Any Humanities teachers out there? - GCSE choices...

(37 Posts)
KingscoteStaff Sat 13-Feb-16 12:28:59

DS's school has a lot of compulsory subjects, which has left him with only 2 spaces and 3 subjects which he loves - History, Geography and RS/Philosophy.

Unfortunately, these are the three subjects that (currently) he would like to take at A level.

Is is possible/advisable to take any of these subjects at A level without having studied the GCSE course?

Sparklycat Sat 13-Feb-16 12:49:28

Yes you can take anything at AS level without having studied it at GCSE.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tigerblue Sat 13-Feb-16 14:03:29

As said I'd check with local sixth forms. Some subjects require a GCSE B grade pass in order to do an A level here, rumours are at my DD's school they might be upping some subjects to an A grade pass.

Katnisnevergreen Sat 13-Feb-16 14:30:02

It would depend on the student and the school. I have had students in my a level classes with a GCSEs, but that is normally when they are overseas and history isn't taught. It's not just the knowledge, which is completely different usually, but the skills they will find hard.

RalphSteadmansEye Sat 13-Feb-16 14:53:33

Based on the advice from ds's school, I would say that RS/philosophy is the "easiest" to tackle at A level without the GCSE and geography the hardest. This is down to the skills learned during the GCSE. A student is considered suitable for A level RS/philosophy with good English and history grades at GCSE.

superram Sat 13-Feb-16 15:13:26

I am a geography teacher and have taught children who didn't do it at GCSE-it never went well. I agree with the poster above that rs would be easiest to 'catch up'.

Dreamgirls234 Sat 13-Feb-16 15:15:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertrandRussell Sat 13-Feb-16 15:19:48

Lots of people do philosophy A level without the GCSE. Your ds will be having some RS lessons anyway because it's compulsory and with a bit of luck they will be philosophically based.

timelytess Sat 13-Feb-16 15:24:40

Look first at what universities require for the course he will want to take, then decide on A levels. I taught Religious Studies - it isn't always what universities want. Though its an interesting A level (I looked at AQA). I'm thinking I might write some materials for it, just because I want an excuse to work with the topics.

KingscoteStaff Sat 13-Feb-16 15:40:01

His current aim is to study History and Politics; Philosophy and Theology; or Human, Social and Political Sciences at university. Does that make a difference?

Gwynfluff Sat 13-Feb-16 15:46:52

Similar situation here with dd having to pick humanities.

I've advised to do history and georgraphy at GCSE. History gives good skills for all the humanities and should she want to continue geography at A-Level, then the GCSE will be needed or it will be a big leap up (the physical geography stuff needs several goings over to be retained if it isn't your interest).

Dreamgirls234 Sat 13-Feb-16 15:58:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iwantacampervan Sat 13-Feb-16 16:26:58

I have looked at the prospectus for the Sixth Form College my daughter may attend - for A level Geography they require at least a B at GCSE; for RS and History A levels they do not require any previous knowledge of the subjects.

bojorojo Sat 13-Feb-16 16:44:51

I would start looking at the subject requirements for these degree courses and work backwards.

Starting with History and Politics, A level History is vital and Politics is desirable. It is no problem studying Politics at A level without a GCSE. The other degrees are flexible but History is a strong subject for all. RE is perfectly OK for Philosophy and Theology and an essay subject, but is not required. Therefore History, RE and Politics at A level would tick boxes but Geography is a facilitating subject and RE and Politics are not. Philosophy and Theology and HSPS are flexible on A levels. Therefore I think perhaps the geography is the one to drop - no course appears to specially want it. Or definitely decide which degree is most likely and go for the best subject combination. If studying abroad is desirable, this could include an MFL.

crazycatguy Sun 14-Feb-16 08:48:40

I'm a Head of History. I've taken on a few kids over the years without GCSE, and it wasn't necessarily easy on them. I took their English grade into consideration when recruiting into Sixth Form and only took on diligent kids who would take on new and often complicated skills quickly.

BertrandRussell Sun 14-Feb-16 09:25:00

"His current aim is to study History and Politics; Philosophy and Theology; or Human, Social and Political Sciences at university. Does that make a difference?"

My dd is doing Philosophy and theology. Most of the people she knows on her course haven't got Philosophy A level, and the course assumes that they haven't. I think this is quite common. I would assume this isn't the case with history. If I were you I would qdvise he did history and geography.

RalphSteadmansEye Sun 14-Feb-16 11:32:39

I agree with Bertrand. Hist and geography cover different skill sets. History is transferable to philosophy later on. Harder to pick up geography skills.

But history sounds like the non-negotiable one for his future plans.

KingscoteStaff Mon 15-Feb-16 13:38:13

Thanks chaps.

My advice was to drop the RS (pick it up later for A level if he wants to), but he is really taken with the syllabus.

His new plan (as of this morning...) is to drop Latin and therefore be able to do History, Geography and RS.

So that would be 2 Eng, Maths, 3 Sciences, 1 MFL (not sure which yet), Music, Hist, Geog + RS.

To be honest, he'd be very happy to drop Physics (and maybe Chemistry as well), but 3 Sciences are compulsory.

UhtredRagnorsson Mon 15-Feb-16 14:14:51

My DD has a similar problem - the subjects she would ideally like to do at A level are music, drama, English and History. She is outstanding (at the moment) at all those subjects. She is free to opt to do drama and music for GCSE (she has to choose between history and geog also but that should be ok, she gets top marks all the time in history and is not great at geog I can't see them making her do that) but she has been told she probably won't get one of her choices because 'balance'. Which is ridiculous. She is forced to do triple science and maths, even thugh she will drop them all like a stone as soon as she can, and she also wants to do two arts subjects which are directly related to the A levels and then career path she wishes to follow. And which completely complement each other. There is no lack of balance here. There's just a kid who doesn't want to be a soulless minion of orthodoxy and swallow the 'only science matters' mantra all kids and schools are being force fed at the moment. Which is storing up no end of trouble for the future - a future in which we won't need low grade technicians who have been forced to follow career paths for which they are unsuited as a result of short sighted education policy. sad (Incidentally my DD regularly comes top in science tests, it's not that she is crap at science she just isn't interested.)

bojorojo Mon 15-Feb-16 15:28:00

Uhtred...My DD1 was not too bothered about science or maths despite top grade GCSEs. Some people willl always be wordsmiths or use their brains in different ways. I actually do not see anything wrong with her A levels and if Music and Drama fit her future career plans, then do them. English and History are very strong subjects though and doing both would certainly keep more options open, e.g. for Law, History, Philosophy, English, Drama etc. Doing both Drama and Music do not keep many options open, they close them down. Drama does not need Music and Music does not need Drama. English works well with Drama.

I think having breadth at GCSE is important because no-one needs to specialise at GCSE. One of my DDs did Art and Photography A levels. It got her to where she wanted to be. History is fine at GCSE. Neither of mine did Geography and you do not need both - unless you want to do Geography of course!

bojorojo Mon 15-Feb-16 15:30:13

Can he do double science Kingscote? This means less subject matter for each science and Arts people do not need 3 separate sciences. List looks OK to me.

IguanaTail Mon 15-Feb-16 15:36:37

List looks good to me, too.

KingscoteStaff Mon 15-Feb-16 16:57:11

Nope, 3 sciences compulsory. Some rubbish about being rounded.

UhtredRagnorsson Mon 15-Feb-16 17:41:40

bojororo My DD is currently going through GCSE options. But doing drama and music doesn't close down your options if what you want to do as a career requires both. Not doing one or the other closes down your options. But apparently the only career paths worth considering are those that lead inexorably to low grade technician jobs. Which will mostly be replaced by AI within our kids' working lifetimes anyway. And then where will they be?

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