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GCSE options

(32 Posts)
31Daisy Thu 19-Jan-17 17:50:37

My year 9 son has been told by the school he's on the ebacc pathway so he only has 2 'free' gcse choices. He's dithering between pe, business studies and philosophy. Any pros/cons to help us decide? I know philosophy is the sensible more academic choice but thought business studies and pe would be a change from all the other heavily academic subjects he has to take.

TeenAndTween Thu 19-Jan-17 20:58:39

My gut reaction is Business studies over Philosophy as being more tangible and more useful. PE may be more academic than you think (biology stuff).

bojorojo Thu 19-Jan-17 22:11:06

Slightly odd choices. No Art or Technology subject? I would do what he likes. I assume Business Studies and Psychology are subjects he has not studied before so are these a slight risk as there are two of them. They are frequently not offered as GCSE subjects in schools. PE is ok if you are good at PE. I don't think it will make much difference to anything really! Do what he enjoys (although he won't really know if he enjoys subjects he has not studied before!)

clary Fri 20-Jan-17 00:23:56

Does he love PE? He needs to do three different sports from a list of 12, including one team and one individual (eg athletics, rugby and football) so it's not just about playing footie.

Also the theory aspect is much harder now, more like A-level used to be. Mind you that's true for lots of subjects.

I presume he is already doing a humanity (Hist/Geo) so yy let him do what he wants. Business studies is not what some people think... can he talk to anyone in yr 10 who does it about what they think?

cricketballs Fri 20-Jan-17 05:57:25

Business (new specs are no longer studies grin) is a good 'life lessons' subject as well as more academically challenging than MN depicts it to be.

It covers finance (new spec also needs for accounting ratios to be used fluently), marketing, economic environment, HR, legal constraints, start-up business and larger business.

It requires students to assess and evaluate real issues and IMO should be studied by everyone as it helps to make sense of the commercial world they are living in.

And, despite the snobbery against the subject I have past GCSE, A Level and BTEC levels 2 & 3 that have gone on to Oxbridge/RG

31Daisy Fri 20-Jan-17 07:43:44

Thanks all. Art and tech not his thing at all. He loves PE. Plays football outside school and does athletics for school. They asked him to choose PE?!
The Philosophy syllabus is 50% RE. He is choosing geography anyway as he has to do geography or history.
I think business will be good as it will bring real life scenarios to him. Make the classroom theory a bit more applicable to real life. But I know it is considered 'soft'.

Rumtopf Fri 20-Jan-17 08:03:40

Is Business offered as a GCSE or Btec?
I think it's a Btec at my Dd's school (we have the meeting next week) and I think although it can be seen as a "soft" subject, it really isn't and has real life positive uses as cricket detailed.
Philosophy and Ethics falls under the RS remit, it's quite an interesting course (I invigilate so get to have a look at the papers too). I think it's a good all round addition to their qualifications but it depends on where he's drawn to.
If he's doing a quite intensive academic set of GCSE's, perhaps the PE being more physical might give him some balance.

I'm off to do some more research as dd wants to have a proper conversation about it this weekend, they're not pushing the eBacc here and I'm not sure why not.

31Daisy Fri 20-Jan-17 09:21:36

The business is a gcse. I'm so torn. I think it's a good choice because it's up to date, relevant, helps them see how things work in the real world etc BUT that's also its drawback. It will date.
We were told the government wants 90% of kids doing the ebacc route. Our school says it wants 2/3 of this year group to take that route.

ifonly4 Fri 20-Jan-17 10:22:31

If he enjoys PE and all that goes with the course, this would be good in that it'll be something different to other subjects.

Kids and a few parents I know consider business studies is a 'soft' option and not highly regarded especially going on to think about A levels and university. However, if business studies could in any way be used for a future job then it can't be that bad. Also, if he's going along the ebacc pathway, then he's going to have some good subjects as fall backs.

My DD is in Year 11 and doing ethics and philosophy - I was surprised she chose this, but has thoroughly enjoyed it and likes taking part in discussion/debate (she comes from one whose usually quiet in other classes and the teachers don't hear from).

Has he any ideas about career choices at the moment?

cricketballs Fri 20-Jan-17 10:23:28

It doesn't 'date' as much as you think - within the marketing aspect we now have to cover social media, crowd funding is now included within sources of finance. As the world moves on so does the spec

myfavouritecolourispurple Fri 20-Jan-17 10:26:47

If he's quite good at science I would do PE. You say he's good at sport.

I'd also do business studies, I went to a grammar school and it was offered there, so was clearly considered to be academic enough. I didn't do it, but I've looked at the current spec and t's quite interesting. My son's school offers it as an extra after-school option. He might have done it if it was part of the main curriculum but he doesn't want to be doing extra subjects after school.

bojorojo Fri 20-Jan-17 10:38:42

Neither Business and Psychology will make much difference to a career at GCSE. My DD did Bysiness at A level but it is no substitute for Maths that is required for Economists. Therefore he should do what he likes. The PE seems obvious but the others really do not matter. If he wants something academic, do History or another Language or Latin! As these subjects are not on the table the choice between Business (and it won't be much use in working life) or Psychology is no big deal. I cannot see why you are so torn? They make no differences to A level choices either. (Unless he wants to do History, Art, Music, Drama or Latin A level of course!)

31Daisy Fri 20-Jan-17 10:59:38

It's philosophy not psychology. And here's where I admit I'm biased because I have a degree in rs and philosophy! I know how academic it is and how useful it is for so many jobs. A gcse in it would naturally lead to many possible a levels/degree courses. I also think he has the aptitude for it. Philosophy is definitely not for everyone!

irregularegular Fri 20-Jan-17 11:00:23

I would let him choose based entirely on what he thinks he would enjoy. None of those subjects is going to open/close any future doors. He will have the important subjects covered already by the sound of it (Eng, Math, Science, language, Humanity). Don't over think it.

irregularegular Fri 20-Jan-17 11:01:43

It really doesn't matter whether a GCSE is considered "soft" when it comes to the two "spare" choices.

irregularegular Fri 20-Jan-17 11:03:31

and there is no reason for you to be "torn". it is his choice!

(I'm a university admissions tutor, by the way)

31Daisy Fri 20-Jan-17 11:19:17

The trouble is he can't decide! Aagghhh

31Daisy Fri 20-Jan-17 11:20:32

You're right though I'm definitely overthinking it. Might suggest we put them in a hat.

ifonly4 Fri 20-Jan-17 14:21:51

Forgot to ask before, has he had options evening yet. DD found this really helpful - obviously teachers were trying to sell their own subject and wanted her onboard (fairly bright) but they gave her lots of useful information, what would be studied, examples of work etc. Also, it was made clear she could catch up with teachers in the various departments to ask further questions if she wanted.

bojorojo Fri 20-Jan-17 15:37:40

Many apologies!! Wrong glasses. Comments still apply though!

bojorojo Fri 20-Jan-17 15:46:22

If he is good at Maths? Business will be easy but Economics would be better. My DH has a degree in Civil and Structural Engineering - this is so far away from what our DDs are good at it is laughable! Don't assume he is a chip off the old block and Philosophy is no more desirable at degree level than any other essay based Arts degree, eg History, MFL, Law etc. Most Arts degrees have a lower employment rate in degree level jobs than Science degrees. Far more doors are opened by university attended and work experience than whether you studied philosophy at GCSE!

mummytime Fri 20-Jan-17 17:08:34

I think GCSE is too low a level to be studying philosophy.

cricketballs Fri 20-Jan-17 17:17:34

bojorojo on what what evidence can you claim it would be easy? GCSE Business requires a large range of skills to be used on topics that are alien to 14-16 year olds. They have to calculate, interpret financial information, assess and evaluate actual business decisions using theoretical principles

portico Sat 21-Jan-17 05:20:56

My Y9 DS chose Bus studies at the expense of German. I implored him to keep German. He said s very good at it but hates the new teacher. Anyway, given he doing 3 sciences, Geog and Spanish, I decided Bus Studies was ok. Even more so, since he is doing the very simple OCR 9-1 spec. We practised the specimen papers. How on earth did OFQUAL approve them

cricketballs Sat 21-Jan-17 07:32:01

portico tutor2u agree with you that OCR seems very light blog here. Also sample papers generally look a lot easier than the reality not that exam boards are trying to drum up business!

However I would question whether your DS thinks both papers are easy, especially the extended writing questions given he would have hardly covered any of the theory or if it is you with your life experience that feels it is easy (also if you are using all the key terms and assessing/evaluating techniques for the extended questions).

I mark for Edexcel and to achieve the higher Mark bands on 6/8/10 marker questions is very difficult due to not only the full all round knowledge but also the assess/evaluative skills needed - I see very few responses that deserve high marks

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