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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:21 pm 
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When choosing GCSE options a lot of pupils feel like they have to reluctantly choose between one of Geography or History and drop the other. I know its possible to do both but if they're also doing triple science, a MFL, compulsary RS and a creative subject it can often come down to a choice between Geog and Hist.

Would it not be better for schools to have a combined Humanities subject which would include Geography, History and RS in the same way as they do currently for science?

They could then choose to do either single, double or triple Humanities depending on ability or preference (just like in science) and it would mean that everyone would have at least a basic knowledge of all the subjects to GCSE level.

Are there any Humanities teachers out there who have reasons why this wouldn't work better than the existing system?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:38 pm 
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I believe it wouldn't count for the Ebacc which some school are obsessed by.

Is it a permitted subject under the GCSE reforms? This AQA page suggests not:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/humaniti ... ities-4070


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:15 pm 
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Would it not be a good idea in principle though to ensure that everyone got a basic grounding in all the humanities?

Presumably that's the reason it was done in GCSE science as oppose to when I was at school and the 3 sciences were all seperate meaning that many people dropped say Physics or Biology after year 9 (or third year as it was then!).


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:44 pm 
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Proud_Dad wrote:
Would it not be a good idea in principle though to ensure that everyone got a basic grounding in all the humanities?

It would actually be a really good idea if our children weren't made to specialise so young in this idiotic 'options' system and were given a broad education until they were 16, or better still 18, as in most civilised countries, where a spread of subjects remains compulsory long after ours have decided that certain things are not for them.

GCSEs should be scrapped altogether imho and the option of dropping subjects when you are 14 should be consigned to History, or Mixed Humanities, or whatever you want to call it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:22 pm 
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Geography, History and RS are all core A level subjects which would require the GCSE.

I know plenty of dc who have done all three along with an MFL, Triple Science and Music/Art/Drama.

This is a great combination in my opinion. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:31 pm 
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RS is not a facilitating subject at A level

Facilitating A levels are:

Chemistry,physics, biology(NOT human biology-although some med schools will accept it in lieu of biology)

Geography, history and Eng Lit ( NOT Eng Language)

MFL and/or Ancient languages ( Latin,Greek,Hebrew ,Sanskrit) but only if the language is a second or third language NOT first language.

Maths and Further Maths.

RS/Philosophy are highly respected and a very good 3rd A level options but they are not facilitating subjects for RG unis

The problem with doing >10 gcse is that universities including Oxbridge only really look at the top 8 gcse in relevant subjects ie total A*, the A*/A ratio and the historical data with regards to the school the student attends, all of these could be diluted particularly now we have linear/terminal gcse potentially putting students doing 11-13 gcse at a disadvantage.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:32 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
Geography, History and RS are all core A level subjects which would require the GCSE.

I know plenty of dc who have done all three along with an MFL, Triple Science and Music/Art/Drama.

This is a great combination in my opinion. DG


Aren't Physics, Chemistry and Biology also core A level subjects? I would have thought a full GCSE in a science subject was even more essential for continued study at A level, but for some reason science is offered as a combined subject at GCSE. Why should science be treated differently to humanities?

Your suggested combination of options add up to 11 GCSE's (assuming also Maths + 2 English) and many schools only allow for a maximum of 10, hence the reason this is a common problem.

I agree with Amber in principle (not for the first time!), but given that we are unlikely to scrap GCSE options completely in the near future, having a combined humanities course might be a good way to ensure that everyone learns a bit of Geography and History beyond the age of 14.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:03 am 
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@ P-D

what bit of history would you suggest?

The present gcse History course is already so narrow that it is next to useless, I cannot see how cutting the syllabus by half or a third (if we include RS) would be useful or robust.

My understanding is that for those doing double science that want to do a full A level have to do catch up classes in the subject that they may want to pursue at A Level since otherwise the jump up from gcse to A level would be too big.

The step-up in STEM subjects from gcse to A level is quite arduous and this is one reason I am generally against double science and for the strengthening of the gcse Maths syllabus.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:16 pm 
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Combined Science was supposed to be for those who were not academic enough for Triple Science. This is certainly how it is used in my dd's school where 85% of students do Triple Science despite the fact that only 32.5% of the 200 in the year are academically selected.

However it seems that some selective schools only allow a small percentage of their students to do it.

This is something that parents should be looking out for when looking at secondary schools.

120 of the 180 boys who choose QE as their first rank on their CAF form and get a place will not be offered the chance to do Triple Science for GCSE. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:30 pm 
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Daogroupie wrote:
Combined Science was supposed to be for those who were not academic enough for Triple Science.

I don't think that was how it was designed or marketed! There is a lot of intellectual snobbery about this and it seems to be regarded erroneously by some people as a kind of 'gold standard' badge of academic superiority. Some very well regarded schools don't offer it; the additional 1/3 extra content isn't actually the most difficult third at all - that tends to be the 'middle' bit which all students do.

Some young people know they don't want to continue to study sciences at A level so see little point in wasting a GCSE choice on it when they could do a course more suited to their interests and strengths. And even though the triple courses are regarded as better preparation for those who do want to do A levels in sciences, they aren't a prerequisite and I know several very successful young scientists, including one doing Medicine and one doing Dentistry at university, who did the dual award, certainly didn't do 'catch up' classes, and went on to get A* in Chemistry and Biology A levels.


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