This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
GCSE Options - academic child picking multiple creative options(94 Posts)
DD is in Y8, but at her school they have a 3 year KS4, so she has to pick GCSE options next term. We haven't yet seen the Options blocks, but based on older DC
She will have to take 10 subjects.
Maths, English Lang, English Lit are compulsory
She has the choice of 2 or 3 Science GCSEs. DD hates Science and wants to do 2.
That leaves her with 5 subjects to choose. DD wants to pick GCSE Art, GCSE Music and BTEC Performing Arts. She is in the fortunate position of being genuinely good at everything and likely to get good marks in whatever she takes, however I feel that taking 3 creative subjects might be a creative subject too far for an academic child that has aspirations of going to University.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Will universities consider a students with more creative GCSE subjects, less favourably than one with fewer? Are there any other negatives (I did think she might struggle to pick 2 facilitating subjects as A Levels based on her GCSE choices as she hates maths and science).
My gut feeling is to dissuade her from one of the creative subjects (and tbh I'm slightly hoping the Option blocks may mean she has to) but is this just me being snobby and biased against creative subjects or is there a genuine reason to be wary (my strengths are all in maths and science; I'm not remotely creative and no idea where DD gets it from!)?
This is why I am against the 3 year GCSE , they are far to young to make these choices . I think you need to think what will her A level options be if she does these subjects .
Also this is about a General Certificate of Education. It should be as broad as possible. She needs history/ geography , a language etc . My arts based ds did double science it was fine because he then did History, geography and RS , with Drama as his creative subject .
Just to be clear - if she did go with the subjects I've listed there is another 2 options on top of which one has to be a humanity.
So her options will end up "reasonably" balanced.
No one thinks anything of a DC taking 3 sciences or 3 humanities; should 3 creative subjects be regarded differently?
I too am against the 3 year GCSE for this reason.
Does she take part in performing arts outside of school? If she does then she will probably find btec performing arts below her capabilities. Ds is currently doing it but for him its an extra 10 subject instead of doing PE. The standard isn't particularly high at Level 2 (Level 3 is different again)
However you say she is taking 10 subjects altogether. Both dd and ds's schools take 9 subjects so if the btec is the 10th subject it won't really make much difference if she is also going to be taking a language/humanities subject.
It will be really hard logistically for your child to achieve good GCSEs if she is doing 2 creatives & a BTEC. Deadlines could easily be very similar and she may end up hating the subjects. My children each did 1 creative GCSE, you had to have exceptional talent to do more than one.
All the local private schools also only take 9 subjects too.
Art and Music GCSe's or Art 7 Drama GCSE's were a very common option combination at dd's school.
Ds will be doing Music and Btec Dance
My only other comment though is DO NOT under-estimate how time consuming GCSE art can be.
Yes, I'd have no issue with her taking Art and Music GCSEs (and then 8 other academic subjects). It would be the BTEC Performing Arts I'd dissuade her against ...
Fair point about the logistics of fitting this in; I've heard Art is coursework heavy and I imagine Music +PA could mean lots of
out of school rehearsal time.
Our school deliberately timetabled Art, Music and Drama against each other so that no student could take all three -- much to DD's annoyance.
Yes, very coursework-heavy.
I think it depends on what kind of grades she might be looking at for a level - if she is thinking of a very competitive course or university, especially Oxbridge then it's worth worrying about. On the other hand, I did 3 creative GCSE subjects but went on to do academic A levels. I got into a top 20 history course and I didn't get the impression that my GCSE choices had much impact (this was 8 years ago, mind you).
FWIW, I am sure that GCSE art is regarded as a lot of work and not a light subject. Music I think is similar. I would be worried about performing arts btec being looked down on by more prestigious universities though.
Sorry just saw your update about already thinking that about performing arts!
Music doesn't take a lot of rehersal time outside of school, unlike drama or art. Assuming your dd sings or plays an instrument already and does the requisite practice . All dd had to do was practice a singing duet with a classmate then her other song was one she picked from her repertoire.
Sounded like a recipe for work overload to me. Art is a killer, performing arts will need no lesson time and unless you find writing music easy, GCSE music is time consuming as well. Languages and humanities were so much easier to manage (science and maths even better for me!)
In our school, all students are encouraged to study a MFL. If she is doing it over the three years, it is worth starting and if it is too much she can always drop later ?
Regarding music, does your DD play an instrument or sing? Most exam boards require a performance. My DD had to do two performances worth 40% of the exam. My DD did art and music (exams last year). As she loves these subjects she did niot find them hard but they did require a lot of work.
Wishing her all the best
For me, the issue is more about cutting out A level options when she is only in y8.
I know it is possible to do history A level without the GCSE, but in reality how many would do that? Similarly Geography & RE.
Languages you can't generally do ab initio without having proven yourself at a language at GCSE.
Provided she does 1 humanity and 1 language then the overall looks OK (though I too would be concerned with course work related issues).
But for an 'academic' child it still means she is not doing any of:
- triple science
- 2 humanities
- 2 languages
- computer science
- business studies
any of which I feel would be more 'well rounded' than her 3 chosen options so far.
DD plays an instrument to Grade 3 standard currently, so I think she is ok with the performance element of music.
Her 3 favourite subjects in order are: art, English, music. At the moment she thinks she might want study English at university or be a primary school teacher (obviously the 2 are not mutually exclusive!) but clearly that is a long way off yet.
Both her art and music teachers rave about her. Her PA teacher doesn't and she is not really involved in PA outside of lessons (which is why it would be the one I'd encourage her to drop - she wants to take it because she enjoys lessons, but she doesn't have the aptitude she does in other subjects).
She is studying Spanish this year but unfortunately really dislikes her teacher, so she is unconvinced about carrying on (I would also be keen for her to study an MFL ...)
Doesn't she have to do a modern language?
No, she doesn't have to study a MFL (my oldest isn't).
Personally depending on her other two options I think it sounds perfectly rounded but the workload would concern me.
As I said before all the other schools I’ve come across the children only take 9 GCSE’s so you can sort of disregard the PA Btec as she will have the 9. I also don’t subscribe to the notion that academic children have to do double science if they are not that way inclined.
Try to persuade her to swap one for a humanity and/mfl. 3 practical subjects can be very time consuming and the lack of humanity/mfl makes her academic subjects look unbalanced. It is likly at least 2 will be in same group for timetabling anyway. Double/triple science may take the same timetabled lessons and include all 3 subjects.
One of my daughters did music, drama and D&T and it hasn't been a problem. She did double science, but did fit in both a humanity and a language (plus English x 2 and maths, obviously).
I think the coursework is more time-consuming for art than it is for D&T, though.
Will universities consider a students with more creative GCSE subjects, less favourably than one with fewer?
I really doubt it, especially as it seems quite a lot of schools are only allowing 8 GCSEs now. They will be interested in whether she's done appropriate subjects at A level though.
*Are there any other negatives (I did think she might struggle to pick 2 facilitating subjects as A Levels based on her GCSE choices as she hates maths and science).
So... if she's pretty sure she will want to do Eng. Lit at university, maybe work back from there? Look at course entry requirements for that at a few unis which seem like realistic choices for her. Consider also what A level subjects are actually available in whichever sixth form she's likely to attend. If she does history for gcse, maybe she'd do Eng Lit, history and philosophy A levels for instance, if philosophy is available. But it would certainly make sense if her 9th and 10th choices do support sensible A levels - and it seems from what you say, history and either geography or RS might suit best.
Interestingly, although they are in the main pretty relaxed about GCSE combinations (and give 5 options), Art + Drama + Music is the one combination that DC's school doesn't allow.
Art is HUGELY time consuming (DD does Art + a fairly arty DT subject, and many hours of extra-curricular dance, and despite a formidable work ethic there is ALWEAYS more Art to do).
Music and Drama aren't so bad - DS did Music - but there are elements of group work in both, and also those who do them tend to be in the school shows, and concerts, and extra-curricular ensembles, and county / area music groups and... and... and... so although the 'formal' out of school hours commitment is lower than Art, the tendency is for students successfully doing, and interested in, these subjects, to spend many hours involved in them.
Please login first.