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Is not offering triple science a deal breaker?

(27 Posts)
ProfMorrell Sat 28-Nov-15 11:05:09

Fortunate to have an excellent, fully comp, comp IYSWIM as catchment. Really do take everyone. We do also have access to over border grammar (which so far has always offered to people at our distance away). DS Y4 is, and always has been, very keen on science and now increasingly in maths also. Comp does not offer triple and has limited streaming, grammar obviously does. Should that sway us on an otherwise very good school? Will triple/double still exist in new exams?

TeenAndTween Sat 28-Nov-15 11:11:09

I think that for a 'very keen on science' child, it would be a deal breaker for me, if there were other viable options.

You can progress to A level in any science having only done double at GCSE, but obviously it is a bigger step up as will have only done 2/3 of content that those doing triple have done.

I would also be wary of anywhere with limited setting (per subject). I don't like early streaming (banding across everything).

As only y4, keep an eye on comp as they may change policy in next couple of years. What's their reasoning for not offering it? (maybe most of the 'brighter' kids hop over to the grammar school, so insufficient demand?).

ProfMorrell Sat 28-Nov-15 11:20:56

Sorry, should have said limited setting. So Maths only Y7 and then languages from Y9. English from Y10.
No, most children emphatically do not go to the grammar because it is seen as such a good comp. Oxbridge entrants each year are on a par with all local grammars (not that that is the only measure of success).

CointreauVersial Sat 28-Nov-15 11:25:00

I don't think double science is a deal-breaker. Our school offers only double science, not single or triple, and plenty go on to do science A levels and degrees. It is likewise very well regarded. They also only permit a maximum of 9/10 GCSEs, which gets some parents of bright children in a twist, but I think is excellent. They can focus on getting the best grades in a core set of subjects.

I agree with Prof, though - the setting would be more important to me.

PotteringAlong Sat 28-Nov-15 11:29:14

If your child is only 7 now then GCSE's will change beyond all recognition by the time he's 16. I wouldn't even be considering it as a problem at the moment.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 28-Nov-15 11:46:33

I with Pottering with the changes in GCSEs and the focus likely to be on fewer subjects the double/triple science thing is very likely to change.
You have just under two years before you need to make a decision review their policy in spring of year 5.

ProfMorrell Sat 28-Nov-15 11:53:27

Y4 is 8 or 9, not 7, but I take your point. But gearing up for 11+ does start pretty early.
As I said, I am interested to know what will happen to 2x/3x with new exams.
Comp will definitely not change their policy (unless required to) the ethos of the school is very inclusive - and they do very well on it. They are oversubscribed. The grammar isn't.....

Suffolkgirl1 Sat 28-Nov-15 11:55:34

If he is likely to stay at the comprehensive school for sixth form then most of the pupils will be doing A level sciences from double science at GCSE and so they will start from that level of knowledge. However if he were to move to the grammar for sixth form, where most of the pupils had done triple science, then he would probably find it harder (DS's grammar school rarely allows pupils to take A level sciences without triple science at GCSE as they are behind before they start IYSWIM).

BlueBelle123 Sat 28-Nov-15 13:12:12

Have you compared the grammars science GCSE results against the comp's, you could also do likewise for A levels.

ProfMorrell Sat 28-Nov-15 13:54:34

BlueBelle, good idea. I have looked at the top 25% of the comp results for GCSE and they are quite a bit better than the grammar. The A level results are better for the grammar, but not by much - also numbers quite small so hard to draw firm conclusions. Also I do know the comp has a much lower threshold for allowing students to take A Levels, so perhaps not surprising if the end results are very slightly down.
I think this probably answers my question grin.
To be fair the grammar we could access is the non-preferred one in the town.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 28-Nov-15 15:28:31

I didn't want to send my kids to somewhere that didn't do 3 separate sciences, but it sounds like there's quite a lot else to these two schools which will inform your decision.

talkinnpeace Sat 28-Nov-15 18:14:45

If your child is in Year 4, by the time they are in year 9 the subjects on offer will very likely have changed

SettlinginNicely Sat 28-Nov-15 18:39:05

You are saying that the grammar is selecting children on ability, and offering more science teaching, but still getting no better results in terms of science GCSEs and A-levels than your local comp. It sounds like the grammar is pretty poor. Your local comp sounds like the better school with better teaching.

strawberryandaflake Sat 28-Nov-15 18:43:47

As an ex-head of Science, now assistant head... Doing double will make very little difference. If your child is keen and possibly gifted and talented, likely to get an A* it will make no difference at all. It won't out them at any disadvantage when coming to sixth form application or uni. Actually it may benefit them as they will have more time to work on the maths side, which is just as important.

Just look for the school that has an active Science club or equivalent to keep them topped up and stimulated.

talkinnpeace Sat 28-Nov-15 18:45:26

get real,
if they do not offer triple science, what are the chances of there being an active science club?

Fatfreefaff Sat 28-Nov-15 19:09:35

My DD2's comp did only double at one time and still managed to get kids into med school and Cambridge (on science related degrees). They later did triple and DD took it last year.

While saying that, at DD1's grammar they would not anyone to do science in 6th form who had not done triple. The classes moved at great pace in 6th and they didn't feel they could keep up otherwise - not a big standard grammar though and they send a lot to med school and Oxbridge but that school is unusual.

I would chose the better all round school. I don't think you can second guess what the situation might be in 5 years or so and your son may develop other interests.

PurpleDaisies Sat 28-Nov-15 19:16:09

Definitely not a deal breaker-better school with double science wins over a worse one with triple every time. I say this as a science teacher.

I did double myself, went on to do all three science a levels and got into a great uni on a science degree course. It is no absolutely disadvantage at all doing double award (it may be a little more work at the very start of a levels but they catch up really quickly).

Grikes Sat 28-Nov-15 23:32:43

We have been informed that DD if she takes Science then she has to take all three.

Decorhate Sun 29-Nov-15 07:44:48

I think it may also depend on whether your child is an all-rounder or only strong at Maths & Science. If the latter, they would find it easier to get 4 good grades by doing maths & triple science, rather than maths, double science and English, for example.
I suspect universities will look back at GCSE grades even more in the future once ASs have been phased out (many do already for the very oversubscribed subjects).

SheGotAllDaMoves Sun 29-Nov-15 08:30:28

My biggest concern about schools that do not offer triple science is not the disadvantage to students in terms of GCSE etc but what this demonstrates about the ethos of the school.

A conscious decision is being made here about science and it's value!

What does that mean for recruitment of good science teachers? What does it mean for students with a high ability in science?

ProfMorrell Sun 29-Nov-15 10:33:52

Thank you for all your thoughts. I think really it is pretty clear that our local school is the best choice, even for someone with a science interest. (An interest that may wane before 14). It would appear that with this particular grammar you are really only choosing it for the label.

talkinnpeace Sun 29-Nov-15 11:55:53

We have been informed that DD if she takes Science then she has to take all three.
All kids of all abilities take all three sciences
What varies is the number of GCSEs that come out of it.
Lower ability kids take one module of each science and get one GCSE
The majority take two modules of each and get 2 GCSEs
Higher ability take three modules of each and get 3 GCSEs triple science

My biggest concern about schools that do not offer triple science is not the disadvantage to students in terms of GCSE etc but what this demonstrates about the ethos of the school.
A conscious decision is being made here about science and it's value!
What does that mean for recruitment of good science teachers? What does it mean for students with a high ability in science?
Hear hear with bells on

GinandJag Sun 29-Nov-15 13:03:59

Your child is in Y4, OP.

I don't think you can realistically drill down to such a detail as science courses when looking at the overall offering. So much can change over the the years, and will change.

roguedad Mon 30-Nov-15 19:48:29

I would not go near a school whose priorities were so fouled up they did not offer a full science curriculum.

teacherwith2kids Mon 30-Nov-15 22:36:25

DS /DD's comp only offers double - but has a very large 6th form with genuinely excellent science results and destinations.

I have been extremely grrrr about it (to the point of contacting my old Oxbridge college to try to find out whether it would make a difference from their point of view - emphatically not, especially if triple wasn't available to a particular student). However, the school have great science teachers because of the large number of science A-level students, and also have science clubs and some really great 'engineering style' design type work (as opposed to 'consumer product design' IYSWIM? Heavily science-based, Arkwright scholarship type stuff)

As they expect A-level students to have double science, their A-level courses are geared to that.

FWIW, both DS and DD have benefited because it has kept their choice of GCSEs much more rounded - e.g. DS is doing 2 sciences, 2 languages, 2 humanities and Music, in addition to the usual English and Maths. I have come to feel comfortable with a school that believes in a rounded education to 16 and a really rigorous and focused education to 18.

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