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Options in year 8

(45 Posts)
18yearstooold Sat 10-Jan-15 00:44:55

Dd brought home an options booklet today i'm so old but she's only in yr 8

She has to choose a language and a humanity plus 2 other free choices

It seems awfully young to never do geography, 2nd language or anything techy or arty again

Is this usual?

homework Sat 10-Jan-15 02:42:51

In some school , yes they start there gcse courses in year nine , bright kids then do another option in year eleven whilst slower kids have three years to prepare , that was reason I got explained when I asked . So more likely to pass and have better position in league tables , is what someone else quoted to me .

18yearstooold Sat 10-Jan-15 07:01:04

But I thought with the new GCSEs they all had to be done at the same time?

bigTillyMint Sat 10-Jan-15 07:10:26

This happens at the DC's school. It is very young, but it does give them more time to study subjects with a lot to cover, like science. And in the DC's schools case, do a ridiculously large number of GCSE's. For the reason homework said, I think.

At the DC's school, they could take 2 or 3 early, still leaving over 10 in most cases for Y11. However, they have been allowed to drop some if necessary.

cricketballs Sat 10-Jan-15 07:12:21

It's not that they can't be taken in yr 10, but only those taken end of yr 11 will be included in league table figures.

I personally don't agree with it as I feel that this is to young an age to make these decisions, although for subjects that are not studied at KS3 will benefit from 3 years of study, but this is definitely the minority.

My school is introducing it this year and it seems to be only SLT that are in favour....

longtallsally2 Sat 10-Jan-15 07:19:13

I work in a school that does this. It works well for our students, I think.

It is a shame that students lose the full range of subjects so early but to be honest, most y9s know already where their preferences lie academically, and are usually relieved to be able to spend more time and energy on those they want to take further.

IME, it means that y9 becomes a much more energetic and focused year as students begin their GCSEs. It means that there is a lot of time for revision towards the end of the course, so that those who need more time can do themselves full justice, whereas those who are very bright can extend and stretch themselves more. You also never end up rushing through a topic - as I remember I did at school - because it had to be covered in just 5 terms.

HTH

roisin Sat 10-Jan-15 07:43:32

I still think yr8 options is a shame, as it narrows the curriculum so early. For most pupils yr7 is the first time they will have specialist subject teachers and it's such a shame that many schools have cut out 1/3 of that time, in particular for arts subjects. My boys are both maths/science geeks and will certainly end up in that field; but they both got a lot of benefit from compulsory weekly art, music, drama, dance lessons right through yr9, even though they didn't choose any of those subjects for options.

Tzibeleh Sat 10-Jan-15 07:46:19

Surely school is about more than just academia?

Ds knew very early that he would not be taking Art, Techs and PE further, but dropping them in Y9 would have impoverished his school day and diminished his experience. Art is probably his least favourite lesson, yet even so he sees it as a welcome change of focus. Even more so Food Tech and Design Tech.

He needed that extra year to choose between History and Geography. TBH, had he had to choose early, and chosen Geog, I would have pushed him towards History, because I think it's crucial to have some understanding of how we got where we are.

He loves both Drama and Music, but, because of his other choices, could only take one of them forward. He would have been gutted to have to make that choice in Y8. And why should he have to? School is about creating well-rounded young adults, with a good general knowledge, not high-grade specialists.

And to have to decide which MFL to take at GCSE after less than a year of studying the second one? Ridiculous.

I'm so glad our school does not do this.

stillenacht1 Sat 10-Jan-15 07:46:48

Yup it kills the arts subjectshmm

lljkk Sat 10-Jan-15 09:38:07

yr8 DD will soon choose options, up to 6 in next 3 yrs. It's like the system I grew up with (I hate the traditional English approach, anyway, of cramming all results in the end) so I'm very comfortable with options taken early. I never did geography or anything techy at all in school or at home, but ended up doing both at Uni!! So no harm done. The breadth of subjects they do in English schools until yr8 is pretty amazing, anyway, obviously not sustainable.

DD's minded to to do history, PE, French, Art, computing + another maybe, and core.

bigTillyMint Sat 10-Jan-15 09:54:15

Well I guess the plus side of the DC's school doing so many GCSE's meant that DD is able to pursue arts, languages, sciences, etc to the bitter end. And DS has been able to drop the hated art/drama/food tech, etc!

Hakluyt Sat 10-Jan-15 10:23:20

This is how they do it at DS's school too. I hate it personally, but the school has a very high % of low attainers, and low end middle attainers- so the extra year of GCSE work gives them the best possible chance of decent results. It means that there is tim to focus on exam technique and revision methods as well as the actual subject matter.

Hakluyt Sat 10-Jan-15 10:25:57

Lljkk- just to warn you, taking options early doesn't mean taking exams early. Your dd will be among the first cohorts to take all their exams at the end of year 11, like we used to. Another Gove "improvement".

skylark2 Sat 10-Jan-15 10:36:50

I don't understand why schools can't start the GCSE syllabus in year 9 without having already forced kids to decide which ones they'll carry on in year 10. They wouldn't have covered as much of the syllabus, of course, but no reason they couldn't cover some of it. Might even mean the kids were making a more informed choice.

Is it usual? Only in league table-obsessed state schools. It's far better for the kids to focus on quality rather than quantity. And yes, it'll probably melt into the mist the moment they realise that it no longer improves their league table position (like all those early entry maths GCSEs which schools stopped doing the moment they didn't benefit the school).

Hakluyt Sat 10-Jan-15 10:40:00

As I said, our school does it because it gives the low ability children a better chance of getting decent GCSEs. Which they will need if they want to do practically anything else in life.

Hakluyt Sat 10-Jan-15 10:42:14

And yes, some schools are league table obsessed. Have you seen what peopl on here say about schools which aren't high enough up the league tables? If the government and parents stopped obsessing about them, schools could too!

Hakluyt Sat 10-Jan-15 10:52:01

Sorry- on a rant here! There is a particular BTec that, becaus of our location has made a huge difference to the prospects of many of our kids. The DFES has arbitrarily decided thwt it will no longer count towards the "best 8" and therefore to our league table position, which will impact on our funding. We have had to decide whether to carry on offering it (finding the money from other subject provision) which would benefit our kids directly, but which will mean we will drop in the league tables and suffer the consequences. Or drop it, maintain our league table position, but damage the life chances of a significant number of the town's children..............

CastlesInTheSand Sat 10-Jan-15 11:00:09

For some students starting GCSEs in Y9 is a benefit, for some a drawback.

Doing only GCSE subjects in Y9 can really improve behaviour, as pupils who really aren't interested in a subject aren't forced to do it any more.

bigTillyMint Sat 10-Jan-15 11:05:20

Completely agree Hak. League tables have a LOT to answer forangry

summerends Sat 10-Jan-15 11:16:42

Is that the best 8 BTecs Hakluyt?
I would have thought the decision was clear if in the best interests of the DCs and should be explained on the school's website for prospective parents. Parents who are really that bothered look beyond government league tables otherwise all the independent schools doing IGCSEs would n't still be attracting pupils.

Hakluyt Sat 10-Jan-15 11:22:03

Absolutely, summerends- that's how it works. I wish.

lljkk Sat 10-Jan-15 11:39:17

Do you have a link for that, Hakluyt? I thought that the big change was that resit results didn't count in league tables, and that all exams had to be end of yr (couldn't do parts in January, etc). Could still do their final exams in May-June of yr9 or yr10.

Not that everyone had to take all exams at end of yr11.

Will be horrid if we are stuck with the worst possible system after all.

My understanding is that DD only has to decide one year at a time (which is how my school did it). I wasn't happy when I thought she'd have to decide yr11 options 2.5 yrs in advance.

summerends Sat 10-Jan-15 11:39:26

I really know very little about this, apart from affecting certain parent's choice, are there financial or other penalties from being relatively lower in the government tables?

18yearstooold Sat 10-Jan-15 11:47:57

Dd will be bored stupid spending 3 years doing GCSE syllabus

She's enjoying 2nd language but has only been doing it since September. Obviously she's got higher levels in the language she started year 7 so how is she supposed to pick? They are being told to pick their best subjects

bigTillyMint Sat 10-Jan-15 12:12:02

18, I think only some of the subjects started on the actual GCSE syllabus in Y9. Others (art, for example) did preparation work I think. But if she is super-bright, maybe she would be able to take some early or take some additional ones?

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