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GCSE subject choices

(21 Posts)
carolrt Mon 10-Feb-20 16:22:20

My son has been informed by his school that he can not take Computer Science as one of his GCSE sujects because he did not get good enough marks in his maths or ICT tests.
He has chosen Creative Imedia which they don't have a problem with.
As his grades are above average in these subjects iam confused as to why they said this ,also my son is already coding and has designed his own computer game.
I have asked if i can go into school to discuss this but have not had a reply back as of yet.
Has anyone had similar problem if so are school allowed to determine what subject a pupil can take and what can i parent do to appeal this decision.

OP’s posts: |
RedskyAtnight Mon 10-Feb-20 16:53:58

I presume they have a limit on how many students can study Computer Science, so they pick the top 30 (or however many).
Either that or their threshold is higher than "above average".

If this is your school policy, I doubt you will get anywhere by appealing. He might have a chance if another student changes their mind?

Also to say (and look for the recent thread on AIBU) there is a lot more to Computer Science GCSE than just coding!!

carolrt Mon 10-Feb-20 17:28:15

I am well aware that there is more to computer science than just coding,
i was hoping for advice from someone that may have had to fight for their childs right to be allowed to study a subject that they want to rather than one that the school imposes on them.

OP’s posts: |
Hercwasonaroll Mon 10-Feb-20 17:32:49

The school are saying this because there is a correlation between Maths and comp Sci grades. We found most students get 1 grade lower in comp Sci than they do in Maths. Therefore their Maths needs to be good to get a decent grade.

The school can impose, they don't have to give any choice.

His Maths and ICT can't be that good if they won't let him take it.

AndwhenyougetthereFoffsomemore Mon 10-Feb-20 17:35:17

Is the issue his maths grade? My son does comp sci and the school only allowed people onto the comp sci course if their maths was at a certain level: I think predicted to hit at least a 6. It's very noticeable (he's now towards end of Y11) that the stronger mathematicians are performing much better in comp sci - there's a huge overlap, and comp sci is a reasonably tough course (it's much more academic and theoretical than the old IT courses) so many schools don't teach it at GCSE and those that do tend to put constraints on maths grades:the same s true at A levels and degree.

However, it was made very clear to us in the run up to choosing GCSEs that maths results would be used to decide, so there was time to revise etc if you were determined: did the school not let you know that this would be a factor? If not, that is frustrating...

Rollergirl11 Mon 10-Feb-20 17:36:00

My DD is in the process of choosing her GCSE options at the moment. At her school they only allow students from top set Maths/Science to choose Computer Science and their form has to be authorised by an appropriate teacher if they select it. Have your school not given any selection criteria for this subject?

Dearover Mon 10-Feb-20 17:36:04

There may also be a limit on the number of work stations they have available for the class. I would imagine it is very hard to exceed the numbers. Consider carefully how you would respond if they made a space, but then you found that he was regularly working with someone else or not getting the attention he deserves.

AndwhenyougetthereFoffsomemore Mon 10-Feb-20 17:36:40

Oh, and my school also imposes minimums for triple science, dual languages and music. Standard MN leafy comp, and I think that's pretty normal.

halcyondays Mon 10-Feb-20 17:37:56

Did they give you any info about what grades they expect you to have in your chosen subjects?

We’ve been told that they should have a C or preferably a B.

RedskyAtnight Mon 10-Feb-20 17:39:17

There's no need to shout.
Lots of schools impose "rules" about what subjects individual students can and cannot take. I was just trying to adjust your expectations (i.e it's not your individual school being unreasonable).

The reason I pointed you at the AIBU thead is because it's full of people with misconceptions about computer science. I wanted to check that your son's desire to take the subject wasn't based on misconceptions. Coding doesn't even count towards the final mark, so your son could be the most brilliant coder and it wouldn't help him pass the exam. But I expect you already know that hmm

maddy68 Mon 10-Feb-20 17:43:42

I teach computer science. It's really hard and the pass rate is low, be guided by his teachers. I media is actually more enjoyable too.

SansaSnark Mon 10-Feb-20 17:46:35

Your best bet is to speak to the school- although they ideally should have made any entry requirements clear to you at the point of choosing options. As others have said, it may be that they take the top 30/32 students as there is a limit on class sizes, or it may be that they have specific entry requirements (e.g. 6 in maths) that your son isn't hitting.

If your son can demonstrate a particular aptitude/interest in coding, then the school may be willing to reconsider, if there is space in the class. However, the school absolutely are able to set their own entry requirements and say that a particular pupil is not able to sit a particular subject, for any reason. They are also able to say that a class is unfortunately oversubscribed and that grades are the tie-breaker.

There's no right of appeal as such, although of course you should discuss this with the school and if you aren't satisfied follow the schools complaints procedure.

maddy68 Mon 10-Feb-20 17:50:26

Tbh you seem a little rude,! If you speak to the school I hope you modify your tone.

NewModelArmyMayhem18 Mon 10-Feb-20 17:55:22

DS did it for GCSE. He got a B but found it quite hard-going.

carolrt Mon 10-Feb-20 19:12:57

Thanks for advice,
just wan't him to do well but also enjoy what little time he has left before entering the 'real world'!.

OP’s posts: |
carolrt Mon 10-Feb-20 19:16:49

Tbh.You sound like a typical teacher.
One of the reasons why are schools are in such a state.

OP’s posts: |
Dearover Mon 10-Feb-20 19:46:36

Ouch. Of course, your DS may not be given the chance to study CS because CS teachers are few & far between. They can earn a lot more in the 'real world' without having to put up with constant whinging from parents who think that their DC is being treated unfairly.

NewModelArmyMayhem18 Mon 10-Feb-20 19:50:19

AND FWIW he was in a class of high-flyers.

lanthanum Tue 11-Feb-20 10:03:02

Schools sometimes recommend (or insist) that they do not do Computer Science unless they are good at maths, because the demands of the course mean that they may find it difficult otherwise.

However, if your son is programming independently at home, that means he may have more knowledge and understanding than the school realises. So I think it's quite reasonable to ask if it can be discussed; he may be better equipped than most kids with similar grades. Perhaps he could have an appointment with the computer science teacher to look at and discuss a program he's written. Then either the teacher will see that he's already programming well, or that he's programming inefficiently but has a serious interest in learning how to do it better.

Coding is not the whole of the GCSE, but it's the part where maths ability is going to make the most difference. As for ICT, the relevance will depend on what they were testing.

TreeClimbingCat Tue 11-Feb-20 10:19:19

Love this thread, "because he did not get good enough marks in his maths or ICT tests but yes let's blame the attitude of the teachers grin

My son took computer science GCSE and got a 9 last year. He was the only child to achieve a 9 in the class. He also achieved a 9 in maths.

There is a huge misconception that compsci is coding. You do not even need compsci A level to do a degree in compsci, merely an A*/A in maths. If your son is lacking in his maths skills then he will probably not do well in it. Or he is just less able than the rest of his classmates.

You don't need compsci GCSE to do it for A level. But you do need a grade 6 in maths at my son's sixth form to take it.

What grade did your son achieve in his latest tests? Ds2 has sat actual GCSE papers for maths in year 8, and has sat the higher paper in year 9 to see where they are at.

Neednewwellies Tue 11-Feb-20 10:23:50

Oh gosh, how rude you are op. shock Posters are just giving advice. My DD is doing it but she’s predicted a 9 in maths. Only those predicted a 7 or above in maths were allowed to take it.

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