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Triple Science and Double Science

(45 Posts)
minesawine Wed 09-Sep-15 14:10:53

Hi - My DS has just started Year 10 and has been told he has been dropped from Triple Science. We have had no explanation and I am furious. I have put in a call to the Head of Science and waiting to hear from them. DS does enjoy science and did very well in his Year 9 tests, so I am a bit baffled. He is not sure what A'Levels he wants to study, but I think he would have probably chosen one or two science subjects.

Am I right to go back to the school and insist he does triple science, or does it really matter as he will still be taking exams in all three science subjects. Is it so bad to only do double science?

TeenAndTween Wed 09-Sep-15 14:27:06

Not so bad to do only double science, and you can do science A levels with it, but it will be more work so triple better. But better to get BB for double than CCC for triple.

I don't you should go and 'insist' or be 'furious' yet.

You do need to ask why they have made the change.

Is he on a 3 yr GCSE, or is this the start of the course?

What level was he on end y9?

Is triple 'accelerated' ie in the same time as double? Any chance he hasn't been keeping up with the pace, or they have reason to be concerned with this?

Is he struggling in another core area such as English or Maths?

When you have heard their reasoning, then you will have the info to decide whether to push for him to continue with triple, or not.

catslife Wed 09-Sep-15 14:29:30

.Agree that it does seem strange that this has happened without explanation. Is it possible that perhaps they have made a mistake with the timetable and he has been put on the Double Science list instead of the Triple?
Having said that it is still perfectly possible to take Science A levels with Double Science GCSE. In fact sixth forms may prefer AA at Double Science to BBB for Triple.

ifonly4 Wed 09-Sep-15 14:31:05

I think you can only insist you want him to do triple science, if they'd originally confirmed he had a space. If they've changed their minds, then I think you're at least entitled to an explanation of why this change has taken place.

If he's only just heard whether he is doing double or triple science, and you were expecting him to be capable of triple, then again I'm sure you and he would like to know why he didn't get a place. When deciding whether they can do triple science in my DD's school, only the top 25% can do triple science. They consider whether they always been in the top set or towards the top of set two, their general attitude and their end of year result.

Hope you manage to sort it out for him.

goldierocks Wed 09-Sep-15 15:34:19


My son's school scared the life out of me last term regarding science teaching for GCSE.

During the options process, the children were given opportunity to request double or triple. Students would only be allowed to take the triple if they hit level 6a or above in their Y9 far, so good. We were expecting three individual science GCSE exams (Biology, Physics and Chemistry) at the end of Y11.

Then the school got to see the GCSE syllabus (AQA exam board) for double and triple science and decided to completely change their approach.

Double Science is now called 'Additional Science' and contains elements of all three sciences but it counts for two GCSE's. Triple Science is called 'Further Additional Science' and again, contains elements of all three sciences but counts for three GCSE's.

My son's school is getting all Y10's to sit 'Science A' (the GCSE science foundation paper) at the end of Y10, then depending on how they do*, they will either complete 'Additional' or 'Further' in Y11.

Many parents thought that 'double science' meant their child would get Biology+Chemistry or Chemistry+Physics etc without the 'third' science at all; that isn't how it works. Children taking 'Additional Science' (the double) will still study Biology, Chemistry and Physics in separate lessons.

The children taking 'Further Additional Science' (the triple) will have more to learn in less time. *We've been told this paper is extremely challenging and will only be open to the students who get an A in the 'Science A' GCSE and who also excel in their Maths end of year exams.

It might be worth finding out if your son's school is using AQA as their exam board and if they have a similar approach?

Good luck flowers

Anotherusername1 Wed 09-Sep-15 16:00:36

At my sons's school there are various pathways for science, the most common I think is double science, it is also possible to do triple science, or for the least scientifically able a single combined science GCSE or all three single sciences for the most scientifically able.

BUT they don't offer a single science GCSE (or two single sciences). I would have thought that if you are not great at science it might be better to do the science you are best at rather than having to study all three? For example, if you are rubbish at physics, you'd be better doing biology and/or chemistry than the combined award because the rubbish physics is going to drag down the overall mark? Whereas if you could do biology on its own you might do ok.

TeenAndTween Wed 09-Sep-15 16:13:44

gold and another

It is not just AQA, it is standard. If you do double science you do P1, B1, C1 and then P2, B2, C2. If you do triple you do those above plus also P3, B3, C3

This way you get basic knowledge in all 3 sciences even if you do double, rather than knowing a lot about only 2 sciences. I think is a better system really and sets up 'non science' people with a better education for life (as opposed to thinking 'just' about grades).

If you do Double you end up with Core Science and Additional Science GCSEs.

If you do triple most schools enter as Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Some schools enter as Core, Additional and Further, which is what gold 's school appears to do. Doing it the latter way means they can get one GCSE out of the way early as these days you have to take the papers for a GCSE all in one sitting.

My DD did double last year and there was a lot of content in it.

Idefix Wed 09-Sep-15 19:59:09

It is also worth noting that some schools start doing triple science in yr 9. In our school only children in sets 1 & 2 do this.

Doing double science or additional shouldn't prevent children from choosing science a levels. We arrived at current school when ds was starting yr 10 and despite being top set in previous school was put in additional science and ended up with AAB and has just started all three sciences at a level.

Early days but seems to be flourishing.

whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 10-Sep-15 22:31:03

I wouldn't worry as you don't need to have done triple science to go onto A levels. In fact, where lots of schools cram triple science into normal 'double science' time they can end up lacking the depth and understanding, so it may even be beneficial. I would agree with others that 2 high grades (A/A*) is better than 3 average grades (B;s or C's).

Millymollymama Thu 10-Sep-15 22:48:29

Double science was always all 3 sciences in all the schools I know. Triple science was 3 sciences but in more depth. So nothing has changed except the syllabus. Doing one GCSE early is never a good idea unless the child gets an A*/A. If they get a low grade - what then?

minesawine Fri 11-Sep-15 10:57:27

OP here..... I spoke to the school and they said that because of a drop in his performance during the second term, they were reluctant to put him into the triple science group. However as his performance had picked up significantly during the third term and he achieved an A overall for his science tests they would consider moving him back up to triple. Some feedback from them on his performance would have been nice!!

I am now thinking, it may be better for him to stay in double and get 2 high grades rather than 3 OK grades.

They have science tests next week and I will see how he does before making the final decision.

Clavinova Fri 11-Sep-15 20:46:05

I would want to see some evidence from the school that pupils are in fact achieving high results for double science compared to the triple science candidates. I've linked to the GCSE results for this random, 'outstanding' senior school for example which separates results for boys and girls.

Also, check whether the same teachers teach both groups - do the specialist or more experienced science teachers only teach triple science? How many boys taking double science then progressed to A level science in your school?

Clavinova Sat 12-Sep-15 14:02:46

It seems to be a myth that a high percentage of pupils are achieving As and A*s in double science;

TeenAndTween Sat 12-Sep-15 14:26:58

Clarinova That's interesting (especially as the school is localish to me)

However I think whilst looking at the data you also need to know
- how the school decides who gets to do triple v double
- whether triple is accelerated or not

A higher % may get A*/A for physics than Additional science (if I've read the large table correctly), but triple is only done by the brightest where as Additional is done by almost everyone. So the question is whether a particular child is likely to get higher grades just doing double compared with triple.

whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 13-Sep-15 14:10:18

Clavinovq - it is difficult to compare the additional and triple results as generally the triple class are more able to begin with (for example my current school has top 55-60 kids doing triple and the rest of the year group does double. So you can't compare, but there are a number of borderline kids who don't make it into triple and it may be that not being in the accelerated class has benefited them. I know students who have been dropped down from triple to double who end up with A/A* and others who stay up in triple and end up with d's. It's difficult to predict. However, I do know from experience that doing triple doesn't give you an enormous advantage at A level and by the end of the a level you would never know who did triple and who did double.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 13-Sep-15 15:02:38

On that Kings data,
3 classes did triple : probably two classes accelerated and one not
the rest of the kids did core and additional except for the very bottom 14 pupils (10 boys and 4 girls) who just took core

ShanghaiDiva Sun 13-Sep-15 15:14:21

Am confused - do schools not offer separate sciences? We are overseas and ds is in year 11 taking three sciences separately with Cambridge igcse. Others in his class are taking two and some one.

Ta1kinPeace Sun 13-Sep-15 15:17:33

Up thread, TeenandTween has explained how the UK system works
Core = P1, C1, B1
Additional = P1, P2, C1, C2, B1, B2
Triple = P1, P2, P3, C1, C2, C3, B1, B2, B3
It means that all students get a grounding in all three sciences which is a good thing

titchy Sun 13-Sep-15 19:12:28

Shanghai - the same exams can be cashed in as B1, B2 and B3 = Biology GCSE etc etc, but state schools have to offer all three subjects, so either do as tween said, core, additional and further, or offer three separate sciences. private schools may allow students to drop one of the sciences entirely though.

Northernlurker Sun 13-Sep-15 19:21:05

I think it depends what sort of career he may be interested in. He may not have any thoughts but if he is likely to want a scientific career then triple science may be a better option.

Bolograph Sun 13-Sep-15 19:25:14

The gaming part of this is that if you want Biology, Physics and Chemistry as separately issued awards you need to take B1, B2, B3, P1, P2, P3, B1, B2 and B3 probably in one session at the end of Y11.

The alternative would be to do B1, B2 and B3 in Y9, C1, C2 and C3 in Y10 and P1, P2 and P3 in year 11 (or some permutation of that), although I've never heard of a school doing that.

The key point is that in order to get a Biology GCSE, you have to have sat the three components in one session, and likewise for the other single sciences.

The increasingly common strategy is to do C1, B1 and P1, that's Core Science, the C2, B2 and P2, that's Additional Science, then C3, B3 and P3, that's Further Science. That way you get back the ability to do it in stages.

Whether you do "triple science" or "separate sciences" you take the same papers on the same material. The only difference is staging and snobbery.

ShanghaiDiva Mon 14-Sep-15 08:55:02

Ok - understand now. When I was at school in the early 1980s it was o level general science or separate sciences. I assumed from what ds was doing it was all still separate.

dingit Mon 14-Sep-15 09:27:12

My dd did core in yr9, additional in yr10, and further in yr 11. They did not then break down in to individual sciences. She went to a bog standard academy, and some of the colleges she applied to were surprised by her further science, apparently it is unusual. However it is already helping with the big jump to A level.

catslife Mon 14-Sep-15 09:56:11

These days many areas on Science and Technology are interdisciplinary e.g. Biochemistry involving Chemistry and Biology: Materials Science involving Chemistry and Physics. When the National Curriculum was introduced in the late 1980s this was designed so that pupils would continue to study a mixture of all Sciences in KS4. The Core, Additional and Further Science options are the latest version of this. Each option was designed for a different ability range but there is some overlap.
A few years ago pupils of below average ability would take just Core Science but the govt now requires most pupils to take Double Science so this has probably lowered grades for Additional Science at some schools (previously this would have been taken by middle to upper ability range pupils). Further Science is aimed at the most able scientists and those who wish to take Science A levels. But some schools only offer it to some pupils (usually based on results at the end of Y9) and there may be some schools that don't offer it at all at GCSE.
dingit and Bolograph are out of date. Triple Scientists (whether entered for Triple award or separate Physics, Chemistry and Biology) now have to take all their exams at the end of Y11. This has removed this staging of the exams. Double Science pupils doing the current course can still take Core science in Y10 and Additional Science in Y11 but am not sure if this will continue when the new (9-1) Science GCSEs are introduced. The system for Science retakes has also changed. Current Y11 pupils who wish to retake Core Science now have to retake all this exams and submit new controlled assessments (they cannot just retake P1 for example).

dingit Mon 14-Sep-15 10:51:34

My ds is currently in year 10, as far as I know he is taking core science this year.

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