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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:41 am 
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Went to 3 girls' grammars. All with slightly different AL programmes. As I understand it:

1) Fort Pitt Grammar - All students go through the AL prog. Expected to take GCSEs early, in Year 10. I think they take all their GCSE early. Then spend Year 11 doing extra GCSE, As, or resitting particilar GCSE for a better grade.

2) Chatham Grammar - Only some students go through the AL prog, based on teachers' assessments of their ability. This year, I believe about 25 of the cohort are doing this. Students can take some subjects early - depending on readiness, choice of subj to take early is wide and open I believe.

3) Rochester Grammar - Only 1/3 of students go through the AL prog, based on teachers' asst of ability. Only allowed to take 2 core subj early, ie choose from Eng, Math or Science.

My question is:
1) Why only 1/3 of RGS girls when we know they cherry pick and take the best scores, although they admit from across the ranges? Surely that can't constitute 2/3 of their intake? Ant thinks (having taught GCSE students in non-grammar schools) that ALL grammar students should be ready to take at least some subj early and that RGS is holding them back so they can get A/ A*. Will this disadvantage our children as they have to compete with other very bright children and only the top 1/3 get to do AL?

2) Is it better then to do a variety of subjects early, as in Fort Pitt, as long as they get an A or B. Then, let them either redo it the following year to better their grade, or sit for several other GCSEs. This allows them to experience a wider range of subjects, so they can make informed decisions as to which to focus on for A levels. As opposed to RGS which ensures that 2/3 sit their GCSE normally in Year 11 to try and get their A and A*.

Any ideas/ comments?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:34 am 
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Or they could just do their GCSEs at the end of Year 11, not do accelerated learning at all, and have time and mental energy for other things during year 10, like music, DofE, parties, volunteering, sport and all the other things that school is about apart from exams?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:56 am 
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It seemed to me there was plenty of all that going on in all three of the girls' grammars - certainly RGS and FP do brilliantly at sport and all of the schools had volunteer schemes that they support. In non-selective schools GCSEs are done at the end of Y11 - but grammar students are working at a different pace surely - so why hold them back? Anyway I think if GCSEs go wrong in Y10 it's great to have another year to sort it out. If things go wrong in Y11 - that's it.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:17 am 
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Why is it holding them back? They aren't going to go into the 6th form any younger - and I can't see the point in continuously living is a state of low level exam stress. If they have prepared properly then they will get good marks at the end of year 11.

The modular system is better for less able children because they can take the exams in bite sized chunks and resit if necessary. But for able children I honestly can't see any point in doing them early.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:29 am 
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There is also a bit of a question mark about how universities view early entry GCSEs. Some concern has been expressed that they prefer these to be completed in one sitting.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:05 am 
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Universities are increasingly looking at GCSE results, what grade they are and if they are retakes. They do not like to see the retakes and there is still alot of uncertainly as to how they view 4 a levels taken over 3 years - eg. at fort pitt the girsl begin to As's in year 11 then add 2 more in year 12. If all these are taken through to A2 level then this is 4 A's over 3 years. The uni's like to see at least 3 A levels over 2 years.

So with this in mind i do not agree with the whole year doing all/most of their gcse's early. I think that most of the year could end up with a higher percentage of A and A* grades if they were not accelarated. Chatham girls seem to have it right with the highest ability girls doing only some of them early, and RGS going on the right lines too.

I dont agree with it, i dont think its a case of holding the children back i think that year 11 becomes a really "messy year" which may cause complications with uni applications later on.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:05 am 
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katel wrote:
Or they could just do their GCSEs at the end of Year 11, not do accelerated learning at all, and have time and mental energy for other things during year 10, like music, DofE, parties, volunteering, sport and all the other things that school is about apart from exams?


Agree entirely. I worry about the maturity level of doing it early and am grateful my DCs are at grammar schools that don't accelerate!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:12 am 
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Location: Aylesford
Where did you get your information from about RGS accelerated learning? My dd is in year 8 at RGS, and at a recent meeting we discovered that they take their GCSE options to begin in Year 9 (2 year course), but from the three core subjects of Maths, English and Science can only take 2 out of the 3 if assessed suitable. That would mean they took most subjects in Year 10, with only a couple of subjects held over to Year 11, where they go on to take either extra GCSEs of their own choice or AS levels.
Additionally, each child is individually assessed and their subject choice is tailored to them, particularly further up the school, so fulfilling the needs of each individual. They don't start their A levels until Year 12, where they usually take 3 or 4 as I understand it, but also offer the IB, which is becoming increasingly popular. RGS always say they do not have a system as such when it comes to subject choices, they believe in individuals rather than systems.
By the way, I don't work for them, I am just speaking as a parent, and of what I have observed!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:39 am 
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I am glad we have such great choice in Medway and that an accelerated curriculum is part of everyone of the girls' schools. Speaking to students on our visits they are all very proud of their schools and enjoy what they are studying. So it's still a difficult choice, but a heck of a lot easier than had she not passed the 11+.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:13 am 
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.


Last edited by Belinda on Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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