Urdu, as a speaker but without any classes at school is a solid learning achievement. GCSES and other public exams are about skills - if a student has those skills, whether they have been attained through years of attending Saturday schools (as most literate British-born Chinese heritage children who sit GCSE have done) or at their parents' side, it is a valid skill.

And Urdu is taught as a subject in some schools - usually when there are significant numbers of students with Pakistani heritage. Who gets to say one language GCSE is valid and another not valid? It's a qualification of a skill, not a test of 2 yrs. If a 6th form provider chooses to ignore a B Gcse grade in Polish by a child who may have been exposed to some spoken Polish at home and chose to learn to become literate in that language - or Punjabi, or Hebrew, or Greek or any of the 14 or so languages which can be tested at GCSE - hen more fool them. I have never seen that happen in 20 years of teaching the rhetoeic and conducting the speaking element of those examinations.

And it has only been in the last year that Yr 9 taken exams haven't counted (in progress 8, attainment 8 and school GCSE data figures). Before the new 1-9 GCSES, which come into force this for this Year's Yr 11s, hence what I was saying about the NEW gcse English, which is why those exams sat in Yr 9 don't count - they were old system exams.

And GCSE languages is not just answering a couple of easy peasy questions - it includes, for example, writing essays on topics such as work experience, health and fitness and your local area. It may start wih the easy questions, like most GCSE s but it develops into more complex ones.

I cannot imagine a 6th form provider not recognising a Yr 9s double A* in English. But I cannot imagine a school in which a child who wants to do A Level is allowed to spend 2 years with no English learning, A*s or not.

Are you talking about the state sector? Are you talking about mixed ability students or just those who will get As and A*s and would be brought down by any lower grade in their parents' eyes? Are you talking about the minority who will be applying to Russell Group universities or the whole of the body of secondary students across the ability range?

UnmentionedElephantDildo Thu 23-Mar-17 07:20:52

I agree with hesterton to the extent that those who have learned to speak at home may well not have learned that much grammar, and may not spell well.

They'll probably get through GCSE (aided by immaculate marks in the listening and speaking sections, and parts where answers are written in English) and our school is happy to enter them (no idea where they get oral examiners from).

But they won't do it for A level.

hesterton Thu 23-Mar-17 09:29:31

Many of my students go on to do A Level if they choose to do so - but agree it is not for everyone. It is very hard without a teacher. However, we have seen some fabulous outcomes which the students absolutely deserve.

And in some cases, these have added ucas points which have directly led to university admission, although it depends on the uni amd course to what extent they would accept it as a deciding factor for entrance.

hesterton Thu 23-Mar-17 09:32:27

Also, for many bilingual children their home language is actually very poor - especially if they are the younger children in large families where older siblings speak English, or where only one parent has the other language, and they are not there for whatever reason. There are a multitude of reasons why a lower pass than an A* in a community language still represents a real achievement.

daisypond Thu 23-Mar-17 14:06:19

I agree. I've known native/home language speakers do worse in the written section than those who've learned a language from scratch - often because they don't answer the question properly and write about irrelevant things that get them few marks, or don't demonstrate, say, a use of tenses. Sometimes they didn't answer the question in the correct language, or didn't know how to write in Cyrillic, say, for Russian, or even read it very well.

tempo Thu 23-Mar-17 15:38:36

user1490123259, I think you have gone totally off course with your assertions. Also, the reason for posting was to see if anyone could recommend an Italian teacher for my son (who will not be taking Italian as a first language as he does not speak it at home).

So if you want to have a rant about something you are not actually correctly informed about, please by all means start your own thread.

Below, in order to close this aspect of the topic, is some information for you.

According to the Department of Education (www.gov.uk), in 2010 a fifth of schools had at least 50% of pupils entering GCSE mathematics early, with a tenth entering at least 90% early and almost 100 schools entering every pupil early. At least half the pupils entered English early in just over a quarter of schools, with 16% of schools entering at least nine in ten pupils early, and almost 150 schools entering all pupils early. The vast majority of the schools entering all pupils early were comprehensives (including some academies), while a few independent schools also did likewise.

in 2010, 326,000 pupils took either English or Maths early, or both.

For the three separate sciences, history and geography, the proportion of early entries has remained low and constant for the past four years.

In 2010 only 1% of entrants entered these subjects early. Larger proportions of entries are early for modern foreign languages and the proportion has been growing although at a much slower than has been seen for English and mathematics.

In 2010 around 10% of entrants entered French early, and just under 10% entered German and Spanish early.

There is no data on Italian.

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