Help - DS2 has been given the 'dumbos' set of GCSE options!

(42 Posts)
OneMoreMum Thu 24-Jan-13 16:41:28

Poor DS2 has come come today with his GCSE options sheet, coloured bright yellow which marks him out as non - English Bac material (what a great idea to make it so obvious that all the other kids know who's got the 'dumbos' form - other kids words not mine!)

He is down to do Maths & English, BTEC science instead of GCSE, some sort of BTEC IT thing, lots of Citizenship-style rubbish and has only 2 proper options. The only language on offer (as one of the 2 options) is German, which he dropped last year when they came up with the great idea that you chose a language a year early so you could concentrate on it!!!!

He's only 12, they are choosing options in year 8, I am gutted that he has been written off so early.

He's never been very academic, his English skills were behind for a long time, due in part to a disastrous start to school before we moved him to a private primary who really helped but he's struggled to catch up, I think he's progressing much faster since he started senior school (good state comp).

Anyway, realistically do we have any chance (and should we) challenge this? He is currently working at a high level 4 maths, a middle level 4 english and a high level 4 science, is forecast to be at low 5 for maths and science by the end of year 8 and a high 4 in english, mid to high 5s in practical and art subjects.

cardibach Sat 26-Jan-13 19:53:35

I'm an English teacher. A cold getting high level 4 in the middle of Y8 is likely to make it to level 5 by the end of KS3 and as such would be capable of a C at GCSE so I disagree with some earlier posters. The thing I think is bad is making these big decisions so early. It's a prime example of the sort of policies which are formulated with the school's best interests in mind not the students'. On this basis I would want to move him if he were mine.

cardibach Sat 26-Jan-13 19:53:59

Child not cold. Stupid phone.

OneMoreMum Thu 31-Jan-13 17:57:53

Ok thanks for all the comments, very helpful.
Bit of an update, Science have said he's fine to go in for double GCSE, it appears that it's his low English score that is barring the language option and a few other things, so we are in discussions about that.

Hopefully we will be able to convince them to let him do French and not the silly lifeskills-type certificate and all will be well.

Now just need to work out how to fit the three arty subjects he want to take into two choices......

socharlotte Mon 04-Feb-13 10:50:26

German is much more difficult than French, why on earth would they make him do that!

socharlotte Mon 04-Feb-13 10:51:37

what are the arty subjects? and if he does a language will that leave him one 'arty' option

Snazzynewyear Mon 04-Feb-13 10:55:25

Making him start a totally different language doesn't make any sense! Either he's not suited to languages so shouldn't do any, or he is and so should carry on with one he's already started! All sounds odd.

OneMoreMum Mon 04-Feb-13 16:46:07

Basically German is the second language option, included in the option blocks for everyone, but since DS has not been given a first language option it looks very strange.

If they agree he can do French it will be in place of some sort of basic skills certificate that really doesn't look like it's worth the paper it's written on so I'm not accepting that.

Arty subjects are DT, art and music, even though he gave up learning an instrument a few years ago, he's still quite interested, plus they can take the technology rather than performing path if they wish. Not sure which of those will be most rewarding / difficult for him.

Still waiting to hear about the French, any advice on the other subjects gratefully received.

RichardIII Mon 04-Feb-13 16:54:07

What grade is he in the instrument he played?they need to be grade4/5 standard as a minimum.
I think DT would be the best of the 3 choices

FreckledLeopard Mon 04-Feb-13 17:00:25

Choosing options aged 12? I had no idea that schools did this. We chose at the end of Year 9. A lot can happen between aged 12 and aged 16....

If I were you I'd move him. Drastic, but better than being written off so early on. I had some dyslexic friends and some people in my year (private school) who were not terribly bright, but all managed to get at least Cs in 9 subjects.

If you can afford private, or can move to a state school where he has more time to choose options and get him a tutor, then I'd give that a go.

socharlottet Mon 04-Feb-13 17:15:57

Yopu say it's a good school, but it isn't.
They are putting their stats in front of the best interests of their pupils

JoanByers Mon 04-Feb-13 23:03:08

No doubt. A very cynical exercise. They have to do the GCSE Maths and English for the league tables, but then they do 'equivalents' for everything else.

It's always worth checking on the DFE website average number of GCSEs per pupil by low/middle/high achievers group.

Sparrows12 Tue 05-Feb-13 08:37:43

I'm horrified that he is forced to make these choices so early. Michael gove has a lot to answer for.

teacherandguideleader Tue 05-Feb-13 22:45:28

I hate the way children who are given btec routes are described as being 'written off'. I teach btec and love it. I love working with children who are not academically gifted but their eyes light up when they are told the award they will achieve is equivalent to a grade C (or higher)

Many of the children I teach have discovered that their btecs have enabled them to go on to further education, not held them back because it has helped them achieve level 2 qualifications that they may otherwise not have got. A level 2 is GCSE grade A-C equivalent.

I won't deny that some schools use them to manipulate league tables, but often the league tables are similar to college / sixth form entry requirements so the child benefits too.

Btecs are a good thing as not every child learns at the same rate or in the same way, when organised properly and taught by teachers who don't see it as 'being stuck with the thickos'

Sorry - rant over!

socharlottet Thu 07-Feb-13 19:33:52

equivalent in whose opinion, that is the point!

teacherandguideleader Thu 07-Feb-13 22:26:07

You are right - I don't think they should be seen as 'equivalent' as that's when they get seen as the easy option (which to be honest they probably are). I think they should be seen as an entirely different set of qualifications and not constantly being compared to GCSEs as its not a fair comparison. However tis will never happen until the way success is measured changes and the government accept that GCSEs don't suit everyone.

JoanByers Thu 07-Feb-13 22:30:16

It's very complex. Parents want to know that their little darling is going to get 18 A*s, even if they are as thick as two short planks.

So they look at GCSE stats, which actually contain non-GCSE qualifications.

Personally I think they should scrap the 5 A*-C nonsense, and instead go for net progress, or something of that kind.

racingheart Sun 10-Feb-13 17:51:20

OP, it's way too early to limit his options in this way.
You really need to get his English sorted. Once he's growing in confidence in that, all the humanities subjects will rise accordingly.
What are his difficulties with English?

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