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8, 9 or 10 GCSEs - does it matter?

(29 Posts)
DontCallMeBaby Sun 04-Feb-18 20:19:33

DD has to submit her options form in a few weeks. She has

- Core subjects: maths, English literature, English language, double science (5 GCSEs)
- Subjects she’s certain about: French, history, product design (3 GCSEs)

So that’s 8, which seems like an acceptable number to me (I have 9 and DH only has 7, although obviously from a terribly long time ago). However she has two further option slots to fill, and that’s where it gets tricky. The short list is business, ICT (a very design-led course), health & social care. Only business is an actual GCSE, the other two are GCSE equivalents (and both 75% coursework).

I think 8 will be fine for all possible purposes, provided she gets decent grades, especially as they’re mostly solidly academic. I’m not 100% sure coursework will suit her, as she tends to wing it, but then 10 exam heavy subjects might stretch her too far. I also, though I haven’t said this to her, think business sounds dull as fuck and the other two sound more interesting/fun.

She, however, doesn’t want to have ‘only 8’ GCSEs. No real reason given. IS there anything wrong with 8? She currently wants to do medicine at university - I’m not convinced she’ll get there (again, not something I’ve said to her) but it’s a good ambition as it encourages her to work hard. Her school’s sixth form will require two grade 6s and three grade 5s to get in, and subject related requirements on top of that.

Do I reassure her that 8 GCSEs is fine? Or am I missing something here?

GodFather Sun 04-Feb-18 20:44:46

As someone who works in a secondary school. My advice speak with her tutor or head of year.

Many of my students range from 8 to 10. I am it depends what is best for the student and how the school works.

clary Sun 04-Feb-18 20:47:43

8 GCSEs is fine if that's what your school does. But it sounds like your DD's does 10.

I wouldn't advise ICT - very dull and not offered now as a GCSE so rated low. H&S is possible to do as a GCSE (eg at my DCs' school) so I am with you, I would be wary of whatever it is that the school is offering (what actually is it? BTEC?)

Business is good, challenging and well rated, lots of yr 10 DS2's mates like it. what else could she do? Does she enjoy any other tech eg food? drama? TBH 5 is a lot of option slots to have to fill - will she do them all or is one an option if she doesn't get her preferred choices?

Heifer Sun 04-Feb-18 20:51:44

My DD has just selected her Options. At her school the "norm" is 9 GCSEs. I personally feel this is the right amount for her, although she is thinking about taking RE as a Fast Track (lunch time/after school) as a 10th. Her teacher told is that she is very capable of getting high marks and should try starting the course and seeing how it goes (I stated I was worried taking 10 could weaken some of her other grades).
My understanding is that Unis look at the top 8 grades - so I guess I would worry if my DD was only taking 8 in case she had a bit of a bleep on 1 subject.
One question I do have though is if she is keen to do medicine why isn't she taking triple science? Our school recommended anyone that wanted to take A Level Science should take Triple - but I know that some schools don't offer it - is that the case with your DD? Ive read that it's not a problem if they have taken double, plenty of people do well a A level from Double but it can be a steeper learning curve at the start.

For Info - my DD has selected
Maths/English x 2/Triple Science/History/Spanish & PE (with possible RE) I personally think that she may well start the Fast Track RE but may decide to drop it later on.

MollyHuaCha Sun 04-Feb-18 20:52:08

Medicine is so competitive. You actually need all the GCSEs you can get, and at high grades too.

For less competitive careers, I'd suggest it would be better to have a smaller number of GCSEs at high grades than 10 at the minimum pass grades.

My DC is dyslexic, only has 6 GCSEs. Currently doing well with A levels and has three offers on from RG universities. Admissions officers were clearly not bothered about the lack of GCSEs.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 04-Feb-18 20:55:18

If the school has timetabled for ten subjects, then she needs to study ten subjects. Otherwise you'll need a plan for what she'll do in the remaining two timetable slots. Where would she work, who would supervise her, what work would she do and who would set and mark that work?

AlexanderHamilton Sun 04-Feb-18 20:58:01

I think 8 is too few. It gives no leeway for something to go wrong in one subject. However 10 might be too many for anyone other than the most academic. 9 is a good number.

Scabetty Sun 04-Feb-18 21:01:34

Ds was only given 3 options so will end up with 8.

Apaleviewofnothing Sun 04-Feb-18 21:10:48

I would suggest that if she is aiming for medicine she should look at doing triple science rather than double as she will find it easier to step up to science A levels. Although it is possible to do any science A level with double science it is a much bigger jump in content and thinking style.
Then arrange other options around that.

I had 10 "o" levels back in the dark ages, my (several) DC range between 8 and 10 GCSEs depending on preference and academic ability. Having a chat with career advisor and head of year may help to give perspective.

LizardMonitor Sun 04-Feb-18 21:26:02

Can she do triple science?
Double Science only covers the first two of three modules in each subject.

DontCallMeBaby Sun 04-Feb-18 21:37:41

The school doesn’t do triple science, so that’s out.

She will do 10 qualifications, no empty slots, it just might be 8 GCSEs plus 2 others. ICT is CIDA, can’t remember what H&SC is.

She also needs a reserve, so all three possible subjects could be ‘used’ in some respect. Art and drama are out, drama she won’t consider. She is forever behind in food and the teacher has told them NOT to take the subject if they’re slow in practicals! She doesn’t like the non-cooking elements anyway. She was all up for philosophy & ethics until everyone at school started saying how religious it is - fair enough it IS actually RE.

Fair point about the leeway for things going wrong - I wouldn’t put it past her to balls one of them up.

AlexanderHamilton Sun 04-Feb-18 21:56:11

My dd is atheist & RE is her favourite subject. She’s hoping to do philosophy & ethics at A level.

Oxfordmedic Mon 05-Feb-18 06:58:48

Philosophy and ethics would be the most useful for medicine and similar careers plus it is a GCSE. It sounds an interesting mix from what I have heard although perhaps it depends on the exam boards

LoniceraJaponica Mon 05-Feb-18 07:07:01

DD is currently going through the medical school application process. I agree that triple science is the way to go. The jump from GCSE to A level is pretty high. Also, it would be better to do 2 more actual GCSEs and not GCSE equivalents. Most medical schools do take your GCSE grades into account and use them to score all applicants.

DontCallMeBaby Mon 05-Feb-18 07:50:10

Philosophy & ethics is OCR. What doesn’t help is the school chooses 2 religions from a list of 5, and they’ve chose Christianity and Buddhism. DD went to a CofE primary, she’s studied Christianity in RE at secondary, and has has enough. I don’t understand a school deciding what KS4 kids need is MORE Christianity, not for instance a proper understanding of Islam.

JufusMum Mon 05-Feb-18 09:28:50

AlexanderHamilton my DD is exactly the same - atheist, loves RE, doing Philosophy & Ethics for A Level!

LizardMonitor Mon 05-Feb-18 09:46:54

V frustrating for you about the school - not doing Triple Science and restricting RE in that way.

I don't think secondary schools should be ALLOWED to not offer Triple Science.

How the hell are we supposed to compete in a global STEM market?
I know you can still do the A levels, but why should the education curriculum be constrained and young people's extended knowledge cut short beyond their capability and interest?? angry angry

What sort of school is it?
(Academy / High / Sec Modern / Community Comp etc?)

LizardMonitor Mon 05-Feb-18 09:48:43

Hopefully in Philosophy and Ethics, though, they do cover non religious philosophy and an approach to ethics?

As a doctor, she will very much need to be familiar with the beliefs of her patients and with ethical decision making.

catslife Mon 05-Feb-18 14:44:39

I understand that it's a government requirement that one of the religions studied for Phil and ethics is Christianity (or catholic Christianity) so in practice the school only has one choice for the "other" religion. Having said that if it is a fairly straightforward GCSE to take in terms of workload.
dd took the ICT CIDA the coursework side was fairly easily covered in the lessons. The exam involved having to design a complete website and get it working in 2.5 hours under exam conditions. If that's the sort of thing your dd would find interesting then go for it!
HSC is health and social care. It used to be available as a GCSE but the last exams are in 2018 so that is why the BTEC is now offered instead. Although useful for working in health related areas, it wouldn't be considered as academic enough for a potential medical student.

Soursprout Mon 05-Feb-18 14:49:12

Philosophy and ethics sounds great as an option for gcse. I wish they did this at DD’s school! I agree it would be useful and interesting for someone veering towards medicine

WhatHaveIFound Mon 05-Feb-18 15:33:53

Given your DD's choice i'd probably opt for Business and Health & Social Care.

My DD is doing Business and really enjoys it/finds it quite easy. She's also doing Double Science (school doesn't offer triple) but will end up with 11 GCSEs as she did two last year. However i would have preferred it she did less as the workload has been heavy going.

DS is a confrmed atheist but loves RE so he hasn't ruled out of doing it at GCSE yet.

DontCallMeBaby Mon 05-Feb-18 17:27:24

LizardMonitor if I just said ‘it’s an academy’ what would you infer from that?

Genuinely interested.

This suddenly feels like a minefield! I’m realising I’m a bit wary of pushing for more re GCSEs because of medical school, because I don’t really think that’s what the future holds for her.

I probably ought to gently encourage her desire to do >8 GCSEs ... just because I think business sounds dull, what do I know? I think the computing syllabus sounds really interesting and she’d rather stick pins in her eyes!

clary Tue 06-Feb-18 12:54:42

In the nicest way, you need to let her pick what she wants (within reason). I loved the sound of history syllabus bury both my older two picked geography which DD now did for a level.

And I wasn't mad about DD doing drama but she loved her group and the lessons gave her a real lift so it was a good thing for her.

Business is a good choice, honest

user1484040234 Tue 06-Feb-18 16:41:21

Is it computing or ICT? Computing is definitely better than ICT

DontCallMeBaby Tue 06-Feb-18 17:10:37

ICT. A design-led ICT rather than ‘how to use a spreadsheet’ (which you be useful, but dull - and I like a good spreadsheet). She won’t consider computing.

Clary - you’re right. And in a couple of weeks I’ll probably be begging her to just st make a decision, ANY decision.

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