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School Options choices

(8 Posts)
scrappy45 Wed 12-Feb-14 19:07:28

Please can I have some opinions on an options issue we are having? We are really disappointed with the options that are on offer at our daughter's school.
In October before a parents evening where we were supposed to talk to staff about their subjects with a view to our daughter's option choices, I went on the school website, printed off options info and talked it through with her and she chose what she wanted to do very easily. We went to parents evening and talked to all the teachers and they were happy to have her. Jobs a good 'un. last week, the day before the options evening and with just a week for us to then return the form they changed the website and put new form on and now she can't do what she wanted to and they've basically said tough.
She has to do maths, English, a general PSHE course ( no exam) and PE which is standard and fair enough.
Then she must choose one language (she's good at languages but even if she was a complete genius at both French & German she couldn't do 2)and either geography or history, she wants to do history.
On the options form geography is in both column A & column B while history is only in B. After choosing H or G they then must choose another subject from the opposite column.
This means if you choose geography you can then pick from 8 other subjects, if you pick history you can then only pick from 4 others. 2 of those are btec courses which the teachers have said she shouldn't do as they are for less academic kids and she is a clever girl and should instead concentrate on gcses. Don't get me wrong, Im not against BTECs but she is academic. So we're down to two - art (which isn't her strength) or geography (which is where we came in). She wants to do music, she plays piano, guitar, ukele - which she can only do if she does geography. Head teacher said well she can do music outside school instead, which if I was his head of music I would find insulting in a "well, it's not a proper subject is it" kind of a way. He suggested performing arts which "might have a music element in it, why don't you go and ask, I don't know" he's the head, he SHOULD know if music is part of his performing arts course. It's not by the way. So instead of studying history with a teacher she adores she's going to have to do geography which she doesn't t like with a teacher whom she doesn't gel with.
Is it normal for "options" to be so optionless? It wasn't when I took mine!
Sorry to ramble, this is my first ever post and I'd just like to know what other people's option choices are.
Thanks for reading this far!

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 19:17:40

DS1 has just submitted his options. He likened the process to being promised that you can choose a house, but then being told which house you can choose, with the compromise that you can choose the colour of the doorframe.

In 1989, I was unable to continue with Music because the school couldn't timetable it as well as three sciences.

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Feb-14 19:19:57

Thankfully, the lack of Music GCSE didn't hold me back; I was able to get a choral scholarship at university based on audition only, so ended up receiving musical education that way.

creamteas Wed 12-Feb-14 19:29:03

Unless your school is huge, the issue will be constraints on the timetables.

Many schools do their best to accommodate as many people as they can, but they do not have the resources to be able to offer all possible combinations.

I have 4 DC go through this process, and 3 had to compromise on their ideal selection. Ironically if they had been in each others years, they would have been fine.

lljkk Wed 12-Feb-14 19:29:04

I think timetable clashes are very normal.
DS school designs the timetable around what the kids say they want. (Hooray! They do something well!)

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 12-Feb-14 19:41:51

My eldest is in a 3 form per year school, had plenty of choice of options (although they had to do least one mfl, at least one of hist/geog/re, and one tech)- as lljkk said, her school collect everyone's preferences and then design the timetable. One girl in her year didn't get one of her top choices, everyone else did. So you don't need a huge school for flexibility.

Dd2's school are 240 kids to a year, and she had pretty much free rein when choosing. Only 6 of them wanted to do 2 mfl's, so the school run a twilight class for them.

The op's dd's choices do seem very limited, imo and ime. Sorry op :-(

MillyMollyMama Wed 12-Feb-14 20:20:28

Usually Music would be considered an art subject so would be timetabled against drama, art, etc. It seems mean to me that a school cannot accommodate History and Music. I think the Head is poor to for not supporting Music.

I think it is also ridiculous that so many state schools do not support 2 MFLs at GCSE which, for those good at languages, is such a bonus when it comes to A levels. Two MFL A levels allow students to compete for places on MFL degrees with students from independent schools who would be encouraged to do two. The offer of BTECs can get in the way of suitable GCSE choices for academic children. Change school for A levels!

scrappy45 Wed 12-Feb-14 21:37:52

We've written to the head and chair of governors and been invited to talk to them. I've printed off options info from 10 other local schools that would allow d1 to do music and history so we will have to see...

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