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Is it usual to need a grade A GCSE to do A level maths now?

(436 Posts)
Jella2u Fri 23-Aug-13 16:59:37

Disappointment here too. Son has got 10 GCSE's grade A-C. So what's the prob? You have no prob! Yes I do!!!
He got a grade B, yes that's right, B for Bertie for Maths. The school (which is a comprehensive turned Academy ) will let him do his Physics, Chemistry and Biology, but not Maths for which they say a Grade A is required unless you've clocked up a total of 224 points between the last 2 module papers. Unfortunately his tally was 205. Husband went up suited and booted to the school this morning to plead son's case. Phoned us this afternoon - no go. Have said this to all who got a B. So nothing personal there.
Have tried to contact other schools this afternoon. Needless to say all are shut. Local Authority very helpful and recommended emailing. Are schools running a clearing system that I don't know about? Do tell.
School did offer Statistics as a replacement this morning, but by this afternoon that was off the menu as no-one wants to do it. There are 7 pupils in this maths grade B situation who want to do A level Maths. Strangely the school says Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Maths are the most difficult subjects. So they might be for most people, but what if your child is the one that has had to struggle with French, Music, English Language and bid their time to do the supposed hard four?
We feel he needs A level maths to support science subjects.
Unfortunately, I said we would be back with an answer as to taking up a place with some sort of substitute for Maths before term starts. Every chance if I can't get something sorted fast he will be a well educated NEET!!!
All ideas welcome. Thanks in advance.

errorofjudgement Sun 04-Sep-16 07:44:28

I remember reading this thread 3 years ago when it was current. Like others, I would love to know how this worked out.

RunningLulu Sun 04-Sep-16 04:11:26

DD got onto A Level maths with a B at the sixth form of her school, but it was exceptional as she took her GCSE at 13 and is now 14. So I think a lower grade was more accepted. He could always take the A Level privately if he really wants to do it - lots of community colleges have evening classes, and it would show initiative when applying to uni.

fastdaytears Fri 02-Sep-16 18:16:58

We need an update! The OP's son might be a year into his MEng now

dingit Fri 02-Sep-16 17:15:50


My Dd did maths GCSE early ( year 9) and did additional in year 10 and got a U. She retook it in year 11 and got a B. Tell her not to be disheartened.

user1471597558 Thu 01-Sep-16 23:08:18

Oops, just looked at the date. Thought this was now.

user1471597558 Thu 01-Sep-16 23:05:28

I'd like to comment on what has been said previously about the jump from GCSE to A Level. My college allowed B students to take the A Level Maths but only let A* do further maths. When I took A Level maths (5 years ago), a lot of the work in the first term was similar to GCSE level, but the work quickly got harder. A lot of students that hadn't been taught the harder (last few questions on exam paper) material found it more difficult from the start.

I'd also like to point out that the other three sciences together could be a stressful workload alone. I did four 'Sciences': maths, chemistry, biology and geography, and one 'humanity', critical thinking. Even being mathematically minded, I found that I had to put a large effort into chemistry (hours outside of class time), and found the essay question at the back of the biology paper difficult. Physics is much more mathematically orientated and harder work than Geography.
(I have only read the first 7 pages so not sure if this has been said already.)

baringan Wed 31-Aug-16 17:35:31

Damn. Just read the first few pages not realising it was old. Really want to know what happened now.

Coconutty Wed 31-Aug-16 09:32:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jcstev Tue 30-Aug-16 22:35:02

So, how did it all work out?

jessabell Tue 02-Sep-14 22:24:20

Son was able to get an A at Gcse after teacher taught a small group the information needed answer the questions. He now just starting his A level maths. Aware of how hard it is. His sister tried and failed she straight A Gcse . She said she wasn't that interested in it (didn't put the time in). He wants to do physics a level its recommended to do maths.

17leftfeet Sat 30-Nov-13 12:40:33

Pretty sure you have to pay for advertising?

jlee1 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:36:58

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

Jella2u Thu 03-Oct-13 21:00:42

The really good news!!!

We haven't drawn any attention to the B in maths to the Physics Department thinking it might be best not to flag up what seems to be a problem. So we were delighted to get a letter from the Head of Physics offering maths support sessions throughout the year for my son and others after the school day.

Many thanks to the Head of Physics for going that extra mile.

Jella2u Thu 03-Oct-13 20:46:14


Thank you for the compliment.

Husband is supportive. Both my husband and I have maths skills. We are financially comfortable. I can make the time and will work round our son's other subject commitments to make it as easy for him as possible.
Not an easy challenge, but very much easier for us than for others.

Caoimhe Thu 26-Sep-13 21:33:13

It's interesting how different schools do Maths in different ways.

My nephew also has 2 teachers for Maths but one is teaching C1 and the other is teaching M1. At his school the boys choose either mechanics (doing M1 at AS and M2 at A2) or statistics (doing S1 at AS and S2 at A2) so no chance to do M1 and S1!!!

noblegiraffe Thu 26-Sep-13 20:02:33

OCR National IT course

ICT is compulsory at KS4 so even if he hadn't done the OCR Nationals, he'd have had to do the ICT lessons. Schools stick them in for the course just to make it worth something.

forehead Thu 26-Sep-13 17:52:27

I must say Jella, I admire your determination and dedication. I am sure that your ds will do well in his A levels.

circular Thu 26-Sep-13 17:43:35

DD won't be doing M1 at all for AS. they all do S1. Then get to chose between S2, M1 or D1 for A2.
As far as I know, the only maths she has needed in Physics so far is standard form. So the only advantage of doing the maths is keeping the brain going for mathematical thinking rather than overlap.

One of her friends taking FM is at a bit of a disadvantage, as the only one in the group not to have taking additional maths.

Would your son prefer to stay at home while at Uni?
I've been trying to persuade DD that she may NOT want to stay at home, to get the full experience, but she's not interested. Guess it will get ironed own when individual courses are looked at in more detail, and they have a better idea if predicted grades.

MirandaWest Thu 26-Sep-13 14:56:44

Does your son want to live at home (whilst at university?)

Our local university has gone and joined the Russell Group (betraying its 1994 group credentials) although got a while yet to worry about DC in that respect)

Jella2u Thu 26-Sep-13 14:52:21


Agree with your DD's school. Haven't found any need for upgraded calculator.

You know, when this started off I really thought son would be at a terrible disadvantage not doing AS maths as I thought he would be in a classroom with a whole load of students that were taking maths and would be out psyched by them having that advantage.
This is not what has happened. Physics doing vectors. Maths doing vectors? No, they are intending to stick to C1 for the whole term. Vectors appear in M1 next term. At the moment vectors in physics seem to involve only right angle triangles so no need for sine and cosine rules yet. When you get to vectors in physics the page "Real Life" Vector Questions in the CGP GCSE guide is invaluable. If you know that page can apply sine and cosine rules and a bit of bearings from the North you're away and running with both subjects!!!

We are doing our own thing and will take every advantage of overlap. So will be all vectored out soon, hopefully.
Doing it this way means there will be no chance of a possible entry to the AS class. However, I really wouldn't want any student, let alone my son, to go into a class where they are not going to be taught positively as if they were going to succeed and made to feel truly welcome.

Going to send off for local uni prospectus (it's well within the top 50) and see what their requirements are. Some may be interested in Russell Group. We are interested in the money saved by living at home.

circular Tue 24-Sep-13 17:58:30

So is it still going OK?
OCR rather than Edexcel maths here, and C1 does look quite straightforward.
DD finding Edexcel Physics quite mathsy, but says nothing she's needed more than GCSE level maths for yet. Although continuing with maths must be helping, even if its just the keeping it going.

Still more maths homework than any other subject.

Re the calculator, have you upgraded to what is supposed to be the AS/A level version? DDs school saying not necessary, GCSE model fine.

Jella2u Mon 23-Sep-13 20:43:18


To keep ahead of the game finding the leaflet that came with the calculator is invaluable when you come to changing the mode on the calculator.

If anyone is following Edexcel C1, chapter 2 is more sensibly set out. Loads on quadratics. Can understand why some teachers dump chapter one altogether - Edexcel C1 is written by seven!!!! different authors. Hmmm.

Finding the time for the maths is going to be difficult, but if the lack of A level maths is going to cost us another 9000 quid for a foundation course it's worth the challenge.

Wish we had been worldly wise and quietly ditched some of these GCSE's and concentrated only on the GCSE's that son would do at A level plus GCSE English. Actually realised there were 2 short course GCSE's for year 10 adding up to another one GCSE and an OCR National IT course. Son has knocked up a load of points for those school league tables, but was the price the maths? I would be interested to know if the points are all attributed to him as a pupil or shared around giving an average per pupil?

Still we are where we are. The good news is that the physics department appear to be not so defeated as the maths department and are teaching quite a lot of maths!!!!

circular Sun 15-Sep-13 11:50:40

Caoimhe They have 2 teachers, 1st still doing unit 1 (co-ordinate geometry) with them, 2nd started on unit 7 (indices) with a bit of unit 2 (surds) thrown in. Says the indices are starting to get a bit more complicated than anything they did at GCSE. Of course, may be totally different for your nephew if different board - I'm quoting unit numbers as chapters from OCR text book.

Jella2u Thanks for the tips, but think I'm better off keeping right out of any geometry, my worst subject, second to mechanics.

Geograohy also DDs worse option subject at GCSE, should never have done it, but managed a B too.
Was about to say your son sounds similar, until I saw your French & Music comments - they are her other two AS subjects.

Jella2u Sun 15-Sep-13 10:09:55


Have faith. Your DD has probably struck lucky with a very wise maths teacher. Go too fast with too little explanation and the books will be flung under the bed.

You can help her with workload by looking ahead and drawing the x and y axis with appropriate numbers on graph paper (just do a variety, bound to come in useful sometime) and draw out any grids that require numbers filling in. If your scanner is good print a few out. Store them ready for action in plastic file pockets. This really cuts time.

As for our own situation, time was always going to be a problem. I work out all the questions beforehand, so no time is wasted wallowing in confusion - the pitfalls have already been found. It is actually my time that could be a problem.

Always have faith. I remind you I am the girl who got CSE grade 5 at maths and then went on to do a degree mainly in maths. The school my son goes to tried to persuade us that he should not do GCSE geography, his last option to choose. Not much else on offer to suit him. He got a B - not bad for a struggler in the subject!!! Have faith.

The science subjects were always easier for our son, so this year should be a little easier than last, though he did get the dreaded French and Music. A very few French books now in loft together with the keyboard and its books. All heaving a sigh of relief!!!!

Caoimhe Sun 15-Sep-13 09:55:17

My nephews has just started AS Maths. They did unit 1 of C1 in the first lesson and then moved on to unit 2! That was a bit of a shock for him.

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