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Picking Creative subjects at GCSE revisited

(20 Posts)
RedSkyLastNight Thu 07-Mar-19 20:17:40

A couple of months ago I posted a thread about DD wanting to take 3 creative subjects (art, music, performing arts) at GCSE and whether this was a good idea .
Previous thread is here

Since then school has announced that they will offer drama GCSE from next year. DD also decided that she didn't really want to do art because of the coursework.
She was keen to take: combined science, history, philosophy, Spanish, drama, music (maths and 2 English compulsory).

Unfortunately we've now been given the option blocks and to my mind they are very restrictive.
She has to take at least 2 Science and at least 1 humanity (DD will choose history).
Then the next block is extra science (for DC wanting to take triple), art and 3 other creative subjects.
Next block is extra science, drama and other creative subjects.

Basically as DD doesn't want to take triple science, she is constrained to take 2 creative subjects from these blocks. Music is in a different block, so if she wanted to take it she would be back to 3 creative subjects. Plus DD is actually not keen on doing art now!

We've asked if the blocks are set in stone and been told that we can write down any coments and they will be considered. DD's music teacher has also agreed its odd that music is not in with other creative subject blocks (which would fix all our problems!) . But on the basis school is unlikely to change we are now torn between

In addition to combined science and history
1. Art drama, philosophy, Spanish
2. Art, drama, music plus Spanish or philosophy

3. Triple science, history, music, drama, Spanish or Philosophy (DD suggested this as she is so unsure about art but I'm not sure it's right for her. She is a genuine allrounder but probably science is her least favourite and least good subject, though she would still likely do well)

OP’s posts: |
pocketdelia Thu 07-Mar-19 20:27:47

So really it seems the choice is between Spanish vs Philosophy


Art vs Triple Science

I was a teacher OP and still work with students and do a bit of careers advice. For what it's worth if your DD's still thinking about English / Primary School teaching or similar, I don't think these choices will be restrictive either way so would advise her to go with the combination she's feeling most positive and excited about and most likely to achieve the best grades. So a firm understanding of coursework requirements is a good idea, and it sounds like she's on the ball on that one.

If she was set on a STEM pathway, eg medicine, engineering, or Oxbridge then obviously that advice would shift, but otherwise- and especially in teaching, it's the English and Maths that come first in any applications.

ShaggyRug Thu 07-Mar-19 20:32:00

DD’s school just tried to fill one block with vocational courses. DD didn’t want to do one so we crossed them out and wrote in what she wanted to do instead. Turns out many people did it and school have been fine and allowed it.

A good school will try to be flexible. Speak to her form tutor to ask for what she wants. If you don’t ask you don’t get.

MumUnderTheMoon Thu 07-Mar-19 20:55:25

I haven't been asked what my GCSE subjects were since I was deciding on my alevels. Unless your child is aiming for a career like medicine and therefore has to do triple science in order to do the right alevels then I really don't think the GCSEs she chooses is something to worry about. If she changes her mind further down the line there are access courses for university's if you don't have the required alevels. Just tell her to do what she enjoys there is no point in doing triple science if it's her least favourite subject.

Comefromaway Fri 08-Mar-19 00:25:47

I’m confused as to which subjects are in which blocks.

Zoflorabore Fri 08-Mar-19 04:41:51

My ds is in year 11 and is doing his GCSE's in May.
He's doing history, art, drama and photography.
Has been offered a scholarship for art at a brilliant college and has also applied to one of the best sixth form colleges in the country ( he will be very happy with either college ) as they are both within 5ish miles away.

It has been nothing but positive for him and a big bonus is that he's doing his art and photography exams next week, having submitted all coursework which means he can then concentrate on revising for his other subjects.

RedSkyLastNight Fri 08-Mar-19 07:52:56


maths, 2 English, 2Science, 1 humanity (history or geography) are compulsory
Then 1 from each of 4 blocks

Block 1: science (to add to compulsory 2 to make triple science),art, other creative and vocational subjects

Block 2: science (alternative to picking in block 1), drama, other creative and vocational subjects (some same as block1, others different)

Block 3: wide mix of subjects including music, philosophy , spanish and others

Block4: wide mix of subjects including music, philosophy, Spanish and others (some same as block3, some different)

IMO it's quite a god set for those doing triple science (who will take triple science, 1 creative and 2 others). It's not so good for those taking combined science who might prefer not to use their extra option on another creative/vocational subject.

OP’s posts: |
Comefromaway Fri 08-Mar-19 10:14:55

So is it the case then that because she doesn't want to do art any more and she isn't very sciency she doesn't know what to opt for in column 1?

She wanted to do music, philosophy, Spanish & Drama but the latter 3 are in the same columns so she will have to drop 1?

When dd did her options I told her to have in mind what was negotiable and what wasn't. So she decided that RS & music were non negotiable and if she couldn't do those she would change schools. Computer Science was negotiable and in the end she couldn't do it.

RedSkyLastNight Fri 08-Mar-19 15:10:47

The problem is that music is the one she really wants to do but that will leave her with art, drama and music ... which was suggested on the other thread as being a bad idea ...

OP’s posts: |
Comefromaway Fri 08-Mar-19 15:14:20

Its very time conusming, art and drama especially. Is there anything else in the art column she could do instead?

RedSkyLastNight Fri 08-Mar-19 15:18:23

She has zero interest in anything else in the art column. I am thinking that we might have to pick the subject that she dislikes least and accept that as it's her 10th GCSE she doesn't worry about a grade and treats it in a more relaxed way.

Or she picks art and we are ruthless about time spent on it. DD went off the idea because she knows she is a perfectionist and spends hours on her art - she's failed to finish any of her art assessments to time in KS3 because she spends ages getting it perfect. So she'd rather keep it as a hobby. I actually think this was quite a mature decision, hence may annoyance that she might be constrained to take it anyway!

OP’s posts: |
averythinline Fri 08-Mar-19 16:09:07

Dont do Art if thats what shes like as it will get very stressful....
I dont quite understand teh blocks but could she do music + spanish...
DS is doing the music GCSE and really enjoying have others I know ...
Drama has been trickier for some as you are a bit dependent on others in your group and it is very english lit in the analysis part...

RedSkyLastNight Fri 08-Mar-19 16:26:22

She could do music and Spanish. But she'd have to do them with art and drama.

OP’s posts: |
Zoflorabore Fri 08-Mar-19 18:23:01

Just to add that drama recently changed to 30% practical and 70% written ( including the devising log which is done as coursework and takes a few months ) so ds has done his 2 set pieces, 1 last July and 1 this February and his devising log is submitted and is going into his exam with a grade 5 based on his marks already so it's less pressure doing the written exam when a proportion of your grade is already given.
His school works in groups of 3 for set pieces but each dc is individually marked.

Art has been quite stressful for ds but he too is a perfectionist and he's been known to rip work up that looks pretty brilliant to me! He's done though, all submitted and exams are next week across 10 hours.

I think the options should be very carefully thought out. Ds's best friend chose German and has hated it for the last 3 years ( they do the 3 year gcse at their school ) and has lost all interest in it.
Ds will be doing his A levels in English, art, drama and photography and will likely pursue a career in graphic design or similar.

It's a tough decision op.

RedSkyLastNight Tue 12-Mar-19 11:06:20

She's decided smile

Her GCSE options will be: Maths, English Lang, English Lit, Combined Science, History, Philosophy, Spanish, Drama, Art

In some ways not having the subjects she wanted available has really made her sit down and think about what she really enjoys and really wants to do. There is still a concern about the volume of course work in Art, but the deciding factor was DD realising she'd spent 2 hours on her Art homework on Sunday and loved every second of it. So actually she'd rather spend 2 hours doing art, then have 2 hours of free time (!). So we'll keep an eye on things, but she's going in with her eyes open.
Giving up music GCSE was a wrench but DD realised that what she really likes to do is play, and she will still keep up her music lessons and continue to play with the school orchestra. She feels a bit guilty about letting the head of music down though!

OP’s posts: |
SnowyAlpsandPeaks Wed 13-Mar-19 22:06:30

Is is pick a block:- a, b, c or d. Or is it pick one subject from each block? Or school is one subject from each of the four blocks.

BubblesBuddy Thu 14-Mar-19 08:21:01

My DD2 did art and drama. You just have to be organised and put time into it. However if it’s enjoyable that’s not a big deal. Also some elements are not hugely time consuming if you are good!

ColeHawlins Thu 14-Mar-19 08:24:55

* haven't been asked what my GCSE subjects were since I was deciding on my alevels. Unless your child is aiming for a career like medicine and therefore has to do triple science in order to do the right alevels then I really don't think the GCSEs she chooses is something to worry about.*


LooseAtTheSeams Thu 14-Mar-19 08:30:20

I'm impressed by the amount of thought your dd has given this. With the art, the tip would be to get a lot done in Y10 and do some over the summer holiday and she should be ok!
DS2 has gone for 2 coursework-heavy options but music is his main hobby so he's going to be fine with performance and with DT he has just accepted it'll mean staying after school to finish work.

gleegeek Fri 15-Mar-19 00:02:23

Check which exam board for history! Dc doing history and art at our school are drowning under the workloadsad

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