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A Level choices for either Primary Education of Psycholgy
23

ChesneyHawkesLoveChild · 25/04/2022 12:01

DD is currently in Y10 and about to attend a taster day for her school's sixth form. She is increasingly worrying that she is quite unsure about what she wants to study at uni other than possibly primary school teaching and psychology). She has mentioned more than once about aiming to be an ed psych.

Her current thinking re A levels is Psychology, Latin and Theatre studies, all of which she enjoys and gets good results in, although Psychology will be new to her. My slight worry is will this be specific enough to get on to a teaching course? Or will just doing psychology with no other science be enough to get her on to a psychology course in the short term, then maybe an ed psych course in the long term?

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maxelly · 25/04/2022 12:29

I think it's all about flexibility at this age rather than any defined career path as IMO many teens don't really know what they want to do - those subjects would likely be fine for primary education as far as I know, but for psychology she'd be better off adding maths or a science - psychology is (surprisingly to some) heavy on the stats/science and is a BSC degree not a BA, so while there are some unis that will take them with just A Level psychology and 2 other arts A levels, she might struggle with the content of the course without that grounding, plus I know a lot of teens that have really disliked psychology A level so she might change her mind once she starts, again a science or maths a level could open a few other doors for her (if she enjoys it and will do well of course, if she's really not a science person I wouldn't be too sure psychology is for her). Does her school/college allow them to start with 4 ASs and drop one after the first year, that always seemed a good option to me although of course only if they'll cope with the workload in year 1?

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titchy · 25/04/2022 12:41

Agree to keep her options open she needs to swap either TS or L for Biology or Maths. Much too science-light for a Psychology degree.

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ChesneyHawkesLoveChild · 25/04/2022 12:45

Thanks both, you've both confirmed what I was thinking, not enough science for Psychology. She does enjoy science up to a point, and gets decent enough grades, but not 'great' grades if you know what I mean, she is hovering around 6/7 for each of the 3 sciences (doing triple). Maths she does enjoy, at least she used to before she was moved in to top set and further maths was added in - she takes a while to understand new topics but once she 'gets it' she is usually ok. But I think that has put her off maths a level.

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ChesneyHawkesLoveChild · 25/04/2022 12:46

Oh and school only allow for 3 A levels. It is an independent school (excellent bursary...) so she will reluctant to move for sixth form Smile

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CointreauVersial · 25/04/2022 13:02

I have two DDs both reading Psychology at university (one at UEA, one at Sussex), and neither of them did science at A level - one did Psy, Art and Geography, and one did Psy, Maths and Business Studies. They were around the 5-6 level at GCSE for the sciences.

The A Level Psy course covers the statistical methods they need. Both girls are solid mathematicians (obviously DD2 more than DD1) and found the maths/science content perfectly straightforward and manageable. The A level really cemented their love for the subject.

BUT if they hadn't done the Psy A level then that would have been a different matter - most universities would then insist on a science. It tends to be either/or.

Regarding the Education side of things, DD2 is toying with the idea of teaching, but decided a general degree would serve her best, followed by a post-grad PGCE if that's where she decides her future lies. But it was too early to commit herself to a teaching pathway at 18.

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titchy · 25/04/2022 13:22

@CointreauVersial - eh? Both yours did two science A levels! One did Psych and Geog, and the other Psych and Maths - they're all sciences!!!

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CointreauVersial · 25/04/2022 13:29

Maths, maybe. But I wouldn't say Geography counts as a science.

But from what you are saying about your DD, she is reasonably strong in science and maths at GCSE level; there's no specific requirement from the universities to take them at A level.

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catndogslife · 25/04/2022 13:29

I would say that for primary teaching having an A level in Maths would be a good idea, because it's a core National curriculum subject.

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Twizbe · 25/04/2022 13:34

I want to be an Ed psy when I was doing GCSEs (spoiler I changed tack totally during a levels)

I was advised not to do psychology a level as the first year degree will cover much of the same stuff.

Instead I did Geography, biology, maths with stats AS and classics.

I ended up doing statistics in 3 of those so that section would have been well covered.

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Fifthtimelucky · 26/04/2022 12:20

Unless things have changed very recently, she won't need a second science - though there are a few places that say they prefer it.

My daughter studied A level psychology but her other choices could hardly have been less scientific (English and Drama/Theatre Studies). It didn't stop her getting five offers from RG universities to study psychology.

She graduated from Exeter last year and is now loving teacher training (secondary in her case).

For what it's worth, I think maths A level would be a great choice, but only for someone who's good enough at maths! My daughter wouldn't have been and there is no way she'd have got the grade she needed (all her offers were AAA or AAB).

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Neverreturntoathread · 26/04/2022 12:33

maxelly · 25/04/2022 12:29

I think it's all about flexibility at this age rather than any defined career path as IMO many teens don't really know what they want to do - those subjects would likely be fine for primary education as far as I know, but for psychology she'd be better off adding maths or a science - psychology is (surprisingly to some) heavy on the stats/science and is a BSC degree not a BA, so while there are some unis that will take them with just A Level psychology and 2 other arts A levels, she might struggle with the content of the course without that grounding, plus I know a lot of teens that have really disliked psychology A level so she might change her mind once she starts, again a science or maths a level could open a few other doors for her (if she enjoys it and will do well of course, if she's really not a science person I wouldn't be too sure psychology is for her). Does her school/college allow them to start with 4 ASs and drop one after the first year, that always seemed a good option to me although of course only if they'll cope with the workload in year 1?

I don’t agree with this advice. I did psychology A level, I am crap at maths and sciences and dropped both after gcse, and I found psychology A level a very easy course and got the top grade 🤷‍♀️ I certainly would not encourage her to do a science or maths A level if that isn’t her thing, she’ll likely do badly and get a low grade.

As to degree level, you can do psychology as EITHER a BA or a BSC.

Within psychology careers there are paths for scientists and also non scientists and there are plenty of school jobs that would be thrilled to have a psychology BA graduate.

Doing primary education at A level isn’t something I’ve heard of but that seems very career specific.

I’m not at all anti science and a science / maths A level is a great thing to have but only if she is likely to get a high grade. If she wants to get on a teaching degree then what about holiday / evening experience helping at a preschool kids dance class etc?

OP maybe get an opinion from the schools or a university as it sounds like you don’t know enough about this to advise her and neither do we really. But please don’t push her into science/maths on the basis of mumsnet.

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williahr · 26/04/2022 13:22

I agree that she doesn't need a science at A Level - at least not to get onto a Psychology degree. My dd has yet to start, so maybe she'll struggle a bit, but none of the unis she applied to (4xRG plus Bath) required another science at A Level in addition to Psychology. She does RS and History.

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lanthanum · 26/04/2022 15:58

I think that set of subjects might restrict choices later on, especially if she's not sure what she wants to do.

Whilst primary teaching doesn't need particular subjects, none of those are national curriculum subjects, which may be seen as a disadvantage. She might later decide she'd be more interested in teaching secondary, and although classics/drama/psychology are all taught, they're subjects that often don't provide a full timetable, so most teachers would teach a national curriculum subject as well, and would often train in that subject as it would provide more job options.

Other than teaching, if she wanted to go further in the direction of any one of those subjects, the subjects don't support each other. For some courses, that may be fine, if they only specify one subject. However some psychology courses would want some science/maths, some theatre studies courses might want English, and so on. It's tricky to think of subjects that would use more than one of that particular trio of A-levels.

Swapping in maths might be a good idea - talk to the school about how they think her maths is. Bottom half of the top set can be a difficult place to be when it comes to confidence in maths - there's always the few very able mathematicians that can make you forget that you're actually pretty good at it. If the whole top set is doing further maths, that suggests a high standard, and at another school she might be up at the top.

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oshywatt · 26/04/2022 15:58

DD plans to do Drama, Psychology & Biology A level. She's been told by school that to get a place on a "good" Psychology degree you need Biology OR Maths.

is that not true then?

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oshywatt · 26/04/2022 16:00

from UCAS:

Entry requirements
A levels – While you don't need to have all three sciences at A level for a psychology degree, most universities prefer at least one out of chemistry, physics, biology, or maths

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muddyford · 26/04/2022 16:10

A relation did primary school teaching, specialising in maths. She was amazed that the course was effectively a maths degree with a teaching qualification woven through. Not sure if that choice of A levels would get her very far. I would dump theatre studies and do biology or maths.

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TizerorFizz · 26/04/2022 16:40

Theatre Studies really can help with confidence which is great for teaching. I would add Biology or Maths instead of Latin which no one needs for primary teaching. I agree that the current options are odd for secondary teaching except in the private sector!

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crazycrofter · 26/04/2022 18:20

@oshywatt dd had offers from Nottingham, York, Southampton and Manchester with A Levels in RS, History and Psychology so I’d ignore that info from UCAS unless she wants to try Cambridge which I think definitely require another science. But if she really wants to do another science that’s obviously fine!

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ChesneyHawkesLoveChild · 26/04/2022 18:54

Thanks all, you’ve all been so helpful :) I agree that being in the bottom half of her top set maths class is rather disconcerting for her, and yes, the whole class are doing further maths. There are some incredibly gifted mathematicians in her class which DD unfortunately compares herself too. I have had more than one conversation with her maths tutor re her moving back down a set but she seems to think DD is coping.

Out of the 3 current A level choices, I would say that theatre studies is the only definite. She loves drama and musical theatre, plus it really helps her confidence so whilst it may be not an academic a level as such, I’m happy enough for her to pursue it. We just need to figure out the other two!

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TizerorFizz · 26/04/2022 22:53

@ChesneyHawkesLoveChild
Maths gives plenty of options regarding degree choice. Is Biology as option? Why Latin? I guess she feels she’s good it but she needs to think what’s useful for a primary teacher. Maths leaders are sought after.

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Fifthtimelucky · 27/04/2022 11:24

Like @crazycrofter, my daughter had offers from Nottingham and Southampton. She also had them from Birmingham, Leeds and Exeter, so I'd say that there are plenty of 'good' universities that don't need two science A levels (all the courses she applied for were BScs rather than BAs).

For secondary teaching, many schools will expect psychology teachers to cover sociology.

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CoffeeWithCheese · 04/05/2022 12:31

Long time ago but I started out as a primary teacher and needed at least one of my a-levels to be in a national curriculum subject. I managed to swing it by the fact that I'd done two subjects which were actually fully billed as Art and Design:... but it was a reach for that and I don't think I'd have got away with it these days - but the uni wanted me because I had so much more work experience than lots of the applicants.

Latin's a funny one - I did it to GCSE (mainly cos my friend collected in the homework every week and I could copy bits and not do my own so it was a doss) and actually found it incredibly handy when the focus of teaching shifted back towards grammar being "in" again (teaching tends to go in cycles where stuff is in and out of vogue), and then now I've shifted to SALT - it's been amazingly handy with the linguistics content where everyone else has been freaking out struggling with what was a noun phrase and the like.

It's just a thought to bear in mind. I also have A-level psychology - found it was all pretty much covered again in the first bits of Primary training and again in the first year of my SALT degree - bought me a lot of time to not stress about learning new content but I could really have used the A-Level slot for something else to be fair. Likewise with my sociology A-Level (I think I must have been going through an "ologies sound cool" period when I picked my subjects)

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ErrolTheDragon · 07/05/2022 16:04

Out of the 3 current A level choices, I would say that theatre studies is the only definite. She loves drama and musical theatre, plus it really helps her confidence so whilst it may be not an academic a level as such, I’m happy enough for her to pursue it.

I'd have thought theatre studies (esp if also musical) might be quite an asset for a primary teacher!

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