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To ask parents of year 9 children

180 replies

OneDayIWillBeOrganised · 08/07/2017 09:42

How many GCSEs your child is going to be studying. My DD is currently studying 9 which the school want to reduce to 7 next year. This is being done across the whole year group. Is this typical or is the school limiting my DD opportunity to pass more?

OP posts:
friendlyflicka · 08/07/2017 20:35

Can someone explain what the English Baccalaureate is? Does it just mean you do a language in your choices?

PhilODox · 08/07/2017 20:51

EBacc is English, maths, two science quals, a modern approved language and either history or geography.
It's not a qual for children though, it's for schools.

friendlyflicka · 08/07/2017 21:10

Sorry, still don't understand, PhilODox qualification for schools? My daughter received a letter saying that she had been selected to do E Bac, and I know others are doing something different.

I am not dense normally but even after reading the government brief explanation, still didn't understand at all. Does it just mean they are considered sufficiently academic to take a language as well? Because what she is studying just seems fairly standard to me.

LeannePerrins · 08/07/2017 21:15

Ebacc is a performance measure. It was introduced due to the perception that schools were discouraging pupils from taking harder, 'serious' subjects in favour of softer options.

It is confusing because 'baccalaureate' usually refers to a qualification, such as the IB. Your DD is taking a pretty standard suite of qualifications, flicka.

cantkeepawayforever · 08/07/2017 21:25

Basically, the EBacc measure - in league tables and school data - was introduced to encourage schools to encourage as many of their pupils as possible to take what could be regarded as 'a decent basic set of GCSEs', especially as the accountability measures at the time could be (and were) 'played' by schools doing 'GCSE equivalent' qualifications that looked good in league tables but weren't necessarily leading to a balanced set of qualifications at 16.

Many pupils in many schools were doing - and continue to do - those subjects as a matter of course, but it has perhaps nudged more pupils and more schools towards e.g,. studying a language to GCSE.

The only 'glitch' in it is that only Geography and History count in the 'humanities' pot - schools where RE / Philosophy & Ethics is very well taught sometimes have a lower-that-expected EBacc score because pupils may take full course RE or Philosophy & Ethics as an 'essay / humanities' subject in preference to History / Geography.

In my DC's school, options are very wide, in 5 free option blocks, but students are 'strongly encouraged' to select an EBacc range of subjects (the blocks are weighted that way, with 1 block being almost entirely languages). Schools 'selecting pupils for EBAcc' presumably have different option blocks available to students they believe to be capable of achieving the EBacc vs other students, perhaps because of timetabling or staffing constraints in some subjects.

friendlyflicka · 08/07/2017 21:35

Thanks very much. I have finally 'got it'!

HarveySchlumpfenburger · 08/07/2017 21:55

Sorry, cant I meant to say I was referring to your comment about state schools rather than what would happen in a non-state school.

Phil in theory a 0 shouldn't be terrible. Attainment 8 was initially designed with the idea that for lower attaining pupils fewer higher grades inc maths and English would be better than a string of lower grades. Especially if the extra curriculum time could be spent pulling up the double weighted English and maths.

I don't know if that's what actually happened in practice though.

cariadlet · 08/07/2017 22:15

My dd is in year 9. She's doing 10 GCSEs. I think most students at her school do either 9 or 10 (depending on whether they do 2 or 3 sciences).

RaskolnikovsGarret · 08/07/2017 22:17

11 compulsory for all. 10 would be better I think.

Lou898 · 08/07/2017 22:26

I'm surprised that if she's bright she is being encouraged to drop a language as this will mean she is unable to get the baccalaureate. DS school insisted that if they were in top 2 sets they had to take a language and a humanity and then the remainder were free choices.

KittyVonCatsington · 08/07/2017 22:32

Just wanted to say that GCSE in ICT doesn't exist anymore. The last re-sit for the exams is summer 2018 so your DD won't be doing it. The Govt. have culled the majority of other ICT qualifications from the league tables so your DD may be doing only one of two and both are not GCSEs but may be vocational qualifications 'worth' more to the school in terms of 'points' and therefore, I'd really really check what qualifications your DD is really doing. Did you have an Options Evening earlier this year to be told this information, OP?

Chasingsquirrels · 08/07/2017 23:28

Kitty my yr9 ds's options information and choices had a computer science gcse and an IT (I think but not 100% sure of the wording) vocational course.
He has chosen computer science, are you saying there isn't such a gcse?

IsItOnTheTrolley · 08/07/2017 23:39
  1. Maths

2. English lang.
3. English lit.
4. Physics
5. Chemistry
6. Biology
8. Art
9. Drama
10. French
11. Spanish

Seven sounds too few.
PhilODox · 09/07/2017 01:06

chasing squirrels no, computer science is v much a GCSE, and v hard for most pupils, the majority of whom so far haven't studied a cs curriculum, though that is changed now, so people starting this year have done some KS3 CS rather than "ICT".
ICT is probably the ECDL qualification... which has just been removed from the performance tables, and is a blow to many schools.
(And btw, how on earth did ds1 get to Y9 already??? Scary!)

PhilODox · 09/07/2017 01:07

CS also counts as a science subject for the progress8, that's how hard it is.

Janeismymiddlename · 09/07/2017 02:25

but a 0 is terrible, surely?

No. Student predicted a C and gets D is -1. Student gets C then 0. If student gets B then plus 1, A plus 2, A* plus 3. Schools want a 0 or positive Progress 8 score which makes a 0 substitute a positive thing.

I might be wrong. But 7 GCSES feels to me like an attempt to manipulate the figures a bit.

yourerubberimglue · 09/07/2017 03:35

I finished HS in 2011 and I did 13 ... common in my age range is 10-14

NaughtyRed82 · 09/07/2017 04:41

My DDs not going to be doing many Sad she did her options and was all set to do French and RE.

Come 2 weeks ago school turn round and tell her that RE was being dropped cuz teacher left, so due to staff but also French gcse being dropped too even though staff is is fine and person I spoke too said it was decision by made the Trust not the school Sad my daughter came home in tears over French being dropped as she loves doing it and that's what she hoped to achieve high marks in and to learn.

They've bought BTECs in so now she's doing two different BTEC courses as they said had to re choose and had 5 BTEC courses to choose from.

So GCSE is going to be 2x English, Science but don't know how many counts as, hoping least 2 and then Maths and History and that's it that can think of Sad and then two BTEC courses

GrasswillbeGreener · 09/07/2017 06:21

DD at a non-selective independent. 10 is the normal with the option for a few to drop down to 9 with extra study skills in its place. Top maths set doing it a year early and something else after that - I'm not currently sure what. She's been offered a Latin language only course as extra - don't know if she'll take it or not, but it would round out what she's already achieved in the subject without masses more work.

eatingtomuch · 09/07/2017 06:39

My DD is about to move to a vocational school and since viewing the school they have changed what they are offering due to the new GCSEs.

She will be studying:-
Maths, English language and literature, double science, geography. Media and citizenship. She will also complete a BTEC in her chosen pathway. She will achieve 9 GCCE or equivalent (my understanding if BTEC now worth one GCSE under new changes). I do not consider this an academic school as the focus is on developing her chosen pathway which is her passion

She is leaving a school where she would have sat 11 GCSEs including a language. To be honest with the new reforms I felt this was too many. She has a greater chance of achieving higher grades at the new school with less GCSEs.

KittyVonCatsington · 09/07/2017 07:17

Yes, exactly what PhilODox said Chasingsquirrels-I didn't mention Computer Science at all, which is a very different subject. I referred to ICT which has gone as a GCSE.

OneDayIWillBeOrganised · 09/07/2017 08:59

KittyVonCatsington options were chosen prior to going into Y9.
The letter sent home says she will be studying the following GCSEs and ICT is one of the subjects listed.
I'll find out when I speak to the school.on Monday if it is actual CS or not.

OP posts:
KittyVonCatsington · 09/07/2017 09:06

What a strange way to do things OneDay- I really feel for you. Do they start a lot of the subjects actually in Year 9 then? So many schools are starting to do this. Makes it very difficult for parents to keep up i think and very risky when qualifications are pulled.
You are definitely doing the right thing in actually checking exactly what qualifications your DD is doing. Good luck!!

PhilODox · 09/07/2017 09:32

janeismymiddlename I understand that bit, but what I understood was the government predict a child will get 8Cs, say. If they get 6Cs and no other entries, (the 0 I'm talking about) then their prog8 is -10 (6x0, + 2x -5 for their empty slots) rather than if they'd done 8, got 6Cs, and D and an E, and prog8 being -3.
Maybe I've misunderstood the whole thing though, it's been known!

Frazzled2207 · 09/07/2017 09:33

A long time ago but I did 13. Far too many.
This is a Welsh school where we were forced to take welsh lang and welsh lit on top of everything else. 12 was standard, I did one extra.
Far too many!

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