GCSE options

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MidBMama
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Re: GCSE options

Post by MidBMama » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:43 pm

Hi all, thanks for the replies. I find this forum thing quite scary as I've never joined one before, but I suspect now that I am back to being a rather lonely mama, I will spend quite a lot of time sifting throught the various topics rather than looking for a job.... I will definitely speak to someone again about the GCSEs, maybe write a letter just for the record.
Yes I agree - it's great that they got such good results, and I'm sure that most of them could easily cope with more than ten...
here we go, i might even attempt a small yellow face.....
:? MidBMa

lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:49 pm

MidBMama wrote:Hi all, thanks for the replies. I find this forum thing quite scary as I've never joined one before
Don't be scared! We are all very friendly, with the exception possibly of JR, who is quite scary :lol: (Don't mean it really JR :D )
MidBMama wrote:now that I am back to being a rather lonely mama
Are you trying to poach my name? I'm sure I've got the copyright on that! :shock: :D
lonelymom :rolleyes:

Momto2
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Re: GCSE options

Post by Momto2 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:33 am

ailurophile wrote:
Is it too late to join this conversation? just wondered if anyone else was still worried about this restricted choice for GCSEs? My son has had to choose between Geography and History (in order for him to take art and TP) which seems really sad. If they just allowed one more choice then he could do history too. Surely they are capable of taking 11? It's not as if he's choosing lots of frivolous options - he has already had to give up music, latin and German. I was thinking of talking to the Head of Academic Studies about this (again!) but am sure it will not do any good at this stage!
Hi MidBMama

It's never too late to join a conversation! And in my opinion, it's not too late to speak to the Head of Academic Studies again either!! It may well be too late for the current LE, but if parents are concerned then at least the school should recognise the feedback. Perhaps a way could be found to allow the more academically able pupils to take another subject up again next year? I have to say that the fantastic GCSE results achieved by last year's GE (and congratulations to all of them!) tends to belie the argument that pupils were struggling to cope with the number of options previously allowed.
... and don't forget all the little UFs who did fantastically in their Science GCSEs a year early - my own daughter included :D

MidBMama
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Re: GCSE options

Post by MidBMama » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:43 am

Ah - note slightly different wording, though of course I have no intention of poahing it - your name just reminded me of my own plight now that my son has gone back! No further mentions I promise... I expect there are quite a few potential lonelymoms out there - :)

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J.R.
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Re: GCSE options

Post by J.R. » Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:35 pm

lonelymom wrote: Don't be scared! We are all very friendly, with the exception possibly of JR, who is quite scary :lol: (Don't mean it really JR :D )
MOI ??? SCARY ???


(Only near a football pitch, I 'm told !)
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

MidBMama
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Re: GCSE options

Post by MidBMama » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:48 pm

MOI ??? SCARY ???


(Only near a football pitch, I 'm told !)[/quote]


No, you don't look too scary JR , and I never go anywhere near football pitches, so I'll be ok!
lonelymom wrote:... and don't forget all the little UFs who did fantastically in their Science GCSEs a year early - my own daughter included
(hope I'm getting the hang of this quoting lark...) Well done to your daughter! I just wondered if the sets they are in make any difference - e.g. if they are put in a lower set, does it tend to mean they are not so well prepared and so don't get as good results? My son was told that their science set was a 'lower band' (not very nice, eh?) so of course I'm now stressing about him taking all those science exams and not doing well.... any thoughts? or do they move around the sets after LE?
MidBMa

onewestguncopse
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Re: GCSE options

Post by onewestguncopse » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:48 pm

Many good schools are bypassing GCSE all together and even Cambridge only expect you to have As or A* in the subjects you take BUT not that you take a certain number. Our new GCSE regime is in the best interests of the pupils (modern language debate notwithstanding), so do not worry. It is not like the old days!

MidBMama
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Re: GCSE options

Post by MidBMama » Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:06 pm

onewestguncopse wrote:Many good schools are bypassing GCSE all together and even Cambridge only expect you to have As or A* in the subjects you take BUT not that you take a certain number. Our new GCSE regime is in the best interests of the pupils (modern language debate notwithstanding), so do not worry. It is not like the old days!
I'm a bit confused now. Is this in answer to my question about Science sets? I hadn't heard of any schools bypassing GCSEs - that sounds very odd. I had heard from my sister (parent of a boy at Downside) that universities were looking at GCSE grades more because there were so many good grades at A Level - maybe she's wrong - wouldn't be the first time!
Are you saying that GCSEs/grades are not really very important? any thoughts anyone?

ailurophile
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Re: GCSE options

Post by ailurophile » Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:31 pm

As a parent I find it very difficult to know what to believe - we get so much conflicting information from so many sources! For example, I know a sixth form tutor (not CH) who discovered after much enquiry that the reason one of his best history students had been turned down twice by Durham was that her application went straight onto the 'reject' pile because she hadn't got 5 A* grades among her 12 GCSEs! With 40+ candidates for every place they were using that as a simple first stage criteria to make the numbers more manageable. I don't know how Cambridge sort out the wheat from the chaff - but not everyone wants to go to Cambridge!

For me, the bottom line is that my son is having to give up so many subjects at such an early stage in his education. I'm a great believer in the value of a broad spectrum, and I'm simply concerned that the new regime at CH is narrowing down his options, both now and for the future.

lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:33 pm

I think I've said before on the forum that my worry is that, as my daughter doesn't know what she wants to do when she's older, she doesn't know what gcse's she'll need. Am I right in thinking that if she doesn't do a certain subject at gcse, she won't be able to do it at A-level, which means she then won't be able to do it at degree level? So if she suddenly discovers her career choice means she will need Latin (random example) she's stuffed! :(
lonelymom :rolleyes:

MidBMama
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Re: GCSE options

Post by MidBMama » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:20 pm

Re the 12 A*s needed at Durham - that is scary! and I too worry about the broad education factor. Obviously we need some more clarification and reassurance from someone!! :?

lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:57 pm

I think onewestguncopse or HowardH will be along in a minute to clarify it for us. Incidentally, I think ailurophile said it was 5 A*s not 12.
lonelymom :rolleyes:

MidBMama
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Re: GCSE options

Post by MidBMama » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:01 pm

Yes I see it was 5 A*s - I got a bit carried away there... thanks for that!

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englishangel
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Re: GCSE options

Post by englishangel » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:17 pm

I know you are all very worried but my son got NO GCSEs at 15/16 (he had chronic fatigue syndrome and missed loads of school). At 21 he took himself off to the local FE college and took English and Maths and got Bs. He would have got A or A* but was only put in for the middle grades. (Lots of 17 year olds who had failed the previous year). This year (almost 24) he is doing an "Access to Higher Education " course and hopes to go to Kent University next year. My cousin's daughter (age 25) is just starting at Kingston doing Business Studies having left school at 16, so school exams are not the be-all and end-all.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

onewestguncopse
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Re: GCSE options

Post by onewestguncopse » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:39 pm

Winchester College do not do GCSE's in all subjects. They also have one of the highest success rates at Oxford or Cambridge. I have advised students about Higher Education entry for 10 years, have written four books about the subject, write articles in newspapers, lecture in other schools and know personally many admissions tutors.

Let me clarify the situation - what top universities are looking at are trends. If you take 8 GCSE's and get all As or A* passes that is very impressive. It is not the child's choice how many they take. The average Cambridge candidate who was admitted last year had 6 GCSE passes at A*. This means that many had more and many had less. GCSE is not unimportant. It is ONE factor in many. What is unimportant is whether you take 8,9,10 or 25. It is the average pass grade that counts. 12 B's is worse than 6 A's etc.

The major problem is BY FAR the lack of discrimation at A level. No matter what any politician claims it is true that the A level has been devalued. If that were not true, why would the universities moan so much about them. The reason they have been devalued is because syllabus content has been watered down, pupils can retake the same exam three times (in 1987 when i took English it was 3 hours - job done - if you had toothache - hard luck!) and finally the 'tough' A levels are bypassed in favour of easier options.

Anyone who says A level Photography is as hard as Physics (academically) is deluded.

Anyway -- rant over --

We do know what we are doing at CH! We have sent students to top universities for 450 years. Relax and trust us to do best by your children.

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