Should daughter take french as an option just because she can get a good grade?

(26 Posts)
Madmog Wed 24-Apr-13 14:49:57

Although, we still have a while to think about options, my daughter asked her french teacher yesterday if it was compulsory she take a language. The teacher's reaction to this was that she was likely to get an A or A* even taking it a year early and she was surprised my daughter doesn't want to continue.

At the moment she's very much interested in some area of design, interior design, architect, web design.

My daughter said she doesn't enjoy languages, but just wondering if it would be a good to get an A/A* under her belt (even if it's in a subject that isn't relevant) in case she wants to go to college/university. Her maths and english are estimated to be 7.75 and 7.5, so not sure what levels she could get in these as I know most places will look for good Maths/English grades whatever.

HormonalHousewife Wed 24-Apr-13 14:52:36

I'm very surprised it is not compulsory to take at least one language to be honest.

Why would it not be relevant ? confused

Are you talking about GCSE? If so then she really ought to take a MFL if she is capable of it, I am surprised it isn't compulsory.

lastnightidreamt Wed 24-Apr-13 15:28:33

I don't think a MFL is compulsory any longer, but I would definitely take one for balance. Plus if she's going to get a good grade, it would be daft not to.

BarefootShirl Wed 24-Apr-13 16:30:03

If she is likely to get a good grade then I would def take it - another language can only be seen as beneficial to her future career prospects in any field

Not compulsory as in national curriculum but many schools insist on it because of the EBacc which requires a MFL.

dontwanttobefatandforty Wed 24-Apr-13 16:40:47

It is compulsory at my children's school.

I would say yes if she can get a good grade, you will find when going for 6th form they just want grades regardless of the subject

Inncogneetow Wed 24-Apr-13 17:07:35

At GCSE level you should be looking for a balanced range of subjects, keeping open as many doors as possible. There is no need to specialize and focus on a particular career pathway at this age. She may change her mind in a year or two or five !

An MFL grade A or A* is a useful,facilitating qualification.

As a teacher of MFL, I'm not quite sure why it wouldn't be relevant confused When looking at potential candidates with the same GCSE grades and very little separating them in terms of the strength of the candidate, a Russell Group/1994 group uni would almost always choose a student with one of those grades in a modern language over a student with identical GCSE grades but no languages. Universities recognise that languages are harder than most other subjects; a student applying to a top university to do psychology, for example, would be better off with French at GCSE and no psychology at GCSE than psychology at GCSE but no languages. GCSE is not the time to specialise, you want a broad range of traditional, academic subjects to show you're a well rounded, academic student. There's plenty of time to specialise and just do the subjects relevant to what you want to do in the future when you get to A level.

alreadytaken Wed 24-Apr-13 17:45:08

Yes - for all the reasons you've already been given. smile

DeepRedBetty Wed 24-Apr-13 17:49:27

I'm surprised a MFL isn't compulsory for GCSE. Dtds have just done their options, and Triple Science and one MFL were non-negotiable, also P+R. That left three slots, and it was nice that we felt it almost didn't matter what they chose, so we let them choose completely on whether or not they enjoyed the subject or not. Working on the principle that if you enjoy something you're more likely to do well.

SingleMama Wed 24-Apr-13 17:55:26

I would let your daughter choose based on her gut instinct (This is from someone who has learned to speak fluent French, loves France and has a degree in French.)

I don't think that parents should sway their children's choices based on their perceptions of what's a good thing and a bad thing to choose.

The pupil knows best what's best for her.

ZZZenagain Wed 24-Apr-13 18:00:00

if she doesn't enjoy it, I can see why she isn't keen but if she were my dd, I would recommend doing it

BackforGood Wed 24-Apr-13 18:08:20

I would definitely recommend it. Employers tend to value a MFL GCSE even if the job has no particular need for an MFL - it shows a capable student in many people's eyes.
It's also surprising how many people do end up using some basic conversational French/German/Spanish in their lives, even if they intend to go into arts / sciences or things that might not immediately suggest you need a language.

TeenAndTween Wed 24-Apr-13 20:51:13

I agree that an MFL would be a good thing all other things being equal.
SingleMama - I respectfully disagree with you, I don't think a pupil knows best what's best for her. Some may, but many may not. My DD had to select her GCSE options at the age of an immature 13.5 year old. I think that is too young to be making choices that cut out options (which dropping an MFL may do) without some guidance.
OP - if she is dead against doing an MFL that is one thing, but just not being too keen is not necessarily a good reason.

creamteas Wed 24-Apr-13 20:59:33

If she is happy to take French and can get a good grade then it would be good.

But if she really doesn't want to them, don't make her. As an admissions tutor I see loads of UCAS applications and two things stick out.

First, it is far from unusual not to have an MFL and so this is unlikely to be a barrier to university entry (although with EBAC, the numbers are increasing again).

Second, it is not unusual for applicants have a string of good grades then a D or E in MFL. Given their other results, I'm guessing that rather than ability, many of these cases are where a student was forced to take an MFL (either by the school or parents). Better a higher grade at a preferred subject than this I think.

MrsBartlet Wed 24-Apr-13 21:01:41

If she doesn't have a language she could be limiting her options for the future. I know at my dc's schools they won't accept anyone into sixth form without a language gcse. Obviously, if it is not compulsory at your dd's school then it won't be an issue if she chooses to stay there but if she may want to change schools it is worth doing French. Having said that I think she should do it anyway for the sake of learning a language.

Madmog Thu 25-Apr-13 10:13:25

Thanks for your replies - to be honest I don't know whether a language is compulsory or not at this stage, my daughter just got me thinking when she told me her teacher's reaction.

She's doing fast track french and spanish. If she has to take a language but doesn't want, then obviously French is going to produce a good grade a year earlier, leaving her to concentrate on other subjects. I'm going to ask her to speak to her spanish teacher to see if she has ideas of estimated grades at the moment. As many have said, it's good to keep options open.

AnythingNotEverything Thu 25-Apr-13 10:23:11

I would encourage everybody to take a modern foreign language to gsce level. You learn so much more than words! It's about problem solving, communication skills, lateral thinking, plus all you learn about other cultures. It's one of the most well roused subjects available.

It's also a great lesson in keeping up! Similar to Maths, language is learnt cumulatively ie you effectively do the same topics/subjects/grammar over and over in cycles adding a bit more depth each time.

Sorry - bit of a language geek!

Lottie4 Thu 25-Apr-13 10:59:04

I can't specifically answer your question, but is it just french she doesn't like or most subjects? My daughter is in Year 7 and the only subjects she likes at the moment at those in Design and Technology - she seems to like making stuff, and keeps telling me she doesn't like English, Maths, languages, most science subjects, RE, history!!

We are actually thinking of having a french student in the next year, so perhaps that something you could do as a family - it might encourage her to get interested in France and it's culture. We've have said to our daughter that if she does a language for GCSE we will take her to a country so she can use a little, whether it's reading or writing.

Might be worth talking to someone in the school, especially if they have a Sixth Form - someone else raised the suggestion that it's something they may look for if she wants to go to Sixth Form there.

ryanboy Sat 27-Apr-13 17:22:43

what year is she in now?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 28-Apr-13 08:32:54

to an earlier poster...The Government has backtracked and the EBACC will not be coming into effect.

however, MFL is considered a good quality GCSE to have and will help her application to courses in the future. it will also mean that she maintains a broad subject base (she may change her mind in the future or choose to work abroad)

I would strongly encourage her to take it!!

Elibean Sun 28-Apr-13 15:18:19

I am half French, and as such bilingual, and did exactly that - I got top marks for my GCSE (O-level as was) without even trying, though I wasn't remotely interested in MFL as a chosen subject.

My sister took it a step further and did the same at A-level.

I think it's worth it, tbh, for the reasons mentioned already...

Clary Fri 03-May-13 00:22:01

Sorry but the Ebacc is in effect shipwrecked - as much as it has any effect.

The govt has changed its mind about a total change to GCSEs, but the Ebacc is still there as a measure of schools' performance.

It's frankly a red herring and confuses people - an intelligent friend of mind made it clear recently that she thought her DD would get an actual certificate for taking the Ebacc but it doesn't work like that.

However I agree with others, it's a good plan to take a balanced set of GCSEs, and for me that would include an MFL, exp if she will get a good grade.

GCSE MFL not compulsory in UK tho thank goodness (it's what I attempt to teach!)

speedology Fri 05-Jul-13 20:15:11

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