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Choices for S4: what to do if too restrictive?

(29 Posts)
Euphemia Mon 12-Dec-16 17:06:15

DD is about to make her choices for S4. The options form has come out and the choices are very restrictive. She's struggling to find four subjects she can do/wants to do. confused

Anyone been in this position? What did you do? Complain to school?

Lidlfix Mon 12-Dec-16 17:22:20

Speak to them, there may be flexibility. But it might come down to staffing levels. Are there other schools in the authority operating different systems which presents more options? That might increase your parent power.

I know in my DDs' school and the school I teach in it would look like 3 sciences or 3 social subjects were not on offer but in reality they do. They just don't want any pupils rushing into that sort of decision without talking it through with parents first.

Is there a ghastly "creative column". - that gives/gave my crew the fear?

Euphemia Mon 12-Dec-16 17:41:47

The sciences appear in columns 1 and 4; 4 also contains vocational courses. French only appears in one column.

Euphemia Mon 12-Dec-16 17:42:35

The next nearest school offers much the same as far as I can see.

Lidlfix Mon 12-Dec-16 18:01:45

Do they offer any other languages? That might explain why French is only is once. It's grim when the columns don't suit turns what should be an exciting time into a stressful one.

Then makes Higher choices tough too. sad

Euphemia Mon 12-Dec-16 19:24:28

They offer Spanish, which DD only started this year and isn't keen to take further.

DH has decided that his daughter's future will not be constrained by the high school's time-tabling restrictions. grin

madgingermunchkin Mon 12-Dec-16 19:27:25

I discussed what I wanted to do with my head of house, in the end, I was allowed to do all three sciences instead of doing something like drama or home ec.

celtiethree Tue 13-Dec-16 08:08:59

We had this, the school had stated many times that there was no flexibility. However we spoke to them and explained why our DS wanted that subject combination and they managed to accommodate the combination. Glad they did as it meant that crashing a higher has been avoided.

Groovee Tue 13-Dec-16 18:37:15

Our school tried their neighbouring schools to see if dd could travel. But one didn't get enough uptake on the subject and the other was closed due to the school closures and wouldn't help.

Dd had to take another subject instead and the school said she can do it next year.

ttlshiwwya Wed 14-Dec-16 11:33:10

Been in this situation for all my DC. Agree with others - ask and you might be pleasantly surprised.

One of my DC did 3 sciences and another did 2 social sciences despite it apparently not being available on the form. Both of my boys didn't do any expressive arts and my DD didn't have to pick a technology. However we've been lucky that it's a large school so for timetabling subjects are available at different times

My DC didn't always get all their first choices. I wish I'd tried harder for my boys as neither wanted the same particular subject and I only found out later that parents who complained and stood their ground got their way whereas I caved in. I was wiser for my youngest and she got exactly what she wanted.

Also my DS2 was only able to do one social sciences because of his other options but was able to do two at higher. Although strictly speaking a crash higher it's not really been any tougher. Thus I'd be relaxed about not being able to do a subject if you can easily pick it up at Higher.

WankersHacksandThieves Wed 14-Dec-16 19:16:50

Not a great scenario, but I would agree with saying that crashing a higher in a subject they are keen and passionate about isn't a disaster.

DS1 is crashing his Graph Comm this year as he couldn't get it in his columns without giving up something else he really wanted to do. We've not long had parents night and his teacher said that out of all the pupils in the class, he's the one you would never guess was crashing.

I think it depends on the subject and how much they really want to do it though.

howabout Thu 15-Dec-16 10:24:59

My lot are not allowed to do 3 sciences and have the dreaded compulsory Arts column. (I started them on music lessons to cope with this only to find they were keen to carry on with Art). Having done 3 sciences myself I think with hindsight they are getting a much better broader education than I had. Since most do 6th year now there is plenty of time to pick up a dropped subject and the broader the 4th year selection the more options are available later.

prettybird Thu 15-Dec-16 13:25:10

Ds' school does allow the 3 Sciences but plenty of kids only do 2 and then do a crash Higher in the 3rd in S6.

However, because he wanted to do PE for Nat 5, he ended up having to drop any of the Expressive Arts subjects, as they were in the same three columns as Physics, Chemistry and PE (ended up doing Computing Science instead confused)

But his school is one of those that allows 8 Nat 5s to be sat in S4, so start at the end of S2.

QIsForCube Fri 16-Dec-16 15:54:23

Surely all 3 sciences being spread out is a good thing? Also IME French only appears in one column because there's barely enough uptake to warrant 1 class, never
mind 2. At my Ds's school there are 9 in his French class, which I guess is a good thing. smile

Euphemia Fri 16-Dec-16 19:28:11

The problem is that if they only put French in one column, fewer pupils will choose it as it's maybe not quite as popular as eg History. Then it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that French is not very popular!

I think they'd be better putting French in two columns, seeing what the demand is, then working out the timetabling.

DD is going to end up taking a subject she's not that interested in/can't be taken at Higher. sad

Noofly Fri 16-Dec-16 20:02:42

At DS' school they do 8 Nat 5 choices so they start at the beginning of S3. Languages fall into their own column so you don't have a choice as to whether or not you are going to do one (much to DS' disgust grin. )

ttlshiwwya Fri 16-Dec-16 21:22:54

Using an option to take a subject you are not interested in or can't be taken to Higher would worry me especially if she only has 6 or 7 options.

Euphemia Fri 16-Dec-16 22:43:03

Here is the options form. They have to do English and Maths, do she has to choose four from the table, one in each column.

Her ideal choices would be History, French, RMPS, then possibly Fashion or Home Ec.

There is nothing she wants in Col 1 or Col 4. sad

celtiethree Fri 16-Dec-16 22:52:44

Wow Euphemia, those columns are awful. I would def ask if she could elect French alongside History and RMPS with a compromise of Business Management from C1. Does she not like science at all? If French is not possible then take Spanish. I think Spanish is a much more useful language than French.

Does she not like science at all, biology is always a good option??

Does shd have any idea what for would like to do after school??

celtiethree Fri 16-Dec-16 22:53:19

What highers does she want to take?

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 16-Dec-16 23:46:00

Half those subjects don't appear on the columns in DSs school.

DS1 would be fine with those columns and in fact i can map his Highers onto it with the addition of Maths on Column E.

DS2 would struggle like your DD, there doesn't seem to be Modern Studies or is that just my tired eyes? His two "must haves" were MS and History though he seems to have really enjoyed BM which was sort of a reluctant choice from his columns, as was French which he is hating so I've told him to do what he needs to do in terms of homework and classwork and spend his energy elsewhere. Maybe your DD will end up enjoying a reluctant pick too?

Have the school asked if there is any combination they'd like to do that isn't covered by the form? Ours generally does but doesn't promise to accommodate. It's a small school so I think it's a bit harder. given the amount of topics in each column there must be a degree of flexibility I think.

Here's DS2 sheet from last year - she wouldn't fare any better even with the extra column.

Euphemia Sat 17-Dec-16 08:06:56

She's thinking she wants to be either a History teacher or a Primary teacher at the moment. No interest in the Sciences. We've advised her that it would be a good idea to have a Science for Primary teaching (I'm a Primary teacher and there are initiatives going on at the moment to improve our Science skills). But she's never liked Science at high school, just hasn't enjoyed it.

She's been learning French since Nursery, and has really clicked with it this year. She only started Spanish this year and is less keen on it. French is by far the most common language 2 in the 1+ 2 Languages initiative, but it looks like the school doesn't believe anyone will want to take it further. It seems mad to have effectively given French and Spanish equal weighting in this table when none of the kids started Spanish until this year whereas they will all have done French since at least P6!

It's a pity her school doesn't offer Modern Studies, and neither does the next nearest one. She would have liked that!

PurpleFrog Sat 17-Dec-16 09:23:46

Hmm. This just shows that it is not just the number of subjects offered at Nat5 that are important, but the format of the option sheet! Dd's school only offered 6 but the kids had free choice across the board. I have no idea how they timetabled it, but dd got her first choices in each year, even in S6 where she wanted to do an eclectic mix of subjects at a variety of different levels.

bonnieweelass Sat 17-Dec-16 16:13:56

former careers adviser here. How about she takes business management, french, history and spanish?

I'm assuming she's already got Maths and English as compulsory options - these are the only subjects specifically asked for in primary teaching. She can choose any other subjects, unless she wanted to specialise, like French.

Euphemia Sat 17-Dec-16 16:22:28

Looking at the Bus Mgt curriculum, it doesn't look like something she'd be interested in.

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