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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:07 pm 
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Location: S E London
I seem to remember reading somewhere that some universities require a certain number of GCSEs to have been taken at the same time, but I can't remember where.

My son (in year 10) has to sit a number of GCSEs this year, leaving him with 7 to sit next year alongside AS maths and one other choice, which can be from a list of AS or GCSE subjects. I wanted to make sure that 7 GCSEs in one go was enough - if not I shall 'suggest' he takes another GCSE rather than an AS.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:01 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
An AS can count as a GCSE. Universities have differing opinions on GCSEs taken early. They all seem to agree that no allowance or flexibility of grades should be allowed, i.e. an A in yr 10 is the equivalent of an A in yr 11.

DS had the choice of taking German AS or Russian GCSE. I think that the German would have been a better route as he had an A* at GCSE, which would have given him a solid foundation. He has found French AS fine.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:20 am 
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I think what the Universities tend to look for, by whatever system they use, is that applicants can demonstrate the ability to cope with the rigours of the course .
So obvously they are looking at GCSE grades but also that sufficient work was undertaken in year 11. So if two applicants have the same number of grades and one has taken them all in 'one go' while the other sat some in year 9 or year 10 them the former might be preferred on that basis.
However, if an applicant has taken other academic qualifications alongside the reduced number of GCSEs in year 11 then that would also serve to demonstrate that they can cope with the workload.

I would imagine that as the number of schools playing things this way increases the Universities will be more aware and take it into account when assessing the suitabilty of students who have been at a school where this is imposed on them, as they do for example if a student comes from a school where 4 A2s is the norm or where Further Maths isn't offered.

If it is necessary then an applicant or the school can mention the reason for an 'odd' qualification profile in their personal statement/reference.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:59 pm
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DD's school employs a system of split GCSEs (don't ask!), with half taken in Y10 and half in Y11. Setting aside the desirability - or otherwise :D - of this I did ring several university admissions departments, including Bath, Loughborough, Birmingham and Manchester, to ask whether this could be a potential problem.

I was tole unequivocally not for exactly the reason that KB outlines, namely that it wouldn't be fair to penalise children for a school system over which they have no control.

Of course there is still the question as to whether GCSEs should be done early at all given moved's point that no allowances are made for this, but some of us are stuck with this system.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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Quote:
I would imagine that as the number of schools playing things this way increases the Universities will be more aware and take it into account when assessing the suitabilty of students
I truly hope that the number of schools 'playing things this way' will reduce rather than increase, as with the removal of modular exams there will be less scope for them continually getting students to re-sit to attain higher grades. One big reason it's become so widespread is that schools with a weaker demographic have looked to boost their middle class appeal by moving up the league tables. They've done this on the back of increased numbers of A*-C grades- often Cs, to be frank- and often attained after students have serially resat modules to get there.

'Playing' is a very good word there, KB- unfortunately it's pupils' lives they are playing with.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
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Location: S E London
Many thanks for your replies. My son has to choose another subject to study next year from a mixture of GCSEs and AS levels. Although I'm not happy with the early AS level idea (as he is already doing maths AS) he is keen on AS Electronics, which would fit in with his current plans to study physics or engineering at uni. I wanted to make sure that this wouldn't go against him at the applying to uni stage.

We are stuck with this system whether we like it or not. I'm pretty sure this wasn't mentioned when we looked around the school, and even if it was I don't think I would have realised it could be a problem. Apart from anything else the need to revise has limited our family's holiday options for 2 years rather than one, and it has limited out of school opportunites too, which in my opinion are more valuable than early GCSEs.

Amber - nearly all the schools around here have introduced choosing GCSE options at the end of year 8, thus reducing the curriculum considerably in year 9. I suspect many of them will enter students in year 10 and then re=enter in year 11. One school enters everyone for maths GCSE in November of year 11 so that any that do not pass can have another go later in the year. I feel sorry for the kids that get A or B and so don't retake, when given another 6 months they may have got A*.

My daughter starts year 7 in September and we looked hard for a school that doesn't choose options in year 8, but alas no such school existed, apart from one in the process of changing the head so it was a bit of an unknown there. Every student we asked was unhappy about choosing so early.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:54 pm 
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Quote:
One big reason it's become so widespread is that schools with a weaker demographic have looked to boost their middle class appeal by moving up the league tables

Amber, I couldn't possibly comment on your scurrilous allegation…*

* but yes :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:55 pm 
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2CM- I think it's really regrettable and all I can suggest is that parents complain to the governors of a school when this happens, or at least write to them asking for a robust explanation of why it is being done. 12 is far too young to be making choices which will influence a child's entire life; that it is being done for the benefit of schools is a kind of tyranny, especially as it is often sold to parents as A Good Thing for their child, and many otherwise sensible folk are seduced by the school improvement rhetoric.

Can you tell this is a bit of a bugbear of mine? :evil:

Cross posts Rob.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
The ability to do GCSE's in November, January and March is being removed. I just did the last set of November, January, March exams. Next year everything will be in May/June so it will not be so easy to do this cooking of the books. I think it is sad that Y8 students are being forced to choose after just four terms of a subject. My Y9 dd had seven terms and we found it hard enough. Our local school was boasting of students with 18 GCSe's. We were struggling to think of 18 different subjects. 8 academic subjects at one time with really good results is considered to be the mark of a very strong student. So yes I would advise you to make sure your dc does that in Y11. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:31 pm 
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Ofsted are scrutinising early entry during inspections as all the research says it is not a good idea.


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