Science GCSEs


I've just heard from Alex's new school (touch wood) that he will not be allowed to do the three seperate sciences the top two groups go in for, but will only be allowed double science. This is despite his tutor recommending he do all three because she feels he's very capable.


Given that science is an area Alex may want to pursue post GCSE, I want to ask- those who have A level scientists, did your children do double or triple science? If double, presumably it was still doable?

There's still time, I think, to change my mind and request Alex go to my second choice school, which does three seperate sciences as standard... but I don't think the school as a whole is the best place for Alex.

Damn... hate it when people don't listen. I hope Alex gets two A's now, just to show them... lol.

I'm also a little irked as we'd spoken about not doing some of the options and having time for personal study/ specialist input instead... well apparently this isn't going to be possible either. GRRRRRRRRRRRR well frankly they can make him do 'resistant materials'  or whatever pointless (for Alex) GCSE equivalent they wish to, but our priorities for homework will be English, Maths and Science, ICT and any other subjects he is likely to actually PASS.

and breathe.

Where will he take 'post GCSE' science and what will he do.

Start with them and work backwards - what are their entry requirements - then meet them.

YD wanted Maths A Level - for her first choice college she needed an A or A* - for the other college we can commute to they only asked for a C (guess who has the higher pass rate and figures at the top of the county tables?).......

Mine have all done science, then additional science. 

Our 'better' high scoring college demands additional science - the other one doesn't.

So, find out if he needs it would be my advice.

and I'm going to add something you may not like - but I'm going to say it because I know you so well.

You are deciding alex won't benefit from 'resistant materials' which devalues it.  He hasn't done it I don't think at GCSE level, so HE doesn't know, he may love it.  You are forcing your academic standards on him (as all parents do, I do it with mine too) - but actually sometimes they don't WANT or excel at what we choose.

And if you look at successful happy people they are the ones who have been given all the opportunities and chosen their own path.

It may do Alex much better to be in the same timetable as everyone else in his class/year - and not be dragged off timetable to 'miss' the less academic subjects, but get the same broad approach that every other child is offered.

I know you are really really focused on this - and on Alex getting as many 'academic' GCSE's as possible, but could it be that you are 'too' focused perhaps?  And that Alex could benefit just as much being given the opportunity to follow a broad curriculum, succeed in some things better than others, and maybe find what really floats his boat?

Just a thought, all usual disclaimers apply.

What the heck is Resistant Materials? Is it just a posh name for woodwork?


Woodwork and metalwork - Technical drawing -  basically whatever took place in the old woodwork block at school.

Personally I wish I'd taken it - at least then I'd be able to put a skirting board up - I get fed up waiting for OH to do anything that involves a drill or screwdriver.

It's woodwork, and you misunderstand me, Corris. I loved woodwork at school, I loved art, textiles, food tech... I sweet talked the woodwork teacher into letting me do extra woodwork at lunchtime and made all my own Christmas presents one year. I did an Art Foundation post A level and did a lot of working with wood in this course and was as happy as Larry. I even made Alex a (not very good) dolls house from scratch!

Nothing would delight me more than if Alex developed his creative side in this way is what I am saying! And it would be valuable skills for future employment too.

Alex, however, spent his time visiting the woodwork room with his hands over his ears and looking very distressed. He's done some woodwork before, and wasn't really into it. Alex likes Science and Maths.

Food tech he will love, and if he can do food tech AND catering (which I don't know is possible) that's great, so it isn't really about not doing non academic subjects as such, but I'll admit my concern is doing enough academic subjects to give him a choice post GCSE given that some things (like English) he probably won't pass very well.

The issue with the options is that Alex will simply not have a choice mostly, I've already been told that most of the subjects simply won't accept him on the course given his total lack of experience. So Geog, French, music, History, German... all not available. Pity as Al wanted to do French. But the school say no. So there's often only one option in each block that will actually have him anyway. My thinking is why 'make' him do it if it isn't in his skill set and he doesn't really have an interest, why not focus on the areas where he is skilled and interested because surely, THAT is real choice isn't it?

(but I totally see where you are coming from :) )

Fair enough - but pleased you knew what I meant even though I put it so badly.

I guess the answer is just that he has to 'fit' into the 'system' just the same as every child does?

I know SS was forced to take a language at his school, he hated languages - it was one of many issues and eventually he moved to a school that didn't demand a language.

You just have to make your choices within the parameters that the scheduling allows - but they are right about subjects like languages, if he doesn't have the three years under his belt 'prepping' him for the GCSE exam then he'll find them impossibly difficult.  Although GCSE's start in the last two years, actually they start when they start secondary school.

Absolutely, which is why I'm not planning on making a fuss about it *grin* However the same goes for every option, he lacks the skills and/or knowledge for them all. They are (IMO) making the error of saying he can therefore only do certain ones that they percieve as for the less able students, whereas Alex's type of brain is likely to struggle far more with that than with, say, the accumulation of facts. I think he'd cope far better with starting French from scratch than starting Technology from scratch, I don't think he'd be a top grade student, but he'd manage.

We used to have Muzzy, we'd have mini 'joke' arguments in French, Alex loved it. That was years ago though. Learning the vocab would be easy for him for example as he has a good memory. I promised Alex we'd do French classes when he is adult instead, he was ok with that.

You didn't put it badly. I think sometimes I get sooo excited, after years of thinking 'all this is off limits for Alex' and then finding that OMG it is NOT!!!!... and then, after getting all excited, having people putting barriers in the way is just so damned frustrating!

I think you are no doubt absolutely right - he'd do better learning French from scratch, but who will teach him?  And in what time window?  Because there is no point in him joining in a GCSE class until he's brought up to speed - so there won't be a class going at the pace he'd need to hit.

It's the joining in late thing that's causing the problem isn't it - not the ability.

Can he drop a year?

EB, can i jsut ask, how come suddenly all this is not off-limits for Alex? I'm not trying to be negative, far from it, but why has he been kept in a special school for so long if he is able to cope in a mainstream school at GCSE level? If he can manage an OK English GCSE and good maths and science GCSEs, what has changed?

I am sure you've already said this - but is the plan for him to go into Y9 in September?