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AS subject - how many students needed to run subject?

(31 Posts)
hellsbells99 Fri 12-Jun-15 11:53:48

Hi all. Would be grateful if anyone (particularly teachers) could let me know what the minimum number of students your (state) school normally requires to run an AS class. This is a class that would be AS only for 1 year. Thanks

noblegiraffe Fri 12-Jun-15 14:38:34

It would depend on the subject. An academic subject that the school looks good by offering (languages, further maths) would be allowed to run with only a handful of students. Subjects that are mere nice to haves like dance or philosophy would need more students.

cricketballs Fri 12-Jun-15 15:54:27

With the cuts in 16+ funding minimum class sizes are increasing. My school requires a minimum of 10 for a subject to run (even prestigious subjects)

MrsLeighHalfpenny Fri 12-Jun-15 16:02:26

My DDs French class only had 2 in it. But I doubt they'd run a class that small now. It depends on the school really, and what their strategy is for attracting 6th form in.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 12-Jun-15 16:03:17

It would probably also depend if it was a 'blackboard and chalk' subject or one which required equipment. And what staff resources they have. I very much doubt there is anything like a rule on this.

hellsbells99 Fri 12-Jun-15 16:40:17

Sorry to spoon feed, but what about a subject like further maths? Thanks

MrsLeighHalfpenny Fri 12-Jun-15 17:02:37

I would say that that is "niche", not a core subject*

*not an expert!

hellsbells99 Fri 12-Jun-15 17:04:40

Sorry I meant drip feed not spoon feed! Dohhhh.....

teachpeach Fri 12-Jun-15 17:06:33

At my school the minimum number is 12 and that's below the recommended 15 from the Welsh assembly. We only run classes smaller than that if we are collaborating with another school to boost our numbers, or if we are the only school in the authority to run that subject.

hellsbells99 Fri 12-Jun-15 17:06:34

Yes it isn't a core subject, but appears to be a 'desirable' subject for degrees such as maths, engineering and physics.

hellsbells99 Fri 12-Jun-15 17:07:21

Thanks teachpeach.

FuzzyWizard Fri 12-Jun-15 17:13:08

Depends on whether the school usually run that subject too. Our school had never run FM, around 18 students signed a petition asking for a class to run next year. We still can't run it because it would require employing a whole new member of staff which is expensive. If we'd had spare maths teachers floating about it might have been possible but we don't. Other subjects have run with far fewer students because it doesn't make sense to have French teachers under timetabled and sitting around when there are even a few students who want to do a level.

teachpeach Fri 12-Jun-15 17:13:45

If we have demand for further maths, but not enough numbers for a separate group, the maths dept double staffs some but not all the lessons - the ones who are doing this tend to be MAT, so cover the further maths stuff in the same number of lessons alongside their AS maths- if that makes sense.

hellsbells99 Fri 12-Jun-15 17:27:45

Sorry but what is MAT? School have run this subject previously when there has been enough demand. I was just wandering what numbers would normally be required. I do understand the pressure on the school's budget.

Millymollymama Fri 12-Jun-15 18:06:07

It totally depends on the school's budget, whether they think a subject is important and whether they can recruit a suitable teacher. Doing FM is important to some students but schools just cannot get suitable maths teachers easily. At my local grammar schools, FM is a no brainer but it is not offered routinely at lots of comprehensive schools. If a young person needs further maths and has high ambition, then the school is letting them down and is, in effect, dumbing down their curriculum. Would your DS move for 6th form, OP?

Whyjustwhy Fri 12-Jun-15 18:37:33

Both my DS did further maths at their comprehensive school. I've just checked the school website and the numbers taking Further maths to A2 (as far as I know nobody dropped it after AS) range from 3 - 7.
DS was the only person wanting to take M3 module at A2, and the teacher provided 1 to 1 teaching for him for that module - some of it was taught as a twilight session.
It was an incredibly generous thing to do,.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 12-Jun-15 18:39:56

universities tend to want people to have done FM if it's on offer at their school - if they haven't then the students may have to teach themselves (so I've heard, I've got a DD who wants to do engineering). The single maths A level does not cover some topics which are pretty basic for those subjects eg complex numbers.

TBH if your DC wants to do one of those subjects then if the school doesn't do FM even at AS it might be worth investigating other options. Round here, the comps don't have 6th forms - I assume colleges are all big enough to run FM, and the GSs and faith schools with 6th forms do it (the ones I know of anyway).

teachpeach Fri 12-Jun-15 18:46:40

Sorry - MAT is more able and talented.

spinoa Fri 12-Jun-15 20:30:48

I don't think FM should be labelled as a niche subject: it is not just desirable for the top maths, physics and engineering courses - FM at A2 is pretty much essential to get offers from the top universities and to "keep up" during the first year. FM at AS level or A2 level is also highly desirable for the top economics courses at LSE and elsewhere, and is desirable for computing degrees too.

I understand that budget cuts and maths teacher shortages may make it hard to run FM but schools and colleges having to drop FM is something that should be protested about: it does limit students' university options in STEM.

FuzzyWizard Sat 13-Jun-15 08:50:01

Spinoa- I understand your point but the shortage of well qualified maths teachers is a real issue. In our school if one of our most capable maths teachers were to take an AS FM class it would mean two classes of year 7 (so 60 students) being taught by non-maths teachers. Basically whoever was free. The HT and the maths department had to balance the needs of the small number of potential AS FM students against the needs of those children when they make decisions about staffing courses. In a lot of schools they have similar issues, not running further maths might mean y7 classes have specialist maths teachers when they might otherwise have had whoever was available.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 13-Jun-15 08:57:58

The huge budget cuts coming in schools Nationally and the drop in the funding for sixth form students as well means that schools are having to make really tough decisions at the moment.

I know of schools where teachers are having their non teaching time reduced to save money and others where small A level subjects are going. There are also a huge amount of redundancies.

In our school they are currently trying to hold onto smaller class sized subjects by allowing more popular subjects to increase in class size. So that the one funds the other. But we are losing some subjects next year (politics) and others are combining AS/A2 classes where that might work (eg textiles)

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Jun-15 09:20:34

There are some schools where they don't have any maths teachers who would be capable of teaching further maths and Y7 don't get a specialist maths teacher anyway.

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Jun-15 09:23:39

If your DC wants to take further maths but the school says they can't run it due to low numbers, then contact the Further Maths Support network. They could sort out classes at a local uni, they also do online tuition.

Whichseason Sat 13-Jun-15 09:27:37

In our school min of 8 but we would already need to have the staff. There is a national shortage of maths teachers. If the don't have enough teachers then then can't run the course.

hellsbells99 Sat 13-Jun-15 09:30:14

Thanks for all the advice and the link. We are in the process of sorting something out but I am just a bit disappointed that school are unwilling/unable to provide this. I do understand the budget constraints and I know the needs of the majority obviously take priority. The school is an excellent one generally so I cannot moan.

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