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Any experience of condensed KS3?

(18 Posts)
AngkorWaat Tue 25-Sep-18 12:06:42

DS is in Y7 and the school has just announced they are moving to a 2 year KS3 model, with GCSE options in Y8 and a 3 year KS4. Has anyone any experience of this? It’s allowing an extra option choice apparently, but I’m assuming based on doing some GCSEs early...the letter announcing this was very thin on details.

OP’s posts: |
anotherangel2 Tue 25-Sep-18 12:09:48

The content of GCSEs now is massive. More schools are moving towards this as there is too much to fit into a year and half.

Soursprout Tue 25-Sep-18 12:52:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PatriciaHolm Tue 25-Sep-18 13:22:31

yep, it's getting more popular, both DC's schools do it. It spreads the pressure over a little better (no early GCSEs here though)

QuantumGroan Tue 25-Sep-18 14:49:24

Our school have been doing this for quite a long time. 3 year GCSE but they don't take GCSEs early - apart from the top set in Maths to make way for Additional Maths.

AngkorWaat Tue 25-Sep-18 15:20:44

Thanks all. We’re in Wales and I don’t know of any other schools locally that do this so it’s all new to me..good to hear it doesn’t necessarily mean taking some subjects early.

OP’s posts: |
RedSkyLastNight Tue 25-Sep-18 15:44:36

It doesn't mean taking subjects earlier but it does mean dropping some subjects earlier.

This is great if you are like my DS (who dropped all the subjects he didn't like) but not so great if you are like my DD (a genuine allrounder who would have liked the opportunity to study a wider range of subjects for longer).

BubblesBuddy Tue 25-Sep-18 17:25:23

I am in two minds whether this is the best course of action for high ability children. Overall they are learning less. They narrow down the curriculum very early so subjects like drama, art, music and a few others are off the curriculum a year early. Plus lots of others of course. So this is not offering a broad education. Children like it because it’s less work. Teachers like it because the children are more motivated in the subjects they do like so less hassle in class. Homework can be less.

However, those that do their GCSEs in 2 years are now disadvantaged. This should be flagged up in university admissions as they have had considerably less time working on the GCSE syllabi. If a child gets 9 x 8/9 grades in two years, I would suggest they are brighter than one who has taken 3 years to get to the same attainment. They have managed less homework and have had an easier life. I wonder if any grammar schools are doing GCSEs over three years?

The other issue is the extra subject. Why is this an advantage? Who needs it? Universities are happy with 9. No one demands 10. Definitely ask why an extra subject is good. It would be better to make time for art, drama, music, sport and other educational topics in the spare time.

BringOnTheScience Tue 25-Sep-18 18:04:25

Increasingly popular options. My DC2 has done this. No earlier exams though - just more time to cover the extensive curriculum.

WindDoesNotBreakTheBendyTree Tue 25-Sep-18 19:35:11

DS is in superselective grammar and chose his options last summer beginning the GCSE course this year.

I think it is a mixed blessing. He was studying 3 languages (which were not his strong point) and can now focus on one and is glad to see the back of geography and RE as a GCSE course. He had to choose between Art and Music, which was a pity. His overall choices are still quite varied.

MaisyPops Tue 25-Sep-18 19:37:48

I don't like it personally.

Why do a 3 year GCSE course when schools could just plan an appropriate and challenging key stage 3?

If there's a decent ks3 curriculum then it will lay the correct foundations for doing well at GCSE.

Harleyisme Tue 25-Sep-18 19:40:17

My ds is in year 2 of a 3 year gcse course and its so much better. Hes in a better position now than he would have been and its less rushed and less stressful than it would have been.

Hellohah Tue 25-Sep-18 19:42:10

@BubblesBuddy ... I am hoping universities only look at 8 GCSE's, because it seems that is the amount DS's school do.

BubblesBuddy Tue 25-Sep-18 20:08:36

Some don’t just look at 8. Oxford definitely have stats on how many successful applicants have and at what grades. However I wouldn’t say 8 will not be enough because there are so many other factors to consider. That applies to any university.

My point was that it must be easier to concentrate on GCSEs over 3 years rather than 2. 8 over 3 years is very light.

QuantumGroan Tue 25-Sep-18 20:19:09

Admissions tutor at Cambridge said they only looked at the top 8 GCSEs and doing more would not increase your chances of a place.

QuantumGroan Tue 25-Sep-18 20:21:14

RE teacher told me the 3 year GCSE course, allowed them to spend lots of time exploring ideas in depth and having excellent and relevant debate in class - he was very enthusiastic about it.

cricketballs3 Wed 26-Sep-18 03:03:20

When my school introduced this as a teacher I was very sceptical and thought it was too young to be making these choices. However my current yr11 (first cohort of the 3 year KS4) are far more prepared as we have had time to explore issues more deeply, more time to spend on the most difficult concepts.

There is also a very noticeable difference in the stress levels compared to those who have just left as they were a 2 year GCSE group coping with the new specs so hopefully it will also improve the mental health of students

Kokeshi123 Wed 26-Sep-18 03:35:23

Seems like it will lead to a very narrow curriculum, esp in subjects like history. Don't students end up studying the same stuff again and again?

I can't help feeling that part of the problem is that England (unlike many other countries) doesn't seem to have a clear and unified universal curriculum for KS3 (as in, a curriculum which mandates subjects, minimum amount of time to be spent on each, content to be studied during each time period and set materials such as textbooks).

As one education writer has put it, "if you don't have a curriculum, then what happens in the end is that the exams themselves become the curriculum." (Paraphrasing from memory.)

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