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Yet another options thread

(26 Posts)
AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 17:32:00

I’m struggling to advise Ds what to choose. He’s Year 9, very bright but autustic. This translates into difficulties with writing. He had to move schools at the start of the year due to his previous (grammar) school refusing to put in place adjustments so the subjects he thought he would be able to take are different.

He’s in top set maths (predicted Grade 8) & bottom set English (currently predicted Grade 2 but we’ve got a tutor). English teacher says verbally he’s way ahead but struggles to write his ideas down)

So he has to take Maths, English Lang & English Lit

Then at least two sciences - Physics & Chemistry

Then one from a list of progress 8 subjects - Computer Science

He has 3 further choices plus a reserve

Music - non negotiable
Food & Nutrition

He’s struggling with the third. He previously enjoyed D & T (resistant materials or electronics) but his new school do Art & Design - Art, textiles or 3D Design instead. It’s 100% coursework/controlled assessment but may be too “arty” rather than technology for him

He originally chose Business Studies but worries there is too much writing

PE is out (too heavy a biology content & he doesn’t play sport to a high level, he used to be in a hockey team but stopped when he changed school & he dances. He loves football but only plays at school.

Btec Sport could be an option.

A language is out as he did Spanish at his previous school & has really struggled to pick up German at his new school. He may continue Spanish outside school.

Long term he’d like to either do something with computers or do a Btec Performing Arts in acting or Musical Theatre. His school don’t offer GCSE drama.

SisterNotCis Fri 09-Feb-18 18:07:27

Doesn't he need a humanity in there? History has the essay writing but might appeal if the curriculum is focused on key figures /motivations that he could see have influenced film/theatre?

AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 18:09:35

He does very badly at History & geography. He is predicted a Grade 3 in those subjects. The history teacher says he does no work but instead she has to confiscate his music theory book & drama scripts.

He has chosen Computer Science instead of a humanity.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 18:11:06

She was astounded when I told her ofvhis knowledge of The American founding fathers & the fact he’d been reading the Ron Chernow Hamilton autobiography, a rather weighty tome. But it doesn’t translate to school work.

cricketballs3 Fri 09-Feb-18 18:17:23

he needs to choice the subjects that he has an interest in and get a good grade in, especially given his difficulties.

Business does not have the heavy essay requirements that humanities have as the exams have a range of question types, with some large markers, but don't need the amount of writing as those of history/geography.

With the BTEC, whilst there is now an exam it still has a lot of coursework, so you do need to consider how well he works at meeting deadlines (BTEC coursework has seriously tightened up with the new specs, so it is no longer keep redoing and redoing until you get your target grade on a unit)

AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 18:19:48

The problem is cricket that his school don’t offer the subjects he is interested in

He would have opted for Music, Spanish, Food, Drama & Dt (electronics or possibly Resistant Materials) but he can only do music & Food here.

BubblesBuddy Fri 09-Feb-18 18:19:49

What a huge shame they don’t offer drama! If he is good at Maths, which of Business Studies or Design uses his maths to a greatest extent? This could be one way to go but I don’t know about writing content for either of them.

With his low predicted English grade, will that affect his choices post 16 if he doesn’t get a 4? Would just 8 GCSEs help with that goal? 2 Sciences, Maths, 2 English, Music, Food and Nutrition, and Computer Science. That’s what I would do. The 4 in English is so vital I would definitely concentrate on that and not 9 GCSEs.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 18:21:16

Apparently He might be able to do btec dance but as an extra instead of Core PE, not instead of an option.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 18:25:42

Yes, that’s why he’s got a tutor. At his previous school he did much better in English (predicted an old B/C) so we are all trying to work out why he’s gone back so much. Yet in Maths he’s flown ahead from predicted 6 to 8.

The only way to drop a GCSE is to choose the extra Literacy/Numeracy option which is usually done alongside Princes Trust work skills programme for very low achievers.

chocolateworshipper Sat 10-Feb-18 12:12:16

Re English - have you asked whether he could have a scribe? DD has processing delay as part of dyslexia. She had great ideas in her head, but couldn't get them down on paper. She had a scribe and 25% extra time for GCSEs and got an A in English!

AlexanderHamilton Sat 10-Feb-18 12:35:03

He’s meant to have a laptop but it’s been inconsistent. A scribe stresses him out & he ends up talking gibberish (literally as in erm erm erm ohh flb lb lb lb whilst flapping his arms)!

AlexanderHamilton Sat 10-Feb-18 12:45:11

I’m sure it’s redeemable as at his last school he got pretty much dead on the year group median result in his English exam which considering it was a grammar school with everyone expected to gain an old Grade C or above.

bigmouthstrikesagain Sat 10-Feb-18 12:58:08

Ds is choosing his options now. He is autistic, very academic but terrible presentation and handwriting. He will have a laptop for written exams and a transcriber for maths/ science. The Senco explained it as different to having a Scribe as ds will complete his exam in the given time, then the transcriber will check the work for legibility i.e. "Do you mean 3 or 5 here?" So his 'flow' won't be interrupted doing the exam time.

he is meant to use a laptop in class where possible which is a problem because the school seems to have a resource issue.

He is choosing between latin/ German, geography or computer science for his last 2 options, seems set on English (lit and lang), Maths, triple Science, History.

Definitely get on to the Senco about the available allowances for your ds in the exams.

kidstaxidriver Sat 10-Feb-18 13:41:49

My son is unsure about taking a MFL. Neither Spanish or French are his strength. I’ve heard on the parent grapevine that not taking a MFL can hinder Uni options at a later stage. Does anyone know if this is the case? Obviously he wouldn’t be planning on a MFL at A level. Any advice appreciated? Thanks, I’m just not sure whether to insist he has to do one!!!

BertrandRussell Sat 10-Feb-18 13:49:39

I would go for BTec Sport and 3D design. Not a lot of writing in either of those, and the BTec at least is all coursework apart from an online multiple guess exam at the end.

cricketballs3 Sat 10-Feb-18 14:10:13

Not a lot of writing in either of those, and the BTec at least is all coursework apart from an online multiple guess exam at the end

you could not be more wrong Bertrand - the coursework has a lot of writing and the exams are not all multiple choice questions at all on any BTEC spec/subject; to achieve the highest grades you need to be able to discuss/analysis/evaluate in the exams as well as the coursework. The new BTECs are viewed by many teachers as a lot harder than the GCSE in terms of amount of knowledge and skills required, the difference is the way it is assessed

OP - have a clear look on Edexcel for the specs on the BTECs, not all assignments/past papers are locked and undertake the advice from your DS's teachers about his chances of success at terminal exams against the vocational qualifications assessment model

BertrandRussell Sat 10-Feb-18 14:19:13

Has BTec Sport changed since last year, then? I didn’t say it wasn’t chLlenging- just that there wasn’t much writing involved.

AlexanderHamilton Sat 10-Feb-18 14:41:27

Thank you cricket. I have already been reading all the specs (OCR Art & Design - 3D confused me a bit as it’s very different to the AQA Design Tech syllabus options).

The GCSE PE is way too Biology based (he’s dropping biology due to extreme squeamishness) & he loves sport but doesn’t play any out of school

Some of the Btec modules on fitness etc will interest him but he is worried about the fact that he doesn’t get on with many of the kids who will be choosing that option (he says it’s the popular, sporty, less academic kids whereas his friends are the music, drama geeky lot). Also his organisation with regards to long term projects are not great.

He does a LOT of extra curricular stuff so we need to help him with time management.

AlexanderHamilton Sat 10-Feb-18 14:43:48

Apparently there is an option to drop Core PE & do Btec Dance instead but he is a beginner dancer (started tap & jazz lessons last September) that would be as well as, not instead of his options though.

OddBoots Sat 10-Feb-18 21:24:06

A few schools are moving to offering additional English or Maths in an option block to students that need more support in these, I guess if this was an option then the school would have said but it is worth asking if additional English might be possible if he took the Dance instead of PE.

AlexanderHamilton Sat 10-Feb-18 21:26:05

It’s offered but in the same option block it’s Literacy/Numeracy & wouldn’t be appropriate for Ds due to his maths ability. I found out at parents evening he’s not only in top set maths but towards the top of the set.

errorofjudgement Sun 11-Feb-18 13:57:01

I might be getting confused here, but would it be possible to drop a core GCSE in favour of additional literacy support, and pick up the BTEC dance?

AlexanderHamilton Sun 11-Feb-18 16:28:13

Technically speaking it would be possible to drop a GCSE option in favour of Literacy/numeracy but then half the time would be spent on numeracy with other students who are predicted below Level 3 in maths & Ds is at the top of Top Set maths predicted an 8 plus

errorofjudgement Sun 11-Feb-18 16:43:33

Maybe he could work independently in the library while others are doing numeracy? This is what DD did when she gave up dance GCSE.

BubblesBuddy Sun 11-Feb-18 18:24:00

kidstsxidriver. Unless your DC is applying for the highest prized courses at the highest prized universities, MFL GCSE won’t be a deal breaker. It is true that some universities are looking at GCSE passes and it could be as high as 30% of the assessment process, but they don’t need a MFL unless they say so.

If he wanted to take a language at university ab initio, then lack of a MFL gcse would probably would make that impossible because there would be no evidence of linguistic ability.

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