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Doing French GCSE privately

(24 Posts)
ChampagneCharlotte Sun 25-Sep-16 13:14:41

DD's school only offers a second language to students in the top English band. She is in the top set of the band below, and is doing really well in a her chosen language, Italian. She wants to do French as well but this isn't an option at school so we are looking into doing it privately, and hopefully sooner than her other GCSEs in year 11. Has anyone got any experience of doing a GCSE privately? Or an IGCSE? And advice gratefully received!

ChampagneCharlotte Sun 25-Sep-16 13:15:32

*ANY advice smile

MirabelleTree Sun 25-Sep-16 13:17:52

DD did a language privately in year 11. We paid school to enter her for the exams and we had to supply someone to take the speaking exam as there was no one at school who spoke the language. It went well and was her best result.

ChampagneCharlotte Sun 25-Sep-16 13:53:06

That's great to hear, thanks MirabelleTree!

Alwaysinahurrynow Mon 26-Sep-16 05:29:19

I did this, albeit 20 years ago now, but best decision I ever made as ended up studying it for A Level and then my degree.

I had an hour of private tuition a week and then sat the exam at my normal school and my tutor came in to do the speaking bit (he was head of French at a local private school). My school were happy to support this.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 26-Sep-16 09:11:37

We're sort of in the process at the moment! Ds1 didn't want to continue with French but wanted to learn Japanese. We found a tutor and he has 1 1/2 hours a week with her, some homework and I get him to recap every day for about 15 minutes. The teacher seems to think he can do the GCSE in one year although we're not concerned if it takes longer. dS1 says they cover much more in the lesson than is possible in a class of 30 so I would definitely recommend you try it if your DD is keen.
If he is ready, his teacher will administer the speaking and listening tests and I will either pay for him to sit the written exams at school or arrange for him to go to a Centre via the exam board.

myfavouritecolourispurple Mon 26-Sep-16 09:57:58

I am also in this process, just a little further back as my ds is in year 9 and in the second year of a KS3 German course. Interested to hear other people's experiences.

His school does teach German, but not to his year group, grrrr.

MirabelleTree Mon 26-Sep-16 10:38:12

Snap LooseAtTheSeams! DD is now doing the A level.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Mon 26-Sep-16 10:45:23

I did French GCSE privately (albeit more than 10 years ago) because my school (very academic, league table-focused) didn't want to let me swap from drama to French half way through year 10 in case I "held the others back". I took lessons with a private tutor once a week, and then sat the exam with everyone else. Got an A* grin

French and Italian are quite similar, so she will have an advantage there when it comes to grammar. I would say if she is keen, then go for it. Learning another language brings loads of benefits and opportunities way beyond gaining an extra GCSE.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 26-Sep-16 14:20:12

MirabelleTree oh,that's great to hear! I know our tutor does AS and A level as well but will depend on how keen DS1 is after GCSE! At the moment he really enjoys it and doesn't moan about the extra work.

heron98 Mon 26-Sep-16 15:02:29

I did this too (in 1999).

I learned Italian and did the GCSE. Because it was 1 on 1 tuition I got to the necessary standard in a year and got an A*. I can really recommend it, even if your DD doesn't want/need the qualification.

Pradaqueen Mon 26-Sep-16 16:47:15

My DD has just sat Spanish Edexcel IGCSE this year via the NEC (national extension college). They provide the syllabus, coursework and access to a tutor (we had our own tutor but signing up with them gave us access to the syllabus plus exam). She sat the actual exam at an exam centre (plenty to choose from). Would definitely recommend.

Ancienchateau Tue 27-Sep-16 13:40:43

My DS took iGCSE in French in May. We printed off a past paper for him to look at, then forwarded a copy of the picture he wanted to talk about in his oral a couple of weeks before to the school.

My friend gets her DC to take GCSE Latin a year early. She hires a tutor for an hour a week from year 7, as the school they go to doesn't do Latin.

TeenAndTween Tue 27-Sep-16 14:31:59

Looking at this another way.
Is there any chance the school would be willing to reband her English so she can do 2 languages as she is so keen?

GnomeDePlume Tue 27-Sep-16 14:39:15

DD did this (not French) because we had lived in the other country and she was a fluent speaker. GCSE in year 7, AS in year 9, A level in year 10. Past papers were available on line. I bought mark schemes and examiners comments as these were an excellent guide to where silly marks were lost.

She used her school as the exam centre. They were very happy to do this as it meant they got the 'credit' for the exam results without any of the hassle of actually teaching the subject.

I arranged it all with the exams manager in the school.

ChampagneCharlotte Tue 27-Sep-16 21:33:32

Thank you all so much for the great responses! I am waiting to hear from the school as I've asked them what the options are first. If no joy we will definitely go privately. I'm starting to look into the different boards, Pradaqueen and Ancientchateau, did IGCSE require controlled assessments?

Pradaqueen Tue 27-Sep-16 21:54:18

No - ours had no coursework at all. Three exams; one oral, then on the second day, listening and reading/writing. My DD literally didn't open the syllabus until Feb of this year with the teacher and the exam was in May shock. She did well though as neither her father or I speak Spanish and she got a C. She was very happy as she really wanted to see if she could do something like that (her teacher was confident she could) . She's also 10 years old.

ChampagneCharlotte Tue 27-Sep-16 22:29:09

Oh wow, well done to your DD! Pradaqueen! I'm feeling very positive about the whole thing.

Ancienchateau Wed 28-Sep-16 06:29:01

No controlled assessments for iGCSE Edexcel French here. Just a listening paper, written, then oral which there was no preparation for other than choosing a picture he wanted to talk about in one of the sections.

Pradaqueen Wed 28-Sep-16 07:12:24

Thank you Charlotte. We are very proud. Go for it i say! Much easier without coursework which I am sure ancient would agree with? We also had the photo for the oral and there are various categories that the student has to choose the photos from. I think without the constraints of simply learning to pass an exam she has a much broader base of Spanish. More importantly, she is carrying on with the lessons. She wanted to sit the exam this year, but I reckon in another year and she would have achieved a higher grade with more exam technique but it was a great achievement.

Ancienchateau Wed 28-Sep-16 08:15:43

"I think without the constraints of simply learning to pass an exam she has a much broader base of Spanish." I totally agree with this. It is so sad when it becomes all about technique and learning things by heart etc. I don't have any experience of coursework myself so have nothing to compare it to but the iGCSE experience we've had so far has been very pleasant. Congratulations to your DD Pradaqueen

ChampagneCharlotte Wed 28-Sep-16 08:18:57

Thanks Ancientchateau and Pradaqueen, I think the Edexcel IGCSE sound like the way to go! Luckily I speak French so I'll be able to help her, although it sounds like a tutor might be a good idea to make sure we are complying with exam procedures etc.

Ancienchateau Wed 28-Sep-16 08:25:01

You can get a copy of the exam procedures / curriculum / past paper etc from Edexcel. The school where DS sat the exam emailed us the link. I personally don't think DC need anything else if they have a high enough level of French.

GnomeDePlume Wed 28-Sep-16 13:56:51

ChampagneCharlotte my DD did lots of past papers. The main thing I was able to teach her was exam technique.

She didnt need a tutor for GCSE but we were able to find one for AS & A level. The experience was good for her. Getting an A grade A level under her belt before she started her official GCSEs was a great boost to her confidence.

Also the A level proved to be the decider for her getting onto the degree she wanted.

Best wishes to you and your DD

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