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12 GCSEs. Is that the norm?

(16 Posts)
DoubletheRage Sat 14-Feb-15 11:01:37

DS is "average", in middle sets in a comp, that gets c. 75% 5 a-c.
He's just submitted his options choices and if he gets what he wants will be doing 12 GCSEs in total, with 2 taken in yr 10 and the rest in year 11. 7 of them are compulsory - Maths, Statistics (yr10) English Language, English Literature, Double Science, RE plus his options German, Geography, Computer Science and Catering and Hospitality, which will be 2 GCSEs with Catering done in yr 10 and Hospitality in yr 11. Sounds like a big ask of a not particularly gifted child to me.

Is this normal? I was considered "academic" and did 8 O-Levels. People in the middle sets would have done fewer.

Is the school hedging their bets by doing so many, in the hope that borderline kids like DS1 will scrape through 5, or is doing them all actually in the best interests of the children?

merlehaggard Sat 14-Feb-15 11:05:15

My eldest did 11 GCSE's but one was only the half course (compulsory RE) and IT (which was again compulsory and equivalent to about half GCSE I think). 12 sounds like a lot.

merlehaggard Sat 14-Feb-15 11:08:25

But she did do it along side AS maths and was the top end of the year. In an ideal world, I would say it's best to do 9/10 GCSE's and get the best grades they can get in those.

Mumm300 Sat 14-Feb-15 11:18:08

My kids comp now do 10 gcses in year 11. Even the best mathematicians don't sit gcse until yr 11. But I think that up until recently they did more subjects and the best maths students took gcse early. Like you I did 8 and was academic, but then they did not have league tables. I get the impression it is constantly changing as the government moves the targets. Mykids school now looking more at a spread of subjects than numbers which means he is doing french which is more work for me than all the other subjects put together.

Waitingandhoping2015 Sat 14-Feb-15 11:20:07

Big thread on this if you scroll down maybe a page or 2.

Personally think 9-10 is right, more than that is a waste of time and could affect the overall results. Better to concentrate on fewer and do better.

Figmentofmyimagination Sat 14-Feb-15 15:27:53

You've got some odd choices in there - why go to all this effort and not have triple science?

ragged Sat 14-Feb-15 15:56:12

12 is standard at DD's high school (I think it's maybe harder to choose when so many) & 10 is standard at DS's high school. There are ways to take less, though; kids in bottom sets or taking BTECs get less.

hijk Sat 14-Feb-15 15:57:32

are catering and hospitality GCSEs or BTECS?

MillyMollyMama Sat 14-Feb-15 16:17:44

I would not do the a Hospitality and catering unless he really, really, wants this as a career. I never understand why less academic children do maths and statistics - a year early! Average children do better if they have more teaching/practice and take Maths in year 11. Only the brightest do maths early at my local grammar school. Even people who do Maths at University will not necessarily have done Statistics GCSE. At my old grammar school, we all did 9 O levels. Depending on interests and abilities, 10 is about right these days. It is definitely better to have 9 or 10 at decent grades all taken in year 11.

hijk Sat 14-Feb-15 16:19:48

Quality before quantity! it is better to do fewer and get higher grades than to more with lower grades. You are more likely to be accepted onto further study with 5 As than with 10 Bs

Lottie4 Sat 14-Feb-15 17:12:01

In my daughter's comp 78% achieve 5 A-C grades, so very similar to your son' school. My DD happens to be in all the top sets (although, I wouldn't say she is a genius as there are some well above her, but from what I can gather anyone average and above will be doing the same as her.

She will be studying 8 GCSEs in Eng Lang, Eng Lit, Maths and five options (it's not compulsory to do RE). Only the top 25% will have the option of triple science (ie three science GCSEs) and they will all sit a test for this. She feels she struggles to stay in the top science set, so doesn't know if she wants the pressure of doing triple science - she is not lazy, so I think it's a confidence thing or perhaps she is right.

The school have stopped fast tracking and taking some subjects early, so she will be doing 10 or 11 GCSEs in Year 11.

kwerty Sat 14-Feb-15 17:31:16

Scrap the Statistics if you can; it's pointless. Haven't most schools gone away from early entry maths now? something about league tables or only first attempt counting? Someone will put me right I'm sure. (maths teacher in private sector)
10 is max for most at our (private) school, unless they do twilight Latin.

Lottie4 Sat 14-Feb-15 17:34:28

My DD's school have slowly been decreasing fast tracking as they believe there are some that achieve Grade B and if they'd taken the exam a year later, they could have got an A or A*. Also, for them, if a subject is taken early is creates a problem in that do they continue to teach the subject in Year 11 with no exam at the end or have a whole year where that subject isnt' taught. At least that's what I was told last week!

AuntieStella Sat 14-Feb-15 17:37:53

Most pupils do 10 at ours. The exception being the brilliant mathematicians who add further maths as an extra choice.

Plus there is scope for those who speak more than one language at home to do additional GCSEs (even if the school doesn't teach a course it that language, it'll enter them), but they don't necessarily sit them in yr11.

angstyaunty Mon 16-Feb-15 08:51:18

I worked in a highly selective, brilliantly successful school for some years. All students sit 10 GCSEs in Year 11. No student sits more than 10, although top set sits their relevant foreign language GCSE in Year 10, and continues the syllabus in Year 11. DH taught for years at a mediocre comp, and was always lamenting the fast tracking of students who were capable of top marks, but when forced to take the exam early ended up with Cs and Bs. Glad to hear this is changing (we've left the UK).

TheWordFactory Mon 16-Feb-15 09:11:36

12 is utterly unneccesary.

I wouldbe concerned that the school are encouraging the students to scoop as many C grades as possible to boost their league table positions.

Far better to do fewer, get the best grades possible, and have free time to follow pursuits that are helpful/pleasurable.

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