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GCSE - Changing History for RS?

(41 Posts)
lastminute1 Wed 22-Jun-16 21:37:41

DS currently considering changing his option at the last minute, drop History and pick RS and Phil. He's strong at both. Can anyone think why this would be a bad idea looking ahead in terms of Uni? I've heard History is a "facilitating subject" but have no idea what it really means... Thanks... He was so fixed on History it's come as a bit of a surprise.

senua Wed 22-Jun-16 23:45:49

A facilitating subject (at A Level) is one that is demanded by lots of University courses. So Chemistry is a requirement for Chemistry, Medicine, VetSci, BioChem, etc. Facilitating subjects aren't necessarily better or more academically rigorous, they are just popular (is that the word I want?) with Admissions.
There are subjects that are well-regarded but are not a requirement for many courses. For example Music A Level may be demanded for a Music course but it wouldn't be demanded for many other courses. Therefore it is not a facilitating subject.
Universities will not ask for every single A Level to be facilitating: two out of the three will be fine. Or even only one. If he has any idea which subject he might like to read then look at the UCAS course-finder to see typical asking subjects & grades for A Level.

You can't go wrong with traditional subjects. Both History and RS are good for learning analytic and debating skills. You get to investigate source material and make balanced arguments. You learn to structure essays.
I think that both can be taken at A Level if you don't do them at GCSE.

BertrandRussell Wed 22-Jun-16 23:48:36

What does he want to do for Alevel?

timelytess Wed 22-Jun-16 23:52:33

I don't know what's current in education as I've been out of teaching (RS) for two years.
But my instinct strongly says 'Don't!'
Take History. If necessary, do RS as an extra.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 23-Jun-16 07:46:19

Dd1 had a fairly last minute change from geography to RS. She really loved her RS GCSE. The other three have done/are doing/probably will do History and RS as RS is compulsory at their schools.

I think it's absolutely fine. It requires analysis and reasoning based on facts, broadens their worldview.

senua Thu 23-Jun-16 07:49:26

But my instinct strongly says 'Don't!'

That's helpful.hmm
One of the reasons that my DD enjoyed RS so much is that there are no right or wrong answers. As long as you can give reasons that support your argument <stares, pointedly, at tess> then you get the marks.
Lots of DC enjoy RS these days because it's no longer bible-bashing. It's about seeing the other person's POV, debating the pro's & con's and coming to a conclusion. And you know how teenagers are pre-programmed to argue!grin

DS did History for GCSE - two years of WWII. He then did A Level - two more years of WWII. Check out the syllabi.

PurpleDaisies Thu 23-Jun-16 07:50:20

If he doesn't want to do either for A level they're both absolutely fine to choose. He'd be better off taking he one he enjoys most because that's the one he's most likely to do well in

There's almost nothing you can do at GCSE to bigger up your chances of getting into a good uni apart from doing badly in them. Take maths, English, at least double science and the rest are fair game (aiming for a broad spread).

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 23-Jun-16 07:56:49

As for "looking ahead in terms of uni" - it'll be fine. Unis generally are looking for good grade across a range of subjects. (Dd1 did RS as her only humanity and is now at Oxford doing an arts subject.)

And as senua says, ime most schools will let you do A level history without the gcse. If he's at all concerned that he'll miss doing history and might want to come back to it, he could check his school's policy before making the final decision.

timelytess Thu 23-Jun-16 08:20:50

But my instinct strongly says 'Don't!' That's helpful
Yes, it is. I taught RS for 21 years, 18 of those as Head of Department, and have done countless years marking GCSE papers. RS isn't a subject admired by governments- they don't include it in their EBacc 'core' subjects. Some unis are ok with it but on others it appears on their 'we don't count this' lists - if you already have a university in mind, you could check that. Generally, don't do RS as a main, you're 'wasting' a GCSE. If you can do it as an 'extra', fine, its interesting and you'll learn some useful skills.

senua Thu 23-Jun-16 09:35:02

Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I'd expect you to stick up for your subject, not give in to league tables the perceptions of others.
It's tosh that the Government doesn't have regard for RS - why else is it still compulsory at KS4? That is the only argument against it OP: he will still study RS anyway, whether he takes it as a GCSE or not, so some see it as a 'wasted' choice..

Tigerblue Thu 23-Jun-16 09:45:36

When considering options, the RS teacher asked DD if she enjoys listening to everyone else's point of view, then forming her own opinion and summarizing. She did choose RS and thoroughly enjoys it. She says it's what the teacher described, so this may be helpful for your son to consider. My DD goes to a school where RS isn't compulsory so your son maybe the same.

DD chose between RS and history and for her made the right decision.

lastminute1 Thu 23-Jun-16 10:50:00

Thanks all, very helpful. Thanks Senua for explaining "Facilitating" .
Don't do RS as a main
He's doing 3 Sciences, Maths, Eng & Eng Lit, Music, Latin, French, Spanish and... (Hist or RS).
What does he want to do for ALevel?
He doesn't know. All rounder and interested in everything. Although right now Music is number one.
he should check his school's policy
They allow them to take both History and RS&Phil at ALevel without having taken their respective IGCSEs, although of course they say it helps them prepare for them.
two years of WWII.
They do some, then either Russian Revolution of Arab/Israeli conflict but they can't choose which. He's overly familiar with WWII, Holocaust and Arab/Israeli conflict because of family background, but less with Russian Revolution apart from reading Animal Farm when he was 10 and me telling him extensively about Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin grin

timelytess Thu 23-Jun-16 11:57:45

Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I'd expect you to stick up for your subject, not give in to league tables the perceptions of others
Dance, then. Have a hat.
Two decades in the business, seen it all. Telling you what I think, based on experience not guesswork.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 23-Jun-16 13:38:08

Well, the Ebacc is going/gone, so I wouldn't worry about that grin

tess - Some unis are ok with it but on others it appears on their 'we don't count this' lists - if you already have a university in mind, you could check that.

I have never seen a university with a list of GCSEs they don't count - could you give an example?

lastminute1 Thu 23-Jun-16 13:55:17

Yes timely if you could guide me to an example it would really help us. Thanks for your input!

titchy Thu 23-Jun-16 14:03:02

Experience of teaching isn't the same as experience of university admissions. I too would like to know which universities have a list of GCSEs they won't regard. Would be extremely useful.

mummytime Thu 23-Jun-16 14:13:55

The document from which the term "facilitating subjects" comes from is russellgroup.ac.uk/media/5320/informedchoices.pdf. The term applies to A'levels not GCSEs.
The key thing is what your son will be interested in most and do best in.

timelytess Thu 23-Jun-16 22:35:17

Yes timely if you could guide me to an example it would really help us. Thanks for your input
Google. That's how I found it when I needed it for pupils.

timelytess Thu 23-Jun-16 22:35:59

And you can be as sarcastic as you like, I'm still right! That's what I love about me... grin

senua Thu 23-Jun-16 23:04:48

And you can be as sarcastic as you like, I'm still right!

Prove it then. Show us a University where RS GCSE "appears on their 'we don't count this' list".

lastminute1 Thu 23-Jun-16 23:11:21

timely you totally misread my tone. I was not being sarcastic. Upsetting.

PrimalLass Thu 23-Jun-16 23:36:59

One of the reasons that my DD enjoyed RS so much is that there are no right or wrong answers. As long as you can give reasons* that support your argument <stares, pointedly, at tess> then you get the marks.*

I think there are lots of right/wrong answers in the new RS GCSE,

AtiaoftheJulii Fri 24-Jun-16 01:03:04

Honestly, I think you're perhaps remembering wrongly. I've looked at half a dozen universities, and they mostly require maths and English GCSE but don't say anything about unacceptable GCSEs. I found a med school requirements page on The Student Room which says 9, not including any short courses, for Cambridge - perhaps it's the relatively common RS short course that was an issue. RS is on the Trinity College, Cambridge list of "generally suitable" A levels, so I don't see why anyone would have a problem with the GCSE. My googling about GCSE requirements for university is not bringing up anything like your claim. If you know where you saw it, share it. If you can't back up your claim - and in several years of children doing GCSEs and reading here, I've never seen anything like it before - then I think the OP can disregard it.

timelytess Fri 24-Jun-16 11:09:09

your argument <stares, pointedly, at tess> then you get the marks
I gave you the reasons and you don't need the quote to get the mark! grin

AtiaoftheJulii Fri 24-Jun-16 12:25:29

You've given opinions, not reasons, and actually we're quite picky about wanting evidence here grin

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