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Son not given GCSE Lang option

(15 Posts)
Serendipity12 Thu 04-Jun-20 19:20:37

Hi! This is the first of my dcs to get to the yr9 stage so be patient with me if it’s a stupid question! My son opted to do German instead of French it Spanish. He’s been told that S’s there is a really low uptake of pupils interested in German they won’t be doing it at all. That’s left him with a lot of essay writing in history which we were trying to avoid. Aibu to be annoyed or is this normal and just one of those things? Don’t know whether to mention it or not. Son not happy, obvs, but not making a drama out of it. 🤷‍♀️

OP’s posts: |
Lonecatwithkitten Thu 04-Jun-20 19:31:51

In edexcel History the most marks available on a history question is 16 marks, my DD has a visual processing disorder she found you learned the structure of answering a question and learned the facts and then fitted the facts to the structure. She found it much, much less onerous than a language with vast tracts of vocal to learn.
If they don't have enough students to make a subject economically viable they just won't run it.

GivenchyDahhling Thu 04-Jun-20 19:32:21

I would insist on him being able to study a language - I’m actually surprised the school don’t specifically require a language, as it counts for their progress measures (it’s an EBacc requirement). At my school; the default position is everyone takes a language unless a pupil can demonstrate why it would be a detriment to them - it’s usually less academically able pupils who opt out of languages.

The reason why I would insist is because I believe - and certainly it was the case ten years ago when I applied for university - that some institutions require a GCSE-level language qualification as part of their standard admissions criteria.

Regarding German specifically; it’s true that uptake of German is at an all time low and I know more and more schools are stopping provision of this. But that shouldn’t stop him from being able to take French or Spanish.

bookmum08 Thu 04-Jun-20 19:37:20

Why are they saying he has to do a humanities subject as an alternative to a language? Weird.

PastMyBestBeforeDate Thu 04-Jun-20 19:44:47

I'm sure I have read on here that there is only one English university that insists on a GCSE language.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Thu 04-Jun-20 20:22:23

why is history being offered instead of a different language?

RedskyAtnight Thu 04-Jun-20 22:26:05

you can't do anything about the subject not being offered due to low interest. No state school (presuming) can run with a small GCSE class.

What you can do is see what other options are available to him instead (it will probably have to be something in the same option block depending on how the school carries out timetabling) and ask if he can moves to something he prefers. Why was he just "given" history? At DC's school they have to select second preference, and any child who doesn't get their first preference is spoken to individually.

samlovesdilys Thu 04-Jun-20 22:33:53

History is being offered I'm guessing as an alternative EBACC subject...but Geography should be another alternative? How many students have opted for German? Schools often have a cut off of 12-15 needed to make a class viable and often some options don't run, write to the head and state your case (and if he knows others who wanted German, ask them to write too)...

clary Thu 04-Jun-20 22:47:30

This is so sad to read, as a modern linguist and German specialist. So many schools are dropping German. I am sorry that yr son is affected like this Op.

He doesn't need MFL GCSE to go to uni (any uni) but if he was keen to do it, what a shame he can't. Could he at this stage opt for French or Spanish or did he drop them a while ago?

The school I worked in would do a GCSE subject with as few as 15 students, and dd was one of only 17 IIRC taking French GCSE at her school. Do you know how many opted for German? Would he be interested in either of the other two languages?

I too am surprised at the school, as the Ebacc, however irrelevant for the kids, is a measure for schools. Another humanity won't fulfil the requirements.

MarchingFrogs Thu 04-Jun-20 23:00:01

I'm sure I have read on here that there is only one English university that insists on a GCSE language.

No English university insists on a GCSE language. UCL require those who don't have a pass in a language (not including iirc, Latin, Hebrew or Ancient Greek) to take a language module as an extra in first year, but not having the GCSE is not a barrier to entry.

PastMyBestBeforeDate Thu 04-Jun-20 23:02:29

That's it Marching. I thought that might be the case but I was struggling to remember. I didn't want the OP to get a wrong view from a pp.

TheTeenageYears Thu 04-Jun-20 23:25:33

My Y13 DS doesn't have a language GCSE and didn't have any issues as a result with uni offers.

Can he not pick French or Spanish instead of German?

GCSE History is not an essay subject. It's a fact regurgitation subject (i'm sure a History teacher will come along and disagree). I couldn't understand how my son got such widely different GCSE grades for Eng Lang and History. I was working on the basis History was an essay subject and everyone said to me it really isn't.

MrsAvocet Thu 04-Jun-20 23:47:54

My children's school is like RedskyAtnight's. We have to provide a reserve option and any pupil who cannot be given their first choice options is spoken to individually to discuss the possible alternatives.
It is fairly standard for schools to withdraw subjects if not enough pupils choose them so the lack of German probably can't be helped, but it sounds like he has been allocated history with no discussion. I would be pretty cross about that, especially as it is a totally different type of subject. I think in your shoes I would write to the head of year asking what other alternatives there are. Even if timetabling issues mean that history really is the only subject that would fit with his other options I think that should have been explained. Maybe he could be given the option of changing one of his other subjects to allow him to take an alternative language? I know timetabling for GCSEs must be something of a logistical nightmare but it seems a bit unlikely that history is absolutely the only possibility. It can't hurt to ask.

TeenPlusTwenties Fri 05-Jun-20 08:59:33

You can't make them run German if there isn't enough take up, but you could certainly enquire as to a different option.

Serendipity12 Fri 05-Jun-20 09:13:12

Thanks so much everyone - has helped me to see I need to chat this over with someone at the school and look at all the options! Really grateful for the input.

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