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Has anyone else’s school decided to get whole cohort currently doing GCSE triple science to do combined science instead?

(24 Posts)
DogRoseD Fri 17-Jul-20 12:20:17

DS is Yr 10 currently doing triple science & we’ve just had letter from school saying that they’ve decided the get whole cohort to do combined science instead for 2021 GCSEs due to concerns over covering whole triple curriculum in time left. Anyone else’s school doing this please?
Absolutely understand pressure teachers under & don’t relish idea of potential addition work that would be necessary next year to get them up to triple level again (or at least nagging DS to do it all grin) but concerned about what it means eg 1 less gcse than expected, implications for A levels, etc. Useful to know if other schools taking this route. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Fri 17-Jul-20 12:21:35

No, my dd is still doing triple.

CallarMorvern Fri 17-Jul-20 12:32:47

DD is doing co-ordinated science early and it's been a bit of a nightmare. She couldn't do triple because of timetable clashes, but I wish she could have. She's far stronger at one science, but the others will bring her grade down. She finds the papers too much of a mishmash and struggles to flit from one science to the other. I think combined science is supposed to be easier, the set below her take it - I would have thought it would be a bit of a drop from the full triple?

superram Fri 17-Jul-20 12:34:26

No, it would be unfair.

DogRoseD Fri 17-Jul-20 13:23:15

Thanks smile

OP’s posts: |
crazycrofter Fri 17-Jul-20 14:29:04

What are the downsides of doing double? I understand if you want to do A Level sciences you need to catch up on some content? Is your dc currently planning on a science route?

My ds is only in year 9 but they all do triple at his grammar school except for the bottom set. This means they do 11 GCSEs. I'd already (before lockdown) asked if ds could be in the double set, as I don't want him doing 11 GCSEs. Granted, it helps that he's currently not planning to do any Science A Levels, however even if that changes, I'd rather him do some catching up in the summer before sixth form, than take 11 subjects.

Dd did 9 (well, she didn't actually take them because of lockdown) and that was plenty. She was originally taking 10 and was able to drop one early in year 11.

Maybe if your dc is only taking 9 including the triple science, there's less need to drop down to double, so it does depend on that. Dd has applied to various sixth forms including grammar schools and they only look at 8 GCSEs so there's no need to do any more than 8.

PaquitaVariation Fri 17-Jul-20 14:33:54

More than 8 isn’t necessary. Double science isn’t any easier, there’s just less content than taking the three separately. I think it’s a reasonable solution to a congested timetable.

0DimSumMum0 Fri 17-Jul-20 14:37:23

My son is taking a science A Level and switched down from triple to double. The content is covered when they start the A Level course anyway so good to have but not essential. The 6th form that he applied for did not require it either.

DogRoseD Fri 17-Jul-20 14:48:54

Thanks for all comments. Seems to be partly due to fact that our area still operates with first, middle, high school & consequently they don’t start covering curriculum until year 10. Talking to friend who teaches chemistry in an area where they have primary, senior schools they start on curriculum in year 9 so plenty of time to cover all content even with lockdown.

Yes DS would be hoping to do sciences at A level. Reassuring to know many 6th forms only look at 8 GCSEs. There is also an argument about 9 higher grades being better than 10 mediocre ones.

I am irritated about the way the school has made the decision ie with no consultation & sending a letter out on the last day of term but that’s a different subject to the thread.

Thanks to all for your feedback, good to get an overview.

OP’s posts: |
CMOTDibbler Fri 17-Jul-20 14:56:57

Ds finishes yr9 today, and they would normally know who was doing triple (you have to be selected) by now. They've said they will decide in the first half term back, but I am a bit worried that they will say that they aren't doing triple. Which is a big issue for DS who plans on a science degree

okiedokieme Fri 17-Jul-20 15:05:09

Dd did double and then did science a levels without a problem. 2 A's or a*'s are better than 3 b's

user1471530109 Fri 17-Jul-20 15:05:43

I'm a science HOD and we have discussed this. Your ds won't be at a disadvantage. The requirement is to do two GCSEs in science. As far as I'm aware, all sixth forms around my area, including the grammar schools, all accept combined science. It's the grade that is more important. So 2 7+ will look much better than 3 5s or 6s.
We haven't made that decision yet and the school want us to continue doing triple at the moment. But I'm not convinced it's a great idea. But only because I think we have missed out on time where we would spend on exam technique to support those students to gain those top marks/grades. We will see what happens in autumn term. Anymore time lost and I may have to push it. Lower grades will prevent some from going on to a level science. 1 less GCSE will not.

BlackPuddingEggs Fri 17-Jul-20 15:12:35

But this ds might be in the 3 x 9 for separate sciences. It sounds like the school have just taken an across the board decision rather than considering each child.

KoalasandRabbit Fri 17-Jul-20 15:15:41

One in y9 rather than y10 but all GCSEs appear to be operating as before - DD has been allocated 11 and they still seem to be planning on taking 2 subjects in y10. Triple appears to be operating normally. Though how things will go in reality who knows, may get shutdowns / lockdowns / not enough staff issues.

I think going from 10 to 9 won't impact A Level entry or university entry at all, infact 9 higher grades would be better than 10 less good ones. But it will mean they are 1/3 behind per science GCSE which is would be better if he can cover before starting the A levels.

Not used it but I've seen this recommended but its pricey: Seneca goes through the key facts for free. I would maybe ask the school's advice on how best to cover that but it could be done after GCSEs. In theory at least with a self-motivated child.

Radioheadrestart Sat 18-Jul-20 09:20:20

I think it must depend on the quality of teaching delivered during lockdown and how responsive the students were. And whether the triple is taught in a condensed form already - In the same time taken for double. FWIW My dc did double and has taken A level biology amongst a class where most have triple - they have never mentioned feeling behind and are predicted an A.

optimisticpessimist01 Sat 18-Jul-20 10:43:52

I'm a teacher and our students are still doing triple science. It would be unfair to suddenly ask an entire cohort to essentially drop a subject. We'll be analysing options on a case by case subject (those that completed minimal work during lockdown will need adjustments to their timetable) but 90% of our students will carry on into Y11 with the exact same subjects

cantkeepawayforever Sat 18-Jul-20 21:08:27

While I completely sympathise with OP, and hope there is a way of sorting this out other than reducing the number of GCSEs taken, the new 9-1 double syllabus is a perfectly good foundation for Science A-levels.

DD was at a 'double only' school until GCSE (focus was on breadth of subjects for GCSE, so DD also has 2 languages, a humanity, 2 Art / DT type subjects plus Add Maths) and has moved to do A-levels, including Science, at a school where virtually her entire year group has done triple. She has more than held her own - predicted A*s - and I understand that the only topic she hasn't done is taught in Y13, by which time most of the triple-takers tend to have forgotten about it anyway.

Unless the drop down to double means that OP's child takes less than 8 GCSEs, it will be OK.

IhateMondaymornings Sat 18-Jul-20 23:05:29

It's my understanding if you wanted to study medicine you need triple award Science so that's a pretty major decision for a school to make for a whole cohort of pupils. That's something I would wish to clarify if there is a possibility of your child wishing to pursue that as a career.

MarchingFrogs Sun 19-Jul-20 00:47:08

It's my understanding if you wanted to study medicine you need triple award Science

No. You need, for the vast majority of medical school, either Chemistry or Biology A level (or the equivalent at IB etc). No university can stipulate triple since GCSE as a requirement, not even for Medicine, since some schools only offer the double award. See cantkeepawayforever's post above.

cantkeepawayforever Sun 19-Jul-20 11:57:39

Agreed, MarchingFrogs. DD's old school has plenty of pupils who have gone on to study medicine - indeed one of DD's friends, who has moved to the same sixth form as she has, is applying for medicine.

When DS was choosing GCSEs, I contacted my old Oxbridge college, because I was worried that doing just double award would restrict opportunities for studying science at a high level later on, had he wanted to. They said that, far from being an issue, about 50% of their 1st year scientists had in fact done double rather than triple science, either because they came from double-only schools or because they had wanted to keep options open at that age by doing a wide spread of subjects at GCSE. That was 'old' A* - G double, which had more restricted content - new 9-1 GCSE double is genuinely a very good preparation for A-levels and beyond.

back2good Sun 19-Jul-20 12:06:58

That hadn't occurred to me. I sincerely hope our secondary doesn't suggest doing this as I and many other parents will kick off. My son is predicted all 9s for the triple sciences and he has been working hard throughout lockdown to make sure he remains on top of all his subjects. It would be grossly unfair to take this away from children who have done so; they've already missed out on so much.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 19-Jul-20 12:10:15

Switching from double to triple will have almost no effect. It’s only likely to be an issue if it drops the number of subjects below 8. Taking triple and getting lower grades is likely to be more of an issue in terms of further study.

Given next year is highly likely to be hugely disrupted, this seems like an easy win, even if the decision could have been taken a bit later.

averythinline Sun 19-Jul-20 12:53:36

Most schools only teach the double so it cannot be a requirement ... its the a levels that count so the better grade in teh double makes sense... round here if they do the triple its just the top set and most of the a level students would have done the double....

I would be ok with this for next year as I think its going to be messy situation and anything that reduces themess is a good thing!....but think the way its been communicated has been poor

SE13Mummy Sat 22-Aug-20 11:05:06

I was hoping DD1's school would do something similar or failing that, let them drop one of the practical subjects that has got massively behind during lockdown because students have no access to the materials or the opportunity to be properly taught the relevant skills. If it were up to me then I'd like DD1 to keep triple and drop the practical subject which would give her a lot of extra time to spend on getting up to speed with the sciences.

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