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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:26 am
Posts: 30
Hi,

My child starts GCSE's in September with the new system (9-1 grades) for Maths and English.

I do worry as he's very talented but I am at the end on my tether as he shows little motivation in his school work. I've read all the books, motivational theories on how to get the best out of teenagers. He comes from a good home where he has plently of his own place. (He has his own bedroom and a seperate room for studying with a sofa!)

I'm beginning to accept he is what he is and no amount of tips, tricks, motivational talks is ever doing to work.

Anyway back to my question his school has said everyone needs to do 11 GCSE's.

He's picked all academic subjects and I was thinking maybe he should drop one and do Drama as he's good at it and his grades were very good.

My thinking here is that Drama is 100% coursework with the final assessment way before the summer exams so he'll have 10 subjects to revise and not 11. I'm even thinking if he flunks Drama at least he can concentrade on the other 10 as I believe it's about the quality of grades rather than quantity. The pass mark for Drama for previous years is excellent with only 1 person failing to get a A-C in the last 2 years.

Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:36 am 
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I think you should leave him with his choices, he may be more committed to them. And I would add that all course work GCSEs are often very time consuming, so unless he has a passion for drama I would probably leave his choices as they are. It will take time from other subjects.

Things have changed considerably since my eldest did GCSEs a few years ago and she took 13 - far too many and unnecessary.

I should also say my 3 DC have had varying attitudes to school work and I used to fret about it terribly, but things come right in the end. 2 of mine have spent 3 years doing A levels - one chose unsuitably subjects despite advice and the other had problems when his access arrangements weren't communicated properly and he was stopped early in his exams. The extra year has been a real bonus for both of them and they achieved very high grades.
I find none of my teenagers have wanted my advice until they are almost not teenagers, so with my younger DC I am much more relaxed, give advice but tell them they make the decisions and accept the consequences - including poor grades if that happens.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:39 am 
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You can start doing 11 GCSEs but not sit them all at the end.

There can be flexibility as long as the school allows; usually they like at least 8 to be taken.

GCSE Drama usually has a written exam so is the course a BTec?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:26 am
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Thanks for your advice.

I've read that you should allow your child to fail but I can't quite allow myself to do this.

It's like watching your child cross a road knowing there's a car coming, you have to grab them and pull them back no matter how hard you grab them. You may not get any thanks but ulimately it saves ME a visit to the hospital and the inconvenience.

I'm seeing it in a simialr way (right or wrong, probably wrong) if I don't say anything he'll do even less work and if you ends up with bad grades ultimately I'll have to pickup the pieces as he won't be able to go to college or get a job so he'll continue to play GTA and watch youtube videos throughout his twenties!

I just don't know what to do anymore.................


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:54 am 
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My limited experience (my own O-levels and one child's GCSEs so far, but the second one shows signs of going the same way) is that any GCSE chosen as a result of parental encouragement, no matter how well meant, is going to result in a disappointing grade. I'd recommend that you support your son's decisions.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:00 am 
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basicbob wrote:
ultimately I'll have to pickup the pieces as he won't be able to go to college or get a job so he'll continue to play GTA and watch youtube videos throughout his twenties!


He does sound like one of mine :shock:

I think rather than 'pick up the pieces', I am supportive. So with the first I tried to sort the problems out for her, really that was no help at all. We went with this in the end and my subsequent DC: 'You chose this route, even though you were given advice from school and home - it is not our fault -, so these are now your choices ...' We will still provide you with a lovely home etc

It was not a disaster and high A level grades were achieved. I still have a Y12 making all sorts of poor choices (he ignores older siblings too), but me not nagging means we are still very close.

I am incredibly proud of my eldest 2 DC, they weren't stars at school and didn't work hard, but they have secured excellent uni places on challenging courses and now work very hard indeed. They will end up being some of the highest achievers of their old school years - and it has all come from within. I think, for them, they had to fail and discover what they wanted. It really has empowered them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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G55 - DS2 is also doing drama and has been told no written exam (not sure which board it is. I did think that was unusual but maybe boards vary?
I don't think everyone should be made to do 11, I wish they would reduce them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:26 am
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That's what I was thinking, try and get the highest grades over quantity.

Geography is 25% coursework which involves a residential field trip at the end of year 10. This takes up a lot of time apprently over 25 hours in controlled conditions and he will be having end of year 10 exams in Computer Science and Electronics which count towards his final grade.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:45 pm 
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Most schools have a set number and in reality there is little flexibility however if they are really struggling into year 11 there can be some concessions.

If he is bright then academic subjects may be less time consuming than Drama.

Sometimes giving them too much space can be detrimental. Maybe he needs to be studying in a less private location? I think I'd be very tempted to use the sofa rather than sit at a desk studying :wink:

For one DC we sat in the same room doing work or just reading. This did stop them drifting off or getting distracted. Not practical all the time of course but if you are quietly getting supper for example he could perfectly well be doing homework at the kitchen table.

Year 9 boys are notorious so you may find him better focussed once GCSE courses start.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:56 pm 
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Location: Herts
My dd just returned from that trip which was three days and now has to start the controlled assessment in the middle of end of term orchestras and bands and choirs.

We chose Geography over Drama as I was nervous about group assessments where someone laughing impacts your mark.

If my dds screw up then I will have to live with that, but I don't want a poor mark because of another dc not taking the assignment seriously.

I think Geography is a fantastic subject and very relevant for today.

At QE all boys have to do either History or Geography and many do both. I think that is a great decision by the school.

It is important for them to choose subject they enjoy though.

Today at the Cambridge Open day parents were told in no uncertain terms to back off and let their students make their own decisions. The presenter spoke about the students dropping out of Medicine and Law every year because it was the choice of their parents and not their own.

It is hard to imagine an 18 year old signing up for years of a course they do not want to do but it must happen because the presenter was very clear about it! DG


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