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Core Science or 3 sciences

(16 Posts)
pug307 Wed 08-May-13 14:21:21

Having had the core, additional & further additional science system explained to us the other day, it raises the obvious question that a child strong in 2 subjects (i.e chemistry & physics) will obviously thus have their result pulled down by any weakness in the 3rd science - whereas a student doing all 3 separately who would have got (purely for example); A, A, C - instead will end up with a single B . 2 friends who work in different private schools tell us that they are still doing all 3 separate sciences instead of the "core science" GCSE, and that they believe parents are still meant to have a choice about this (for this year only) . When we asked our (state) school about this they got very defensive (surprisingly so actually) immediately.... anyone know what the actual situation is? Do we have a choice?

creamteas Wed 08-May-13 15:38:27

I should imagine in most schools, it will depend on the timetable, so not up to individual parents.

At my DCs school the choice is

Just Core (mainly those with severe SEN)
Core and Additional (majority)
Biology, Chemistry, Physics (need a good achievement at end of KS3 and counts as one option)

I think this is more than adequate to be honest.

titchy Wed 08-May-13 15:51:15

You mean do you have a choice as to wther your kid does the core, additional and further additional option or the Phys, Chem, Bio option?

Huge difference between single (core only) science and triple, in whatever form the triple takes.

Up to the school's exam's officer I'd have thought not the parents. There are advantages to both, 3 single sciences as you say useful if child is very weak in one science, but as far as I know if they do the 3 singles they all have to be taken in one sitting, whereas the core, add and fur add can be taken over two, so core at end year 10, rest at end year 11 which can even out weaknesses.

Anthracite Wed 08-May-13 18:41:06

I think Further Additional is a good development with the current GCSEs.

It takes away a lot of the risk of doing vertical Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

smellylittleorange Wed 08-May-13 18:47:12

Out of interest if you don't do single sciences does that exclude you doing it at A level? DD is only y4 but whilst looking on future schools websites it seemed to imply that only gifted and talented could do single sciences?

Anthracite Wed 08-May-13 19:21:16

No, you can do A-levels from Additional Science.

pug307 Wed 08-May-13 19:42:13

Interesting stuff, on the face of it, as long as youre going on to do A level, it won't really matter (if you were an emplyer and kid 1 comes to you with a GCSE in Physics, one in Chemistry & one in biology and kid 2 has 1 GCSE in amorphous "science", it's a no-brainer which one you'll prefer, all else being equal - I'm guessing that's why the private schools we know of are not wanting to follow this "core" thing and what makes me even more curious was the hostile response I got when I asked the chemistry teacher about the school choice of following "core" - followed very shortly afterwards by another hostile call from the head of science. The attitudes were unbelievably defensive about this simple enquiry..... which just leads me to wonder why all the more. Why would they be so worried that someone might be looking into it?

eatyourveg Wed 08-May-13 19:47:29

dc's policy is that its ok to do science A levels with the double providing of course you meet the grade requirement at GCSE (A*A or B) but its better to have done the triple if science is the way you want to go.

mummytime Wed 08-May-13 20:16:15

Very, very few students leave school with just core Science. Lots of private schools do put their students in for Core + Additional Science, at least lower and middle sets. It is seen as perfectly good preparation for A'level.

If you study Core+ Additional + Further Additional, you study exactly the same material as Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

The huge advantage of this over the old method of choose one two or three sciences, is that student don't accidentally stop studying a Science which will limit their future choices; eg. students who stopped studying Chemistry so couldn't go further than A'level with Biology.

However if you want to be a Primary School teacher, just a GCSE in Core Science is enough to fulfil the Science GCSE qualification need.

Anthracite Wed 08-May-13 20:38:10

The problem with the Further modules is that they are basically factoids.

Fine if a clever student squeezes them in along side Additional Science.

They are not worth it if it means giving up another subject, such as a foreign language, humanity or creative/expressive art. It is important to have a rounded education at 16.

A student cut out for A-level will easily compensate for not having done the further modules. They could digest the material in one week before breakfast.

Niceweather Wed 08-May-13 21:03:55

There was another massive thread on this subject recently which you may find if you do a search. I seem to remember that you needed to be on a certain level at the end of KS3 before the school would agree to the triple.

At my DS's school, doing triple would count as an extra GCSE option.

Erebus Thu 09-May-13 16:08:16

Ah, been there!

I had a huge wobble about DS1 being possibly 'offered' double not triple science as I really think we all know he needs triple. I did loads of research and still didn't really get to the nub of the matter but I learned lots along the way, for instance:

Our comp doesn't offer "core, additional & further additional science"; the Head of Science said it was because 'employers find it confusing, sometimes it's not seen as 'proper science' to the outside world, and if a DC is capable of this style of triple, the should be doing all 3 as separate subjects'.

So the choice is double "core & additional" or triple "physics, chem & bio". Unfortunately, both options take 2 GCSEs options, ie the triple is fast-paced. There's no option to do all 3 as 3 options which is what would suit DS1.

Left, right and centre (on MN, mainly!) I was 'assured' double is regarded as being every bit as good as triple confused, however, most of the people stating this only had the option of double at their schools (therefore might have walked triple as well, had it been an option!), or had DC who were excellent 'all-rounders' who wanted to demonstrate great linguistics with 2 MFLs, great musical ability with music, art & drama GCSEs, great at humanities, doing history and geography, for instance, thus didn't want the 'burden' of triple science as well as they didn't feel they needed it.

There is an issue of the 'weaker' science bringing down the overall grade in 'double' which can't happen in individual triple subjects.

Then the horse's mouth (a science 'A' level tutor at a sixth form) told me he noticed his 'double science' GCSE takers did struggle to bridge the 33% lack of content when compared to his individual 'triple science' takers.

So DS1 is doing triple as individual subjects.

talkingnonsense Thu 09-May-13 16:12:38

I remember that Erebus! How did you get the school to timetable three separate sciences? Or did you move school?

Erebus Thu 09-May-13 18:46:36

The school fit the 3 separate sciences into two lesson 'spots' (which isn't necessarily '2 lessons', mind!).

Actually, we got a letter today telling us the Y9 DC will be formally examined in 6 weeks' time 'to determine their correct sets' which I suspect may also determine 'double or triple'. I am far more relaxed about double than I was (though DS would have liked the opportunity to do 3 separate sciences in 3 GCSE option spots, but hey).

Having spoken to the very sensible Head of Science at the time, we are far more relaxed that the school don't just 'allow' DC to do triple providing they'll definitely get A-A* (though 95% do!). She also seemed to think DS1 is capable of triple. So the exam may sort the wheat from the chaff.

circular Thu 09-May-13 19:09:15

Been there too, DD1 yr11 doing the 3 separate sciences, but it did cost her an option.

What swayed it for her was
1) She was better at science than most of the other academic options
2) She was weaker in Biology than the other 2, but gap since closing
3) Those taking triple at her school get the more specialist teachers
4) She finds sitting the exam papers less confusing, as each science is examined separately rather than having combined sciences on the same paper. (not sure if its the same for all boards with the core and additional, hers is OCR)

Of the sciences, only intending to take Physics at A level, but would not have known that when choosing GCSE options.

mummytime Thu 09-May-13 21:45:35

In my experience: most Science teachers who have done GCSEs did Core+Additional, and then went on to 2 or 3 Science A'levels. That is why teachers say it is good enough for A'level.

However their is a big gap between GCSE and A'level, it is a shock for everyone.

At my DCs school, only the top two sets do triple, but they do it without using an option. They would rather all the students really understand the material they have covered well, and go to A'levels with As and A* (mainly) rather than struggle with more material, not really get it all in the time and get C's and B's.

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