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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:00 am 
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I was just wondering if ours is a national situation or peculiar to dd's school. She is in year 9 and will be making her options choice in January. Apparently, they now consist of blocks of subjects and they have to select a block. However, she has no information about the blocks, nor has she received any careers advice. She is starting to stress as she doesn't like not knowing what her choices are. Does it all just slip into place next year or should we worry/be doing anything?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:07 am 
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Hello - some schools offer the additional subjects in blocks (after the core GCSEs which have to be taken) and students take an option from each block. Some school offer a free choice in addition to the core and then the blocks are formed.

Blocks are a convenience for the schools timetable so that all students have teaching at the same time in some subjects and not in others.

I would think there would be an Options booklet and/or a meeting for parents to explain what the choices are. I would not worry too much about careers advice as there aren't many advisers around now.

Some subjects have to be taken for GCSE if an A level might be a choice e.g. modern foreign language but others e.g. History need not be taken at GCSE.

Do ask if I can help further.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:40 am 
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Check the school web site and if there is nothing on there try a brief email to head of year asking when the information will be available. That should put DDs mind at rest.

Afraid these days careers advice is pretty much diy. Plenty of advice to be had on forums such as this but otherwise the internet comes into it's own.
At GCSE level, for most people, its more about keeping choices open as not many children have a chosen career path in year 9.

Many schools also have a parent consultation evening before choices are finalised so you can get an idea from teachers if DD would be suited to an optional subject.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:57 am 
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Agree with the above comments. Either contact the school or look up the term calender on the website for details of the parent consultation evening.

At ds1s school there were blocks for the non core subjects to ensure pupils took a spread of subjects and also probably for time tabling purposes. At the consultation meeting they usually give out option booklets with details of the exam boards and summaries of what is to be studied and the exams taken. You get to talk to the teachers and ask questions. The pupils attend and should also have assemblies on this. Ds2 has to chose early next year too. He has no real idea what he wants to do either. Your dd is probably panicking because she doesn't know the process, when you find out you can reassure her.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:12 am 
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Tell her not to worry - my ds1 had to choose at the end of Y8 as they do a 3 year GCSE course - the way the school timetabling is effectively controls the blocks - the blocks are, as most have said, for the non core subjects - i.e. her actual option choices.

The way the blocks are designed, coupled with the essential core subjects that she has no choice in, she will end up with a broad base of GCSEs which should keep her longer term options fairly open. Main thing is to try and take all 3 Sciences at at least doubles Science award (but preferably triple) if she wants to keep Science A levels/careers as an option.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:53 am 
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Location: Herts
I have just been through this two years in a row and both dd's are now happily embarked on their chosen subjects. It is wonderful to have them doing what they really enjoy. However the process was a bit fraught! The blocks are there to enable the school to create timetable for all the different combinations.

Why don't you contact a parent from Y10 or Y11 and ask them to give you a copy of the booklet from last year. It might change of course but at least it would give you some idea how it works.

Best place to start is to write down all the subjects and get rid of the ones you don't want to do and then start trying to get rid of more. We have five choices but two have to be languages so it is really three choices. Both of mine had four they wanted to do so it took a long time to get the three. In the end they dropped one that could be picked up at A level so it is not gone for ever! If you do a search on my forum name in this section you will see all my posts about it.

I got lots of advice from parents on here. Some parents I know did not put much thought into it and let their students get on with it and for some of them things are not going so well.

Make sure you can get 4 AS's out of your choices so look at syllabuses at A Level as well as GCSE. Languages especially get a lot more literature focused as you get into A levels. This trips up some students who like the language part of it and not so much of the study of the country and the literature. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:43 am 
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Quote:
Make sure you can get 4 AS's out of your choices so look at syllabuses at A Level as well as GCSE


A levels will have changed to linear by the time these choices will be made; AS exams after one year will be gone.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:06 am 
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Unless we have a change of government by then, in which case they may be back! :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:11 am 
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Syllabuses are already out for next September; I've not seen any intention to reverse this change from another party.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:26 am 
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DS is in yr 9 and we were having a conversation about GCSE choices yesterday.

Can someone clarify these please.
GCSEs are done at the end of year 11.
A level is done at the end of year 13.

What is A2 and what is AS?

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