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Can we hear your advice on what's the best one to drop?

(29 Posts)
whatIforgottoday Tue 01-Dec-15 19:53:06

Hi All,

DD (aged 16) has just started at an independent sixth-form and needs to make a decision by Friday. Essentially, due to the changes in the A-level system, her school decided to give all students in L6 8 weeks to decide what subjects they wish to carry forward. All students have started off with 4 subjects they've chosen and are now been asked to make the decision as to which one they will discontinue with (similar to what you would do at the end of L6, after your AS results). DD is studying History (Modern), Politics, English Lit and Philosophy and Ethics (RS).

Over the past few weeks we've had tons of data home (and parent's evening last night) to help her make this decision. She is working at an A for history, politics and RS. English lit she is working at a high B, low A.

However DD is completely stuck as what to 'drop'. She enjoys English lit but says it has been really difficult and she is in a class with very strong personalities which makes her shy away from talking (this was confirmed by teachers last night). In RS, she is flying (often getting full marks in essays) however she feels that whilst she enjoys the subject she might get a bit bored.

Essentially, it doesn't matter university-wise what she does, we've been told both RS and English lit are respected along with her other subjects. She wants to go into primary teaching, so again either will fit! The question is should she go for the subject she enjoys more (even though she's scared of struggling so much, she feels she will come to resent it) or go for RS which is enjoyable (but maybe not as much) and potentially achieve a higher grade?

Thanks for your advice and getting this far!

Interestedininfo Tue 01-Dec-15 20:57:54

I suspect that she will find all the subjects a step up next year including the philosophy and ethics. If she does find the latter easy but continues with it she could always stretch herself with an EPQ or an essay competition plus extra reading. However she may decide that she enjoys the English Lit so much more that she is prepared to work harder to compensate for finding it harder and risk a lower grade.

NapoleonsNose Tue 01-Dec-15 21:08:33

My DD did really well at EPR GCSE (Ethics, Philosophy and Religion) and was predicted an A at AS. She ended up with a D and dropped it as she thought it was very hard, with a lot of theoretical stuff to learn. Her other grades were ABB so the D was a bit of an anomaly. A-levels are definitely a big step up from AS and your DD should probably do the subjects she most enjoys, as those are the ones she is likely to do well in at the end of the day.

stareatthetvscreen Tue 01-Dec-15 21:11:29

i think you have to go with a combination of favourite subjects and best marks - as you say it doesn't really matter re uni so go for what is most enjoable/easiest for her.

stareatthetvscreen Tue 01-Dec-15 21:12:01

enjoyable grr

NapoleonsNose Tue 01-Dec-15 21:13:56

Another thing to bear in mind is that History and English Lit are both facilitating subjects for Russell Group Unis if she is considering them, whereas Ethics and Philosophy or Politics aren't.

whatIforgottoday Tue 01-Dec-15 21:54:16

Thank you all for your replies!

DD has chosen to do an EPQ, which they are starting in the spring term. In terms of facilitating subjects for Russell Group Uni's, we have been told her old school that indeed only 2 out of her 4 subjects are facilitating (like Napeloens said) but her new school have said they are all facilitating if she wants to do history at uni!!

argh, it's so hard for her to choose, she keeps changing her mind every time you ask her. I'm definitely going to ask her to qualify the facilitating subjects as she would like to attend a RG uni. Also in philosophy, she would be taking the old AS style exam in the summer, meaning one less next year, which she thinks is a massive plus point (tends to panic in exams) but I'm not so sure.

Thank you for your comments, its interesting to hear from unbiased people. A-levels is a completely different ballgame and I'm struggling to keep up with everything, she's DD1 so we are feeling very new to all this talk about dropping subjects and university options!

GloriaHotcakes Tue 01-Dec-15 22:23:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Interestedininfo Tue 01-Dec-15 22:28:21

Napoleons this and other similar links show that History with RS and Politics would be fine. RS is a respected subject at A level.

MrsBartlet Wed 02-Dec-15 19:38:13

Can I just second the fact that RS (Ethics and Philosophy) is a well respected subject. Dd did that along with English Lit and History and is studying English at Cambridge now.

Good luck to your dd, op - tricky decision to make. We were lucky that dd's favourite subjects were her best but I can see how it is difficult, otherwise.

Millymollymama Wed 02-Dec-15 20:26:49

The op was asking about dropping English, though. So her DD may not be doing English and History at A level. It might just be History. It really depends if she wants to do a BEd or a History degree. If History, then the English is better as it is facilitating. History is fiercely competitive at the best universities so do check entry advice (not just minimum requirements) before she chooses. This info could help her make the decision.

ItchyArmpits Wed 02-Dec-15 20:33:15

She should drop the one she enjoys least. (If it would make a difference, ask around and see if the 'strong personalities' are staying on)

whatIforgottoday Wed 02-Dec-15 21:00:26

Thanks again all,

Unfortunately the ones with a stronger personalities are staying on however the teachers are aware of it (after it was highlighted several times at parents evening) and DD will just need to be a bit more assertive in lessons. She is swaying towards the English so hopefully it will stay that way as I can't take any more agonising over subjects!

RalphSteadmansEye Wed 02-Dec-15 21:34:33

Remember that she needs one curriculum Subject to be a primary teacher. So politics wouldn't count but English, history and RE would. She might have an idea about which Subject she would prefer to do her degree in?

If it were my child, I'd prefer them to keep English and History and drop one of the other two.

catslife Fri 04-Dec-15 12:55:35

Agree with ralph above. for teaching having national curriculum subjects at A level is important. RS is a national curriculum subject so would still be very relevant.
This recent article states that there is currently a shortage of RE teachers if that helps with her decision.

TeddTess Fri 04-Dec-15 14:11:42

I'd drop politics. the others are "better" A levels.

Millymollymama Fri 04-Dec-15 16:02:00

RE and Politics are virtually the same in that they are not facilitating but complement other subjects such as History and English. RE is definitely not "better". If someone wants to teach RE, then obviously go this way. However Politics is also a very useful essay subject so I think do the subject you like most, and that has the best teachers and gets the best results in the school! My DD submitted a politics A level essay for her Oxford application. As she got in, I don't think anyone is against politics. It was for a MFL degree.

AuntieStella Fri 04-Dec-15 16:21:21

Of those, I'd drop politics.

But the overriding thing is that your DD is happy with her choice

BertrandRussell Sat 05-Dec-15 11:06:33

Since when has philosophy not been a facilitating subject? It certainly must have been the year before last when dd got 5 offers- 4 of the Russell Group!

HocusCrocus Sat 05-Dec-15 11:58:36

Bertrand - I was wondering exactly that and so looked it up. Ds did TP (Theology and Philosophy) which looking below I guess would into the "suitable but less frequently required .

I live and learn smile

Subjects that can be viewed as facilitating subjects are:
• Mathematics and Further Mathematics
• English Literature
• Physics
• Biology
• Chemistry
• Geography
• History
• Languages (Classical and Modern)

There are some advanced level subjects which provide suitable preparation for entry to university generally, but which we do not include within the facilitating subjects, because there are relatively few degree programmes where an advanced level qualification in these subjects would be a requirement for entry. Examples of such subjects include Economics, Religious Studies and Welsh.

BertrandRussell Sat 05-Dec-15 12:06:34

Not only did did do Philosophy and ethics- she did another subject with...<whispers>........ studies in its name.........

HocusCrocus Sat 05-Dec-15 13:43:30



RalphSteadmansEye Sat 05-Dec-15 14:01:36

Philosophy has never been a facilitating subject, but of course it may be considered pretty important for a theology or philosophy degree.

I assume your dd had subjects off the list as well, Bertrand? English? History?

Molio Sat 05-Dec-15 15:06:22

Bertrand DD2 did History, English and Art&Design and got 5/5 for History. (Oxford, Durham, Bristol, St Andrews and one other, I forget which). If she'd asked on MN she'd have been told No Way.

Ralph DD3 did Philosophy&Ethics, History and English and got a similar set of offers for Law (Oxford, Durham, UCL, Bristol). Again, no-one made a squeak.

They should do what they want, up to a point, especially for History. Almost anything is good for History. DS just got into all his choices (Oxford, Durham, Bristol blah blah) with Physics and Geography alongside History. Whatever they fancy really. It's all good.

Molio Sat 05-Dec-15 15:07:46

Sorry, that should read Art&Design shock smile

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