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Starting GCSEs a year early- why?

(10 Posts)
tethersend Mon 07-Dec-15 21:38:38

I have noticed more and more schools are beginning their GCSE courses at the start of year 9; does anyone know of any research on this?

I know there was a study a few years ago which concluded that there was little value in sitting GCSEs a year early, but I can't find that either. Perhaps I made it up? grin

IguanaTail Mon 07-Dec-15 22:25:12

Allows more curriculum time for examined subjects. Also cheaper.

winterswan Mon 07-Dec-15 22:28:03

I don't agree with sitting before the end of year 11 unless in very exceptional circumstances, but beginning KS4 in year 9 can be beneficial. As HOD, I always used to set the year 9s after the May half term (they were mixed ability in KS3) and put them with their GCSE teacher for continuity and to iron out any major setting problems before year 10.

In non core subjects it can also be helpful for dealing with behaviour.

patterkiller Mon 07-Dec-15 22:28:19

A teacher told me they enjoy it as they can explore subjects a bit deeper not only teaching to test.

strawberryandaflake Mon 07-Dec-15 22:28:26

Yeah, it is supposed to give more time to each subject when timetabling is tough. I have never seen it make a difference though, if they haven't mastered KS3 they won't do well in KS4 anyway.

tethersend Mon 07-Dec-15 22:35:17

Sorry, should have been clearer; I know the rationale- I just wondered if it was supported by any evidence?

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Dec-15 08:49:11

The DfE report showing that early entry at GCSE short changed pupils is here:

We've started a 3 year SOW for the new GCSE maths because there's now so much to get through that doing it in 2 years would be a nightmare. The whole thing of deciding options in Y8 just seems to early to be narrowing the curriculum for non-core subjects though.

tethersend Tue 08-Dec-15 20:27:11

Thanks noble, that's the study I was thinking of smile

I suppose that, although logic would dictate that three years' study is better than two, it might be too early to evaluate outcomes.

GinandJag Wed 09-Dec-15 19:48:58

My DDs' school starts IGCSE Science in Year 9, so 3 qualifications over three years, rather than 2 over two years, without using up an option block.

I once taught in a school that did KS3 in 2 years, and GCSE over 3 years. What I found shocking was that they simply truncated the KS3 POS, so never did modules such as Pressure and Moments (Science teacher here). I had a student come into my school in sixth form, who couldn't cope with A-level Physics, probably because she missed out on basics in her oh-so-progressive comp.

I don't think 13 year olds are ready to make profound career decisions and know that they all develop at different rates. Some of them positively blossom in year 9. What a loss it would be to them to lose a potentially perfect subject for them.

lljkk Wed 09-Dec-15 19:55:06

I can't see how it is a "profound" career decision, because of the core requirements. Just flexible enough to keep some of them interested and let them drop the ones they are already bored witless by.

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