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Critique these gcse options

(71 Posts)
Verycold Tue 12-Nov-13 22:52:33

English, Maths, 3 sciences, French, History, Latin, RE, Music

Main questions are:

Is Latin worthwhile? What about RE (full course, not just the compulsory bit). And how musical do you have to be for Music?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 12-Nov-13 23:00:19

History and RE are a case of learning and remembering lots of facts. My ds2 did really well in RE despite being an atheist, they need to learn the text really.
Latin goes well with music and History.
It seems a good mix of core, science and humanities to me.
Is this your dc and what do they want to do ultimately, that would be the main factor.

Verycold Tue 12-Nov-13 23:05:15

Thanks for replying. She is only 12, year 8, and doesn't really know yet what she wants to do! They choose this year (superselective grammar) and then spend 3 years on gcses.

Verycold Tue 12-Nov-13 23:05:41

Trying to keep her options open really!

Wandastartup Tue 12-Nov-13 23:08:02

I did the same but art instead of music- clearly a super choice?!?!

Verycold Tue 12-Nov-13 23:13:37

Depends on winkwhat you do now

Moreisnnogedag Tue 12-Nov-13 23:15:02

I think its a good mix. Leaves everything open. My DH did Latin and has oddly found it really helpful, including in understanding other languages. Plus it impressed me massively when he took me to Rome when we were dating and could tell me what all the inscriptions said!

breatheslowly Tue 12-Nov-13 23:17:56

That looks like a great selection. DH seems to know lots from his Latin GCSE. If she is interested in RE then it is another good, academic subject. I don't know anything about Music.

miggy Tue 12-Nov-13 23:22:57

I think with gcse it's more what you think they will do well at rather than what they later want to do. For example ds2 is a lazy toe rag and hence we steered him in the direction of subjects he was naturally good at plus didn't involve lots of learning open ended stuff. So Greek,Latin,french music and drama and further maths were the best choices for him.
Dd on the other hand hates anything even vaguely arty and hates having to waffle and give opinions so is doing mandarin,Greek,Latin,French,geography and further maths. Really heavy on languages but only by default. ( both of these assume no choice on 3 science,maths,two English)
Your choices look nice and balanced if they are her strong subjects.
Think number and quality of grades more important than subjects ( as long as a level choices in there)

miggy Tue 12-Nov-13 23:24:27

Sorry meant to say yy Latin is worthwhile.both my boys have gone on to do a level, they enjoy it and get a lot from it. I think universities like it too

hellsbells99 Tue 12-Nov-13 23:33:21

Music is a difficult gcse to get a top grade in. Only do it if they love music. It is not a soft option.

Verycold Wed 13-Nov-13 07:06:11

Didn't think it a soft option, but how do I know if dd is good enough?

OddBoots Wed 13-Nov-13 07:14:01

What grade performance and theory is she in an instrument. GCSE is around a grade 5 but it's not exact.

friday16 Wed 13-Nov-13 07:15:53

She is only 12, year 8, and doesn't really know yet what she wants to do! They choose this year (superselective grammar) and then spend 3 years on gcses.

What a silly policy. If it's a super-selective grammar then the kids are in the top 2% of the cohort. There is absolutely no need for them to spend three years doing a two year course. An extra year prior to making committing decisions is more valuable, and there simply isn't enough content in any of the GCSEs to justify three years. They are much better off having a wider, less pressurised Y9 and making informed decisions at the end of it. This three-year KS4 thing is what struggling comps worried about floor targets do, and there's absolutely no reason for a super-selective to get involved.

It's also a very open question, as no-one knows yet, what they outcomes are of spreading that material of three years when all courses are now linear, with most assessment terminal; the growth of the three-year KS4 was in part a response to modular GCSEs, as it allowed modular maths and modular sciences to be spun out with a set of modules being taken per year with a lot of room for resits. To do a three year course leading to a single set of terminal exams seems challenging.

The super-selective I know that does this has tied itself in knots with some courses running through to Y11, some to Y10 and then the time being used to pack an extra GCSE (badly) into a year, some to Y10 and than AS being started a year early with fairly poor outcomes as the slots aren't big enough (AS takes a year normally, but with six to seven hours per week of teaching, which a GCSE slot doesn't offer: stretching it out over two years with a three hour per week first year doesn't appear to be any benefit). The incoming head is trying to sort the mess out, I believe, and return to a two-year KS4. The other, comparable, super-selectives in the city all use a standard two-year KS4 and their best-eight results (ie, the ones that matter, as opposed to the "so and so got sixteen rather mediocre GCSEs over three years" that impresses the naive) are way better.

friday16 Wed 13-Nov-13 07:36:49

To answer the direct question, Latin is well regarded and most people get good grades in it (not because it's easy, but because of the rather biassed cohort than takes it), RE is very well regarded (and the attendant A Level is good, too) and getting a top grade is Music is usually thought to require around grade V by the end of the course.

friday16 Wed 13-Nov-13 07:47:45

It's also a very open question, as no-one knows yet, what they outcomes are of spreading that material of three years when all courses are now linear, with most assessment terminal;

It's also a very open question, as no-one knows yet, what the outcomes are of spreading that material over three years when all courses are now linear, with most assessment terminal;

notagiraffe Wed 13-Nov-13 07:49:26


I think it's a great combination. Really varied with a strong academic bias. Latin is brilliant for all sorts of things, most crucially, logical thinking but also as it is a foundation for any Romance language, and helps us understand (and spell) our own language better. It is a universal connector.

Impressed by your DC.

ISingSoprano Wed 13-Nov-13 08:02:44

Looks like a good combination of subjects to me and will keep a lot of doors open. Gcse music can involve a lot of composing - check the syllabus - my dd decided not to take it for that reason.

With regards to making these choices in year 8, it is surprisingly common now. Most of the (excellent) comprehensives round here do it. Dd's school spend a lot of year 9 doing more ground work rather than launching straight into the gcse syllabus.

LIZS Wed 13-Nov-13 08:12:24

ds is doing same subjects except Music this summer. The combination is a lot of written work. He dropped music as the performance element was too much pressure for him (he's working on Gr5 atm but can't commit the time to take it and achieve a pass good standard). Latin has been great for improving his sense of grammar , spelling and comprehension in other subjects but memorising vocab is not his forte. Has she done any before ? Of all of them I think his biggest disappointment has been RS (philosophy and Ethics) which although he works well the course isn't what he thought it might be. dd is also y8 and doesn't finalise her choices for another 18 months, although I think she know what she wants to do .

Wandastartup Wed 13-Nov-13 08:14:04

Very- I'm a doctor and have a PhD with a satisfying part- time career! I'm very happy with my choices but could have done lots of other things too.

NoArmaniNoPunani Wed 13-Nov-13 08:19:53

I did the same except geography instead of music. I'm now a dentist. Latin is a very useful subject to take

Lovelybitofsquirrel Wed 13-Nov-13 08:26:42

I would think the best person to ask about her aptitude for music GCSE would be her music teacher

Verycold Wed 13-Nov-13 08:37:29

I think they do a lot of ground work and extra stuff in year 9, not just the gcse syllabus

Pantah630 Wed 13-Nov-13 08:37:59

DS2, Yr9, has been asked to give an idea of what he'll pick come February. I assume so they can tinker with the timetables so every boy gets a chance of most, if not all, of their choices.

They have to do Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and RS; he's picked Spanish, History, Geography, Latin and Graphics; with French, Electronics or Business Studies as his reserve choices. Is this a good mix? He likes Art but not enough to study for GCSE. Apparently it isn't set in stone yet but his choices have stayed the same since he entered Yr7.

He has no idea really of what he wants to do in the future, except make lots of money so he can follow his interests in military history. He likes computers and is building his own, thinks making money designing games would be great but as he hasn't yet taught himself coding, I don't think he's serious. He's a good all rounder academically, not sporty at all, unless it's on the water. Doesn't want to go in the Forces, though that may change once he joins the CCF next term.

Wandastartup Wed 13-Nov-13 08:38:45

My sister did the same but Greek instead of RE & is a lawyer so opens lots of doors I would say.

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