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Science GCSEs

(20 Posts)
hooplahoop Tue 15-Sep-20 14:45:08

Was looking for a bit of advice ... my son is in the top set for his subjects, but is predominantly humanities/ art focused. I have heard the school will want him to take the triple Science option , but I was hoping he could do the trilogy (?) and then have more options to do extra GCSEs . Eg history and geography.

Is is worth campaigning with the school or is it more of a timetable / league table issue ?

Thanks

OP’s posts: |
Oceane11plus Tue 15-Sep-20 14:57:40

Our school would advise your son to take combined science (counting as 2 subjects) as opposed to triple if it allows him to do more subjects he enjoys and is good at. In fact in your situation it’s a no brainer.
My DD is top of the top science set and taking triple science forced her to drop a subject she loved. However the school put no pressure and even said she could still do science A level with combined science. She went ahead with triple science as really loves the subject but it was a difficult choice to have to drop some subjects at this early stage. We also know of very able DC who have taken combined science to do more subjects at GCSEs (typically Latin, history, geography etc).

TeenPlusTwenties Tue 15-Sep-20 15:32:27

At our school, Combined science is 10 lessons / fortnight and triple is 14 but the way they did it doesn't use an option.

Other schools
- triple is an option subject so more time but cuts down other choices
- accelerated triple in same lesson time as combined so doesn't use an option

You will have to know how your school does it to make an informed decision.
Generally from reading here, the options process takes place in the spring term. At that point you will be told how options are blocked etc and what choices you have and what is constrained. Bets to go in with an open-ish mind.
What your school did last year may not be the same as they choose to do this year.

ScrapThatThen Tue 15-Sep-20 15:40:19

Yes, our school tell you combined or triple but it doesn't take up an extra option. If it does, I would request combined science.

ScrapThatThen Tue 15-Sep-20 15:41:23

For your dc I mean. Although he might prefer to be studying with the triple cohort if he is academically able.

CMOTDibbler Tue 15-Sep-20 15:42:45

At Ds's school if you are selected for triple science, you do it in the same time slot, so don't lose an option

hooplahoop Tue 15-Sep-20 15:57:42

Thanks everyone. This is so helpful, I agree with keeping an open mind, but it’s so useful to find out what possible / what’s not . I did about triple not using an extra option so that’s reassuring. I also agree about wanting to be with his regular cohort and if they’re all doing triple that’s also something to think about .

OP’s posts: |
catndogslife Tue 15-Sep-20 16:56:12

Trilogy is the name of the AQA specification for Combined Science and counts as 2 GCSEs.
My dds school had a "top set" equivalent for those taking the 2 GCSEs route and not all the pupils who were in the top set in Y9 had to take Triple Science.

clary Tue 15-Sep-20 21:44:09

Yh both dd and ds2 took triple science and did it in the same lessons as those that did double, so they all had four options, the triple students just did 10 GCSEs and the others did nine.

FWIW ds2 uses it as a marker of intelligence (!) - he's not smart, he did double - but he would really, he's a bit scathing.

clary Wed 16-Sep-20 00:07:47

Sorry that sounds bad about ds2. I just meant that the brighter children all do triple at his school, regardless of whether they are keen on science specifically.

bimkom Fri 18-Sep-20 12:10:41

Yes, in our school only set 1 is allowed to do triple, everybody else does double, and it is done in the same time, so doesn't use up an option.

RedskyAtnight Fri 18-Sep-20 13:09:55

Sorry that sounds bad about ds2. I just meant that the brighter children all do triple at his school, regardless of whether they are keen on science specifically.

That's not true of all schools though. DD (taking combined science because she wanted to focus on the humanities/creative side) is much brighter than DS who took triple. Or at least she's likely to get higher GCSE results, which is not necessarily the same thing.

Comefromaway Fri 18-Sep-20 14:28:43

At both dd and ds's schools triple science was an option. Low ability foundation kids could take triple if they wanted to and top set could take double if they preferred to take more arts/humanities options instead.

Les and less schools are doing the triple science in the same amount of lessons thing due to the sheer amount of content in the new syllabus.

KoalasandRabbit Fri 18-Sep-20 14:43:05

It depends how its done at your school. Ours is on the school website under options / curriculum which explains everything. In ours triple science takes from PE not options but in other schools it takes an option.

Our top set are strongly encouraged to do triple whether they are sciency or not and the triple science results are excellent, the combined much weaker. But you can do triple and history and geography if you want so not either or but workload is high - DD has 11 including once Level 3 which is higher than GCSE and it's a lot.

At our school a few very bright children don't take triple but they are very much the outliers and 97%ish of combined results are 66 or below with only one or two getting 8s. So its risky to go down combined route. Triple results are incredibly high for a comp.

TeenPlusTwenties Fri 18-Sep-20 14:46:56

and 97%ish of combined results are 66 or below with only one or two getting 8s. So its risky to go down combined route.

Are you saying that the combined teaching isn't as good ('risky' to go the combined route) or is it just that more able scientists do triple so de facto the combined results won't be high?

RedskyAtnight Fri 18-Sep-20 15:17:19

Koalas

Sounds like your school encourages strong scientists to take triple (probably only those likely to take higher paper) and less good scientists to take combined? And ends up with the results you might expect based on this.

At my DC's school the combined/triple split is roughly 50% so there are plenty of less good results in triple and very good results in combined. That's because (other than discouraging those that are really weak at science from taking triple) the school allows a pretty much free choice.
It sounds like OP's school may well be like yours, in which case her DC might end up an outlier if he takes combined science, which may or may not be a problem. The main thing I'd want to find out in her position is what percentage of students take the higher combined papers. If it's quite small, that might be a concern if most teaching were aimed at the foundation paper.

KoalasandRabbit Fri 18-Sep-20 15:24:30

The triple is taught as a top set, the combined as a middle and lower set so if you are aiming at 7/8/9 its more focussed on getting those grades in triple than combined but one or two manage it (about 3%) in combined. It's split by ability in year 9 then there's an exam and those that reach the standard are strongly encouraged to do triple. The science teaching is excellent and science GCSEs are very useful but there's definite pressure to do triple if you are bright. Mine are only in years 9 and 10 - DD is in top set/triple, DS is ability of top set but been put in combined / middle set as he's SN and needs a TA and they said they couldn't get one for top set. In his year there are some brighter children in that set as they want combined but they often switch after exams for start of year 10. He's just been moved from top set and he said the teaching is slower to explain things in current set.

catndogslife Fri 18-Sep-20 16:55:56

Nationally approx 30% entries for GCSE Combined Science Trilogy were grade 6-6 or above in 2019. filestore.aqa.org.uk/over/stat_pdf/AQA-GCSE-STATS-JUN-2019.PDF page 5 for Combined Science.
How do you know that the teaching for the Combined Science doesn't cover the material for grades 7/8/9 @KoalasandRabbit if your only experience is for Y10 and the triple Science? To obtain grades 6_6 there must be some pupils taking the Higher paper and these would have covered the whole course.

KoalasandRabbit Fri 18-Sep-20 17:18:52

The higher part of the combined sets (which is like middle) does include the higher material but its at a slower pace / less detailed than in the triple class. DS has been in both and DD has friends in middle and lower sets and was put in middle when joined the school as no space in top then.

CraftyGin Fri 18-Sep-20 17:24:10

hooplahoop

Was looking for a bit of advice ... my son is in the top set for his subjects, but is predominantly humanities/ art focused. I have heard the school will want him to take the triple Science option , but I was hoping he could do the trilogy (?) and then have more options to do extra GCSEs . Eg history and geography.

Is is worth campaigning with the school or is it more of a timetable / league table issue ?

Thanks

What does he want to do?

Depending on the school, the triple sets are much more industrious and less disruptive, so that should be a consideration.

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