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GCSE Options Mix-up

(37 Posts)
Buck3t Mon 11-Jul-16 10:41:54

Can anyone give me advice and opinions on how I go about dealing with this problem.

We received information from the school giving us our son's Options. He chose his options but what he has been given are quite right. So I queried it with the teacher in charge and he said that my son chose

1st - Geography
2nd - Product Design
3rd - Creative iMedia
Reserve 1 - Drama
Reserve 2 - No choice given

However, as far as we were concerned, he chose Computing, and Creative IMedia is his reserve. The teacher suggested that my DS was confused and mixed them up on his form.

Computing is something he really wants to do because of what he wants to study later, but we know that it may have been hard for him to get in as it was so popular.

Now it appears that there has been a mix-up and being the kind of people we are we photocopied his options paper. which clearly shows that he chose

Compulsory Option - Geography
Option 1 - Computing
Option 2 - Product Design
Reserve Option 3 - Creative IMedia
Reserve Option 4 - Drama

On each he had to give his reasoning as to why HE wanted to do them.
I have this morning forwarded the form to the teacher responsible for Options, asking to see a copy of the form he has received, i.e. to make sure we're talking about the same child. As Computing is full, I am not sure what we can do at this stage, but it seems a little unfair (and I know life isn't fair), that he does all that he was supposed to do but has been stopped at this point by a mix-up, not of his making.

Just any thoughts if something similar has happened or if anyone has fought to get their child onto the options they desperately want.


LIZS Mon 11-Jul-16 10:46:35

Presumably another child may also not have options which make sense , so there may yet be room for change.

catslife Mon 11-Jul-16 11:00:34

Which teacher have you talked to - his tutor or the member of staff who actually manages the option choices.
What you have written makes sense to me though. My interpretation of what you have put is that Computing is full so all other choices move up a place.
Has the school said anything about what the over subscription criteria for Computing is? That is what I would ask about. some schools link it to Maths grades for example.

Buck3t Mon 11-Jul-16 11:08:48

Thanks Lizs I'm hoping that is the case.

Catslife, I have been communicating with the person who manages the option choices. Yes, computing is full, which is the problem for us. It is based on maths results, but that is also a problem, as my son hasn't been tested like everyone else because his math teacher, who is dating the head teacher (hasn't been around because the headteacher was in a terrible accident and she tends to be at the hospital rather than at school - allegedly) and didn't trust any other teacher (supply teachers) to administer the test (allegedly)*.

*Allegedly because I hate gossip

Stillunexpected Mon 11-Jul-16 11:45:02

What the heck kind of school is this - mixing up options, HT in hospital, Maths teacher administering grapes and lucozade when she should be in school, refusing to let other teachers administer tests?

It is possible that your DS missed out on computing because it was over-subscribed and they didn't have sufficient information on him to push him far enough up the list to get into the group. If that is not your son's fault, then it is very unfair. However, how did he end up being the only person who hadn't taken the maths test in question when apparently all the rest of the group did?

catslife Mon 11-Jul-16 11:54:22

It sounds to me then that your son has possibly missed out due to not having an up to date Maths assessment. Is it just him who missed the test or a group?
What are the school results like for GCSE computing. It's one of those subjects that you can take up later on i.e. at A level or even degree level without the GCSE as so few schools offer it.

Buck3t Mon 11-Jul-16 12:50:22


DS's whole maths class hasn't taken the test, but if they were already Mastering, it wouldn't be a problem if any of them had opted for Computing. Up to this year he has been coasting but over the past 5 months, realised what his dad has been saying for a while, and has pushed through bringing up his grades through all subjects, and it has been over two months that he has been revising for said maths test that never seemed to happen.

Please note, I did say allegedly, as I am hearing a lot of this second hand. And I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Buck3t Mon 11-Jul-16 12:58:07


The thing is he already did it as an option in year 9 (so he already has an idea of what to expect). As mentioned to Stillunexpected, his whole maths group missed out on the test.

I'm a little upset that he misses out because they messed up as opposed to him not doing what he was asked to do. I only hope it is one of those subjects he can take later as A level, as it is on our nearest uni's recommended/requirement for the computer science degree.

tiggytape Tue 12-Jul-16 10:28:04

I wouldn't just give up at this stage and would continue to push for him to be able to take it on the basis that the lack of maths assessment is not his fault and he filled out his form correctly.

You may have to be absolutely a bit relentless persistent but if this option really means a lot to him and is even something he plans to do at A Level, I wouldn't be happy for failings in their internal processes to mess that up for him.

catslife Tue 12-Jul-16 11:18:30

If he already is taking the subject, showing good aptitude for it and wants to take it further then you do need to continue to chase this up further. I wasn't suggesting that you give up, I was just trying to provide reassurance that the GCSE isn't completely essential (taking up the subject at A level is harder work without the GCSE though it is possible).
At dds school they talked thoroughly with pupils (and sometimes parents) if an option was full to make sure that they didn't exclude a pupil who really wanted to do it rather that wouldn't mind swapping for something else. They wouldn't just automatically allocate reserve choices without giving a reason. They were also more up front about how many places were potentially available for each subject so the way your ds school has done it does seem poor practice and unfair given that it isn't your son's fault that the Maths assessments haven't been completed.

catslife Tue 12-Jul-16 11:21:45

Really wish there was editing on MN should read "make sure that they didn't exclude a pupil who really wanted to take a subject rather than one who wasn't so sure and would be happy to swap to something else."

Buck3t Tue 12-Jul-16 15:55:53

Thanks, I received a response this morning from the Options Manager who said

"I have found DS's original form and I apologise he did put down Computing.

Computing was oversubscribed by 20 students and we were not able to have a second class. The list I was looking at was after we took some students off Computing.

I have put DS down on the reserve list and hopefully someone will decide to drop computing."

For me hoping someone changes their mind in 12 days (they can't change after 16 September) is highly unlikely, they won't even know what they have got themselves into. I have always resented my mum (too strong a word, but I still remember it and it burns) for not standing up for me at Options time when I was at school, and I wonder if I'm projecting my disappointment (same subject as wellsmile. I'm wondering if I should push a little more.

Stillunexpected Tue 12-Jul-16 15:57:21

Certainly worth asking on what basis they chose the students for computing, given that not all students had the chance to take the test which you believe was essential in order to be in with a chance?

tiggytape Tue 12-Jul-16 16:04:55

Definitely worth pushing as hard as you can as with 20 disappointed students, and only 12 days left for anyone to opt out, the chances of relying on that reserve list don't look too hopeful.
You don't have to be all guns blazing about it but given that there has been some obvious errors and oversights in the process, it is only fair that you let them know how strongly your DS wants to do this option and how concerned you are that the lack of maths assessment and potentially a fair way of selecting students has adversely affected him

HSMMaCM Tue 12-Jul-16 16:05:15

I would definitely ask if he would have been in the class if his form was not mislaid or if he had been able to take the maths test. He shouldn't miss out because of an admin error.

Buck3t Thu 14-Jul-16 11:40:02

This back,

The criteria for students being accepted on the course was:
-The choice preference
-If they are Mastering in Maths
-If they studied Computing before in year 9

I am currently getting a large number of requests to change so a students may drop out before the end of the school year or the first 2 weeks back. He is the first name on the reserve list."

I have pushed back saying that he fit the criteria for two of those and he was never given the opportunity for the 2nd criteria as his teacher hasn't been around since January to teach her class or allow anyone to administer the two tests he should have had since then. So everyone else not in his maths class has not been given the opportunity to improve etc. I don't know if he will be mastering or not, but to not be given the opportunity when he has been working so hard seems so unfair. I know life isn't fair, but I really feel for him.

On the upside though he has decided to change his reserve to Graphic Design (which is surprising and I thought ridiculously hard), but it's another way in to what he wants to achieve so can't argue with his logic.

I'm sure it's all going to come good, but for something so important it is annoying that this has happened at all.

Thanks for all your assists.


Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Buck3t Mon 18-Jul-16 14:08:04

Thanks NeedAscarf

EllenJanethickerknickers Tue 19-Jul-16 20:45:23

'Hello World' is a great book for a keen programmer if he doesn't get on the course, and still great even if he does!

EllenJanethickerknickers Tue 19-Jul-16 20:49:00

Spandexpanties Tue 19-Jul-16 20:57:28

Maybe look at an online computer GCSE if everything fails

Buck3t Thu 21-Jul-16 11:26:41

Thanks EllenJane and Spandex

Will get little man to have a look. Thanks for all your help.

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 21-Jul-16 12:41:26

I really think that if they are disappointing 20 pupils, they should be looking at how they can run two classes of 25/30, not just telling them that a very relevant and vocational GCSE is closed to them. I know, funding cuts etc but still not really acceptable.

Stillunexpected Thu 21-Jul-16 22:14:04

still not really acceptable - regardless of funding cuts, they can't magic up teachers where none exist.

Leslieknope45 Thu 21-Jul-16 22:19:10

It's disappointing OP but if there is a full class what can the school do now if they don't have the teachers for another class?

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