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Double science v. triple. Has DS blown it?

(246 Posts)
Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 18:49:36

I will be absolutely honest and say that, at parents eve tonight, the bomb shell was that DS1 is being considered for 'top set double science' not triple science- though which 'set' is rather neither here nor there!

I am rather 'taken aback' that he's not in the top 3rd of his 270 strong-year group (Y9), tbh! I acknowledge that his school is the county's top performing comp, academically so, yes, the competition may be a bit stiffer than completely 'average', but! In Dec his level was 6.2 or 6 low as they call it, and it was the only report he's every gotten a '2' for effort ('usually tries his best, but not always'). Always had a '1' for everything to date.

His 'in class' work has let him down, he got a 4.8 for his last experiment (she only looked at the last 2 or 3 marks, but of course will have an overall overview of DS, won't she?), and when asked why tonight, he said that the 2 other boys he works with were mucking around and they got no experimental data to work with... but he got 76% for the exam they did last week in class (certainly top quarter of the 3rd group in science, there being 2 A groups, 1 B group, his, all 30 DC apiece). Do not misunderstand me- I know DS wouldn't the beacon of diligence trying to pull it all together in class!- but I do sort of think they really haven't given their more 'OK, enough coasting, time to knuckle down boys children' time to show that they now 'get it', and that playtime, as such, is over. I think he had his first real shock tonight, actually. The level 2 'for effort' didn't do it (but his achievement mark was well in the upper half of the school's expected level).

The teacher said 'it's better he gets As or A* in double science than does less well in 3', which is undeniable. BUT DS is capable! My 'complaint' about the school would be they let the kids coast in Y8, no homework, no pressure; then 'wham!' Y9. MUCH more homework, much more focus. I readily concede we are half way through Y9 but I sort of feel DS only got his first yellow card, in Jan, with his report for science, but has just been told, 7 weeks later (today), he has 2 weeks to change their minds for double v. triple science. That's 2 lessons (though the teacher says she will rearrange the prac. groups). He was almost in tears (the teacher didn't see) as we left her as he knows that he needs triple science to be allowed to do science A level at Peter Symonds in Winchester (High performing 6FC). Until tonight he was harbouring a dream of 'maybe science or Engineering at uni'- but, well, he's blown that, hasn't he? A DC who is only allowed to do double science at a school that offers triple isn't 'Science At Uni' material, is he?

Sorry, really, for the ramble but I really, genuinely thought that DS's 'science' future was 'on course'; that is B grade English/humanity performance and possibly even C grade MFL (yet, oddly, A at Maths?!) was counterbalanced by 'solid science'. But it would appear not.

I don't really know what I want you lot to say. I don't know what I'm 'asking'. I just feel, well a bit pole-axed by tonight's revelation, I guess. And I know they aren't really likely to change their minds.

QuiteOldGal Tue 05-Mar-13 21:53:52

DS chose to do Double Science not Triple, and was level 7 in year 9 SATs. He wanted to do 2 languages and various other subjects and triple science took up too much of the timetable, also he was not at all interested in Biology. He then went on to do Physics A level, did not feel disadvantaged at all and is now doing Physics at a RG university.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 05-Mar-13 21:55:04

Are you aware that Core and additional science and exactly the same course as triple?? I mean exactly

The triple just has an extra unit of work for biology, chemistry and physics each which is a third more work.

Startail Tue 05-Mar-13 21:55:18

However, I do agree that shoe horning 3 lots of written work into two slots of time she'd find difficult.

A reasonable HOD would just not worry and accept come the exams the knowledge would be there, but that needs imagination and a knowlage of your pupils, hmmmm not likely.

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 21:56:49

But are they? I've read many posts on MN telling me that double isn't good prep for A level! And I'd be looking a bit suspiciously if I were an admissions tutor at a 6FC if one of my top feeder comps had decided this DC was double, not triple material.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 05-Mar-13 21:58:14

As. Science teacher, I would say any student with decent Core and additional grades can manage very well at A level. It was always designed to be so.

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 21:58:16

Sorry, I meant my last post to reply to ship; as in IS double 'good prep' for A level?

feynman Tue 05-Mar-13 22:00:40

Hi Chica, maybe so, are you in the Yorkshire area lol!
I know there have been a few questions regarding double/triple- A-Level, my experience of this is as follows. There maybe some 'highly flying' 6th forms who have their own admissions criteria different to all of our local colleges but every one of our local 6th forms (including all the schools with a 6th form) take students with Sci A and Additional science, regardsless of whether the school does/does'nt do triple. Grades will generally be more important than whether they've done 2/3 GCSES.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 05-Mar-13 22:01:36

By all means, contact the school and discuss through with them in detail (they know your child better than I) but I really think an A/A* in core and additional beats B grades in triple. and any less than that, he wouldn't get on the course in the first place.

feynman Tue 05-Mar-13 22:16:34

I think the question you maybe want answering is not so much is 'double' good prep for A-level, but is triple better? I really think that depends on so many factors. I teach A-Level students who've come from double, who've worked hard/enjoyed the course and are outperforming students with similar grades who took triple. So much depends on work ethic of the student. I also know of students who were considering A-level science who changed their mind after 'rushing' through triple in y11. Similary we also have students from double who were never going to do science at A-Level but secured good grades which gave them the confidence to do it, and who are doing very well. I really think the time issue is a big thing.
I would ring the HOD to dicuss but I would also ring around all the colleges you have in mind and ask them so you know for sure what the situation is.

Waitingaround Tue 05-Mar-13 22:23:39

Peter Symonds does not demand triple science- check their website

webwiz Tue 05-Mar-13 22:26:20

DS(year 11) is in the top set for science so he takes triple science in the same time that the set below take double science. As feynman says its been a rush and he isn't taking any science A levels despite being one of the highest achievers in year 9. Its a lot of work and as we go into the final stage for GCSEs one less "exam" to work towards would be a good thing.

In contrast both my DD's took core and additional science GCSEs and went on to take science A levels (DD1 is studying Biology at university). They both retained a love of science whereas DS has had his killed off!

CointreauVersial Tue 05-Mar-13 22:39:59

DS's school does not offer triple science at all. I find it hard to believe that not one person is therefore equipped to continue onto A level science.

mindgone Tue 05-Mar-13 22:40:21

My friend's DD did duel science and is now in her second year at uni doing medicine! I think it may be worth speaking to a tutor at the sixth form college to check the facts out. Good luck.

Copthallresident Tue 05-Mar-13 22:43:42

DD was advised by her indie that though she was perfectly capable of triple Science at GCSE, that if she did double to enable her to keep up History, Geography and two MFL along with the compulsory Maths and Englishes and the recommended practical relaxation subject she would appear more rounded even, or maybe especially, if she was going to go for Medicine.

She was a bit annoyed that she did find the jump from GCSE to A level was greater than if she had done triple, she had to cover some of the ground on her own, BUT she got A*/As in 4 Sciences at A level and the lack of Triple Science was never mentioned as an issue in relation to her applications for any of the Science courses she applied to at uni, including the top ones, and including places like UCL and Bath who are known to sift on GCSEs. In fact the second MFL which was a potential casualty is now crucial to her application for an internship.

So no DS hasn't blown it .............. not that I think he should be having his options closed down in Year 9. If my arty flaky DD2 can get A*s in Maths and Double Science it really can't require talent..........

Abra1d Tue 05-Mar-13 22:51:39

My daughter is doing double science IGCSE and has been emphatically told she can do three Sciences at A level. The IGCSE course is perhaps a bit more deManding but even so, there is no way in hell they would have let her do this if they didn't think double science was just fine.

QuiteOldGal Tue 05-Mar-13 22:57:07

How are the FE colleges and universities going to know that your DS didn't choose to do double science because of wanting to do other subjects. As long as he gets good grades in double surely thats what matters. DS was never questioned about why he didn't have triple science.

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 22:59:28

I do think the distinction between those secondaries that offer triple and the DC there who does double and those that don't offer triple at all could be made. So one could imagine that a DC who gets, say A/A* at double may have achieved A/B/B at triple... Is the latter considered worse than the former?

As for PS, their prospectus says:
"These entry requirements for A level science are under review but:
a 'B' grade in GCSE in Chem or Bio or Physics plus B in Maths, or
a B in Additional science plus B in Maths or
a B in Additional Science (applied) plus a B in Maths or
BB in Applied science (double award) plus a B in Maths"

Th's 2012 results in science tell of 'core, additional and applied science' GCSEs....
Of 270-odd pupils, 198 took Core; 167 took Additional; 31 took Applied (27 were girls!).

What's 'double award' then? The implication of that one is that you have to do better in that (two B's!) than a single B in one triple subject!

88 took the 3 separate sciences. The numbers won't add up and some of the non-triple science is taken in Y10.

Final point: this decision 'reduces' DSs potential GCSE tally from 9 to 8.

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 23:00:45

Ab IGCSEs are a different kettle of fish altogether. There's no way you'd be able to do 3 science A levels on a double science GCSE.

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 23:02:30

Quite- to be fair, the FE colleges would know what subjects he 'wanted' to do instead of triple science because there'd be a grade sitting next to an exam in it! As it is, DS can only do 9 GCSEs with triple science.

MechanicalTheatre Tue 05-Mar-13 23:03:31

My brother did biology at university with only two sciences. That was in Scotland though, where things seem to be a bit less, erm, strict.

BehindLockNumberNine Tue 05-Mar-13 23:04:09

We recently had a similar conversation with the HOD for Science at ds's school. He also used to teach science at AS and A level at 6th form college.

He said that if he had two places left to allocate on a Science AS / A level course and the two students were identical in all GCSE's except one had A* in both Core and Additonal Science and one had B's in Core, Additional and Further Additional Science he would give the place to the student with the two A*s.
He explained this was due to all the reasons feynman mentioned.

With two very solid Sciences in the bag your ds would still be perfectly able to do Science at A level and beyond.

Ds is currently in year 9. At his school the top set are expected to do Core, Additonal and Further Additional. However, they look at the pupil's science module results at the end of Y10 to determine who progresses through to Further Additional.
They only let the top 30 take it.
At the moment ds is very well placed as he has been consistently within the top 30. But I appreciate this may change and the explanation of his Science HOD about still being able to do it for AS / A level was very reassuring and took some of the pressure off smile

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 23:07:51

Copth- well done your DD but she's obviously in a different league to my DS. He isn't doing 2 MFL, or 2 humanities, as in he's doing just Geog, not history or RE. He is OK at language but turned down a second language when considered 'borderline' at the end of Y8; he is not an essayist- doing well enough in English but baulking at the essay-load of History.

Your DD's choices and grades shout 'a choice to demonstrate a well-rounded, all-rounder high-achieving pupil, something had to give and it was one more science'; my DS's need is to play up his better ability in right brain activity over a weaker left!

webwiz Tue 05-Mar-13 23:08:33

Why wouldn't you be able to do 3 science A levels after core and additional science? Quite a few of DD1 and DD2's friends did including a couple of medics.

Erebus Tue 05-Mar-13 23:12:21

Behind- god, now I'm confused! At DS's school now, the less able as lifted from DS's Options booklet, seem to do a thing called 'Science A' (end Y10), and 'Additional Science' at the end of Y11, or the 3 named sciences, Physics, Bio & Chem as 3 separate subjects at the end of Y11.

'Science A' doesn't even feature in the 6FC's list of acceptable qualifications!

NewFerry Tue 05-Mar-13 23:13:10

I second webwiz, DS1 did 2 science A levels after the double science GCSE, he could have taken all 3 if he had wanted to.

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