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How many free choice options is 'normal' for GCSE?

(45 Posts)
Takver Wed 26-Nov-14 21:13:17

Didn't want to derail the other thread, but I've been wondering this. DD is in yr 8, but has friends in yr 9, essentially they only get 3 free choice options. Is this par for the course? (They do 10 GCSEs + short course RS, but the other 7 are compulsory subjects.)

TalkinPeace Wed 26-Nov-14 21:20:46

DD had 5 : the final year of semi modular GCSEs
DS had 4 : fully linear GCSEs (same school)

Bunbaker Wed 26-Nov-14 21:24:18

At DD's school it depends whether they take double or triple science.
Compulsory core subjects are :
Maths
Science (double or triple)
English language
English literature
Citizenship/RE

That only leaves room for 3 or 4 options in the curriculum. As DD is doing triple science she chose three options. Those doing double science could choose four options. DD is doing 10 GCSEs in total.

SueDunome Wed 26-Nov-14 21:35:32

ds chose 3 and did twelve in total:
3 Science
2 English
2 Maths
ICT
Religion & Philosophy
plus 3 choices

bigTillyMint Wed 26-Nov-14 21:36:10

Well, DD had 11 compulsory (Eng lit+lang, Maths, triple Science, Spanish (well, a language), History(or could have been Geography) plus RE, Citizenship and ICT plus she chose French, Art and Drama (now dropped) and was going to do PE as an extra but has finally decided against it!

So that was 3 proper options.

DS also has 11 compulsory (Eng lit+lang, Maths, triple Science, French(well, a language), History(or could have been Geography) plus RE, Citizenship and ICT and he chose Geography and PE - they seem to have cut out one for his year group, thank God!

So that was 2 proper options.

Takver Wed 26-Nov-14 21:48:22

I guess 3 is pretty normal, then - will tell DD not to complain smile OTOH it seems hard to have to give up lots of things, but no doubt much much better than taking 00s of exams. Sadly for dd, the only thing she'd really like to drop is Welsh, which is compulsory - have pointed out she just has to grin and bear it (and do her best to get at least a C!)

prettydaisies Wed 26-Nov-14 21:53:32

DD had 4.
She has to do English x2, maths (she'll probably do further maths as well), RE and science. She will do triple I expect, but others do double in the same time period.

Her options are French, Spanish, history and geography.

littledrummergirl Wed 26-Nov-14 22:14:48

Ds1 does Englishx2, Maths, poss higher Maths(hes not sure as its taught as maths but he has the higher maths workbook), chemistry, biology and physics as core.

The school listed all other subjects, the pupils chose 5 plus a backup and the school built the timetable around their choices.

Ds1 does geography, german, latin, computer science and stats.

He also does pe and re/citizenship but not to take exams.
I think this is unusual though.

titchy Wed 26-Nov-14 22:21:29

Dd had two choices once she'd picked her MFL and her humanity! Triple science was one, and a creative subject was the other.

18yearstooold Wed 26-Nov-14 22:31:05

Dd is yr8 but they do their options this year

She has to do

English lit
English lang
Maths
Triple science

Then she has to do a language and a humanity

She then gets 2 free choices

One of her choices is EPR so that will give her 2 GCSEs

She will also add further maths in year 11

So she will, if she sticks to school predictions, get 12 GCSEs

I think it's ridiculous personally

Unexpected Wed 26-Nov-14 22:34:17

DS1 basically had two! There were 6 compulsory GCSEs and supposedly four options. However, if you wanted to do double or triple science that had to come from an options block, you had to do a MFL and that was another option block so he actually ended up with two. As it was a given that he would do music, his "options" ended up being one subject!

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Wed 26-Nov-14 23:09:28

DD2 will have 2 choices. They have to do eng Lang, eng lit, RE, double maths, triple science and an MFL.

BackforGood Wed 26-Nov-14 23:22:58

Both my older 2 dcs (at different schools) had to choose from 4 option boxes. However, that does include - for example - third science, which might be compulsory for brighter pupils at other schools
Also, by the time you've ruled out a couple they are adamant they won't do, and then you've looked at the way the options are blocked that never seem to suit your dc and you don't end up with much to choose, IME.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Wed 26-Nov-14 23:28:22

DD2 would happily do history, music, geography, art and drama. Instead she will have to unhappily do sciences and an MFL.

Pantah630 Thu 27-Nov-14 07:00:06

DS had a choice of 4 plus a choice in MFL on top of compulsory Eng Lang & Lit, Maths & Further Maths, 3 Sciences, P.R.E and short course ICT so 13.5, it's lots but he's very academic and so far coping very well with the workload, his options chose were Spanish, History, Geography, Latin and Graphic Products. Current Y10 state grammar. They started the sciences, separately as a GCSE course in y9 to spread it over three years.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 27-Nov-14 08:09:44

DS1 had to choose one out of History and Geography.
Then two other subjects, (one of which could be the other one out of History and Geography if he had wanted to do both).

So one sort-of-option and two free options.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 27-Nov-14 08:35:08

Three eldest at three different schools. Roughly the same basic compulsory subjects, then an MFL, a humanity, and two completely free choices.

NotQuiteSoBig Thu 27-Nov-14 09:04:17

DD's school are changing the number of GCSE's being studied from Sept 2015 (Y9 choosing now) because of the change in syllabus. They are reducing the number to 9 for the brightest pupils which is a big difference.

Takver Thu 27-Nov-14 09:06:18

I think it's great that so many dc are encouraged to continue with all the sciences, but I guess the downside is that most will then do only one humanity, whereas as you say Rabbit many would benefit from continuing with both history and geography. I admit I do think continuing with a MFL if you are at all capable is good, though.

Northernsoul58 Thu 27-Nov-14 09:10:18

Our CofE academy allows a choice of three, but one has to be History or Geography (or they can do both), with one other free choice.
But because of Gove's meddling two years ago, the academy first decided to do the Baccalaureate, and when that was scrapped, decided to do a three year GCSE course starting in Year 9. That meant the kids had to drop all their more fun subjects, music, drama, art, DT, etc, and only concentrate on their GCSE subjects - with a nonsensical subject called Enrichment to turn them into rounded citizens as though those subjects don't do that.
Every parent I have spoken with (and several teachers) are really annoyed about this, but these changes are like a juggernaut for schools, once decisions are made (because of government changes) it's nearly impossible to turn back.

MarjorieMelon Thu 27-Nov-14 09:11:52

In our school the compulsory subjects for GCSE are English, English Lit, RE, Maths, Science (top set do triple). Then they choose 4 subjects on top. The majority of pupils take a modern language and a humanities subject as 2 of their options but it isn't essential.

Takver Thu 27-Nov-14 09:22:18

Back in the day (late 80s), we only had 3 compulsory subjects (Eng lang + lit, & maths) - you then had to choose (at least) one science, one humanity, one MFL and one practical/commercial subject, leaving 2 options 'spare'. I guess it wasn't that different, except that it was really normal to just choose one science if you weren't particularly that way inclined.

MarjorieMelon Thu 27-Nov-14 09:26:02

I only took single Science, very few people took double when I sat my exams in 1989. The teaching of Science was really bad back then, we didn't even touch on it in primary school and when you started Science lessons at Secondary school it was so difficult because you hadn't been encouraged to think that way. Only a handful of people left my school with a grade C or above.

Takver Thu 27-Nov-14 09:30:13

We didn't do any science in primary, but actually secondary teaching was pretty good (sat O levels in 1986) - not sure why more people didn't take sciences except that it wasn't really pushed. Certainly I'd say there was more encouragement to take 2 MFLs, for example.

LooseAtTheSeams Thu 27-Nov-14 09:41:40

As far as I can tell, our options are meant to be 4 but once you factor in a third science, the MFL and a humanity, you are down to one! And DS1 likes music, art and DT so he won't be pleased if he has to choose one of them instead of two. We'll have to consider whether triple science really necessary for someone whose preference is humanities, as I'm also aware that geography is a stronger subject for him at the moment.
Does anyone know if the sciences are going to go back to separate subjects rather than core, double and triple? I could see DS1 dropping biology like a brick if that's the case.

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