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 Post subject: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:42 pm
Posts: 987
Location: Birmingham
Hello all :D

Feels weird to be back here but I just wanted check if those of you with more experience can offer any insights. I went to the year 9 options evening recently for DS1 (not that they have many 'options' as they can only pick 3 - the rest are compulsory).

DS1 was told he can't do German (or any MFL) as an option as he still level 5 and they don't think he would pick up his grades enough to make even a C at GCSE. He does struggle with languages but I would have thought they wouldn't block someone from doing a language GCSE if they wanted it. I guess it makes sense to drop it but would it be against him to drop a language now? He wants to study it and I know he doesn't find it easy but he has never really put enough effort into it.

HGS also seem to have a thing where you have until the 6th March to hand in the forms with your options but they say if you want to increase your chances of getting the options you want, you need to get your forms in sooner as they will offer any over-subscribed courses to those who get their names in first. Is this usual practice across secondary schools?

A couple of us parents found it strange and there were some parents in mad ramble to get teachers to sign off their choices that very night to increase chances. We haven't actually decided yet but when one of the parents asked the assistant head and headteacher about why they can't find a fairer way that gives parents the time to decide without feeling they might lose out for taking time, they were apparently very defensive and said this is the system schools use everywhere. Is this true?

She said Mr Bird practically jumped down her throat and talked to her as if she was stupid for asking! So I guess I won't be going to him to challenge this :shock: I do think they should have a way to negotiate popular options with the pupils instead of first-come first-served.

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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
No we don't have 'first come, first served' for options. We'd rather they thought about it and we just have a deadline to hand the form in. Even then we would chase before beginning to look at the choices.

What wrong with level 5 in a language? Again we would not block this if the student wanted to take it.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:54 pm
Posts: 483
Hi UmSusu - long time no see!

My daughter is in Year 9 at KEVIHS and we're going through the options choice thing too. The school certainly don't run a first come first served system. They did say that they would try to accommodate the girls' options as far as possible but it might be possible that they might not be able to do so. However, I got the impression that this was unlikely to happen. There aren't a massive selection of options though and in fact, once my daughter had gone for all the obvious ones (compulsory 3 science, 2 English, maths, computing, then history, geography & MFL), she's just choosing between Food Tech and Music.

There was no mention of a minimum level to be allowed to do a GCSE. And they all *have* to do a MFL and one humanities and then choose two between another MFL, another humanity or two and various techie type subjects (art, drama, music, food tech, textiles). It's very disappointing to hear that a grammar school is preventing boys from doing MFL. And the school will be down on the English bacc measure as a result. Although that is perhaps not going to feature greatly in tables and what not. What measures have the school put in place to help your son with his German? Is this just an excuse because the teacher isn't actually very good?

I hope the school is able to give you a satisfactory result and that your son gets to study the subjects he enjoys.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:50 pm 
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I find this quite strange, especially the first come first serve thing and it definitely isn't the norm as far as I know.

I thought children had to do a MFL to get the EBacc hence all schools strongly advised children to do either French, German or Spanish. In KES, boys choose a third language (after French and Latin) in Year 9 and they are allowed to do this for GCSE even though they have only been doing it for a year by the time they take up their options in Year 10. Also children can take the subjects they want and it's the teachers job to sort out the timetable. Although they say they can't guarantee all boys can do what they want, it's very rare that anyone has to change their options if they can't be timetabled with everyone else.

What are the compulsary subjects and how many do they do in total?

Edit cross posted re EBacc!


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Quote:
I thought children had to do a MFL to get the EBacc hence all schools strongly advised children to do either French, German or Spanish


We don't make students do a language becuase the Ebacc is not a real qualification. In fact, quite a few Bucks GS think the same way as we do.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:51 pm
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At CHB they have three optional subjects but they pick five and prioritise them 1 to 5. Once the forms are in the school tries to create a timetable from the first three choices, if they can't make that work for someone they'll look at substituting the 3rd choice with 4th or 5th (sounds to me as though the school is undertaking a horribly complex job there).

French is compulsory at CHB, German is optional. I've never heard of minimum levels but I wouldn't be surprised if someone was advised to think again if they were really struggling. But I was under the impression level 5 is pretty much expected level for attainment for Y9 so unless HGS expects to add no value in the next two years he should be on track for a C?


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2093
Location: Birmingham
How time flies :D
This year I have Yr 9 GCSE options for ds2 and ds1 has just tentatively confirmed his A level options :shock:

This section of the forum offers useful advice on GCSE options. I remember popping over there a few years ago!

https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum ... m.php?f=56

BTW French is not compulsory at CHB any more at GCSE - or ds1 would have run away by now and ds2 would be planning on joining him :lol: The boys have to choose either French or German or can take both if they wish. Mine went/will go for German :D


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:29 am 
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Just to add from the info re CHB, my lad in yr10 was also given the impression that it might not be possible to get exactly the (limited) options choices he wanted, hence the back up choices outlined above. However, certainly no one he knew didn't get what they wanted to do.

No mention at all of first come first served and not even a hint that you might not be able to take a subject which you hadn't performed particularly well at so far.

Post the yr9 exams, after the options were sorted, my son had a real wobble about his German, suddenly feeling he could not pull off both languages afterall. He went back to the head of year asking to do geography instead and they were able to sort this out for him.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:42 pm
Posts: 987
Location: Birmingham
Thank you all for the replies :D

I agree, they must not have much confidence in their teaching if they feel they can't get a pupil a C grade in a language unless they are already a Level 6. I am pretty sure DS will get over it :roll: but I have to say I am quite diappointed with their approach.

As for the options, I can see that they may not always be able to accommodate first choices in everything, but isn't that why they ask for an order of preference and a back up? Surely, they should have an equal footing to begin with and then negotiate any difficulties individually?

I think the problem is how unapproachable Mr Bird is - he is almost stroppy :? . The other parent found them to be quite annoyed that anyone would question anything they do. He may have made some positive changes, but a good relationship with parents is quite basic: I am not very impressed either.

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 Post subject: Re: Year 9 Options
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:40 pm 
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Posts: 11936
You now have plenty of examples that 'other schools DON'T do it'.

Choosing options is crucial if KS4 is going to be enjoyable and students are going to get the results they need to move on. I would not be impressed either ...


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