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GCSE options coming up, any comments on DD's possible choices?

(12 Posts)
starfish4 Sat 20-Dec-14 10:51:54

My DD will be choosing her GCSE options next month (school normally give info out before Xmas (this year they haven't), but she is loosely thinking about her choices.

As she is doing fast track French, she has to continue with this and take her GCSE in Year 10, and she also has to do Spanish in Year 11 as an extra option, so that's decided on - like it or not.

She would prefer to do history, but if not, geography. She wants to do an art or design subject. Also, wants to do music - she will be taking Grade 4 violin next term (which will be achieved in 3.5 years), so hopefully could reach Grade 6 by end of year 11. She will then get to choose one more option, I wondered about graphics or something computer related.

The top 25% will do triple science. Although, she is in the top set she acknowledges she struggles so she may end up doing double science. She's only interested in environmental science, so we will have to find out if this is covered partly under one of the science subjects offered.

She has various ideas workwise in her mind, something to do with design, ie set design, architect. She is interested in the environment, also keeping features in old properties. She is also attached to her violin.

Thinking about the subjects we anticipate she will do well in - her language teacher has told her she's capable of an A* in French and Spanish. The top set in maths is expected to get A and A*, she's average in the set, so an A is a possibility. Ethics she has well exceeded her end of KS target and hit the maximum level. History - she is on target to hit her end of KS target (7.75) and puts everything into homework and get A, A* or has had an A** recently. Other than PE and English (tells me she's top of it), she is in all the top sets so with hard work, it would be nice to think she could achieve some Bs alongside some As (although there is no pressure from us).

lljkk Sat 20-Dec-14 10:59:23

Can you google to find options booklets given out in previous years, or gone on helpyouchoose website which might list what options your school has? That said, what's possible usually comes down to timetabling they already decided.

It might help her to list her preferences now, from first to last choices (try up to 10 subjects, allow for joint ranking like 2 possible 3rd choices etc.), to try to get clear in her own mind what her priorities might be.

LIZS Sat 20-Dec-14 10:59:34

If she's interested in environmental science would she not be better doing another written subject such as Geography.

catslife Sat 20-Dec-14 11:20:25

Agree with LIZS that if your dd is interested in Environmental Science, Geography would be a good option. There are also aspects currently covered in GCSE Chemistry and also Double award Science. However the syllabus is changing for pupils starting courses in Sept 2015, so this will need to be checked further. The changing syllabus for several subjects is possible why the options process has been delayed. Until they publish the booklets you cannot be sure how many options your dd will have but it may not be as many as you think.
In most schools the following subjects are compulsory: Maths, English language, English Lit and Science (most pupils are now expected to do at least Double).
The other fact you need to check about Triple Science is whether this will take up another option (teaching time for 3 subjects) or whether this will be fast-tracked for the top set i.e. completed in the same time as other pupils take Double Science. I wouldn't recommend the fast tracked option for someone who struggles with Science.

summerends Sat 20-Dec-14 11:46:25

I would n't think choosing art, music plus a design subject is a good idea, mainly for workload and spreading herself too thinly outside the core academic subjects. She might be better enjoying music as an extracurricular if she is attracted more towards art, design.

catslife Sat 20-Dec-14 12:24:54

In most schools OP, you are given a list of compulsory subjects and then the other subjects are listed in blocks and you have to choose one from each block. Some subjects such as History or Geography may be in more than one block so you can choose both. However the creative subjects e.g. Music, Art, Graphics are likely to all be in the same block. This means that students are usually only able to choose one of these subjects. For architecture Art is usually the preferred subject.

BackforGood Sat 20-Dec-14 20:36:53

I would wait and see what the options realistically are.
No point in spending time and effort making decision now before you know what's actually going to be possible. You can only opt between the way the school offers the option blocks.

LIZS Sat 20-Dec-14 20:58:27

Agree. Having been through this once we already know it will be tricky for dd to take the 3 languages she'd really like to and do drama, due to subject grouping and timetabling. We may even have to do one out of school.

MillyMollyMama Sat 20-Dec-14 21:59:18

For Architecture, Maths is also a really good idea at A level! Art A level or a portfolio acquired by another route is also required at some universities.

As a rule, you keep your options open at GCSE so Geography or History is fine but if your DD is interested in the Environment, then Geography would be better but science A levels would be a good route to take eventually. If she is interested in buildings, she could look at Planning Degrees which probably require less academic grades than architecture. You could look up how the job of historic building officer is acquired, but I would say do the EBacc plus Spanish, Geography and then whatever she wants, but Art should be in the mix for Architecture if possible.

starfish4 Mon 22-Dec-14 13:45:41

Many thanks for your replies.

We do know that triple science will be fast tracked for the top 25%, it's been pointed out it will be hard work and that those who are borderline would be better doing double science in their opinion. I'm sure DD is borderline as she thinks she's bottom in the top set, ie bottom of the top 25%.

In the past her school have listed all options in one block, As she's doing fast track French she has to do Spanish, this is all done as one option. Last year they have to pick four choices (so three in her case due to compulsory languages just stated), but will only get three (two for her)under that section - there is Art or Art & Design under this. Then under another category, they select only one option - these are mainly design and technology subjects - we know graphics came under this last year.

She is just considering this very generally at the moment knowing it's coming up, so it's good to have opinions which she can consider.

Theas18 Mon 22-Dec-14 13:50:42

Please don't do music art and design. Mega mega workload !

My 2p would be don't do art it eats you up steals more time than you ever have for anything...

MillyMollyMama Mon 22-Dec-14 17:45:24

Most people do Art GCSE if they are intending to do Art A level! It is ridiculous for everyone to avoid Art because it can be time consuming. Some of the most enjoyable things take time. Learning a musical instrument is a good example. Sport is time consuming too, but no-one says to avoid that. My DD2 did Art at A level and Art Photography. If you love these subjects, have a talent for them and enjoy creative subjects, putting in the time comes naturally.

The only advantage of doing triple science is that each science has a stand alone grade and the overall grade is not affected if you are not so good at one of the sciences. My DD1 did triple and although it is more work, (she did not find it particularly hard work) that has to be balanced against what you might want to do in the future and whether you could spend the time more productively doing something else. Until very recently the girls' grammar school near me only offered Double. There really is no problem with doing Double unless you are a science high flyer. My DD did separate music exams and also Grade 6 music theory. This is a perfectly good way to go but some people absolutely fly music GCSE because they are musical and find it pretty straightforward.

A great combination is: English x 2, Maths, Double or Triple Science, French, Geography, Spanish plus 2 such as Art and Music or Art and a Technology subject. If she does Triple Science, I would still try and do 10 in total to avoid work overload and no university will expect more.

If she is good at languages, I assume this is what fast track is about) has she thought about doing these in the 6th form?

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