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A level choices and moving for 6th form

(34 Posts)
celestialsquirrels Sun 16-Jun-13 09:34:33

Dd is at an all girls day independent school in year 10. She is doing 2 x English, 3 x science, maths, French, philopsophy&theology, geography and drama GCSEs. She is dyslexic - reads a lot and has perfect spelling but slow processing which means she finds it v difficult to get things down on paper fast. She gets full extra time and really needs it.

Her current school offers A levels and IB. She is really not good at maths and appalling at French so IB is probably not right for her. She is NOT a straight A student. I hope she will get a couple of As, mostly Bs and the odd C in maths maybe. But who knows. Her iq is apparently 129 so there is a clear disconnect between intelligence and achievement in exams.

She is thinking about moving to a coed boarding school which offers A level, Pre U and extended projects.

For A level she wants to do English Lit, Biology and Photography. For her fourth either Geography OR English Lang OR an extended project. EP appeals because she can do it at her own pace so her processing issue doesn't come into play. She worries that Geography will mean too many exams with lots of writing. Photography I think would be an obvious AS only, but if she continues she will get an A level AND a Pre U in it (but I don't understand the point in having both). She is passionate about photography.

She doesn't know what she wants to do at uni/for a career. DJ and I come from traditional professional backgrounds so assume university is a given.

I would just be interested in everyone's thoughts about
1. Moving schools at sixth form
2. Subject choices
3. The value of an EP
4. Photography as a subject.
5. Anything else to help me through the confusion!

Thanks v much.

TheWave Mon 20-Jan-14 19:49:49

Sounds like a great combo. Photography for AS makes her stick out from the crowd but is enough. We also considered biology as a single science A level amongst literature/essay based subjects and didn't go for it as it seemed a bit too different and random Iyswim.

Your DD should know if she likes politics a bit though already?

celestialsquirrelnuts Mon 20-Jan-14 22:03:54

Thanks. She is quite interested in politics- and DHs family is very political (ex cabinet ministers etc) so she has grown up listening to it. I am also worried that she has no history - dropped it before GCSE in favour of geography. It slightly came out of nowhere because her current school doesn't offer it so it wasn't on her radar. New school does.

Yes they are all essay based subjects except photography. But since she loathes maths and languages and has rejected the sciences I think that's what she is left with. Unless she goes for biology after all - but I feel that might be the wrong thing for her.

Millymolly is photography AS quite so intense do you know? I mean if she dropped it after L6?

sashh Tue 21-Jan-14 07:51:59

A bit late for this as she has a VI form place but I was going to suggest she looked at BTEC in Art and design. All course work and also gets you a portfolio together which is what gets you on to an art course, if that's where she is heading.

It wouldn't get her in to a Russel group, but how many art courses do RG do?

Has she had any experience of computer programming? A lot of dyslexics find it extremely logical, I only ask because a friend's son is now on a computer games course. No idea what career this could lead to but he is thoroughly enjoying it.

If she is till undecided I think there is a lot to be said for keeping options open.

MillyMollyMama Tue 21-Jan-14 10:26:10

My DD2 did not feel there was a huge difference between A2 and AS Photography. In some respects you have to learn quickly for AS and being very used to using a camera helps. Her school was very geared towards getting the A*s and provided a residential each year to cover some photographic aspects of the course (landscapes, texture etc). The AS assessment was also in March with additional work submitted later. I think a photographer needs a creative mind to do something original with the topics to get the best marks. My DD loved it but pushed herself and did a lot of unsupervised work in the Art Dept getting her portfolio ready and experimenting. She also did a lot of shots using her own locations and subjects, within the syllabus, but this was her choice. At her school it was well taught and all the girls really enjoyed it making it a good addition to other heavy A levels. Hardly anyone dropped it after AS though! Also it was vital for my DD for her chosen degree so that pushed her too! It can, of course, be enjoyed at a slightly more sedate pace.

Can I just add that we are quite politically minded in our house and that does not necessarily help with Politics A level at all. The syllabus my DD1 followed was dry and a bit boring. It included learning about electoral systems, how politics works and political theory but virtually no discussion of any political views or policies. Thereby someone who likes a good debate, (my DD) found it less than stimulating. It is not an A level that has been dumbed down but it has had all the fun of debate removed from it. That is not to say your DD would not enjoy it but I would look at the syllabus and see if it suits especially as she did not like History.

stayathomegardener Tue 21-Jan-14 10:38:48

DD is year 10 Dyslexic currently at a selective private school will come out with moderate results I think and looking to go to a sixth form college....Can't wait.
Will do Photography,Textiles and Media Studies or Applied Business Studies and resit English GCSE.

She has set up as a portrait photographer working from home but sees the above choices as a great step to being a freelance Photographer/Stylist/Artist working in a huge college with like minded people she can't wait.
And yes whilst I would like her to go to uni,it may not be for her.

It is harder for your DD with no clear career plan but if she chooses what she enjoys she won't go far wrong.

celestialsquirrelnuts Tue 21-Jan-14 21:48:16

That's great feedback on photography thanks Molly. Re politics she would do AQA which is Uk at AS state and American politics at A2 state. Is this the same as you were talking about? I know Edexcel does a politics a level which looks much drier to me.
Her other option is Philosophy instead of either politics or photography- this has the advantage that she is doing philosophy and theology GCSE so knows much more what she is getting. The GCSE looks like a v good foundation for AS. If she did English, Geog, politics and philosophy she could drop either politics or philosophy depending on which she liked least so less risky. English geog philosophy and photography would also be possible.
I'm worried about the burden of 4 academic subjects on her though, and it is quite a "god-heavy" syllabus which is the part she likes least about her GCSE.

Ooh it's tricky.

She has work experience in the summer planned at the head office of a big high street fashion brand and one of the big major model agencies which should expose her to photography/retail/marketing/business/fashion... But she isn't sold on these areas for a career. She is adamant she wants to read English at uni but that may change!

Thanks so much for all your input, it is really helping.

celestialsquirrelnuts Tue 21-Jan-14 21:49:14

Stage not state!!

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 22-Jan-14 18:24:12

I think it depends on syllabuses, and may have changed, but when I did politics at A-level, the AS year especially covered things like different election systems, roles of different groups (e.g. pressure groups), and how the political system works. We didn't really cover much political ideology until the A2 year which was, in my opinion more interesting. If she is doing both UK and American politics, it may be that she does not cover that much ideology. It might be worth looking up the syllabus or some past exam papers online to see what is covered.

Doing photography would also show a different set of skills than those used in her other A-levels, which might be useful if she went on to want to work in something related to the fashion industry.

MillyMollyMama Wed 22-Jan-14 19:42:45

DD1 did Edexcel Government and Politics which at that time (2010) did not include American politics. However I notice at DD2s school, the course handbook says it does. Maybe there are choices to be made or the course has altered.

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