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GCSE Options, help.

(73 Posts)
foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 22:50:29

DD is in Y8 and sadly needs to choose her options in Jan. I'm really cross about this as they lost half of Y7 and due to the arts carousel her school does and now COVID restrictions, she has never actually done a practical D&T lesson eg making stuff out of wood.

Anyway, she has SEN so she has a lot of flexibility in choices as she will only be taking the following core: Double Science, Maths, English Lit and Lang. When everyone else is in other lessons she will be having extra Maths and English.
She gets 3 open choices after this and wants to do the following:
Music, D&T and Photography or Art.
I have said to her that I think its a bad bad idea to do so many creatives. The school annoyingly are fine with these choices. Am I crazy in thinking this is a crazy list? The school have a ton of options.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 22:53:06

I think it depends on her personal strengths and weaknesses, her interests and any ideas that she might have about a future career. I have heard that art is a huge workload though, so that's something to consider.

FredtheFerret Mon 16-Nov-20 22:56:19

Let her choose her own options. If she is creative then the rest of the curriculum she has to do will be tough on her. GCSEs should always be chosen by what you enjoy the most. They are hard work, particularly if you are SEN. Also, it's her life and her future.

MrsElijahMikaelson1 Mon 16-Nov-20 22:57:11

Art is a huge workload out of school. Music has a performance element in-both solo and group and should ideally be around grades 5 and up. Do you think she will manage that?

foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 22:57:12

Her biggest talent is easily art. She could easily spend hours on it but its the writing part that concerns me. There is so much analysing and justifying of ideas. I wouldn't mind music and another art but 3 just seems OTT.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 22:57:31

I should add, I was kind of assuming that she would not really be intending to take an academic route further down the line, because you mentioned her needing extra help in maths and English. However, that is an assumption that I probably shouldn't have made. Sorry.

If she is thinking about a more academic route, university etc, then I agree with you that three creative options probably isn't ideal.

foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 22:58:01

@MrsElijahMikaelson1 yes, I've asked the music teacher. She is currently grade 2 in piano and grade 3 in theory so they think she could do it. The uptake for music is very low so she would be in a very small class.

OP’s posts: |
MrsElijahMikaelson1 Mon 16-Nov-20 22:58:29

Sounds like art is a no brainer if it’s her talent though-especially if she loves it

AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 23:00:07

If art is her biggest talent, it seems sensible for her to focus on creative options, OP. There are lots of good career options that it could lead to as well.

I understand your concern about the writing elements, but realistically, won't this be a factor in any subject she chooses? What would you suggest that she does instead?

BluebellsGreenbells Mon 16-Nov-20 23:00:42

I thinks he should chose the things she enjoys.

I think music is a lot more difficult than art unless they are talented. They have to perform and write music.

AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 23:02:40

FWIW, I do think it's a shame that art has become so much more about the writing than the creative side. My dd was getting higher grades in art towards the end of year 9 than kids who had way more artistic talent than she did.

foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 23:03:19

@AlexaShutUp I have no problem with her doing 2 arts, it is her talent and I know she will find the most joy in it, although I predict by end of year 1 she will hate it. She is part of a well known art school on weekends on a scholarship and she hates it, its not the art she likes to make.
There is also an incredible amount of hand holding she needs and I know itll be me sitting with her for 3 years helping her analyse all this stuff. It'll get easier for sure but she won't enjoy it.
The school also offer a horticultural qualification, engineering, childcare and a few others she could do.

OP’s posts: |
foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 23:04:46

@BluebellsGreenbells strangely that's the least of my concerns. I agree it is hard though but it comes easily to her. She started piano in September last year and is on grade 2 now. We did a mock gcse exam with her teacher and she answered about half correctly.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 23:05:45

Fair enough, OP, if you think that she will enjoy the creative stuff less if she does too much of it. Have you had that conversation with her?

Do the school offer taster sessions in the subjects that the kids haven't tried before? Seem to remember ours doing something like that before they chose their options.

foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 23:07:04

Just FYI, I am in no way saying she shouldn't be doing art subjects. I agree this is completely fine and I'm ok with two. I guess I am looking to hear from a parent who's child did 3 coursework heavy subjects and turned out ok.

OP’s posts: |
clary Mon 16-Nov-20 23:09:31

I see you mention her music grades - dd did music GCSE (old spec tho - it's harder now) and at year 8 was about grade 3/4 I think. She found music hard and it was her worst grade.

Yy she should do what she likes but that's a lot of extra work there. I would push for geography or history instead of DT. DS2 was the first cohort to do the new spec DT GCSE and a lot of his mates didn't enjoy it.

AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 23:10:09

Can't help you there, I'm afraid. DD only did one (drama).

What's her work ethic like generally? Is she the type to knuckle down and get on with coursework steadily or will she leave it all till the last minute and then panic? How does she cope with exams? Is she likely to benefit from having the pressure spread out a bit, or do you think she'll struggle to keep up?

AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 23:11:36

Surely geography or history would be even more writing, though, which might not suit the OP's dd.

foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 23:13:18

@clary Oh really. Her music teacher is confident she would be fine. We are aiming for all 5s here though so I guess it depends on your expectations.
She can't do geo or history, too much writing and she hates them.
DT is strange, I'm not sure why she likes it as all they do is isometric drawings and learning about materials. I guess if she likes that then she'll be ok on the boring bits.

OP’s posts: |
Comefromaway Mon 16-Nov-20 23:14:45

clary

I see you mention her music grades - dd did music GCSE (old spec tho - it's harder now) and at year 8 was about grade 3/4 I think. She found music hard and it was her worst grade.

Yy she should do what she likes but that's a lot of extra work there. I would push for geography or history instead of DT. DS2 was the first cohort to do the new spec DT GCSE and a lot of his mates didn't enjoy it.

Ds only began the piano in Year 9 although he also sang. He knew a very small amount of theory, about Grade 1/2 standard.

By Year 11 he passed his Grade 5 theory & Grade 4 singing and was also around Grade 4/5 on piano. Music was his highest grade at Grade 8. He really enjoyed composition though.

The one thing I will say is that art is very time consuming. Both music and art could be a heavy workload.

foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 23:16:24

@AlexaShutUp She's very very studious and motivated. She would just do it steadily. Absolutely hates exams and anything to do with them.
The thing I hate most about this process is that I'm judging this on her being a prepubescent 12 year old. I have no idea how much she will change in 1.5 years when kids would normally choose their options.

OP’s posts: |
foxesandsquirrels Mon 16-Nov-20 23:17:59

@Comefromaway that's so nice! Congrats to him. My DD loves composition too.
Yes, although she's very talented in it, I would hate for her to do art. I think it will make her hate it. DT seems a bit more balanced.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Mon 16-Nov-20 23:22:57

The thing I hate most about this process is that I'm judging this on her being a prepubescent 12 year old. I have no idea how much she will change in 1.5 years when kids would normally choose their options.

Yeah, totally get that. If it makes you feel any better, dd totally agonised about her option choices, as did many of her friends, but they all seem happy enough with them now!

If she's a steady worker, it sounds like the coursework approach might suit her? It will be hard work, for sure, but think how much less pressure there will be by the summer of year 11?!

Comefromaway Mon 16-Nov-20 23:23:35

He got 3s, 4s & 5s in everything else and is now doing a music Btec.

Comefromaway Mon 16-Nov-20 23:24:32

Composition is often the part of gcse people struggle with. How are her aural/listening skills?

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