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AQA 'fast track' triple science mistake. How to salvage this!

(49 Posts)
Erebus Sun 20-Apr-14 17:02:24

DS, Y10 is in a high performing state comp. The science option was either 'normal' double or 'fast-track' triple (same lesson time given over for 3 as for 2 sciences). His end-of-Y9 science teacher suggested he'd be 'in the top double science set', which he was unhappy about. To be fair, this school does have a bit of a reputation for not 'allowing' DC to take subjects they might not get at least an 'A' in; and DS's stronger subjects are science and maths as opposed to arts or humanities- and DS wanted to do triple science. DH and I went in to see the Head of Science who assured us DS would be capable of triple science but should be prepared to 'work hard' to keep up not so much with the level but with the pace of it.

Here we are, 2 terms in, and yes, DS is struggling to effectively self-teach a third of the science curriculum, that being the third there's no time to cover in class. I'd be happy if they sent home work sheets to guide him about what he's supposed to be covering out-of-hours but he appears to be just getting ordinary science homework, which isn't always done to the highest level. I can't help much because I wasn't sitting in the lesson!

He's very much '14' and not yet mature enough to see the implications of not doing as well as he might in his Science.

There don't appear to be many, if any, science GCSE tutors locally; we have the recommended AQA revision guides but I wonder if there's more he could be doing? An on-line course?

I am hoping to be able to persuade the school to allow him to drop one (tech) GCSE in Y11 in order to free up some time in order to do some extra science but he'd still need to know what to study! The school know (as do we following a bit of a lack-lustre report) that DS isn't doing as well as he's capable of but I get that they have 279 other DC to worry about as well.

His fear is that he might not get a good enough mark to be able to do an A level in a science, and he wanted to do 'triple' anyway to lessen that gap between GCSE and A level we're constantly being told about. But 3 low grade science GCSEs will be less use in the long term than 2 better double science- and, bio is his weakest subject so he didn't want a 'lesser grade' in bio to haul down his physics and chem, which theoretically it wouldn't if they were quarantined from each other as in triple, iyswim.

Any thoughts?

HolidayCriminal Sun 20-Apr-14 17:41:36

Did you post all about all this at great length previously?

webwiz Sun 20-Apr-14 17:50:59

I don't understand why they have to self teach a third of it. I thought the idea was to work at a faster pace and cover more material in a lesson than the students doing the double would do.

DS did triple science in the same amount of time that the group below did double and they covered all the material in class and only got ordinary science homework.

OublietteBravo Sun 20-Apr-14 18:02:15

Try www.gcse.com for physics (I went to university with the guy who runs the site - he is a physics teacher with ~15 years experience).

LeapingOverTheWall Sun 20-Apr-14 18:03:13

One of the issues for (I think) current Y10s, and certainly Y9s is that the science GCSEs are much more content heavy than in previous years. Our school has stopped triple accelerated for current Y9s (causing a LOT of upset -they were doing a 1 year astronomy GCSE in Y9 and had to stop half way through the course) as the current Y11s ( who did astronomy in Y9) have struggled to cover the course, and it's only going to get worse with the extra content.

Not that that helps you any OP, but gives a bit of background to the problem.

chicaguapa Sun 20-Apr-14 18:08:18

Speak to your DS's teacher and tell him what you've said here. And then listen to what he says. The HOD was very clear in that your DS will only achieve As in triple if he had the right attitude and you were adamant that he did. It's not about ability or potential but it's attitude that sets the successful triple students apart.

It doesn't sound like your DS has kept to his side of the bargain which was to work hard. A student with the right attitude would know where to look on the school's VLE for the resources as they're all there and/or ask the teacher independently where to find them. The fact that he doesn't know where they are is probably the reason why his Y9 teacher felt he'd do better at double.

So a) look on the VLE and b) speak to the teacher. If you know his name you can email him or HOD directly.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 20-Apr-14 18:08:27

Is tutoring an option?

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 20-Apr-14 18:11:38

It does sound bonkers. I don't have any particular advice, but the schools that I know of that teach triple in the same space in the timetable as double do actually cover all the curriculum in lesson time. The children are not expected to teach themselves!

Maybe they have more children in the group than are capable of working at the faster speed so they're all suffering for it?

OddBoots Sun 20-Apr-14 18:30:46

My ds is doing triple in the timetable space for double but they are certainly covering the whole course with the students. The started Y10 doing B1-3 for half a term then C1-3 for half a term then just physics from then as they are doing the physics exam this year and biology and chemistry at the end of Y11.

I'm guessing you have bought some CGP or other type books for him to study at home? Does your school have any access to elearning things like an MLE or SAM learning where resources are available?

titchy Sun 20-Apr-14 19:13:28

He'd probably be better dropping to double now than having extra free periods next year.

ImAThrillseekerBunny Sun 20-Apr-14 19:18:22

Do you know for a fact that they aren't covering everything in lessons, or do you only have your DS's version of events? I'm not necessarily suggesting that he's flat out lying, but an immature 14 year old will have put his own spin on the situation. You need to communicate with the teacher directly to form a plan - it's not in their interests for him to underperform.

Unexpected Sun 20-Apr-14 19:51:42

From where did you get the idea that your ds is having to self-teach himself part of the course??? At ds1's school they teach triple in the same amount of time as double but that doesn't mean they are teaching themselves 1/3 of the course, it just means the triple classes are moving at a faster pace than the double - and yes, it is fast. Why on earth would a school (which you say is striving for A grades) allow students to take a subject where they have to do a lot of the work themselves?

I think you have misunderstood the teaching here (or your ds is presenting you with his version of events). As others have said, it sounds as if the content and pace is too much for him and he should move to double science instead. Doing double in no way prevents him from doing a science A level (or two).

LIZS Sun 20-Apr-14 19:56:02

are you sure you have understood it correctly . In years 9 & 10 ds' school covered the double science syllabus , for those continuing with double Year 11 has been mainly consolidation and revision, for those taking triple the additional areas of the syllabus covered. Lesson time is the same for either.

TalkinPeace Sun 20-Apr-14 20:32:46

I think you have SERIOULY misunderstood how the fast track timetabling works.
They cover all three subjects in the two timetable slots - because the bright kids can cover the material faster
in NO WAY are they expected to teach themselves 1/3 of the syllabus
that would be daft and probably an instant Ofsted fail

SweetSilverSongOfALark Sun 20-Apr-14 20:43:06

Why is he teaching himself the work??!! This is not how I seen triple being delivered in any other school. They absolutely should be teaching everything in school. Are you sure you have got that right?

HolidayCriminal Sun 20-Apr-14 20:44:47

Look I don't want to be a stalker, but am pretty sure Erebus had long previous thread about aspects of this. If Erebus won't come back maybe go find her previous threads to get answers to all these questions ( if you're really intrigued.)

SweetSilverSongOfALark Sun 20-Apr-14 20:57:01

Oh yes! Just over a year ago. And I posted on it under a different name.

How interesting!

TalkinPeace Sun 20-Apr-14 21:05:38

I just remembered which school your DS is at.
I stand by my comment.
You have the wrong end of the stick.

ravenAK Sun 20-Apr-14 21:16:22

Again - there's no way a school which expects As is going to leave kids to 'self teach' 1/3 of a demanding Science course! I teach both Eng Lang & Lit to able GCSE students, & combined English to weaker ones - trust me, we don't just cover the same ground with all of them & expect the high flyers to do the Lit independently...

I'd be confident that you've misinterpreted this & ds just isn't keeping up with the pace, because he's not actually that keen on the level of graft involved. You're absolutely right that he'd be better off with two good GCSEs than three mediocre ones though - if at all possible, he should probably move to the double Science course the school originally indicated was most suited to his aptitude & attitude.

chicaguapa Sun 20-Apr-14 22:04:05

I just remembered which school your DS is at. I stand by my comment. You have the wrong end of the stick.


Erebus Mon 21-Apr-14 22:50:38

Well, I guess I only have the Head of Year's assertion that the DC who do Triple Science are expected to cover the 'missing third' via homework assignments. Much of what DS does is 'pre-reading/working' towards the next lesson so he allegedly has the basics under his belt before the class sets to work using the gained knowledge. The HoY also told me that the science goal-posts have moved which might be what Leaping describes.

Thanks to all who have helpfully described how their school does it by way of pointing out how wrong DS and I- and his school- are; but unfortunately that won't change how DS's school 'does it'.

Dropping to double is absolutely not an option. They 'allow' it up to 6 weeks into Y10, for maybe a couple of students. Either the way the course/s content is arranged or the way they teach it doesn't permit movement between the two. I haven't 'seriously underestimated' the triple science curriculum: When we were uncertain, we sought the advice of the Head of Science. They were the ones who quite happily asserted that DS was capable of triple. I didn't push it; DS wanted to do it (and he also felt his Y9 young, ambitious NQT science teacher was pushing for 'top of double' for him; and, I might add, for other boys who are also now doing triple!- as 'she knows we'll pass and she'll look good'). This remark did not sway me- I wanted to find out more. Which is when I discovered the 'fast track or double' thing. Unlike many on here who have obviously done way more research than me thus can confidently state that they know exactly how much of the triple curriculum their DC has covered in class and to what depth each day, as evidenced by their homework, (which, at times I struggle to understand let alone recognise as covering what was done in class today as I wasn't sitting there, he was)- I can't. But well done you guys.

My point being 'the school' didn't indicate the double thing; a junior science teacher (who'd had DS for 6 weeks at that state, by-the-by) did; but the Head of Science who'd taught him all of Y8 and half of Y9 felt he (and the other boys who ended up doing triple) could and should do Triple. This isn't my vanity project, this is a parent who is trying to find ways to prevent DS, still very much 14 now, 2/3 of the way through Y10, to find a rudder to help him catch up/keep up with the cracking pace of this accelerated learning.

The school doesn't 'expect A's'- it gets As. I don't know how, apart from only allowing DC who they believe can get A's to take triple science.

And finally, I'm not sure whether to be flattered or unnerved by those of you who appear to 'follow' me!

damn Mon 21-Apr-14 23:06:05

I went to a technology college who did triple science im sure we had 6 lessons a week for it 2 for each subject. The double award needs to be passed before the triple award can be started. Resit is possible to continue onto triple.

hellsbells99 Mon 21-Apr-14 23:41:14

Op - trying googling mygcsescience.com - there are lots of utube videos that my DD1 found very useful.

chicaguapa Mon 21-Apr-14 23:52:30

Much of what DS does is 'pre-reading/working' towards the next lesson so he allegedly has the basics under his belt before the class sets to work using the gained knowledge.

What you're describing is flipped learning. Is your DS managing to do this or is that why he's struggling?

You need to speak to the teacher and understand how the triple curriculum is being taught. He will be able to let you know what more your DS can do to keep up with the pace. No one else at this stage, however well-meaning, is going to be able to help you more than the teacher who is teaching it to him.

SweetSilverSongOfALark Tue 22-Apr-14 07:00:09

I agree, that is flipped learning where the basic ideas are covered as homework but then used in the lesson to complete activities set by the teacher. It's basic lesson preparation but not learning the missing third of the syllabus by himself.

You are sounding very defensive (which I can understand, I guess but means you are dismissing advice you are being offered too readily) so I think I shall leave the thread as I can remember this the way it went last time.

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