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(13 Posts)
Applejack87 Sun 01-Dec-19 11:41:24

Hi my dd is year 9 & will be choosing her GCSE subjects in Jan ,being my only child I haven’t got a clue what it entails how many subjects etc
I would like to be one step ahead is there any resources that could help ?

OP’s posts: |
ExpletiveFairylighted Sun 01-Dec-19 11:44:19

Well, mostly the information should come from school, they all do it differently but hopefully she has some ideas herself? Strong/weak subjects, future career aspirations etc?

TeenPlusTwenties Sun 01-Dec-19 12:21:54

They will almost certainly make maths, English language, English literature and Combined Science (2 GCSEs) compulsory, so that will be 5.

Then your DC will be asked to select 4 or 5 more (school will decide the number).

They may make a language compulsory.
they may make doing History or Geography compulsory.
They may make RE compulsory (or short course 0.5 GCSE).
They may make them choose from groups/blocks of subjects, or they may let them have free choice.

When deciding they need to think about
- what are they best at
- what do they enjoy most
- what longer term aspirations do they have
- do they have any SpLD which might impact ability to succeed
- some subjects require teamwork (eg drama, dance, perhaps music) - is that going to be an issue
- some subjects still have coursework or a practical element
- some subjects are very content heavy, will picking too many of them be an issue for revision

Best not to go into the process with too many fixed ideas in case you get thwarted (eg if forced to do a language).
You should get access to info as to what the courses consist of and a decent amount of time to decide (eg 4-6 weeks).

If they are thinking of taking up a brand new subject such as media studies or business studies, make sure they really understand what it entails. maybe a trip to WHSmiths to look at the relevant study guide & encourage them to talk with current y10 / y11s as to whether it meets their expectations.

History check what topics they will be studying.

clary Sun 01-Dec-19 17:17:34

Great post from Teen as usual 😀

Yes op you need to ask school how they do it. School I taught in, you had to do one out of MFL, humanity and computing, plus three free choices. School my DC went to, you had to do (SEN aside) history or geography and MFL, plus two free choices. Highly rated school in my city, you have to do French (the only MFL On offer) and geog or hist, plus one free choice, so a total of eight.

Only thing to add to Teen's post is triple science may be another variable - in some schools top sets do it while others do double; some schools offer it as a twilight (tho fewer now) and in some schools choosing triple, which may be useful if you want to do science A levels, uses up an option block.


Elbowedout Sun 01-Dec-19 18:12:43

The other thing that may be an issue, assuming you are in England, is whether your school insists on pupils taking the English Baccalaureate subjects. Rather irritatingly, ours is has made compulsory for the vast majority of pupils meaning my year 9 child will only be getting one totally "free" choice.
At our school Maths, English Lit, English Language, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are all compulsory and now they have to chose a modern foreign language and either history or geography to complete
the EBacc. So that's 8 subjects, plus one other to choose. My year 9 is hoping to study sports science or physiotherapy in the long term so will pick PE, assuming of course sufficient pupils choose it. This is one of the (probably) unintended consequences of the push to get most pupils doing the EBacc, especially alongside reduced funding for schools. There will be a reduction in the number of pupils taking non core subjects meaning that it will cease to be cost effective for schools to continue to offer as broad a range of GCSEs, and then presumably A levels.
So I would ask what your school's policy on EBacc is before your DD starts thinking too hard about what she wants to do.

Lololololola Sun 01-Dec-19 18:29:42

Mine is also y9. She has to take English lit, English lang, maths and 2 sciences.
She is choosing (in addition to the above) the other science, history and french. I have advised her to take the 9th as something she loves rather than for academic purposes, even though they all have a high workload regardless - she will probably choose DT.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 01-Dec-19 21:17:49

Just to add to the excellent advice ready, some schools have GCSE equivalents, for example DD is doing a level 2 Cambridge certificate in Engineering which is the equivalent of one GCSE. Plus 9 actual GCSEs.

Every school is slightly different so whilst you may get advice here on MN, the school will tell you more about how they do it.

PandasandRabbit Sun 01-Dec-19 23:05:17

I have a DD in year 9, each school varies how they do things - our schools website has last year's year 9 options booklet under curriculum - it maybe on schools website.

Ours do

All Maths / Eng Lang / Eng Lit / 1/2 RS in year 10 unless take full course RS in year 11 as 1 of 4 options.
Double or triple science - in our school this is largely ability based with those getting over a certain score being strongly encouraged to do triple. Triple means PE halves.
Then 4 options:
French / Spanish/ History / Geography/ RE / Bus Studies not GCSE / Drama / Dance / Stats and FM 2 for 1 option / Art / Music / Food Tech / Health and SC not GCSE / Engineering / Design
They prefer you do 1 language, at least 1 Humanities

MelissaCortezsPastry Sun 01-Dec-19 23:23:31

Our school provided an options booklet detailing what options they could take and what the course entailed.

Then they had an options evening where you could talk to staff about options etc before making final decisions.

There was also a lot of information on the school website at the time. The school should be able to give your daughter some information on what her school will do about options.


When I was in secondary school I went to a Catholic one,so RE was compulsory. I had to pick either history or geography and then I had 2 choices , which I chose PE and French. I think you should pick a slightly lighter subject like PE because it's so stressful if you do lots of work heavy subjects.

Mamapop1 Mon 02-Dec-19 10:51:42

I agree with previous posters. You need to ask the school (I am sure they will be very happy that you are taking an interest). Different schools have different route options. Assuming you are England based then most schools will aim to hit ebacc but not all do for all students. Early entries have significantly reduced, but have not disappeared completely as well so some do a GCSE or equivalent in yr 10 still etc.
I would start by discussing with DC which subjects they are thinking of choosing and why etc.

KittyMarmalade Mon 02-Dec-19 11:14:43

Different schools will have different policies and different offerings so really you need to find out what the deal is at your school before you make firm plans. If you want to get ahead, it might be worth looking on the school website to see if you can find any information about what was offered last year. That said, many schools are changing procedures that they have followed for years because of the new, more demanding GCSEs (eg a school near me that has moved from offering triple science as an option, to only offering double science).
It's worth talking to parents of current GCSE students to find out how they're getting on. We made different decisions with my second DC, because we had a bit of knowledge in hand about what it was like to study particular subjects, and who was likely to teach them.
Two points from this that will apply to any school:
1) Some of the humanities subjects can be very content heavy, particularly history which is fine if you enjoy it, but there is a LOT to remember.
2) Don't expect practical subjects to be an easy ride. Art for example is a huge amount of work and very prescriptive, and Food Tech is not just cooking; there's is a lot of science involved now which some of the less academic children really struggle with.
As a general guide, English Maths and Science, a language, at least one humanity, plus a more hands-on practical subject (eg art, drama, textiles, IT) is a good starting platform for anyone, depending on how many your school offer overall. Some schools will steer you towards this choice and others will be more laissez faire.

veraharen Mon 02-Dec-19 18:39:40

Agree with the above, all schools are different. My son’s school has 8 compulsory, so he ended up with 2 chosen. (I read somewhere that no more than 11).
He’s in y11 now and seems he made the right choice, but it wasn’t easy. Helps if she has something in mind as future carrier. (Some A levels require a GCSE grade)

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