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 Post subject: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:23 pm
Posts: 3
My DD is deciding her GCSEs at her beloved grammar school.

Apart from the compulsory ones (Triple Science, Maths and Double English), she's undecided for some of the rest.

She's very good at almost every subject but, most importantly, she has no idea yet about what to do at A levels/Uni.

Parents evening ended up to be quite confusing - especially for me - because some teachers strongly encouraged her
to take subjects that she was quite sure to have already eliminated (eg. Greek, Computing and German).

Anyway, she has just finally excluded: Music - Drama - Art - Classics

100% sure: History - DT - Spanish

She has to pick 2 among: French - Latin - RS - Geography

She would like to choose a combination that will keep her the most oppurtunities open, but she believes that 3 languages (French, Latin and Spanish) would be too much.

However, she does also believes that Latin could be useful in the future, e.g. in job/uni applications.

Recently, she often recalls when - during the 11+ interview at the top Indie school - the motivation she gave towards studying Latin and her interest about Latin and Greek roots in modern English, impressed and probably made a strong impact behind the important bursary offer the school sent to us.

Has Latin this importance?

What would be your suggestions between French and Latin or RS and Geography combined with the already chosen subjects?

I do not want to interfere, just listen to your opinions and give an objective and sensible support before she submits her application.

Most of DD's classmates know what to do.

Many thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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To be brutally honest, apart from grades, universities and most employers won't give a monkeys about GCSE Latin or RE or any other none compulsory subject. GCSEs aren't that significant in the grand scheme of things and are a stepping stone to moving on - yes Latin A level migh be impressive if she wants to study classics or something but most unis/employers will glance at the grades she gets at her GCSEs (usually checking Maths/English/Science) but not be bothered about the subject per se.

Ignore the teachers at parents evening (unless they are saying don't do a subject) - they all have to market themselves - it gets worse at A level options - to keep their numbers up for funding - of course they want your DD to choose those subjects - they are likely to be fringe subjects for the school - and without numbers might not be able to run - so they big them and the student up at PE to try and persuade the child to take them.

Tell her to select the ones she enjoys most (as she is likely to work harder on them and get a better grade, rather than selecting ones she thinks look good to other people - it might be impressive from Primary to Secondary but unlikely to have the impact you imagine later down the line) - and if she thinks there is a chance she will take any of them further (eg to A level) then select that subject. Personally, if someone isn't 100% sure about their future prospects, then I would advise they look at Geog - it sits well between Science and Humanities and is increasingly about the world and our impact on it so is useful from an environmental perspective too. Geography graduates are, again, the most employable graduates this year! I regret dropping it at O level back in the day!


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:36 pm
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Location: High Wycombe
+1 KCG
I remember sitting in a local grammar school options evening talk by the then Dep Head (a man known for his straight talking) who gave this advice. “To students - 1. Don’t be swayed by my lovely teachers all trying to persuade you to study their subjects. 2. If you don’t have a career path in mind (and 95% of you won’t at this age), go with a broad mix of what you enjoy across the subjects, they are a stepping stone to higher qualifications. To parents - 1. Don’t live your unfulfilled career paths through your children. 2. We have been doing this a long time, and we are up to date with what universities want from students, so please be guided by what we are saying about requirements”. I am paraphrasing but you get my point.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 6823
Location: Reading
MrsChubbs wrote:
+1 KCG
I remember sitting in a local grammar school options evening talk by the then Dep Head (a man known for his straight talking) who gave this advice. “To students - 1. Don’t be swayed by my lovely teachers all trying to persuade you to study their subjects. 2. If you don’t have a career path in mind (and 95% of you won’t at this age), go with a broad mix of what you enjoy across the subjects, they are a stepping stone to higher qualifications. To parents - 1. Don’t live your unfulfilled career paths through your children. 2. We have been doing this a long time, and we are up to date with what universities want from students, so please be guided by what we are saying about requirements”. I am paraphrasing but you get my point.


Sounds like a very good Deputy head there.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:23 pm
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MrsChubbs wrote:
+1 KCG
I remember sitting in a local grammar school options evening talk by the then Dep Head (a man known for his straight talking) who gave this advice. “To students - 1. Don’t be swayed by my lovely teachers all trying to persuade you to study their subjects. 2. If you don’t have a career path in mind (and 95% of you won’t at this age), go with a broad mix of what you enjoy across the subjects, they are a stepping stone to higher qualifications. To parents - 1. Don’t live your unfulfilled career paths through your children. 2. We have been doing this a long time, and we are up to date with what universities want from students, so please be guided by what we are saying about requirements”. I am paraphrasing but you get my point.


Thank you!!


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:23 pm
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kenyancowgirl wrote:
To be brutally honest, apart from grades, universities and most employers won't give a monkeys about GCSE Latin or RE or any other none compulsory subject. GCSEs aren't that significant in the grand scheme of things and are a stepping stone to moving on - yes Latin A level migh be impressive if she wants to study classics or something but most unis/employers will glance at the grades she gets at her GCSEs (usually checking Maths/English/Science) but not be bothered about the subject per se.

Ignore the teachers at parents evening (unless they are saying don't do a subject) - they all have to market themselves - it gets worse at A level options - to keep their numbers up for funding - of course they want your DD to choose those subjects - they are likely to be fringe subjects for the school - and without numbers might not be able to run - so they big them and the student up at PE to try and persuade the child to take them.

Tell her to select the ones she enjoys most (as she is likely to work harder on them and get a better grade, rather than selecting ones she thinks look good to other people - it might be impressive from Primary to Secondary but unlikely to have the impact you imagine later down the line) - and if she thinks there is a chance she will take any of them further (eg to A level) then select that subject. Personally, if someone isn't 100% sure about their future prospects, then I would advise they look at Geog - it sits well between Science and Humanities and is increasingly about the world and our impact on it so is useful from an environmental perspective too. Geography graduates are, again, the most employable graduates this year! I regret dropping it at O level back in the day!


Thank you, I wiil pass your advice to her!


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:43 am 
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 10:49 am
Posts: 180
A high score in Latin tends to demonstrate a higher intellect. Useful for unis, jobs, any interview. But only take Latin if you like/love it.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing GCSEs
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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Not especially at GCSE level - there it is more about rote learning and the fact that the majority of schools who offer it are Grammar Schools (thereby having a selective entry, it is unsurprising that grades tend to be higher). At A level or degree, yes, a high grade is well respected.


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