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More of a WWYD actually- College now not offering 2 of the IB subjects that DD1 wanted to do

(143 Posts)
duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 09:46:12

DD is supposed to be starting the IB at our local 6th form college in a couple of weeks. She wanted to do Maths, Physics & Chemistry at higher level, and English, French and Philosophy at standard.

Yesterday at enrollment, the college tutor announced that they are now not doing Maths at higher level, and not philosophy at all. They have come up with a cunning wheeze instead of making those that wanted higher maths do a maths A level instead, taking the exams in the January session (ie two terms shorter than usual), then cramming Maths studies (aka Maths for the non-mathematical) into the Jan-May period in time for the exam.

DD is very upset about this- she feels that maths studies will be a waste of time for her since it is barely more than a GCSE, which she just took. She's not opposed to doing History instead of Philosophy but it is looking as though the syllabus is the same as the GCSE she just took (although probably in more depth) and is dreading doing same topics for another two years.

She and I both feel that they are just doing Maths studies for easy points rather than because they feel the students will benefit from it, and that worries me about the ethos of the course. Is it just going to be about exams?

The other problem is that whilst former school goes back on Thursday 1st Sept, college does not begin until September 12th, meaning that if she decides it's not going to work out at the college, she'll already have missed 2 weeks at least of term at school if she has to go back there.

She could go back to her former (fee-paying) school and do A levels, go to the fee-paying school her sister is at and do the AQA Baccalaureate which is similar to the IB but uses A levels as its base. Or she could go along with what the college has planned. Financially we cannot afford to send her to an IB school abroad- we cannot really afford to send her back to her old school either, but her grandmother has offered to help with fees if she does need to go back.

WWYD?

beckybrastraps Sat 27-Aug-11 09:49:03

Can she do A levels for free anywhere? What does she want to do?

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 09:55:30

She could to the college and do them but she was looking forward to doing the extended essay and theory of knowledge bits that came with the IB.

eurochick Sat 27-Aug-11 09:56:39

Does she have any idea about careers yet? Would the higher maths be needed?

I like the idea of the IB because of its breadth, but in this case she might be better off going back to her former school to do A-levels if they do the subjects she wants.

chopchopbusybusy Sat 27-Aug-11 09:59:14

Maths A level is a huge step up from GCSE so I think their plan to fit it all into the first term just won't work.
I'd be worried by a college not seeing maths as an important subject - and from what you are saying they don't, so I'd be reluctant to send her there at all.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 09:59:36

She wants to do nat sci or medicine, aiming for Cambridge.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:02:09

Not one term chop- one year and one term. Still seems steep if they're to get a high mark (the IB higher maths is scarily hard apparently, has bits of degree-level stuff in). With a maths A level done in 4 terms I do not believe that she will have the breadth of IB higher maths- they simply won't have time to fit it in.

TeamDamon Sat 27-Aug-11 10:06:44

Why would she need to go to an IB school abroad? UK schools offer IB - yes, many of them are private, but if you are contemplating paying fees for her to do A Levels at her old school, then you have the option of looking for a private school that offers IB instead. The school I teach at offers both IB and A Level courses, and she would definitely be able to do her subject choices here - not that I'm trying to sell my school grin, just showing you that what she wants to do is feasible in England.

FWIW, I think a college that does not offer Higher Maths is to be deeply mistrusted. I would imagine it suggests their Maths teaching is simply not up to scratch. If you can find an alternative, I would. What area are you in?

complexnumber Sat 27-Aug-11 10:18:17

I'm writing here to mark the place for DH who is the real complexnumber and the real maths teacher/IB expert, he can reply to you later.

Here's a few things I can add though. Maths is the only IB subject that is at 3 levels at Diploma; Higher, Standard and Studies. Does the college not offer Standard either? If it does you could ask some admissions tutors if Standard is enough for the kind of courses she is interested in.

The other issue is that she will have to find another subject to take at Higher level.

chopchopbusybusy Sat 27-Aug-11 10:18:55

OK, yes, one term would be nigh impossible grin
If I were in your position I'd send her back to her previous school.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:21:59

Damon- her old school in £10,000/year. The schools I've investigated this morning are all £20-30,000 to board (obviously she'd have to board as there are no other IB schools within reach from us).

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:22:58

Damon, we're in Devon. Not much choice alas.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:27:15

If we'd known the college would not be offering higher maths (it is quite a big deal for her) we would have entered her for scholarships and bursaries elsewhere earlier this year. She has done very well at GCSE so would probably have been quite an attractive proposition for schools.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:27:54

complex! Amazing coincidence that your DH teaches maths IB. Thank you!

Bonsoir Sat 27-Aug-11 10:28:45

If your DD is good at maths, she should pursue it at the highest possible level - it is one of the best predictors of successful entrance to university.

Since your DD seems to like sciences, she would be much better off doing A-levels, which work at a higher level than the IB. The IB is great for "good all rounders" who want to do Humanities but not give up on science entirely.

Philosophy is a waste of time at this age.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:29:24

And yes they do seem to do standard but that doesn't seem to be what they're offering. I think that for medicine or nat sci at Cambridge they require full maths A level. Maths Standard level is I believe more of an AS than an A2+.

TeamDamon Sat 27-Aug-11 10:30:33

grin at Devon - not the centre of the IB-offering private school world! grin

yes, and 10K v. reasonable in comparison to the other schools so finding another school difficult, I can see.

In that case, the best idea might be to drop down to Standard Maths in place of the philosophy and look for another Higher - is Higher Maths essential for Nat. Sci. or Medicine?

One word of warning - be alert to the fact that English universities sometimes expect more of IB students than A Level students in terms of what they offer - do check standard IB offers.

TeamDamon Sat 27-Aug-11 10:34:08

Sorry - x-post with your last post! Maybe A levels then...

Yellowstone Sat 27-Aug-11 10:40:44

duchesse our school does the AQA Bacc, two of my DC have completed it and a third is half way through it. On the academic side it's A Levels pure and simple with the EP added on. Very different conceptually from the IB. Your DD is clearly very clever so I'd have thought A Levels and the EP would suit her well. She could always opt for 4 A Levels too if she wanted more breadth.

What a pain about the Maths. Are those two other schools really the only viable options in the area? Not so bad if her DG is happy to help, but what about other good schools in the state sector in the area? Her grades are ggod enough for any school to want her I'd have thought.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:46:37

Problem is that none of the Exeter high schools have 6th forms- they all go to the college. Our nearest school is not brilliant at 6th form level and not spectacular further down, especially for sciences. Teaching is so important at A level science and I couldn't be sure she'd get decent teaching there. Are your children at CG Yellowstone? DD was turned down by there at 11!

Yellowstone Sat 27-Aug-11 10:47:37

TeamDamon I tried to make the point about IB offers for university entrance on another thread but duchesse told me off sad

And I said about A Levels, clever DD and depth sad

duchesse this thing at the college may be a blessing; I'd be on the phone to the schools.

Whatmeworry Sat 27-Aug-11 10:48:39

Not being able to do Maths at the highest level is the deal breaker IMO.

Newbabynewmum Sat 27-Aug-11 10:49:28

Just wanted to reiterate what someone has said already - maths a level is really hard. At my school a few years ago people who got a B at gcse were given a massive chat to try and deter them from doing it at a level. Not to scare you! But it's a massive step up from gcse and I wouldn't recommend it unless ur DD is really keen on maths.

duchesse Sat 27-Aug-11 10:49:33

Soz Yellowstone blush

MagicFingerGoesPop Sat 27-Aug-11 10:50:27

Just throwing a different perspective here from someone who has no idea about any of this...is there somewhere that does offer what she wants that is free and rather than boarding, rent out a small studio flat(putting your 10K toward that instead?) I know it is young to live out of home, but, maybe??

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