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GCSEs/Exams 2013-2015

(76 Posts)
KatyPutTheCuttleOn Thu 29-Aug-13 12:13:57

A support thread for people with DCs starting GCSEs/Exams in 2013 with the exams in 2015.
Hold hands, share cake, wine, frustration, results, tips, book recommendations etc.

longingforsomesleep Fri 30-Aug-13 00:34:06

"DD's doesn't have to - it always comes top of the county table anyway" - then I guess they play the league table games exceptionally well Grimma!!

I was forgetting the mfl - how could I? DS spent half of last term dithering between German and Spanish. Plumped for Spanish and then negotiated a switch to German. Let's hope he's made the right choice!

BlackMogul Fri 30-Aug-13 00:49:20

I thought Mr Gove was coming down hard on taking exams early, ie in year 10. What is the point if you do not get an A*.? You need the extra teaching - surely- to get a better grade. Best choices at GCSE are Maths, English x 2, sciences (3 or double), a mfl, a humanity, an art subject plus one or two more you enjoy. Not sure about BTEC if you will get A and A* at GCSE. You can specialise at A level and some courses just take concentration and effort away from what actually matters. Why do a citizenship qualification? ICT is not rated either and lots of DCs find it boring.

5madthings Fri 30-Aug-13 02:28:16

I dotn see the point in citizenship or the Oct btec but both are compulsory at my boys school. So no choice, he will breeze the icttho as he is already ahewad of where he needs to be, spends his spare ti,e programming etc and the ICT teacher gets him to help teach other kids,it's his thing.

5madthings Fri 30-Aug-13 02:29:22

The citizenship covers some religious studies as well? Dotn know much about it tbh but its compulsory anyway.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 08:09:40

DD's school doesn't insist on a MFL, in fact the head stood there in the parent's meeting (which the students were at) and said 'Don't bother with a language if you don't enjoy them, the EB is a performance measure for the school and not a qualification, don't bother about us getting the performance measure, just choose what you need as it is about you and not us'

DD hates languages so she was glad not to have to do them, she had a choice of French, German or Spanish if she had wanted to.

I'm surprised at the variance in the number of GCSEs, some schools do 9 (DD is doing 9 I think), others more. DD will do RS, English x 2, Maths, Geography, Engineering (single award), Triple Science, not sure about Citizenship and PE but I don't think they do that for GCSE unless it is an option but I'm not sure about that either.

wordfactory Fri 30-Aug-13 08:24:14

Neither DD nor DS school insist on the EBAC, but only in so far as the humanity is concerned. Everyone has to do one, but the field is wider than those prescribed by Mr Gove.

DD's HT called him a philistine for excluding music and RS from the list grin.

Both schools do however insist on a MFL.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 08:36:08

I have yet to meet anybody who likes Mr Gove or approves of what he is doing, but that is a whole other thread.
I was hoping that DD would do music as she's got a flair for it but she doesn't get on with the music teacher (neither do I, he's excellent at music but the way he put pressure on DD didn't suit her, I had to tell him to back off but he didn't with the result that she has given up all her instruments and singing lessons) so she dropped it.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Aug-13 08:55:54

>then I guess they play the league table games exceptionally well Grimma!!

Not really - they just have the advantage of a selective intake (so comparing them with anything other than the few other GSs and selective indys is not really fair) which is why I assumed GSs in general wouldn't need to play games with what subjects the pupils take when.

Word - DDs school takes the same line as yours re EBACC - sort of wish it was more like Kathy's except I sort of feel its good for DD to be made to do the MFL. She should be capable of getting a decent grade, just that she'll have to actually put in effort to learn it unlike other subjects which come more naturally. Which is perhaps no bad thing.

Kathy - what a shame about the music. Its perhaps the subject most affected by the character of the teacher - either to inspire or otherwise.

longingforsomesleep Fri 30-Aug-13 10:12:16

Grimma - quite a lot of grammars in our area so I guess I'm used to the competition between them!

I assume (though I don't know) that part of the game is about maximising A level results. I know at our school the top maths set take it at the start of year 10, middle set at the end of year 10 and third set at the end of year 11. When I've tackled the school on this they've said that, it means students can spend longer getting to grips with AS maths which is much harder than gcse. That's the party line but I know not all the teachers agree with this approach. I think it's fine for the really bright ones but there's a risk of pushing others through too quickly before they've consolidated their gcse maths. And they insist anyone doing it early who doesn't get A*/A retakes it - demoralising I think. Not sure if they're doing it for the students' sake or to maximise their A level results? Or to get maths GCSE out of the way so they can cram in another subject? And they're always talking about how many students do one or two AS levels with their GCSEs. Again, it's great if it works, but demoralising for students if it doesn't.

DS3 has chosen AS Computing for one of his 'GCSE' options but will spend two years over it and sit the AS exam at the end of year 11. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will work for him. I wanted him to do GCSE Latin but his choice!

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 10:25:56

DD is doing AS level Critical Thinking for one of her options. She wanted to do Latin or Ancient Greek but they don't offer either, I suppose they are a bit specialist.
Critical Thinking isn't, as far as I know, seen as a useful A level by universities but I think it might be a useful skill to learn. We will see.

LickleLemon Fri 30-Aug-13 14:02:50

My DD is doing mainly languages. She likes them, seems to pick them up very easily despite being a fairly average student in other subjects. I do worry that her choices are rather limiting but she is adament about following a career using languages. I just hope she does not change her mind because she has not left much scope for much else now.

She is doing French, German, Spanish, Welsh, Greek, Latin and History for her options and then the compulsory Maths, Eng lit and lang, and Dble Science. I think some of the GCSEs are IGCSE but not sure which ones off the top of my head.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 30-Aug-13 16:31:27

Slightly off the main topic of the thread, but just to add that in our area, it's the weaker schools (either by intake or general management) that do early exams; all the grammars, privates and 'good' comps have always just done proper two year courses with a proper set of 9-12 GCSEs at the end (with the very odd exception, such as ds's school where the exceptional musicians can take music early etc). They'll find there's very much less change for them over the next few years than for other schools.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 30-Aug-13 16:32:55

Sorry, meant to say good luck to all your dc for the next two years. Mine's just going in to year 8 and will be one of Gove's guinea pigs.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 16:34:39

Lickle is your DD at a private school? That's an impressive list of subjects.

AIBU to wonder why my DD is 'only' doing 9 GCSEs? Should she be doing more?

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Aug-13 16:44:23

8 or 9 good GCSEs is enough (from the POV of uni entry - whether its enough to cover your DCs interests is a different question). The private schools hereabouts do 9 or 10. As I said, DDs GS does 11 (though they can do an extra MFL or I think Latin as an extra 'twilight' class). Tends to be comps that do more than a dozen.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 16:49:15

They get to choose 4 options - one of them can be triple science. I'm not sure how that works because triple science only counts as one option yet people who don't choose triple science don't get to choose two extra GCSEs in it's place.

BackforGood Fri 30-Aug-13 16:57:48

Katy - that's because the others will be doing 'double' science, so to do the triple, only adds one more, so only takes one option.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 17:01:50

Ah, yes, now I remember. It was back in February that they chose so I've forgotten since then. I spoke to DD, she also does GCSEs in ICT and RE so actually it is 11. They also do either 'Your Sport', 'Sports Leadership' or 'Fit4You' but she can't remember which she chose, they just asked them at school to decide. She, nor I, have no idea what Your Sport for Fit4You is!

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Fri 30-Aug-13 17:08:33


Ds is starting year 10 next week. Can I join you as I don't have a clue. He's doing Chemistry, Physics, English, Maths, RS, History, Spanish, German, Latin and Greek (possibly) confused

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Aug-13 17:27:37

Oh yes, they can do the Sports Leadership as part of the mandatory PE time. And also there's a raft of other non-exam PSHE/citizenship/RE/something else I've forgotten ... strategies for learning or somesuch?

OddBoots Fri 30-Aug-13 18:23:05

My ds is going into Y10 but I don't feel like we know what he is doing properly.

They have started some coursework for an ICT qual (not a GCSE, something else) but they're not sure if they will actually go on to finishing it. I don't know if he is doing double or triple science, if he is doing English Lit (although it sounds like he is) and he might be taking maths a year early but there is a new head of maths next year so that might change!

I let ds choose his own options, he didn't have a huge choice as his school do focus on the EBacc but he has selected Drama and is taking Dance in his PE slot - both of these surprised me but I think they will do him good even if they aren't his strongest points (ASD and maths geek).

BackforGood Fri 30-Aug-13 19:11:52

Oddboots - It doesn't get any clearer as they go through the whole procedure grin
(I have one starting Yr13 as well, so have done this once)

LickleLemon Fri 30-Aug-13 19:38:57

Yes she is Katy.

I really do not have a clue. So much has changed since I left school aged 16 in 1988. I was one of the first to do GCSE after it changed from Olevel/CSE.

I think we have a meeting at school one evening in a couple of weeks (am so mentally not ready for going back - I really need to get my school mum head on).

I think most schools do 9 or 10 GCSEs. 2 that DD is doing are in after school classes (at school) but I have said if her other work suffers or she is too stressed or struggling she may have to drop one or both of the extras. I would rather she had better results in less subjects than lower results in more.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 30-Aug-13 23:10:22

I did O levels so it's all confusing to me. I'm not ready for going back either, got stacks to do before next week sad
I'd prefer better results in less subjects as well.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sun 08-Sep-13 16:52:27

The school are planning after school revision classes starting next month, are other schools doing this already?

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