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Is RE a compulsory subject, and what are single/double/triple sciences?

(11 Posts)
ChippyMinton Tue 13-Sep-11 10:10:33

I'm starting to look at secondary schools for DS1, and have a couple of questions if any one can help please?

A couple of the schools seem to have RE as a compulsory GCSE - is this quite common?

And whatever happened to biology, physics and chemistry? How does science work now?


startail Tue 13-Sep-11 11:38:19

Short course RE is compulsory at DDs school (1/2 a GCSE I think)
You can't now choose between biology, physics and chemistry, you have to do a combined course worth either 2 or 3 GCSEs. Not all schools offer triple award science and those who do often offer it only to the top set (because they don't give it 3 GCSEs worth of time table)
This is worth checking before applying to secondary because the double award is not the best foundation for pupils wishing to do science A'level.
Personally, as someone who studied all three sciences to A'level and beyond, I think it's a stupid system. Yes it forces every one to leave school with some science knowledge and stops 90% stopping physics. However, my best freind and other girls in my class did A'level chemistry or biology, along side arts and maths. They wouldn't have done the triple award GCSE and, I think, would struggled with/ not choose a science A'level.
My BF became a food scientist, so yes it does have an effect.

startail Tue 13-Sep-11 11:39:44

Sorry bit of a rant blush

Kez100 Tue 13-Sep-11 13:38:03

I think RE is a compulsory subject per Government, so most schools put the children in for a short course 0.5 GCSE so the children get something out of it. I believe it's quite a respected subject at A level.

Children also have to study Science per the Government. Schools seem to put most children through some sort of double award as they are capable of it. The papers on these cover all three science disciplines. Some, more able science students are then given the option to use their science study time and one option block to do triple science. Then they sit three GCSEs - one in biology, one chemistry and one in physics.

I've also heard that some schools don't use an option block up for triple because the childen are very able and its not necessary. That's not our school though.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 13-Sep-11 13:46:43

I would imagine fewer schools will make a full RE GCSE compulsory as it isn't one of the 'English Bacc' subjects.

Its not compulsory at DDs school - well, I think they must have to do something to meet the statutory requirement but AFAIK they don't have to do an exam unless they opt for full GCSE. (They all do triple science but as its a girls GS with science specialism its atypical)

kritur Tue 13-Sep-11 16:39:53

Not sure if you can search on this forum but if you can I did a massive post explaining the differences in the sciences about a month back for someone.

mumslife Tue 13-Sep-11 20:58:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MillyR Tue 13-Sep-11 21:05:55

This is Kritur's excellent post:

Triple science GCSE - the most to easy understand. 3 separate GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics with the grades being individual for each. Lots of schools now start this in Y9 because it doesn't always get a decent time allocation in KS4. Leads onto A-levels in biology, chem, phys etc (usually criteria is a B in the subject for progression to A-level) as well as the other post-16 options like A-level applied science, BTEC level 3. Students achieving L6 at KS3 should be given the opportunity to study triple sciences but these are only recommendations and not legally enforceable.

Double award options..........

Science + additional science - A traditional course combining biology, chemistry, physics but with the equivalent modules of 2 GCSEs. Grades awarded separately so can be different for the science part and the additional science. Progresses to all A-level and BTEC level 3 routes but for A-levels in pure sciences the college looks for a B in the additional science component usually.

Science + applied science - A general science course with the second award being more based on work related contexts. The 2nd GCSE the 'applied' GCSE usually has more coursework than a traditional course (approximately 50%). Rarely accepted as suitable for progression to pure science A-levels but can progress to A-level applied science (which isn't a bad course by the way, very good for potential nurses, primary teachers who just want a bit more science) or BTEC level 3.

Double award applied - Same as above but both awards are in a workplace context and have a larger coursework content. Same progression as above.

Single award.........

Many schools will enter lower ability students for the compulsory core science GCSE but some will just automatically use the BTEC route. No progression to A-level pure sciences, some colleges will accept for A-level applied science if they get a C or BTEC level 3.

BTEC - 100% coursework assessed. Can be equivalent to 1 or 2 GCSEs at level 2, pass, merit or distinction (equivalent to C, B, A GCSEs). No progression to A-levels in pure sciences, possible progression to A-level applied science in some colleges, usual progression is to BTEC level 3 but this is not commonly accepted by universities as suitable for entry. My word of caution in this is that it is not particularly respected as currently all work is assessed internally and there have been cases of students gaining credit where work does not exist, is copied or even done in a week. This has all weakened the position of BTEC although there are moves to strengthen the external assessment. It isn't accepted for progression as the mode of delivery in many schools means students retain very little understanding of the science after they have completed the task required to get the mark. Most schools use it as a way of getting a C equivalent double award out of students who wouldn't get that at GCSE although this is likely to change very soon as it isn't counted in EBacc and we are still awaiting the decision on the double science quality indicator.

OCR nationals - v similar to BTEC.

A few other things you might be bombarded with by schools..........

Level 1 qualification - Equivalent to GCSE grades G-D
Level 2 qualification - Equivalent to GCSE grades C-A*
Level 3 qualification - Equivalent to A-level grades E-A*

Hope this helps a few people.

cat64 Tue 13-Sep-11 21:24:16

Message withdrawn

ChippyMinton Thu 15-Sep-11 21:41:48

Thanks all. Useful stuff smile

startail Thu 15-Sep-11 22:00:56

Thanks milly that's a lovely explanation, far clearer than schools.

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