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Typically on the first day of Lent I HAVE to come on here and ask a question

(12 Posts)
jampot Wed 21-Feb-07 21:10:48

Im supposed to be giving up MN for Lent but this really will not wait 6 weeks so...

Ive been to my dd's (yr9) school this evening for an Parents Option Information Session. They are really pushing the vocational/Diploma thing but Im sure I read on here somewhere not to go that route as it may seem great now it could actually prevent our children from realising what they want.

So, whats the score with these vocational courses?

Lilymaid Thu 22-Feb-07 10:31:48

I wouldn't recommend these unless she would be struggling to get 5 GCSEs Grade C and above. It restricts her choices later on - for university and for jobs.
A jaundiced view would be that these vocational courses are sometimes promoted by schools in order to bump up their exam pass rate statistics - I hope someone comes along here to prove me wrong on this!

Jessajam Thu 22-Feb-07 10:38:24

I pretty much agree with lilymaid.
I understood the vocational qualifications were introduced to give a qualification and training and opportunities to those children who would be very unlikely to go to Uni and who would leave school at 16 or maybe 18 and who would struggle with 'convential', 'academic' courses...


I think it does limit your choices...if those choices are realisticly all available to you...does that make sense?

MynamesMikeIswimlikeafish Thu 22-Feb-07 10:45:51

jampot - just be aware that some schools are pushing these becaus it can make them look good in the tables. A vocational can be worth 4 GCSE's so a child only has to get one more grade C and it pushes up the percentage of 5 A-C's that schools are measured on.

On the other hand if you child isn't particularly academic or isn't looking at progressing to uni then look carefully at them. It's not 'One size fits all' is it and TBH my ds1 would have maybe been better taking something vocational. Ds2 is doing a good mix I think. 8 proper GCSEs, an IT cert and a BTEC.

sassy Thu 22-Feb-07 10:49:07

As an ex-teacher, I would recommend vocational courses for pupils with a strong bent in that direction who were not esp academic. They are worth 5 GCSEs (I think), and obviously some are more useful than others, careers-wise (e.g.ICT beats Art.) However, I would not be keen on an academic pupil losing the choice of several GCSEs for this course, esp if they were considering a traditional university route (maybe OK if want to do HND/degree in techie subject). Not sure how employers rate then either, esp in jobs where they require 5 or more GCSEs inc Eng and Maths (i.e.less 'hands-on'jobs)

Look at your dd's ability and what she feels her future may hold; discuss this with the school. Don't let them push her this way if you feel it isn't right for her.

fizzbuzz Thu 22-Feb-07 10:51:45

I'm an Art teacher. Why does ICT beat art?

sassy Thu 22-Feb-07 10:56:09

Fizzbuzz, sorry - I didn't mean to insult Art - just thinking purely from an employers p.o.v. if they are unfamiliar with the new qualifications etc, they will likely see ICT as more useful.

(I am an English teacher myself and Art always beats ICT for me, just not in the big bad world of commerce, sadly.)

fizzbuzz Thu 22-Feb-07 11:49:03

Would much much rather have English than ICT (except for MN of course)

jampot Thu 22-Feb-07 11:49:55

Well, dd will be doing

English Literature
English Language
Maths
German (Fasttrack in year 10)
Spanish
Science

In addition, she will be doing short courses in:
PE
General Studies
RE - coursework has started
IT - coursework has started

The Optional courses offered are:

Art
Business Studies
DT - Graphic Products
DT - Resistant Materials
Drama
Geog
History
HE - Food & Nutrition
Music
PE
RE

Double Award GCSE:

Applied ICT
Health & Social Care
Leisure & Tourism

Diploma Programmes: (point value equiv to 4 GCSE)

Art & Design
Business
Hospitality
Performing Arts
Sport

Certificate: Engineering (PV 2 GCSE)

The idea is that the children have more of a personalised learning programme apparently but I would hate her to choose say Business Diploma over Business Studies GCSE and then find it worthless.

She is academic but likewise works well on coursework.

Lilymaid Thu 22-Feb-07 11:57:19

I would recommend that she avoids any of the double awards at the bottom of the list and chooses a humanities subject a technology subject and another subject that fits in with her talents (art/drama/music/p.e.). She may have to choose whether to do science as a single/double/triple award - I'd recommend double unless she is scientifically inclined.
Leave business studies at least until AS/A Level and avoid ICT GCSEs (my teenage informants tell me these are incredibly boring and aren't considered "academic")

edam Thu 22-Feb-07 12:13:31

Agree with Lily, if she's academic I'd do at least one humanities (history or geography) and I'd avoid the vocational courses esp. at this age. And I'd look into the science course - if she's at all interested or again wants to go to university, I'd make sure it isn't just a nod towards science but is actually going to cover physics, biology and chemistry in some depth.

jampot Thu 22-Feb-07 12:23:00

thanks for that lilymaid and in fact everyone - most helpful as usual

She has sort of mentioned Drama, History and Business Studies as the 3 she would choose. She did say she wasnt sure about the Diploma courses as it would mean she had less choice in GCSE subjects to choose.

She is in the top science group and with continued effort will be undertaking a triple science course

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