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Anyone got children doing GCSE's in yr 9?

(27 Posts)
adelicatequestion Mon 23-May-11 16:17:27

My DD has just sat her GCSE's in music and French.

Is 13 too early?

ANyone else in a similar position?

circular Mon 23-May-11 16:39:00

Yes -DD1 sitting first science module later this week.
I thunk it's far to early - she's also still 13.

Can't think why the school are doing this. Especially as the science syllabus is changing next year.

adelicatequestion Mon 23-May-11 16:50:11

I know what you mean. Luckily DD school is already working to teh new syllabus so she won;t sit a module in science till January.

It's the sitting a GCSE in a year I don;t like.

DS1 will be, he'll be sitting his maths GCSE next year (currently in yr8) but he'd have spent the usual two years doing it - he just started it a couple of years early. TBH it doesn't bother me, if he's capable of doing this level at this age (and more importantly understanding it) might as well go ahead and get it over and done with.

EvilTwins Mon 23-May-11 18:09:50

The whole of Yr 9 at my school have done BTEC Performing Arts this year. Next year, Yr 9 will do BTEC Performing Arts and BTEC Art. Obviously there are no exams, but the work is the same standard as GCSE and the students are assessed at the same level. From a teaching POV, it's been great, as it's given the students a real focus - these are option subjects and therefore it's hard to motivate some students once they've taken their options - if they're not going to do that subject at KS4, they take a "no point in bothering now" attitude which is hard to deal with. It's been a really successful pilot, and means that all the Yr 9s will come out with the equivalent of a GCSE.

Perhaps not the same as doing Maths or Science early, but the principle is the same.

FairyBayleaf Mon 23-May-11 19:24:53

At our school the top 4 sets in y9 have taken their GCSE in English language this year. It's the first time we've done it, and it was purely because this is the last year of the old specification. It changes next year to a way more complicated one, and we thought they'd have a better chance at this spec.

I'm not sure it was good for y9, although they are way more motivated than y10. I had the top set and they coped well, but I could see that some of them were pretty stressed!! I suspect though, that if the results in August are good, we'll be doing it again.

bidibidi Mon 23-May-11 20:20:18

Is she projected to get a very good mark in both subjects, ADQ?

GnomeDePlume Tue 24-May-11 09:41:34

DD1 did a language GCSE in year 7 (A grade). AS in year 9 (B grade) and A2 in a couple of weeks (year 10). The language is not DD's first language but one she learnt when we lived abroad up to primary level.

If the child has maturity to learn exam technique and no pressure is put on the child to achieve then I think it is a great experience. DD has no concerns about doing her 'proper' GCSEs as she understands the work required. She also now has experience of the academic leap from GCSE to A level.

webwiz Tue 24-May-11 10:48:55

If they take A levels as well it just means years and years of external exams. I'd be horrified at DS taking his English Language GCSE in year 9 FairyBayLeaf I'm sure he would get a lower grade than taking it at the correct time.

There is just no way to ever have a space to develop a love of learning if everything you ever do is either assessed or for an exam. We worked out that DD2 will have taken 21 separate exams over year 12 and 13 and about 30 for GCSEs. Then of course there is coursework that was done on top of that. I'm quite glad that DS was allowed to just have year 9 and to just learn things.

GnomeDePlume Tue 24-May-11 13:13:09

Webwiz - I think it really does depend on the child and the subject. We didnt make DD1 take these exams, she wanted to do them.

I'm very much of the view that no piece of knowledge is ever wasted. By taking these exams early DD was able to continue with a subject she would otherwise have had to stop (the language is outside of the normal curriculum).

I think there are subjects like languages and mathematics which build knowledge upon knowledge. If a child is forced to stagnate by being made to wait until the approved time then they are in danger of losing interest in the subject. If the child is ready then why not allow the child to move on?

snorkie Tue 24-May-11 14:18:08

I think language exams for bi-lingual, or close to bi-lingual children are a separate issue and should be sat whenever the child wants more or less. For the rest, I think sitting them early is only advisable if the child is likely to get the highest grade, otherwise they'd be better taking a bit longer and getting a better mark later on. There are also issues around what happens next too - if sat early do they go straight on to A level or take a break. If they take a break is this going to make it harder to pick up later if they want to? If they don't, but it's a subject they might want to do at university what will they do in the year(s) when they've finished A2 but before they go to university?

webwiz Tue 24-May-11 14:57:38

I'm not really talking about an individual child taking a language or maths exam early because that works for them but when schools decide to stick all the year 9's in for an exam - why? the vast majority aren't ready and will either have to retake or have a lower grade than if they had waited.

Caution against early entry GCSE maths

GnomeDePlume Tue 24-May-11 16:25:49

I certainly agree that pushing the whole of year 9 through GCSEs just to see if some are ready is nigh on cruelty.

Thanks for the link webwiz, that did confirm what I had heard at the DC's school. I remember when choosing subjects we talked with head of maths who pretty much said that once those on the lower tier had got their grade C the maths education stopped. Not the case though for the higher tier students who take some modules in year 10 but dont finish until year 11.

adelicatequestion Tue 24-May-11 18:29:58

I think my issue/concern is that with the whole of yr 9 doing 2 gcse's in a year is that:
1) They do not have the maturity/life experience to do as well as they would at age 16 say.
2) I wonder how much of it is league tables rather than what is best for teh children.

My DD is quite bright and was predicted A/A* if she sat it in yr11

So will she get teh same grades in yr 9? She is expecting those grades.

adelicatequestion Tue 24-May-11 18:30:57

I also wonder how my son will cope when he gets there.

busymummy3 Wed 25-May-11 00:11:10

So far my DD has sat GCSE modules in Biology Physics and Chemistry in March. Got results at easter and achieved A A B. Is sitting Maths GCSE in June (first moduleof higher level which she will finish in Y11) Has also just done functional skills in maths and english of which her comments particularly the maths were so easy her younger sister (y3) could have sat them!

sharbie Wed 25-May-11 00:33:31

dd has done german this year - predicted an a.
will be doing chemistry next month - not doing so great at this,she really doesn't enjoy science. i have no idea why they are entering them so early if they are not performing so well.

circular Wed 25-May-11 06:28:33

Sharbiie - is the science OCR?

I enquired about this, as the syllabus is changing. Apparantly, once started on the ok'd syllabus, the school can continue with it until all modules completed. So it is effectively giving the teachers an extra year to adapt to the new syllabus.

sharbie Wed 25-May-11 10:32:35

dd says yes it is circular

Tortu Wed 25-May-11 11:35:59

My concern is not with students sitting the exams early- it's what is done with the students afterwards. Most sixth forms will only accept students after the age of 16, so where is the benefit in students sitting the exams in Year 9 etc.?

unclefester77 Wed 25-May-11 11:38:27

I sat all my GCSEs at 12 and I'm still alive and normal. grin

TheHumanCatapult Wed 25-May-11 11:45:25

ds2 took maths last year Y8 and is taking geography this year in Y9 .He has started maths A level but will take it over 3 years instead of 2 so will take in y11.For him as long as he passes Geography means he has been able to take extra gcse he wanted

Tortu ds school has a small group o cildren in some subjects where they can take A levels early.For ds means he can hopefully get 1 or 2 out the way before he hits 6th form

unclefester77 Wed 25-May-11 11:49:39

Tortu I went abroad for 6 months on a school exchange after I finished A levels at 14, then worked in factories for 18 months, then went back to college for a year and did 2 more A levels and a GCSE, then worked again for a year, then went to University.

travispickles Wed 25-May-11 11:57:24

I have been teaching French GCSE in a year to Year 9s and I can say quite categorically that it doesn't work. They are not mature enough and they almost never get the result they should have got in Year 11. It is too much work in such a short time frame and doesn't allow for any fun, which leaves them (on the whole) hating the subject. It is, in the words of the young people I teach, an Epic Fail.

adelicatequestion Fri 27-May-11 12:06:57


I'm glad you say this. I did up to A level French and when I see the way my DD is just trundling through things - preapring written tasks and then learning them by heart to regurgitate on the day, I don;t like it.

I also don;t think the teachers like this format, but I get the feeling it is forced on them by the head. Next year she will do NVQ3 in French!! She wants to do A level French but I don;t know what/when that will start.

She is coping well with it, but as a format for everyone, I don;t think it works.

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