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GCSE Options in Yr 8 or Yr 9

(13 Posts)
Perriwinkle Thu 24-Jan-13 20:30:46

I was wondering if someone could explain to me why some children select their GCSE options in Yr 8 and others do it in Yr 9? What is the thinking behind this?

Our school do it in Yr 9 but I am aware from reading this board, and from speaking to people with DCs in other local schools, that it's not uncommon for it to be done in Yr 8. If your DC's school does it in Yr 8 does this mean that they start their GCSE courses a year early? Is this done in order to give them a better chance and thereby motiviated by the school's desire to get better results?

I was just wondering what the benefits are.

Do children that get to do it a year early benefit more than the ones who do it in Yr 9?

blossomhillontapplease Thu 24-Jan-13 20:40:18

DD's school have recently sent a letter requesting yr8 to choose which mfl they're interested in doing for gcse next year. They have a limited selection but the school is a language college. DD explained that this was to give them a better chance of achieving a higher grade. smile

Perriwinkle Thu 24-Jan-13 22:25:01


roisin Fri 25-Jan-13 19:07:07

The benefits are yr9 tends to be better as you don't have disengaged, disruptive students who hate French, Art, Dance or whatever... But rather the Options they have chosen are subjects that presumably they like and have an aptitude for. Also they have longer to focus on those subjects.

Disadvantages: pupils specialise far too early and may be making decisions at 12 that affect their future career options. I believe education should be broad and wide for all students, including arts and humanities for all.

Perriwinkle Fri 25-Jan-13 21:33:16


I suppose there are pros and cons on each side.

Personally I think that the benefits of choosing earlier outweigh the cons of choosing earlier. I really can't see the point of insisting that children do things like music and art if they really don't enjoy them and have no aptitude for them whatsoever. Things like opting for a language and one of the humanities is usually compulsory so they wouldnt miss out on that anway. Surely it's got to be preferable to focus on what you enjoy and are good at earlier on?

I wish they got to choose in Yr 8 at my DS's school. He'd love it. sad

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 21:35:27

that's weird, Periwinkle. You sound a bit outraged in first post & quite approving in last one, guess one can never tell what people really mean!

BehindLockNumberNine Fri 25-Jan-13 21:41:07

Ds is in Y9 and is currently choosing his options.

For us, it is good that his school left it until Y9. What ds enjoyed / was good at in Y8 has changed quite a bit in the past year. He has also matured slightly, is looking more towards what he may wish to do at A level / uni and is generally approaching the whole process with a little more maturity than he would have done in Y8.
I also like the fact he has done two MFL for 3 years, two humanities, art, music, technology etc, so that when he comes to drop some of them by the start of Y10 he still has had a bit more of a rounded education.

But I went to secondary school on the continent and did IBAC. We did not choose options until we were 16 so perhaps this is why I am finding the concept of choosing at 13 tough enough to get my head around grin

Perriwinkle Fri 25-Jan-13 23:19:38

lljkk I really can't fathom for the life of me how you reckon I came across as "a bit outraged" in my first post. confused

Questioning yes, outraged most certainly not.

Other posters explained to me the thinking behind choosing early and that helped me to arrive at the the conclusion that, on balance, it might be the best fit for my own child in particular, although I admit not necessarily for all children.

I guess one can never tell how people are going to interpret what you write on here. grin

roisin Fri 25-Jan-13 23:20:21

I'm delighted my boys have done a 3yr KS3. Studying all subjects for a further year was very beneficial for them: why specialise early? Ds2 is in yr9, choosing options this time, and doesn't have strong preferences: he could do well in a wide variety of subjects.

Often yr8 options are about maximising the results for school league tables, not what is best for individual education of the child.

achillea Fri 25-Jan-13 23:24:27

It might be better for some children to specialise early, but there is a duty to teach certain things within the national curriculum so my guess is that they would have to cram all that in years 7 & 8. I doubt whether schools can just drop a chunk out of the curriculum.

I wish maths wasn't compulsorily. Who has EVER used maths since they left school apart from a bit of basic arithmetic? Half my life was spent sitting in a classroom copying numbers off a board for WHAT?


Kathy420 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:38:47

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 01:08:31

Hmm. OK, I got maths o'level and physics cse (grade 1) but really I only used the basic arithmetic even in physics (a tiny bit of algebra was about as far as it got). But to have spent 5 years studying something I have never since used despite further education and all kinds of jobs, seems excessive. I would have preferred to stop maths at 14 and do music instead. Or maybe metalwork, typing or one of the other useful subjects they offered in the days of the bogstandardcomprehensive.

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 01:09:45

(I could have handled that myself Kathy!)

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