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GCSE options

(24 Posts)
strugglingwithmaths Wed 01-Mar-17 09:26:39

I'm looking through the prospectus for a local school. Does this sound right....?

Obligatory GCSEs in English, English lit, Maths, all 3 sciences and RE
Then choose 4 optional ones, to include either history or geography (or both), and a MFL

I make this ELEVEN GCSEs. This seems a lot..... is this usual these days?

tiggytape Wed 01-Mar-17 10:16:42

It isn't / wasn't that unusual to do 11 or more GCSEs when some of them were coursework based and before most of them were made more challenging and had extra content added.

The current Year 11 "only" have to contend with much harder maths and English GCSEs but, the current Year 10's and onwards will see most of their GCSE subjects made much harder
Schools are therefore at the point where some are reducing the number students take and others may follow in the next year or so.

TeenAndTween Wed 01-Mar-17 10:33:46

However, if it is mandatory triple science, this sounds like a selective school? In which case maybe 11 is reasonable?

Or is 'all 3 sciences' actually double science (which still covers all 3 but is only 2 GCSEs)?

titchy Wed 01-Mar-17 11:46:00

Yes check if 'all three sciences' means double or triple science. Also RE might only be the half GCSE course (if it's examined at all).

Ds's school has the same subjects, but science is double, except set 1 who do triple, and RE is half, except set 1 who do full. So 9.5 is standard with 11 possible.

bojorojo Wed 01-Mar-17 12:47:33

All three sciences may be double award where all three are studied but the exam is worth two. That would be 10. It may be reviewed in due course as the breadth of exams is evaluated (and the resulting workload). RE is often half, as said above. Choice is good, in my view, because GCSEs should show breadth, not specialisms.

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 01-Mar-17 17:22:24

It's the same as the comps in my borough except some do half gcse in RE so 10 1/2 is the usual. They all offer triple science but it's usually restricted to top two sets.
To be fair, while I've no issue with DS learning RE, it seems fairly pointless to do a half exam in it!

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 01-Mar-17 17:38:00

loooseattheseams It is compulsory to teach RS at secondary age. Therefore many schools do the half RS GCSE because if they have to trach it they may as well get a qualification out of it.

RS tends to cover quite interesting topics such as abortion, divorce, animal testing etc - so more ethical dilemmas. Son has actually decided to do the full RS course as he finds it so interesting.

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 01-Mar-17 17:46:16

That's exactly what my y9 is choosing at her school (comp) at the moment.

strugglingwithmaths Wed 01-Mar-17 18:42:27

It just seems like a lot, especially as they are all supposed to be harder. It's a private selective school - definitely does all 3 sciences instead of combined and RE is compulsory.
As most school seem to be asking for something similar I think I'll just stop worrying- gcse exams will probably have changed again in another 4 years....

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 01-Mar-17 21:25:03

Allthebest yes I know the logic behind it and DS is a good essay writer so he isn't suffering. I like the subject regardless of the exam as it's a chance to have genuinely interesting discussions.

KikiDeliversCakes Wed 01-Mar-17 22:52:46

Our selective school offers 11 GCSEs inc triple science. RE is taught but it's not compulsory to take the GCSE. They insist on at least 1 humanity and 1 MFL to fulfil Ebacc requirements.

I was hoping they'd drop it down to 10 in total, given the supposed greater difficulty with the new GCSEs. No such luck.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 01-Mar-17 23:08:38

That does seem a lot. DS is at a selective Indy & they do 9 GCSE's (top set maths do further maths which makes 10).

There is also the option of an extra curricular GCSE in drama or computers taken in year 10.

Michaelahpurple Wed 01-Mar-17 23:36:45

11 at our shop too

bojorojo Thu 02-Mar-17 00:13:36

I have read that some universities are looking more closely at GCSE grades and when taken. Doing a GCSE early seems a bad move these days unless you nail the highest grade. Some universities discount GCSEs taken early as well because they want them all in one sitting - so little point in doing early ones these days.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 02-Mar-17 07:24:30

9 doesn't seem like quite enough - maths, 2 English, 3 science, a humanity, an MFL ... you only have one free choice. All my kids would have struggled with that. I think ten with no compulsory RS gcse is about right, and that's what I'd been hoping my dd's school would drop to this year. One of my older dc went to the same school and did 12 gcse's a few years ago, so they have reduced already.

OP - I expect your prospective school will be kept a close eye on the results of the new GCSE's and things might well change before your dc chooses options (fingers crossed!).

AlexanderHamilton Thu 02-Mar-17 10:11:48

I think that 9 is plenty but then again my children's schools are much more flexible as to what constitutes a humanity rather than the ebacc interpretation.

Scientifically minded kids get two choices, one choice must be history, geography, RS, classics or Latin. Non scientifically minded kids get an extra choice.

DS thinks he will take 2 x English, maths, double science, Spanish, Classics, Music & Food Tech

DD is taking 2x English, maths, triple science, French, RS & Music.

KikiDeliversCakes Thu 02-Mar-17 14:45:58

Whether it's important to people or not (or just to the government) we've been told by our school that RE doesn't count towards the Ebacc. So our school insists on at least one of History or Geography.

Draylon Thu 02-Mar-17 15:06:07

My DS2 (Y11) is doing 9; would be 10 with Triple Science. This includes Art, Spanish, Geography and Business/ Economics..

DS1 (Y13) did 11 GCSEs as the whole school did Business at the end of Y10, and he did Triple Science. It a 'top performing comp' but with DS2's year, they have changed what they offer to push English and Maths (the 1-9 criteria); they have dropped the Business GCSE in Y10 altogether, and have stopped offering the top group in Maths Statistics GCSE in Y10, as well.

Also, prior to the current Y11 group, they offered 'twilight' GCSEs in Dance and Performing Arts for very able DC who had already stuffed their day-time GCSE timetable with triple Science and 2 MFLs etc, so they could also do Dance etc, thus could potentially come away with 13 GCSEs.

This is also no longer on offer.

So a 'top performer' now could only take 11 GCSEs. Which I think is more than enough!

A good friend's DS only did 10 (i)GCSEs at his academic private school, (and came away with 10A*). They didn't see the need for him to do more than 10, even though he very probably would've passed 2 or 3 more.

Draylon Thu 02-Mar-17 15:06:48

I believe Progress 8 is now being touted as the measure to look at! But the wind may yet change direction grin.

Draylon Thu 02-Mar-17 15:09:09

As a final aside, our comp offered double or triple science in the same lesson blocks. DS1 would've done considerably better in triple had he been given a 1/3 more lesson time and hadn't been made to fill up that spare lesson block with another irrelevant-to-him GCSE (some sort of Business GCSE)...

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Thu 02-Mar-17 15:09:46

Our school does 9

I think it might be 10 if its triple science

They dont do RE at all unless they have opted for the gcse, all 'ethics' is wrapped up in their PDL classes which covers drinking, smoking, drugs etc

strugglingwithmaths Thu 02-Mar-17 15:11:09

It looks like all the schools we are looking at seem to be suggesting 11 is usual. However, reading all this I think perhaps the wind may be changing. I'd much rather DD did 9 or 10 well then 11 badly.....

MilkRunningOutAgain Thu 02-Mar-17 15:48:41

DS is choosing options at the moment. Maths, English (2), Science ( will be 2 or 3 at the school's discretion) , RE (full GCSE) , MFL, practical subject ( he will choose PE, but art, music, design, construction etc available to choose from) and 2 other options (he will probably choose history and either geography or business studies.). Which is 10 of he does double science or 11 if he does triple. It's a non selective state school.

Draylon Fri 03-Mar-17 11:53:20

struggling the wind is definitely changing. I believe we will see 9-10 GCSEs as being 'the norm', as 9 A's are a lot better than 11, being 6As and 5 Bs, say.

It's possible our school may step up one again after the Maths and English debacle issue, the 1-9 grading thing, has bedded down. They're putting a lot of energy into these 2 subjects right now!

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