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GCSE options for 2020 restricted

(17 Posts)
justwinginit Fri 09-Mar-18 12:42:06

My DD1 is due to select her options very soon but I have an issue with what the school offers. I've always known her school has a strong preference for languages but what I didn't know was that all students have to take both their languages forward to GCSE and that for the first year of their humanities GCSE it has to be studied in their first foreign language. This means that the only choices DD has are to choose either Geography or History then one other choice from Art, Computing, Drama, PE, Economics, RE, DT, Food Tech, Music, Business or Economics. Aside from these 2 choices they do all the usual core subjects - English, Maths, Science and 2 MFLs. My DD is very able and a good student but has no passion for languages in particular. Her school is really good and produces amazing results but I'm wondering whether I should consider moving her to another local school where she'd have the choice to do only 1 MFL. She's happy at her school and resigned to doing what's expected even if she won't necessarily have chosen this path, so this is coming more from me than her. I'm looking for opinions and perhaps views from others who've been through the GCSE stage to see if it really matters that much in the long run. She has no clue what she wants to be in the future so I can't even predict what A levels she might go for as she's a good all round student.

OP’s posts: |
MilkRunningOutAgain Fri 09-Mar-18 15:57:11

Tbh I wouldn’t consider moving a DC unless they were unhappy, or something very bad happened. It does sound as though your DD’s school has very limited options for GCSE. My DS chose options last year, & it was restricted too, though a bit better than your DD’s school. In general most schools seem to be offering fewer options than when I was at school, which is a shame, & mostly to be with league tables. Are you happy with your DD’s school apart from this? I think it would be difficult to settle into a secondary at the start of yr 10, when you need to concentrate on academics, not making friends, so if you do find a more flexible school & your DD wants to move, the sooner the better. Also, some schools are now starting GCSE courses in yr 9, which would make moving even more difficult.

Heifer Fri 09-Mar-18 17:00:24

My DD has just picked her options and they only do 9 in general she hasn't got much choice either. She is happy with what she has chosen
English x 2
Triple Science
She has said she wants to take RE as a 10th as a fast track (lunch time & after school). We will see how keen she is once Year 10 starts.

Is there anything that your DD would like to take that she isn't able to due to the 2 languages? If not then I wouldn't worry. I wouldn't want to move my DD unless there was an actual real problem or that her current school can't offer what she wanted.
How does she feel about it?

clary Sat 10-Mar-18 18:26:34

The two MFL thing is unusual, but tbh only having one choice sadly is not.

A lot of schools round here insist on one humanity, one language, and then one other choice (doing a total of 8 GCSEs or 9 if doing triple science). It's not ideal IMHO as it is so narrowing, and limits uptake of things like drama, tech, PE, food etc but it's so schools, afeared of the new harder GCSEs, can get a decent set of results.

DS2 is doing 10 GCSEs with triple science and he only got two choices so this kind of limiting is pretty standard.

I wouldn't move her if she is happy otherwise. She may love the languages at KS4 and dual linguists are v rare!

justwinginit Tue 13-Mar-18 15:12:49

Thanks for your responses I think having talked to her that given she has no burning desire to do another subject instead of a second language she will stay put. I still have an issue with the policy to teach her humanities subject in a foreign language for the firs year of gcse. However this is the way the school does things and not sure if I'm able to push back on it. Anyone got any experience of another subject being taught in a foreign language? I'd like to talk to her school about it but unsure how to phrase it given it's a done deal.

OP’s posts: |
ParadiseCity Tue 13-Mar-18 15:15:37

Unless they are brilliant at the language I think it would be very hard to learn history in French or whatever. BUT could you find out how other years got on? It might not be as hard as it sounds.

PhilODox Tue 13-Mar-18 15:22:05

I don't think I've grasped the set up, sorry.
They teach humanities in a foreign language? confused

Is it because the language is Welsh (for English speakers)??

How on earth can history/geography staff know enough French/German/Spanish to teach GCSE in their subjects otherwise?

Rufusbear Tue 13-Mar-18 15:25:57

I think unless a child is very proficient in their foreign language then a year studying one of their other limited gcse subjects in that language sounds bonkers!

justwinginit Tue 13-Mar-18 20:40:41

Yes for clarity they study either Geography or history (whichever they choose) in their first MFL (i.e. The one they took up in y7) They have already done this whilst going through Y9 and that's been ok given it ultimately doesn't count towards anything (although DD says it's really hard) - what I'm not comfortable with is doing it in Y10 as well as surely it impacts ability to do well in GCSE. All the course notes etc will be in another language. The teachers are mostly bilingual so that's how it can be offered this way. I feel like I'm the only parent who thinks this is asking too much of the kids and would like to be given the choice!

OP’s posts: |
unfortunateevents Tue 13-Mar-18 20:51:21

Where is this school? I am really struggling to get my head around a school where all the teachers are bilingual - unless as someone said the language is Welsh? Otherwise, assuming the MFL is e.g. French what school would ever have enough History/Geography teachers who could teach in that language?

Michaelahpurple Tue 13-Mar-18 21:20:21

Sounds extraordinary. Given that gcse French isn’t that advanced - the range of what they are able to cover in oral is so limited I don’t see how it would be possible to teach history in it, unless Henry IV spent a lot of time at the guichet before heading off au bord de la mer

pipilangstrumpf Tue 13-Mar-18 21:34:42

Do they take their humanity GCSE in the foreign language or in English?

PhilODox Tue 13-Mar-18 23:39:26

Oh, is it that fabulous school that does IB, but is also an international school, and I think state boarding too?
In which case...I see why they'd do this (and have the staff), but I am well jel! envy

ParadiseCity Wed 14-Mar-18 07:57:27

grin Napoleon aller a la piscine confused

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Wed 14-Mar-18 08:51:29

Sure,y you knew all of this before applying OP? Like others have said, I wouldn’t move a child that was happy either.

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Wed 14-Mar-18 09:02:48


AChickenCalledKorma Wed 14-Mar-18 09:05:45

Wow - this is really the sort of thing they ought to have been explaining very, very clearly at year 7 open days, so that parents knew what they were getting into.

If it was my daughter I think I'd give her the option of moving, because it does sound like an extremely language-heavy curriculum for someone that isn't passionate about languages. In particular, I'd make sure she realises that at another school she may have much wider options. So if she loves Geography, History and Art, for example, there are probably other places where she could drop a language and do all three. Obviously you'd need to find out if this is the case at your realistic alternative schools.

However, if she's happy at the school, and willing to do what's expected, I'd probably suck it up. And also buy a lot of GCSE revision guides/textbooks in english, for whichever humanity she's going to learn in a different language, so that she has the best chance of keeping up. The linear GCSEs do mean that students need to have a firm grasp of everything they learned in earlier years of the course, so I'd be a bit worried that some of the subtleties had gone over her head because of language issues.

At the end of the day, she'll still have a decent spread of GCSEs and if the school gets good results, they probably know how to handle it.

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