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(47 Posts)
Thegoddelusion Sun 19-Jun-16 21:03:43

When I was a governor at a local comp, I asked the head why youngsters were expected to do 9-10 GCSEs, when 5 good GCSEs were all that FE colleges required - and all that universities ever asked about.

Surely, I argued, students could concentrate on these 5, and spend the rest of their time studying subjects they enjoyed without having to sit an exam.

Fundamentally, he agreed with me, but said it's all about the league tables.

Pretty sad state of affairs, I reckon, but I understood.

Fast forward to today, when I have a GD just about to start year 10. She's a bright child - her ambition ATM is to be a surgeon.

AIBU to advise her to concentrate on the 5 GCSEs she needs, and 'coast' through the rest - telling her that the most important thing about her education is that she should enjoy it?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 19-Jun-16 21:06:35

She'll need more than 5 good GCSEs now in order to do medicine.

Stopyourhavering Sun 19-Jun-16 21:10:04

No, she will still need good grades in all her GCSEs if she is to stand any chance of applying to medical school....nearly everyone applying these days has at least 10 As at GCSE and 3 As at A level ( although it does vary from medical school to medical school- check out UCAS).....still think too many students think they can do medicine because they get all As but don't necessarily have the compassion and emotional intelligence to be good doctors

Mov1ngOn Sun 19-Jun-16 21:10:45

She wont become a surgeon wtih 5 gcses.

I've wondered this too about homeschoolers who only do a few or those needed to get into college.

kitchenunit Sun 19-Jun-16 21:12:02

You are completely wrong and bonkers.

kitchenunit Sun 19-Jun-16 21:12:26

And I'm a bit surprised that a school governor would have that view

TeenAndTween Sun 19-Jun-16 21:12:58

I think it would be very unreasonable, and her DPs won't thank you for giving her daft ideas.

- if something goes 'wrong' with one of the 5, she'll be left with 4.
- 8-10 GCSEs shows a good academic spread on later CVs, or when applying to uni when A level results aren't in
- if she if going to do the subjects she might as well do them properly
- the school will probably make her take the exams anyway, and then she will have to enter the results on uni forms, even if they are poor
- some 6th form colleges round us look at your average points score across your 'best 8' to decide whether you can do 3 or 4 A levels
- why would you encourage her to 'coast' rather than try her best
- if she can't manage to get 8-10 good graded GCSEs there is no way she would manage medicine

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 19-Jun-16 21:14:17

Working backwards from her goal:
To do surgical training you need to have a medical degree.
To do a medical degree you need A-levels, especially in Maths & science subjects.
To be able to do A-levels in any of our local schools, you need 6 B grades (A grades for Maths or Chemistry).

However, it's not quite as simple as only needing 6 GCSEs. There are many applicants for each medical school place. Because the universities can pick and choose, they tend to pick the students with the highest GCSE grades (because these students tend to cope with the course better and have a lower drop-out rate).

So the students who have nine or ten high grades (of which there will be plenty) will be offered the places.

kitchenunit Sun 19-Jun-16 21:14:38

Yes if she wants to be a surgeon she should be the type of student who could "coast" through all 11 GCSEs anyway.

They're not exactly difficult if you're academic.

Stopyourhavering Sun 19-Jun-16 21:17:24

Maths is not essential for medical school, but ALevel Chemistry most definitely is!

blueskyinmarch Sun 19-Jun-16 21:17:32

Actually, although i don’t know the details, this is the premise on which the new Scottish Nationals is built. The OP has a very fair point.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Jun-16 21:18:42

If she's studying the subject properly then she might as well get something to show for it.

Many students, if they are not to be entered for an exam, treat those lessons as 'doss' lessons, and do not study them properly, creating issues for others in the class who want to pay attention.

And finally, how the bloody hell will she know which subjects she will continue with and should thus select as her 5 GCSE subjects at the age of 14? Narrowing her options down so severely so young is completely idiotic.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 19-Jun-16 21:20:56

That's far too narrow - I took 5 A levels, never mind GCSEs!

For medicine she needs more than that, and if she's bright she really won't find GCSEs that hard.

blueskyinmarch Sun 19-Jun-16 21:20:57

This article explains the thinking. Scroll down and you will see the rational for fewer subjects.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Sun 19-Jun-16 21:23:16

I mean, obviously she should be stretched, but if she's capable only concentrating on five will get boring. The breadth of curriculum and difference between the lessons are what stops learning for exams feeling treadmill-like.

MachiKoro Sun 19-Jun-16 21:23:46

The measure at 16 is now progress 8. Not 5 A*-C Inc Eng and maths.
As a governor surely you would be aware of that?
Anyway, as others have pointed out, she'll need 9+ A* GCSEs and 4+ A*/A at a level, so coasting is not an option. If she's Y10 next year, she'll be doing the new number grades, so I'd love to see how you get a 9 by coasting hmm

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 19-Jun-16 21:23:55

If two students are applying for medical school, and one has GCSE grades 9988887777 and the other has 9999922211, which do you think the university is going to choose?

LIZS Sun 19-Jun-16 21:28:43

She'd need Sciences which are 3, Maths and English x2. But medicine is very competitive and FE college is not really the best route to get 4 top A levels Sciences/Maths plus prepare for specialist tests which are normally required, plus relevant work experience. Even so I know several very good candidates who haven't found it easy to get offers this year.

Couchpotato3 Sun 19-Jun-16 21:37:27

Who would advise a child to 'coast' through their education, especially one that wants to do medicine? What a crazy attitude. You are incredibly out of date and misinformed. Let's hope you're not the only one advising your GD.

titchy Sun 19-Jun-16 21:52:20

Glad you're no longer a governor hmm

Thegoddelusion Sun 19-Jun-16 22:03:34

I'd like to thank everyone for their responses. Clearly, not having been a governor for 15 or so years, now, I'm way out of touch.

Still think children should enjoy their education, though! confused

titchy Sun 19-Jun-16 22:05:32

Enjoy is one thing. Coasting for two years at the expense of the rest of their life something else.

And I'm not sure things have changed in the last 15 years. It was the norm to take 10 O levels when I was at school if you were capable. No one would EVER have suggested a potential medic only did 5 subjects.

CointreauVersial Sun 19-Jun-16 22:07:17

There is a grain of sense in your post - I don't necessarily support the idea that children should do 11, 12, 13 GCSEs (as some schools seem to encourage) - far better that they do 9 GCSEs well.

Coconutty Sun 19-Jun-16 22:10:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Sun 19-Jun-16 22:10:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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