GCSE options

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lonelymom
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Re: GCSE options

Post by lonelymom » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:33 pm

What were the two languages he chose? So he chose one compulsory, then an additional language as one of his choices? Or did he choose to do 3 languages, ie one compulsory and two others as his choices?
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Mrs C.
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Re: GCSE options

Post by Mrs C. » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:40 am

As a linguist, I hate to say it, but languages do not seem to have any importance now, and not just at CH
My own daughter is taking 2 languages at A2 and intends to study 3 at uni next year. This wouldn`t have been possible for her had she been a couple of years younger, despite having natural talent and interest from an early age.

It seems to me that science and maths are the only subjects that anyone thinks of any use and the science department here certainly push pupils towards opting for sciences, not always in their best interests.
My elder daughter was persuaded to do Biology AS , despite the fact that we knew she would have difficulties . Consequently she struggled for the whole year, and I feel her other subjects suffered as a result,
Many Deps I talk to freely admit that they wish they hadn`t chosen a science subject, and have no intention of taking it beyond AS.

At least one member of staff who teaches a 6th form subject was unable to speak to the whole GE about his subject as he has in the past. Consequently his numbers are significantly lower for next year, which is most odd as it`s normally a very popular subject.

Something is wrong somewhere.
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Re: GCSE options

Post by ailurophile » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:26 am

What were the two languages he chose? So he chose one compulsory, then an additional language as one of his choices? Or did he choose to do 3 languages, ie one compulsory and two others as his choices?
He chose German as his compulsory modern language, and French as one of his choices - can't recall whether this was his first or second choice, but Art was the other. However, I gather that he's been offered Art and Latin (his first 'reserve'), but won't be able to do French. To be honest, he was always quite keen to study Latin anyway, and was planning to do three languages before the cut in subject numbers was made, but something had to go and he wasn't prepared to sacrifice Art.

I do feel very strongly that it's been harder for our children to make choices this year, which makes it even tougher on those who don't get their preferred options. I had a chat with Sean O'Boyle on parents evening and asked whether if the number of subjects studied was being reduced, the choice could be made a year later (end of LE) as it is in most state schools, and he replied that this is in fact "being considered". The current 3rd form appear to be something of a 'guinea pig' year!

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Re: GCSE options

Post by dinahcat » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:51 pm

I agree with Mrs C about Science.The Science GCSEs undoubtedly give pupils the impression that they are able to take science A levels because it is relatively easy to do well. There are to be four AS Physics sets next year and no German for my daughter despite coming top in the year because German appears in only one column and clashes with her other choices. I find it hard to believe that a subject as difficult as Physics is so very accessable to so many students.I suspect that many of the pupils who have chosen it will find it too hard at A level and struggle to keep up.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by Mrs C. » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:22 pm

dinahcat wrote:I agree with Mrs C about Science.The Science GCSEs undoubtedly give pupils the impression that they are able to take science A levels because it is relatively easy to do well. There are to be four AS Physics sets next year and no German for my daughter despite coming top in the year because German appears in only one column and clashes with her other choices. I find it hard to believe that a subject as difficult as Physics is so very accessable to so many students.I suspect that many of the pupils who have chosen it will find it too hard at A level and struggle to keep up.
They will struggle, I suspect.
Unless it`s a very scientifically brilliant year group , which I doubt.
I can`t believe your daughter can`t do German. What a terrible shame.
I would have been horrified if my daughter hadn`t been able to do her 2 languages .
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Re: GCSE options

Post by LJG » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:26 pm

Its always been difficult for pupils to make choices about GCSE's. I would say the pupils at CH have more support than many in making that choice, and there are plenty of subjects on offer compared to some schools. There is also still an opportunity to change their mind in the first term if they feel they have made a mistake.
Life is all about the choices we make and learning to make the best of them. My child had to make those decisions, and some of the subjects I would not have chosen, but I was not the person studying the subjects!
Now as a pupil about to start A2's, I am not aware that having to do French instead of the German at GCSE which would have been the first choice, has ultimately had any great effect.
Its not the end of the world if they cannot do German/French/ .....unless they particularly want to do languages as a career, they can pick them up at a later date if they are really keen. Whereas, it is much more difficult to pick up Physics/chemistry/biology - perhaps this is why they very sensibly encourage them at school - along with a balance of arts.
I have been delighted for the most part with the education my child has received. There are always going to be aspects about CH that can be nit picked, but on balance my child has become a well balanced, thoughtful, delightful young person for which I will always be truely grateful. My child absolutely loves CH, and is well aware of all the benefits attending the school have given her.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by dinahcat » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:33 pm

The benefits of CH are undisputed . The fact is that there has been for some time a government driven plan to inflate GCSE grades and I do speak from experience as an examiner. My daughter will never get another opportunity to take A level German when she wanted to take it and that is a fact .This is even though she was advised that she would be a good triple linguist.It is true that the school is biased towards Maths and Science . This doesn't detract from the other wonderful things that the school does.It's just the way it is.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by huggermugger » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:40 am

I agree completely with LJG's comments. Due to disruption in my home life I didn't take A levels until much later. I only have a mediocre 'O' Level in French, but still managed to take a reading course in 18th century French as one of my modules at Uni. I now speak it to a pretty good level, due to a love of France and some good friends made during my travels there. I have also acquired a smattering of Spanish, Italian and Welsh through osmosis, home study or evening classes and I intend to continue that. (Tho not with Welsh, sadly...) I know we can feel huge disappointment when our children don't get what they have set their hearts on but there are many routes to what we/they want.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by Mrs C. » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:59 pm

LJG wrote:Now as a pupil about to start A2's, I am not aware that having to do French instead of the German at GCSE which would have been the first choice, has ultimately had any great effect.
Its not the end of the world if they cannot do German/French/ .....unless they particularly want to do languages as a career, they can pick them up at a later date if they are really keen. Whereas, it is much more difficult to pick up Physics/chemistry/biology - perhaps this is why they very sensibly encourage them at school - along with a balance of arts.
.
isn`t that the point though?
A child who demonstrates an ability for languages, and who wishes to take them further, is being discriminated against, IMHO.
Why should he/she be forced to take science or maths?

And why should science be any more difficult to pick up at a later date?
If the person has sufficient interest they will overcome the dificulty.

My daughter has been extremely happy taking 2 languages at A2 - others will not even have the chance .
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Re: GCSE options

Post by J.R. » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:15 pm

Mrs C. wrote:
LJG wrote:Now as a pupil about to start A2's, I am not aware that having to do French instead of the German at GCSE which would have been the first choice, has ultimately had any great effect.
Its not the end of the world if they cannot do German/French/ .....unless they particularly want to do languages as a career, they can pick them up at a later date if they are really keen. Whereas, it is much more difficult to pick up Physics/chemistry/biology - perhaps this is why they very sensibly encourage them at school - along with a balance of arts.
.
isn`t that the point though?
A child who demonstrates an ability for languages, and who wishes to take them further, is being discriminated against, IMHO.
Why should he/she be forced to take science or maths?

I couldn't agree more, Janet !!
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Re: GCSE options

Post by LJG » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:24 pm

I did not state that languages are unimportant, just that for the vast majority of pupils the current options available are sufficient. Pupils can still do 2 modern languages at GCSE and AS/A2, but the remaining subjects might not necessarily be their first choice as it is all down to the combinations within the groups. As I stated, difficult decisions have to be made and it is about weighing up the options available.
There is a plethora of evening classes, modules, short courses.... to study languages/art for those interested, but not wanting to study them at university, whereas studying science for whatever reason is far more difficult once you have let it slip.
The reality is as oneguncopsewest stated, most pupils at CH go to top universties, and I think about 97% get to their first choice university - which is no mean feat. There are plenty of pupils who go on to studying languages/classics/drama/art etc if one looks at the destination and courses taken by the leavers listed in 'The Blue'. They all had the self same choices to make discussed in this forum.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by Mrs C. » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:07 pm

LJG wrote:There is a plethora of evening classes, modules, short courses.... to study languages/art for those interested, but not wanting to study them at university,
.
.....and for those who DO want to study languages at university, it is going to be much harder in future if CH continues to deny pupils the opportunity to study more than one at GCSE and A level.
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Re: GCSE options

Post by dinahcat » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:38 pm

It wouldn't have mattered if my daughter had wanted to do languages at university she still couldn't have the choices she wanted. Of course if your child gets their choices you will just think hard cheese to everyone who didn't but when it is your own child in that position of course you will be cross and disappointed for them.If the language she wanted had been in more than one column she would have been all right. The fact that German is in only one column says it all. No one will ever know if more pupils would have chosen it because the option wasn't there. The dry runs may have indicated that not enough pupils were interested enough to warrant German being placed in two columns but it would have been worth a punt ,surely.The sciences were in every column. If that doesn't say something about the priority science is given over languages then I must have missed something.Given that the science GCSEs are relatively easy I still think many pupils have false impression about their ability in science. Well,so say the universities anyway.

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Re: GCSE options

Post by Mrs C. » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:41 pm

EXACTLY!!!

and they struggle at AS level
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Re: GCSE options

Post by blondie95 » Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:06 pm

I did French and German at GCSE at local state school-and i think all who were in top two sets for langauage did two!
I did feel at CH when i joined as a dep there was a distinct pressure for you to do at least 1 science/maths and that these were believed to be vital subjects for uni (regardless of the degree). Thos of us who did all humantities subjects were in the minority. I rememeber a number of people who did English/Hist etc with me but did a science AS as they were led to believe it was vital and 'easy' AS
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