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Choosing between schools - please help me on curriculum issues(12 Posts)
Trying to decide between schools. Many offer what I consider to be a limited curriculum but wanted to check my assumptions.
1. Local outstanding school only offers double science so its students get better grades. Does this matter? Is triple science important for studying science, medicine etc at uni? Does it indicate that the school is focused on results stats?
2, Another local school only offers one language. This seems very limited to me. Will this affect chances of getting into uni to study languages?
3. Another local school makes students choose between history and geography at gcse. Surely there is a lot of useful crossover?
4. Is the ebac indicative of a school offering a broad curriculum or just ticking stat boxes?
5. Grateful for any other insights into gcse choices and choosing schools at yr 7
I’d say it’s v difficult to tell which curriculum will suit your 10 yo child the best.
I think of those I’d be most concerned about the one with the lack of languages.
Even if your child isn’t esp into languages, it’s good to have a choice. Neither of mine are but they’ve both managed to dodge French because there’s a choice
1 - double science is fine for doing medicine etc. A lot of schools do that so post-16 courses are aware.
2 - one language is fine - there is becoming such a huge lack of modern language teachers that offering more in many areas is risky in case one leaves and there is no way to replace them.
3 - choosing between history and geography is normal. There is only so much space on the timetable and there is no real crossover between the subjects that I’m aware of.
4 - ebacc. Depends. Yes it is to tick a box and prove breadth of curriculum but conversely it doesn’t suit every child so to be hemmed into that and be forced to pick an ebacc suite of subjects is
1 - no doesn’t matter. Students can get onto A levels for medicine with double science. It’s not for figures. No issue.
2 - not ideal but completely understandable in many areas where there is a huge lack of language teachers. It’s not wise to offer another language if you know that staffing it will be really hard.
3 - normal really - both big essay subjects and no crossover at all. There have to be some limitations on the curriculum for a timetable to work.
4 - ebacc. Hmmmm. Depends. Can be a box tick, to “prove” breadth of curriculum, but it’s pointless forcing students to take a particular suite of subjects if you aren’t playing to their interests/strengths. It’s useful to have as a suggested guide but not a requirement in my opinion.
5 - a lot of A level courses let you on the course without having the gcse in that subject. Of the non-compulsory subjects, the only ones which you need the gcse as a pre-requisite are languages. The school will help you and your son make good option choices. I wouldn’t get hung up on that at all.
Damn! My first message disappeared and now I have 2...!!
^yes to everything Cauliflower said. If it helps, even Oxford and Cambridge specify that the new GCSE Combined Science (even the old double Science) is fine for medicine.
Thanks that is really useful. I understand the issue with languages but if schools don’t teach them they won’t get studied at uni and there won’t be future teachers of languages! Not the school’s fault but an issue for the government!
Yes absolutely. It’s a vicious circle.
My view is the harsh marking is partly the problem: the number of native speakers taking the exams (1 in 5 A level German entries is a native speaker for example) skews the number of top grades available.
The main issue i have found is the number of compulsory subjects leave little room for anything else.
DS for eg has 10 GCSEs
7 are taken up with Maths, English, English Lit, Science x 3, MFL
which only leaves space for 3 options from all of
- a second language, Latin, History, Geography, RS, Drama, Art, DT, Music, Computer science. And that's before other possible choices like PE, Home Ec, dance, classical civilisation which may be offered in some schools.
There's really not a lot of space for choices if you like the humanities. Why Science is prioritised over the arts I don't know.
and choosing double science over triple science doesn't give you an extra option choice in their school, you do 9 GCSEs rather than 10.
1. Perfectly possible to move to science A Levels and science at university from double science. If the school has a sixth form, even more so, as all the DC will have double science starting A levels.
Also, even if the school offers triple science, some are very strict about the number of DC allowed to take it.
2, I think this is common at state schools (partly due to shortage of MFL teachers). The only DC taking more than 1 language at my DC's school are the ones whose native language is not English (so they take native language + 1 other).
3. This seems limiting (but obviously depends on your child, if they are not strong in humanities, they may not care).
4. As long as it offers all the ebacc subjects, I'm not sure that enforcing it is necessary (no one cares about eBacc anyway). DC's school does not enforce a language, which means that they are frowned upon by Ofsted, but there view is that not every child is suited to taking an MFL. Personally I prefer this approach to the "pandering to Ofsted" one.
5. The school may well have changed the way they offer GCSE options by the time your child gets there, so don't get too wedded to what they do now.
I would worry about the only one language offered. I understand there is a shortage of MFL teachers but many that do teach have the knowledge to teach more than one so I would query that the school does not value languages (narrow outlook) and is not make itself appealing to a significant set of teachers when it does recruit.
Not sure about a big crossover with history and geography but some children would choose both. My concern would be that they cannot do both but to fit the timetable they can only do one and end up having to do something like drama, business studies or RE in which they have no interest whatsoever as their last choice.
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