GCSE options

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ailurophile
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GCSE options

Post by ailurophile » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:56 pm

My DS, currently in the Third form and due to make his GCSE choices any time now, has informed me that the number of subjects he will be able to take has been cut from 12 to 10; he thinks that TP will no longer be compulsory, and that the 'choice' subjects will be limited to two. Apparently many of the Third form are unhappy about the change. Has anyone else heard this? If it's true, I'm very concerned that such major decisions are being made with no consultation - or even communication - between the school and parents.

lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:14 pm

My daughter, in third form too, tells me that the change has been made for their benefit. She was told it was so that they would have more lessons in each subject, and that it would make it easier for them to choose their A-level options, because they would have less subjects to choose from :? I'm not convinced I agree with what she's saying, but she seems to believe it. She is thinking of choosing TP but it obviously counts as one of her choices. History OR Geography are compulsory, however if someone wants to do both it counts as one of their choices and only leaves them with one other choice. I hadn't really thought much about not being told of the changes because I haven't got an older child so I have nothing to compare it with. However, I am surprised that there hasn't been any consultation between parents and teachers about their opinions on the options the child takes. Maybe there will be further down the line? :|
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KenHo
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Re: GCSE options

Post by KenHo » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:40 pm

My son is starting in September. While finding out all about the school I was given (or possibly downloaded) a document about the GCSE curriculum. This document has 8 compulsory subjects and then 3 choices, making a total of 11. The two earlier posts suggest the total is actually 12 and now is cut to 10. Since none of this tallies I am rather confused. I am also confused by what "TP" is as I can find no mention of this subject?

Surely if I have a document about GCSEs that I only just obtained and on which I decide to send my son to the school then I would expect someone at CH to have mentioned that it is all about to change.

lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:46 pm

TP is Theology and Philosophy (hope I've spelt that right). I would be interested to know what the 8 compulsory subjects listed on the document you have are?
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KenHo
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Re: GCSE options

Post by KenHo » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:18 am

The document I have (and which I must have got from CH one way or another) says the following:-

English (2 grades)
History or Geography (must take one)
Maths
French
Coordinated Science (2 grades)
Religious Studies

I make that 8

Then they have to choose 3 others from a list of 10.

This clearly doesn't matrch reality, so I would be grateful to know what actually happens and what the new plans are.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by ailurophile » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:58 pm

KenHo wrote:

The document I have (and which I must have got from CH one way or another) says the following:-

English (2 grades)
History or Geography (must take one)
Maths
French
Coordinated Science (2 grades)
Religious Studies

I make that 8

Then they have to choose 3 others from a list of 10.

This clearly doesn't matrch reality, so I would be grateful to know what actually happens and what the new plans are.
The above is pretty much what we were offered when our older son made his choices two years ago, but he is taking three separate sciences rather than the Coordinated science mentioned here - I think this option may only be available to the more scientifically-oriented students. For religious studies, read Theology and Philosophy; and I don't think French was compulsory, he could have chosen German instead. So, DS is studying nine 'core' subjects plus three choices, a total of 12.

As I understand from my younger child (but remember that we have as yet had no confirmation of this from the school), TP is being removed from the compulsory core subjects, and his 'choices' will be reduced to two. I guess if he isn't offered the chance to take separate sciences this will actually bring his total number of GCSEs down to nine, and not even the 10 that I had calculated!

I hope this helps to clarify the matter - at least, my understanding of it!

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Re: GCSE options

Post by ailurophile » Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:21 pm

Lonelymom wrote:

My daughter, in third form too, tells me that the change has been made for their benefit. She was told it was so that they would have more lessons in each subject, and that it would make it easier for them to choose their A-level options, because they would have less subjects to choose from
There seems to me to be a fatal flaw in the argument that it will be easier for pupils to narrow down their options at A level because they’ve already reduced them for GCSE! And as for the 'more lessons in each subject' argument, remember that CH pupils are already making these choices a year earlier that they would do in the state system, which I had assumed was for this very reason. I’m personally not convinced that the school needs to be making things easier; these are bright kids, selected on academic ability, and it seems a pity to deny them the potential to study as wide a range of subjects as possible. My older son is currently studying for 12 GCSEs, doesn’t appear to be struggling too hard and is hoping for As in all of them! His younger brother was expecting to do the same, and is very disappointed that he will now not have the opportunity to do so.

Without wanting to sound like a pushy parent, both our children are very able across a wide range of academic subjects. They were climbing the walls with boredom by the end of year 6 at their state primary, and we applied to CH mainly because we believed that the school would offer them the academic ‘stretch’ that they need – and as you will know from my other posts, we are virtually bankrupting ourselves to provide this! As KenHo has pointed out, parents from this year's new intake are making similar decisions based on what appears to be outdated information. Quite frankly, I'm not a happy bunny (could you guess?!)

lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:33 pm

Well I'm confused (doesn't take much, believe me). According to my daughter she is taking 10 gcses, but as you point out it looks more like 9. By the way, French isn't compulsory, my daughter is taking German. The list from KenHo is now out of date because it is still stating 3 choices, so I think we need more up-to-date info, with a list of all the compulsory subjects and the optional choice list. Considering these choices are going to be made sometime in the next 3 months (ish), I think it's been left till quite late to involve the parents in any way.

I am used to the state schools in my area taking their gcses a year early because they ALL do, grammars and comprehensives, taking them at the end of year 10, then starting the A level syllabus a year early. When I spoke to my daughter about her choices last night she admitted that she didn't really know what to take, because she still doesn't know what she wants to do as a career when she is older. She's only 13, I don't think many people know at the age of 13 what they want to do for a job for 40-odd years. It worries me though, that if she doesn't know what she wants to do, how can she choose her options? What if she realises in 2 years time that she chose the wrong ones, because she won't be able to do an A level in a subject she hasn't done at gcse. For that reason I am in favour of doing as many gcses as possible so that she has more choices when it comes to A levels. Can I just point out that the pupils at my local comprehensives (non-selective schools with less than 50% pass rate A-C) take 10 gcses. Surely CH pupils are capable of doing that many at least? Very worrying :(
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Re: GCSE options

Post by YadaYada » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:30 pm

I think the very worrying thing from this thread is the lack of communication with parents about issues such as this.

How often do parents get info from school? Do those of you with children already at CH feel happy with the amount and quality of the info you have been getting over the past few years?

It would at least be nice to hear directly from the school what their rationale behind making these decisions are.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:42 pm

This is the first time I've really needed any info like this. There are frequent newsletters, subject grades every three weeks, a full report yearly and a parents' evening once a year, but I must say that I feel a bit in the dark about the gcse process. Maybe we will be getting something in the post over the next few days when the end-of-term letters come :?
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Re: GCSE options

Post by blondie95 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:33 pm

I completed my GCSE's at another school i did 10 and that was as far as i was aware standard
English lit
English lang
Science-2 grades
Maths
Geography/History
French
German/Spanish
Art/Design/Textiles
MusiC/Drama

As for CH those i knew who did theres at CH did could do up to 12, the national curriculm states 10 and this is what all other people i know did
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Barnes Mum
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Re: GCSE options

Post by Barnes Mum » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:55 pm

Don't panic. I recieved an information pack regarding the GCSE options for my daughter in the internal post today. So I guess you'll all be getting yours in the next day or two. All will be explained. :)

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Re: GCSE options

Post by KenHo » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:09 am

Barnes Mum wrote:Don't panic. I recieved an information pack regarding the GCSE options for my daughter in the internal post today. So I guess you'll all be getting yours in the next day or two. All will be explained. :)
In that case would someone please be kind enough to explain it to those without a pack coming in the post, so that we know what has changed?

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Re: GCSE options

Post by englishangel » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:15 am

Kenho
If your child hasn't even started at CH I wouldn't worry about it because it will have changed again by the time he gets to third form.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Re: GCSE options

Post by Barnes Mum » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:40 am

KenHo wrote:
In that case would someone please be kind enough to explain it to those without a pack coming in the post, so that we know what has changed?
The school has consulted some top universities before making this decision who say 8 good GCSE's are ample. CH pupils will now be doing Maths, 2x English, Science (2 or 3 depending on ability), the children then choose 4 additional subjects which have to include one humanity and one modern language. They will also all be studying IT to ECDL qualification. This should mean that all but the weakest in science will come out with 10 GCSE's and the IT qualification.
I can see the school's thinking behind this as they say they are trying to reduce the pressure for the children and are going for quality rather that quantity.

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