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GCSEs studied for 3 years not 2 - how widespread

(49 Posts)
reup Mon 13-Mar-17 10:50:04

In lots of the schools near me they are making Y8s do options and studying the new GCSEs over 3 years. My child's school Is still doing them over 2 with options in Y9.

Do you think these children will have an advantage? Or will they just get bored. They mightbe studying more of them whereas my child's school is only doing 9.

I wondered how many schools are doing this and not sure about other pros and cons,.

offblackeggshell Mon 13-Mar-17 10:53:22

I think DD started GCSE maths in Y9. It was on the basis that they'd all be doing it, and there was at that point some uncertainty in the curriculum, so the earlier they got started, the more time there would be at the other end for plugging last minute gaps.

That was the only subject though I think. (SW London, non-selective state but high performing, if that makes any difference.)

reup Mon 13-Mar-17 11:00:39

I know some high achieving schools used to do some GCSEs from Y9 but then they took them in Y10 and did more in Y11. Also my child's school used to make everyone do RE over 3 years, but they've stopped that so they can do extra English and maths I think.

The schools near me are very ordinary comprehensives and it's in all subjects.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 13-Mar-17 11:09:38

I don't like it because it means that children have to drop important subjects a year early.

For example my daughter chose RS fir GCSE but she enjoyed history & geography and would have hated to have dropped them in year 9. Also the end of year 8 is too young in my opinion to have to decide.

I agree however that schools start science & maths work in year 9 as there is such a lot to cover.

I do like the system my son's school uses. The children choose certain options at the end of year 8 but are not tied to them. So the continue with maths, English, science, history, geography, RS IT & a language but then choose a further 4 options from a list including a 2nd language, art, textiles, music, DT, Food or classics. If they chooses 2nd language it counts as 2 options.

At the end of year 8 they narrow it down further to 9 GCSE subjects.

Badbadbunny Mon 13-Mar-17 11:11:21

In my son's school, they start all GCSE subjects in year 9, but the option choices aren't made that early, so some will start a GCSE course that they will effectively drop when they take their options starting in year 10. Ability setting isn't done until the start of year 10 so they're mixed ability classes in year 9 for the start of the GCSE course.

School says that this gives the pupils a real feel for the work they'd be doing to GCSE standard and helps them choose their options. They say it massively reduces the number of changes made during the first few weeks back at the start of year 10 where traditionally a lot of pupils changed their minds which wasn't ideal. Also, by actually doing GCSE work in year 9, they can set the pupils into the right sets from day 1, again meaning virtually no-one changes between sets during years 10 and 11.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 13-Mar-17 11:12:12

So kids who are good at art can do classics plus 3 arts subjects wheras children who hate art/design subjects start a 2nd language and/or classics and only have to do 1/2 creative subjects.

AuntieStella Mon 13-Mar-17 11:14:28

Our school decides who can opt for triple science at the end of year 8, and they go on a different course for that (if they want). No other choices made then.

Main choices made in year 9 (which can include dropping back from triple to double science)

OddBoots Mon 13-Mar-17 11:15:36

I would think the differences are marginal, all the work in Y9 will be progress towards the GCSE in one way or another, even if some of the subjects are dropped there will be transferable skills.

reup Mon 13-Mar-17 11:16:39

Yes the Y8s have only been there for 18 months - it seems a bit early. My worry is that the ones that don't study for them as lon be disadvantaged by getting poorer results and no one will know they studied them for a third less time. Though I think the kids for the first few years of the new ones will be disadvantaged anyway as the curriculum has changed so much in KS2 and the pass mark seems to be uncertain.

Bloosh Mon 13-Mar-17 11:17:57

My dd's school is doing this. I agree it is tricky to narrow down your options at this stage. We have had lengthy discussions about this! But overall I'm glad because so few subjects are streamed. Being in a class with kids who are not interested and who may be of all ability levels means there doesn't seem much emphasis on pushing the more capable ones.

reup Mon 13-Mar-17 11:19:50

For the schools who start in Y8 - how many do they end up with?

Ohyesiam Mon 13-Mar-17 11:20:02

Doing options early means the kids get a narrower education.

MaroonPencil Mon 13-Mar-17 11:21:08

My nephew's school does this. I would be concerned if the secondary school my kids will probably go to started to do it. I think three years to do the GCSE course would bore them, and I also think it's a crying shame to have to give up subjects like art, music and drama so young (if they aren't going to take them for GCSE), as well as languages and science (I still can't quite believe that I stopped studying any chemistry and physics after the age of 14, I feel quite ignorant, 13 would be even worse.)

Bloosh Mon 13-Mar-17 11:21:42

Mine is ending up with 10, I think. Double/triple science decisions are made at the end of y9

AlexanderHamilton Mon 13-Mar-17 11:23:07

I agree ohyesiam!

The letter from ds's school says they can't cover everything in enoUgh detail to prepare for GCSE but that's probably because the year 7/8 curriculum includes a very wide range of arts subjects as well as Latin/Classics.

Hence the partial arts/technology/languages choices.

Bloosh Mon 13-Mar-17 11:23:10

I'm actually happy my dd isdropping art and music which she dislikes. She is doing dance so that's a creative subject, and her school is doing the EBacc do they have to pick a language and a humanity.

Bloosh Mon 13-Mar-17 11:25:05

Would like her to carry on with technology/food tech though so I agree that this system makes it a bit narrow.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 13-Mar-17 11:28:08

Reup - I just checked with the two local schools that do this

School A (outstanding) they take 9 gcses's
School B (special measures) double scientists take 8 GCSE's triple take 9

chuntersalot Mon 13-Mar-17 11:38:22

Not a popular opinion but I believe our school does GCSEs over 3 years because they can get better results that way. But this school is only a little bit above the national average so limiting my children's education and forcing them down the options path too early to avoid moving down the league table 😡 I suspect the school will be 'found out' just in time for my 2 doing their GCSEs next year. The school just isn't good enough to succeed on a level playing field of harder exams and little or no 'controlled' assessment 😡

Littledrummergirl Mon 13-Mar-17 11:40:10

They start in year 9 with both the schools my dc attend- one is rated outstanding the other good. I'm glad as my dc knew/know what subjects they enjoy and were able to spend more time on these while avoiding those they loathed.
Ds1 took 11 subjects, ds2 is studying 10. How it will work for Dd is anyone's guess!

Gummibears Mon 13-Mar-17 11:41:50

Surely secondary schools start teaching the relevant material from year 7 onwards especially in compulsory subjects like English, Maths and languages.

toonafish Mon 13-Mar-17 11:51:18

A school near me is doing this and it's making all the parents feel their children are oh so grown up, but actually I think it's just the school narrowing down options early so they can plan and focus resources. I expect it's more common in large schools where there's a broader curriculum, but obviously not enough hours in the schoolday for everyone to do everything.

My DS is in Y8 at a different school (smaller), where they don't do this, but they're still covering topics on the GCSE syllabus and starting to do GCSE papers for assessments in some subjects. The school is also starting to talk with families about future careers and options using a survey, to help with planning, but not to narrow down options just yet.

Devilishpyjamas Mon 13-Mar-17 11:57:35

Both ds2's (grammar) and ds3's (mixed ability) school's introduced this in ds2's year group (now year 10). Ds2's school also dropped from 11 to 10 subjects. Most local schools do 3 year GCSE courses now.

All to prepare for the new GCSE's (& they sound a bloody nightmare TBH - although ds2's teachers didn't have the specification for a lot of last year so were teaching without knowing the details of the syllabus).

ZombieApocalips Mon 13-Mar-17 12:03:56

The comps in our area do 3 year GCSEs. (There's 3 outstanding comps within 3 miles ) The biggest pro is that there is more time to change their mind. My kids are going to end up with a lot of GCSEs but I don't think that's an advantage. Better to have 9 great grades than 12 at a lower grade.

JustRichmal Mon 13-Mar-17 12:24:19

Dd,s school are doing the 3 year GCSE, starting in year 9. I do think it is better, as they will have done more studying for each subject over 3 years than they would have over 2. I do not think it makes for boredom, as they can go into more depth.
For those not doing things like art and drama at GCSE, there are a few lessons in these scheduled into the timetable, so they still do these a bit.
I think it is 11 GCSEs most in her class are dong.

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