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What do we think of Creative Writing as an A Level choice?

(46 Posts)
YDdraigGoch Thu 15-Nov-12 17:15:25

It's a new subject offered at my DD's school, and after a Sixth Form taster day today, she's come home really excited about doing it for A Level.
DH is concerned that this might be seen as a soft option.
Her other choices are likely to be Eng Lit, History and Philosphy and Ethics.
I think Creative Writing would complement Eng Lit.
DD is thinking about a History degree.

Are there any English teachers or Uni folk out there who could give me an honest opinion?

RedGreenRouge Thu 15-Nov-12 17:37:12

It would definitely be sene as a softer option but having one of those isn't really a disadvantage. Eng. Lit and History are both very strong courses. I can't comment on the status of Philosophy and Ethics. One soft course will not disadvantage your daughter. Two might take the edge off her application - but with four essay subjects she won't be seen as significantly less challenged.

YDdraigGoch Thu 15-Nov-12 17:57:23

Thanks Red. That's kind of what I thought, but good to have second opinion to show DH.

webwiz Thu 15-Nov-12 20:46:05

I think I would be more concerned that its a brand new A level that has never been taught before. It only launches in sept 2013 and "academic" creative writing can be surprisingly difficult.

YDdraigGoch Thu 15-Nov-12 21:25:00

I hadn't realised it was completely new. I thought it was just new to he school. Thanks for that info.
There's a Sixth Form open eve on Monday, so will be sure to ask for reassurance about that.

Roseformeplease Thu 15-Nov-12 21:27:10

Not sure. I would be very concerned about the, likely, very subjective nature if the marking.

TravelinColour Thu 15-Nov-12 21:28:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pluto Thu 15-Nov-12 21:38:53

I would not contemplate Creative Writing as an A Level - I am a Head of English - creative writing will not be Russell Group Facilitating subject and any student who relishes creative writing will find other outlets to do it. Most Eng Lit and Eng Lang A Levels provide opportunities to write creatively in the coursewor. Your daughter should be doing at least two facilitating subjects at A Level to keep her options for uni open, so Eng Lit and History are a good starting point.

BeckAndCall Fri 16-Nov-12 09:43:24

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it, tbh.

My DD, now doing eng lit at a RG uni, did an OU module in creative writing and it was quite demanding and academically rigorous.

And there are RG unis who offer creative writing either as a whole subject or as a combined 'English and creative writing' course. And they are very difficult to get onto (my DD got rejected from one herself therefore it must be difficult (biased mum talk!)). Nottingham and Birmingham both offer it to my certain knowledge. And other non RG but good unis too - UEA and Hull for instance.

My point being that it doesnt have to be non academic - clearly it is as a subject. But whether the new A level will also be rigorous is a different question, really and I have no idea about that.

Shagmundfreud Fri 16-Nov-12 11:21:50


Just in case anyone wants to look at the specs before dismissing it as pointless and a 'soft option'.


OP - your dd should do the A-levels that excite her.

BeckAndCall Fri 16-Nov-12 13:15:30

Missed out a word in the last sentence of my post!

Meant to say 'clearly it is a proper subject' - ie one of value and recognised by unis.....

socharlotte Fri 16-Nov-12 14:59:48

Whay is she doing 5?

PropositionJoe Fri 16-Nov-12 15:07:43

It is the soft version of English lit, I think. I didn't realise you could do both - are you sure you can?

Shagmundfreud Fri 16-Nov-12 16:37:57

"It is the soft version of English lit, I think. I didn't realise you could do both - are you sure you can?"

If the emphasis is on writing rather than reading then I can't see how it's a 'soft' version of English lit? And surely there's still a hefty amount of analysis involved?

TravelinColour Fri 16-Nov-12 17:19:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrendelsMum Fri 16-Nov-12 17:21:56

I imagine it would be hugely enjoyable if you're a good writer (and enjoy it), the teacher is an experienced teacher of creative writing, and the other members of the class are talented / hard-working writers.

I can imagine it would be very frustrating and stressful if this wasn't the case.

Himalaya Fri 16-Nov-12 17:24:52

If she is excited by it she should do it. It sounds like a good mix and a complement to her other A levels which are more traditional.

Education can't just be about collecting points.

YDdraigGoch Fri 16-Nov-12 18:02:37

Mmmm - lots of food for thought.
English dept is generally excellent and school also an ofsted outstanding school. Results generally high across the board.
DD loves to write, and is excited at the syllabus for this course. Will note down your points, in order to give Eng teacher a grilling at open eve next week. May also contact some unis to see how the land lies.
I think her other 3 subjects (philosophy and ethics is one subject), are strong subjects, so maybe she deserves a lighter "fun" one, as long as it doesn't ruin her Uni options.

Sparrows12 Fri 16-Nov-12 18:52:06

I have heard that there is scope for some creative writing within eng lit itself - writing fiction in the style of the author - for one of the assignments. Maybe this would meet her desire to be creative.

ThreeTomatoes Sat 17-Nov-12 21:11:48

I don't get this view of certain subjects as 'soft options' personally. Everybody has strengths & weaknesses. I know ppl who can't write a bloody email properly let alone try to write a whole piece of creative writing - let alone an A Level!

I would have loved to have done this A Level when I was doing them. If what dd enjoys atm doesn't change much, i hope it's still around when she comes to do A Levels.

FGS let her do it!!!

ThreeTomatoes Sat 17-Nov-12 21:20:29

PS sorry for getting a bit passionate there, when I was 16 starting A Levels i had no enthusiasm or ambition in me. I will be soooo pleased if dd is actually enthusiastic or excited about a subject. It's horrible not knowing what you want to do and just having to get on and do something - much worse I've have thought if you're not allowed to do something you're excited about and have to do something else instead. I started out doing 3 A Levels, dropped one fairly soon cos i was bored stiff with it, failed a 2nd that i didn't give a sh*t about and hardly turned up for, passed the 3rd well but only because i had a natural aptitude for it (Music) and it was the social 'hub' for me so i actually turned up and mostly enjoyed it...

Dozer Sat 17-Nov-12 21:47:15

I would've loved this at that age! But it may be heavy on the essay writing.

Dozer Sat 17-Nov-12 21:47:51

I mean the combination of A levels.

Not heard of ethics and philosophy.

socharlotte Sat 17-Nov-12 22:21:21

I think she is setting herself up for a heck of a workload! How is she at maths/science/music - something that shows a different skillsets?

wordfactory Sun 18-Nov-12 08:17:18

I am a writer and I would not encourage a student to take this at A level.

Anyone interested in creative writing should be reading and analysing at that age IMVHO. English Lit much better.

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