Option angst, could you help, please?

(30 Posts)
optionangst Wed 13-Feb-13 19:50:47

DD's school offers only 9 GCSEs (compared with 11 from last year).

So we are really struggling to make sure we get the balance right, so as not to preclude her from being considered by any University.

Compulsory are Maths, English, Bio, Chem and Physics (great, huh?) and then one language (Spanish) and one humanity (Geog).

So, she's left with 2 choices - she can't decide between 3 - History, Computing and Drama.

I think Drama is the most definite of the 3, but I'm worried that Computing may be seen as "soft" leaving her with only 7 academic ones?

Does this matter or does the quality/quantity override the subjects?

Despite copious Googling, I cant find any answers to this.

Sorry to name change, but I felt quite identifiable.

optionangst Wed 13-Feb-13 19:52:41

Sorry, firgot to add, she's also doing Music GCSE as an extra curricular class, so will actually have 10.

TotallyBS Wed 13-Feb-13 20:39:17

IMO drama is 'soft', Computer Science isn't considered by some to be 'traditional'. That leaves history.

If she ends up with english, maths, 3 sciences, a humanity and an MFL then I don't think any university is going to worry about the last choice(s). She should do whatever she enjoys and/or is good at and/or doesn't have too much coursework. I don't know what drama is like, but I know a lot of people comment about the workload for art so you might want to try to find out about that aspect.

In terms of universities, there is a good booklet by the Russell Groups about A level choices which might help you to understand their thinking about this sort of stuff.

cricketballs Wed 13-Feb-13 22:06:04

computing has been added to the Ebacc list of sciences - traditional or not it is of value and definitely not a soft option

senua Wed 13-Feb-13 22:38:48

Does that list of compulsory subjects only include one English; not separate Lit and Lang?

EvilTwins Thu 14-Feb-13 00:08:19

Drama isn't soft, and it helps with all manner of transferable skills. No child who has a full set of academic GCSEs (by which I mean the 7 already mentioned) is going to be turned down by a university on the grounds that they took drama.

Eastpoint Thu 14-Feb-13 05:34:27

Drama is a well respected GCSE, you don't need to worry about it not being taken seriously.

Computer Science is more serious than ICT but isn't necessary even if you are doing Computer Science at a Russell Group University or even Cambridge.

BoundandRebound Thu 14-Feb-13 06:18:03

They are compulsory because of ebacc calculation in the league tables, drama is soft, computer science isn't.

webwiz Thu 14-Feb-13 08:07:43

It doesn't really matter what is "soft" and what is not its what your DD is interested in OP. She has a good range of subjects already plus her music GCSE so it doesn't matter which two she chooses out of the final three.

Muminwestlondon Thu 14-Feb-13 10:39:56

I don't think any of the three are soft options and as others have pointed out she is already doing enough "academic" GCSEs anyway.

My DD only did history out of the three mentioned and it was quite a heavy course and she didn't particularly enjoy it. She found the analytical writing very difficult she just scraped an A on a re-mark for history and got high As/A* for the others.

I would sit down and look at the spec for all three and let DD think about what she would enjoy doing. I would also look at who is teaching it (if known), potential trips (is there a history trip abroad?/do the drama students make trips to the theatre?) etc.

njaw Thu 14-Feb-13 17:39:24

I'm sure they've scrapped it but just in case, there is a course called DIDA that's offered. Diploma in Digital Applications. The theory was great, media usage in the modern workplace. I have plenty of staff who have no idea how to put a presentation together professionally, use Excel well, etc etc. DS1 took Triple Science and all humanities, so when it came to his last option, he took something practical looking.

Course is an absolute disaster and should NEVER have made it into schools. Don't touch with a bargepole!

I think she is doing enough solid subjects and should choose her favourite. Subject choice more important at A level.

Coffeeformeplease Thu 14-Feb-13 18:20:33

Hi there
Maths, English (I hope x2: Lit and Lang) and Triple Science plus Music and a foreign language sounds very good to me. Let her choose the rest, as it is optional.
I would advise against not doing a language, even if it's not compulsory, and if ever possible to do triple science.
Been there, just done that, plus being a secondary school teacher ;)

optionangst Thu 14-Feb-13 21:28:41

Thanks for all your comments, it's been very helpful. We've decided on Computing rather than History. And definitely Drama to nature her personal skills.

Thank again, you lot are brilliant.

optionangst Thu 14-Feb-13 21:30:59

Sorry. Missed the English bit.

The options are English or English Language, if you use one of your 2 options to choose English Lit.

English is approx a 50/50 split between Lit and Lang.

Not ideal, but school won't shift on this.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 15-Feb-13 07:43:46

In that case I strongly suggest she does double English and not computer science. Unless she wants to be a programmer or similar (and even then, computer science GCSE isn't required to do comp Sci at any reputable university). Double English is a pretty base level requirement really.

Am shock that both Lang and Lit are not compulsory.
Would really recommend she does both.
Sympathise, btw, I wanted to do geography and music, and could only do music.

I agree that she should do Eng Lang and Lit. It's very poor if the school doesn't insist on that for those who are able.

optionangst Fri 15-Feb-13 11:32:32

The school are convinced that the "English" option is more than adequate as it combines both.
Am I being naive in trusting them?

titchy Fri 15-Feb-13 11:43:43

Yes you are naive - sorry. She must do both English. It's very rare these days for kids not to do both, even lower ability kids.

I don't understand how it can combine both if the Lang & Lit option is also available. Is it a different exam board with a combined GCSE? You need to check this out.

optionangst Fri 15-Feb-13 12:04:28

This is a selective grammar. 5 %+ of students go on to Oxbridge. This school has never made Lit compulsory.
Shit. Lit is not where her strengths lie. I thought we'd be fine choosing combined, and actually maximising her chances of getting great grades by doing both Lit and Lang in one exam.

optionangst Fri 15-Feb-13 12:06:14

Looks like the exam board is AQA.

FrauMoose Fri 15-Feb-13 13:42:46

My daughter is at a similar type of school. She did Drama and also English Literature. The teachers at a selective school should be helpful in terms of explaining the benefits of particular GCSEs choices. I was very keen too that the choices should be related to what my daughter enjoys/was likely to enjoy doing. It's hard to work hard at a subject that you dislike doing, and universities do value evidence of enthusiasm.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now