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Need help in subjects choices in Y9

(35 Posts)
StarDust14 Thu 27-Nov-14 09:15:57

Greetings to all super mums here!
Your topics and advises have been very helpful and I was following you anonymously for quite some time. Here comes the day however when I had to register in order to get somewhat personal advise from you. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Here it goes.
I have twin girls in Y9. One of them wants to be an artist therefore her subject choices were Spanish, Art and Design and Textile. Her core subjects are Maths, English, PE, RE and ICT. My question is Isn't it better to choose Creative iMedia or Graphics instead of Textile? And probably Applied History instead of Spanish?

My other daughter is still indecisive about her subjects sad All her life she wanted to an athlete, she is also interested in science. She likes art as well. Because she is very competitive and not very patient I believe that PE GCSE is a good choice for her. From what I've read this subject covers the PE and science aspect of her wishes. Adding Spanish and Geography to that seems just right to me. What do you think? Or should we choose art?

I am attaching the subject choices in case you wish to see them.

Thank you very much for your time and any answer/advice you can give me.

TeenAndTween Thu 27-Nov-14 11:26:19

Some random thoughts:

I don't understand very well, as I can't see science listed either as compulsory or an option? My gut reaction is that it has been omitted accidentally off the compulsory list?

I have no idea what 'Applied History'.

Have you got details about all the courses and how they are examined? Which sound most interesting to your daughters?

Have you asked whether your children are likely to get a C or above pass in Spanish?

How academic are your children? What sort of grades are being anticipated?

Your children may change their minds as to what they want to do, so being as flexible and broad as is possible in the options choice would be good.

Some of the practical courses have a lot of coursework. Your daughters need to talk to current y11 students to see how much. Taking too many of these could be very hard.

Sorry, lots of questions, not much advice.

StarDust14 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:25:53

Thank you for your post TeenAndTween. Your questions are absolutely welcomed and well appreciated.

The subject options were sent home yesterday and just like you I noticed that Science was missing therefore I asked my kids to inquire about it at school this morning.

Talking to Y11 students is a great idea! I did ask Y10 student's parents about the subjects they have chosen but was left with the impression that a) they don't really care much about their child's education or b) they don't want to share information.
I told my children to talk to their school advisor and teachers for additional information on the subjects. But, yeah, talking to Y11 students and parents can be really beneficial.

Applied history is hands-on way of studying the subject. Sounds interesting to me:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_history

As for their Spanish, they have only high grades (so far).

What I want is probably the same as what most of the parents here want for their children namely the best possible combination of subjects that will ensure acceptance in good university and at the same time be as fun and appealing as possible to the child.

skylark2 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:28:58

It won't matter what GCSEs someone takes to be either an artist or an athlete. Nobody will care. An artist has to be superb at their art. An athlete has to be superb at their sport.

I agree with TeenandTween - you need to consider how academic the courses are and how much coursework is involved. Art is notorious for having a lot - not that a child who loves art will care, but it will mean they won't have as much spare time for coursework from other subjects.

skylark2 Thu 27-Nov-14 13:31:49

Plus - how academic are your kids? I can only find references to Applied History being intended for lower ability children. Great if that is what they need. Pretty terrible if they might want to be taking history at A level.

clary Thu 27-Nov-14 22:58:45

Art is a very coursework heavy GCSE - great if you love doing it but not otherwise.

I think your DDs should choose what they like to do. Being an artist or an athlete is a hard row to hoe and yr DDs may need other options so a balanced range of subjects is a good idea.

Am I reading your chart of choices correctly - is it impossible to choose History/Geog and MFL? so the Ebacc (more use to school than students) is impossible?

StarDust14 Sat 29-Nov-14 12:33:58

My children are very good in academics with mostly A grades with some B and A* including in Spanish. They also have honors/distinctions ABRSM certificates for piano, violin and music theory.

I would really want them to take the higher path in life based on their interests. So for the one interested in art I was hoping for degree in architecture or similar not just a painter for example. The one interested in sports and science is a bit of a head ache for me. I have no clue how to combine interests with abilities. She is talking about astronomy (they have had astronomy classes in their previous school), geography and everything involving drama and sports on the side. I just cannot think of a career combining all her interests.

I have asked both of them if they would like to take music but it seems like instruments and music will remain a hobby. It makes me sad because they are good in this but I don't want to push them. So I will only continue preparing them for the certificates as an extra curriculum.

As for the subject choices. They will have science yeay! It was a mistake.

Yes, Clary it seems so. They have to chose between History and Geography.

This coming week is a Career Choice day where I am supposed to get more information on the subjects. We all know that 5 min. is barely enough to gather even general knowledge on what is there for us. Because of that I posted my question here, to get as much insight and ideas as possible on to which subjects would be best for my DDs.

titchy Sat 29-Nov-14 14:10:41

Please done think about specific careers for them now - they have plenty of time for that. Art is fine, no need for the others art sounding subjects at all, very heavy workload though. No to applied history -it's for less able kids- do proper history for the one that's interested in that. Make sure the other does either history as well or geography and make sure both do a language. For the sciencey one is there a chance of doing triple science?

StarDust14 Tue 02-Dec-14 07:36:44

Thank you titchy!
I am not sure about science options yet. I will know more this week.
I guess work load will be the question of the day when I go to Career Choice day

Marmitelover55 Thu 04-Dec-14 14:41:47

My dd is only in year 8 and loves art too. I've heard that their is a lot of course work, but will this still be the case when the new GCSEs come in, as I thought the emphasis was moving towards final exams? Just wondering how this will work for art?

mummytime Fri 05-Dec-14 09:11:12

A language is always good.
Textiles, art and Graphics are a lot of work! I would suggest doing only one of these unless incredibly passionate, you will learn a lot of the same skills in all three, and the others can be picked up if gifted that way. Why not do History, not Applied History (which people might be suspicious about).
PE is good if you are passionate about it, but isn't necessary for a sporting career.

I wouldn't recommend becoming an architect, lots I know have had very precarious careers. Art would be better, as at least you can become a teacher.

StarDust14 Fri 05-Dec-14 21:36:14

The Career Choice night is over and I am very pleased with all the meeting and conversations I had with the teachers.

The art teacher recommended taking only Art as it is the base for everything else. That said, the exam consists of Portfolio, class work and 10 hours supervised project. She said that they do get extra work to do at home but most of it is class work.

Textile is for someone who wants a career in Design and Fashion.

Graphics combines Art and IT. I do like the sound of it.

Applied History will be looking at one historical period for the exam and the rest of the grade will be teacher's assessment.
You were right, it looks like a choice for lower levels.

A teacher recommended Geography over History, but he is bias for it is his subject. Both teachers want the kids to choose their class and are saying that they will do very well on the exam. I guess it is up to the children to decide what they would prefer. I am leaning toward Geography, but won't pressure them.

PE is very .... how to say it? Heavy might be the word. I think we'll leave it to the Core PE.

Drama on the other hand is not bad. It is 75% class work and 25% external exam which is a video recording of a play the child has made from scratch (performed by the child).
I did ask the teacher what are the benefits of choosing Drama. Confidence, able to present in front of people, art, creativity, leadership were some of the skills pointed out. Not bad, right?

Because you were asking, I got some of the grades my kids have in different subjects. Just wanted to make sure that they are still doing well. Turns out that they are doing great and teachers think that they need to be moved to a higher group (the highest possible). Today the head teacher have told the children that probably next week they will be in their new groups. Yeay!

HettyD Fri 05-Dec-14 21:46:26

Hi, our school is guiding students towards the core subjects:
English (2)
Maths
Science (2 usually)
Rs/citizenship
History/geography/comp sci/MFL
And two choices from wider range...
Geog counts as a science at GCE but not at GCSE, I really would NOT pick applied History - i know history doesn't have tiered papers (geog does) but it should be accessible to almost all...
Both art and PE seem solid choices but as they have an idea of future courses/career I would be tempted to check with sixth forms/colleges as to entry requirements post-16.
Hope this helps...

marnia68 Fri 05-Dec-14 22:03:55

is it me? I can't see any sciences?

MillyMollyMama Sat 06-Dec-14 00:04:24

Art is useful for an Architect but A level Maths and Physics are what is required. Architecture is not about drawing!

My DDs did drama GCSE and the play/sketch is a collaborative piece of work where a number of students work together. Good guidance from the teacher can really get students good marks here. It is seriously stressful and hard work to get the A* though. The exam moderator actually attended a performance of both my DDs drama productions. Drama is pretty full on because the performance should include costume, lighting, props, make up etc. Art is also time consuming.

If your DD prefers History that's fine. It would be fine to do Geography instead.

Arts students can usually take two art A levels if they want, eg Art, Textiles, Photography, Graphics etc but it is the artistic ability that will count, as sporting ability will count. I think the best way to look at GCSEs is not to close any doors. Therefore English x 2, Maths, Sciences,(double or 3) MFL, a humanity, an art and two other subjects of interest are absolutely fine.

Hakluyt Sat 06-Dec-14 08:18:44

The trouble is that kids in year 9 will be the first to do the new GCSEs so we don't really know what they will involve. From our experience with the old style syllabus, both Art and Drama were very hard work indeed."Not much work at home for Art" <hollow laugh> and Drama involved lots of independent work in groups, which, with teenagers also involved lots of falling out, lots of "you're not pulling your weight I'm doing everything no you're not I am" ing..........

StarDust14 Sat 06-Dec-14 20:58:14

Thanks for your input!

Drama will be BTEC equivalent of GCSE. The teacher told me that for now part of the exam is solo video taped performance of the child. DD can choose to do anything she wants. She also said that there is no guarantee that things won't change.

For PE DD have to pick 4 sports. She is also expected to be part of a competing team.

They do have double science marnia. It was a mistake.
Milli, I agree with you on "closing doors" especially knowing that in time DD might decide to go in totally different way.
Who pays for the costumes, make up etc.?

As for why I lean toward Geography, I think it teaches current and very necessary knowledge and skills, like map reading and interpretation, population growth and reasons plus solutions, changing urban environment ( this is part of economics), water on the land, coastal zones, tourism

In History they will study: British society 1890-1918; Germany 1918-1945. The Cold War 1945-1975 and USA Civil Rights 1945-1975.
All this, to me is general knowledge that they can gain reading a book or surfing the net.

SlowlorisIncognito Sun 07-Dec-14 19:17:18

I did GCSE History just under 10 years ago. I know it has changed a bit, but I did think it taught quite a few "transferable skills" such as: how to get information from sources, understanding the bias of the writer, how to analyse and synthesise information from a lot of sources. We also got a lot of support on how to write and structure essays in History, possibly more so than in English!

That said, I guess things have changed a lot with the new GCSE system, so I agree, if it's just based on learning facts, geography might be better.

Ultimately, I don't think choosing one over the other at this stage will close any doors.

HettyD Sun 07-Dec-14 21:47:20

GCSE history has lots of transferable skills as is said above. More importantly government info published last week is suggesting GCSE will need 3 distinct time periods so it can't all be 19th/20th century any more. We just don't have more details than that though as yet...

StarDust14 Tue 09-Dec-14 12:31:30

Thank you SlowlorisIncognito! You are right, those are very good skills. I just don't know how many of them will be thought now.

HettyD, the children will learn all that is stated in my previous post. At least that is what the school has given to us. Based on that information I am leaning toward omitting History.

Honestly, I would prefer both subjects to be taken. Children need at least basic understanding of both.

MillyMollyMama Tue 09-Dec-14 15:09:28

Your query regarding costumes: it depends on the school. My DDs attended a school where Drama was extraordinarily well taught and was held in high esteem in the school. They has a reasonable level of costumes in school. At GCSE these were not like Opera costumes!!! Costumes were supplemented by parents as necessary but if you write a "Victorian melodrama" it has to look believable on stage, so T shirt and black trousers were not good enough. Parents supplied any make up needed as sharing is not particularly hygienic. I think it is a shame your school does BTEC Drama. I think the GCSE shows more skills and working well with others is a very useful skill. They need to grow up and not fall out. You can do LAMDA for a solo performance which anyone serious about acting should be doing anyway. GCSE Drama goes well with English as studying plays is part of the syllabus.

StarDust14 Thu 11-Dec-14 17:09:27

That's very interesting and useful information! Sounds like the class is very intense. I am not sure if DD will choose acting as a career so probably BTEC is a good introduction to the life of an actor.

TeenAndTween Thu 11-Dec-14 17:23:00

DD1 is doing Drama GCSE and History.

Drama GCSE - there is a lot of working in groups. My DD is not great in groups as she can't keep up with a fast pace flow of conversation / discussion / ideas. This has become more clear over the last 18 months. Despite her enjoyment of acting, she has struggled with this course.

History - the topics she is doing aren't intrinsically useful themselves (Medicine Through Time and American West) but the skills in analysing sources, looking for possible bias, and general argumentative essay writing are very very good in my opinion.

Choosing between history or Geography I would definitely say let the child decide which sounds more interesting.

MillyMollyMama Thu 11-Dec-14 17:52:37

Depends on the child re working in groups. Mine got 119/120 for the group work and final production and thrived doing it. I guess the old syllabus is not one to choose unless you can develop this skill if it does not come naturally but working alone is unusual for anyone even remotely interested in acting. Hence the collaboration, listening to others and working as a team are very useful skills for the future, whatever that future may be.

TeenAndTween Thu 11-Dec-14 18:52:05

I agree, very useful, and DD's skills have improved, but it doesn't do her grade any good!

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