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 Post subject: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:19 pm
Posts: 517
Location: bucks
AM very confused

My dd is at grammar school in bucks and just handed in his choices for gcse we where told last monday that they would 'prefer' if his GCSE's added up to the english baccalaureat, however he doesn't want to study history or geography as he really doesn't like writing essays (english is enough) he is sure he wants to do engineering/physics/maths at uni so chose german geology DT(electronics) and computing which seemed to us to be quite appropriate for him and his future plans, we where told that he may be made to change as these are a bit narrow, and don't qualify for the ebac.

My confusion is that the news seems to be saying that the government is scrapping the ebac so does it matter now, and also what are peoples feelings about his choices.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11931
Tree - this is the 'old' ebacc invented in August 2010 just after the GCSE results came out!

Really the choices sound fine and I'd insist on what your DC wants!


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4019
Location: Reading
I can't speak for physics or maths degrees, but I certainly had to write essays during my engineering degree.
EBacc is just a league table measure. Whilst I'd tend to agree with the school that his choices may be a bit narrow for GCSE, he shouldn't be restricted to making choices so that the school looks a bit better in league tables. Many schools aren't that bothered. If he is certain of what he wants to do at uni and you are happy with it then go for it.

Check it is computer science and not ICT. (Learning about programming and hardware rather than just learning how to use them).



I don't know whether the EBacc will continue to be used in its present form.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:19 pm
Posts: 517
Location: bucks
thank's for the rapid excellent input as usual :) it is definitely computing not ICT and actually has some programming in it although one paper that does look a bit ICT like ! and the geology looks really cool.

essays in engineering :shock: , I won't mention this to him yet maybe a bit of a shock still he'll be older then so hopefully will cope.

Will wait and see what happens have put economics and geography as reserves.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3810
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
There isn't much essay writing in either history or geography. All the questions are short. However, when Gove revises the GCSEs he wants there to be a significant increase in the essay writing content. Your DS should be safe for now as geography and history are following behind English and maths. The head of OFQUAL has also warned against too much haste.

Although I don't think the eBacc should dictate your sons choices, I do think that as much breadth as possible as long as possible is a good thing. Half (?) of geography is very science like.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8112
Geog is probably rather less essay writing than Hist - but agree don't let the choice be dictated by the ebacc. my 2 have done it just because it suited their GCSEs but high acheiving friends haven't just because they wanted to do latin, greek or RE instead of hist or Geog


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
Being able to write essays is being able to put forward an argument and back it up with valid points. This is surely a life skill that will really help in many jobs. It is just writing down what you need to be able to do verbally.

I spent years working with super bright graduates from MIT who were totally unable to deal with the customer. I had to act as middle man. Lots of people used to ask me if I felt overwhemed by working with such bright colleagues. This was laughable, their academic ability just did not translate into a marketplace where having the customer trust you and understand you was key.

I would suggest your ds gets to grips with essay writing. Point, evidence, explain, link, its hardly rocket science! DG


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:57 pm
Posts: 1167
I think Geography might go quite nicely with engineering.

Q. "What are you going to 'build', how, where and why"? Some understanding can be found in Geography. Three of mine did Geography and all those economic, political, social, population etc. case studies (along with geology, volcanoes, weather, earthquakes) has given them valuable insight into important matters that they might otherwise have missed. It was a good subject for them. Another of mine chose History and that was the right choice for that child and again, a good subject. Forget the essay writing, just having an awareness of the world around them, either through History or Geography, has benefited mine.

Of course your DS must do as he pleases - each to their own. :D But maybe ask him to think again and look at the wider aspects of knowledge gained from studying Geography (and / or History). Maybe he ends up a Geophysicist? Also worth bearing in mind too, if he continues with his current choices he will most likely still be able to take either History and or Geography at A level having not studied them at GCSE. Maybe check though?

I do think Y9 is too young to have decided what you're going to do at university! (I must be getting old?)


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:19 pm
Posts: 517
Location: bucks
Thanks guys all very interesting, we have discussed these issues with ds, i think there is an issue with general literacy and science/engineering degrees, a friend of mine whose child in year 12 wants to go to cambridge to do engineering was told at an open day that all they where really interested in was the applicant proving they could do the maths and the more maths and physics experience they had the better, they where positvely uninterested in non stem subjects and extra curricular activities.

I suppose DS will still have to do essays in english and Rs, he also plans to do german for AS. He has not been under any pressure from us to choose his university subjects this has all come from him.

I suspect it probably doesn't make alot of difference, there is also an issue these days that top uni's are looking at percentage a/a*'s and not seeming to bother what they are in so to some extent choosing gcse's that you are more likely to get a better grade in is maybe more relevant.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE and EBAC
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:28 pm
Posts: 950
Location: Bucks
I think it's far healthier he chooses subjects he enjoys or shows an aptitude for. If he's anything like my son then there is absolutely no chance of him putting in any sort of performance into a subject he has no enjoyment of. Hence why my ds will not be taking either art or music with grades of 4b :lol: :lol:

Your sons subjects look fine to me, don't think it's going to kill him not taking either history or geography if his ability/interest lie elsewhere.

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