It was great to see a packed house on Thursday evening as we launched the Options for our Year 9 cohort. As promised, I will answer all the questions raised on the night, below. Hopefully these answers will help discussions at home and also inform parents of other year groups for the coming years. At the bottom of the questions is also a link to the PowerPoint I used on the evening.
Q1. Is Creative iMedia considered to be an Art subject?
A. No. The only courses that clash in this respect are GCSE Art and GCSE Photography. It links to Art because there is a design element and the opportunity to use digital photography.
Q2. Why aren't more subjects GCSE level?
A. With English (2 GCSEs), Maths, Combined Science (2 GCSEs), Triple Science (3 GCSEs), History, Geography, Spanish, Computing, Art, Photography and Music we feel that the GCSE offer is strong. Students can choose a full suite of GCSEs if they wish and we will be encouraging lots of students to do so. The other subjects we offer are to ensure all types of learners at LECA have the best possible chance of success.
Q3. Can options be dropped if they are struggling with the workload?
A. We hope by the time students choose their options they will be fully informed about the workload and will know what to expect in Year 10 and 11. However, in some circumstances, they do make the wrong choices and will be allowed to swap subjects as long as there is space in the groups they want to join and we identify the issue early on.
Q4. Is the Arts Silver Award a waste of an option?
A. That depends on how you look at it. If Art is a subject you enjoy but you are not being advised to take GCSE Art, it is still worth doing. It is still a recognised qualification but would not count towards College or 6th Form Applications. It can still appear on personal statements and your CV.
Q5. Can students change their minds after they've made their choices?
A. The portal is open for 2 weeks and during that time students can log on, make choices and change their minds as much as they want. Once the portal is closed, their choices will be processed.
Q6. Will RE be an option?
A. We are currently trying to find a way to offer RE as an option. Some schools no longer do this but we are keen to find a way to do it if we can. We will update parents with any news on this as soon as we have it.
Q7. What's the difference between Business Studies GCSE and Marketing and Enterprise BTEC?
A. Put simply, Business Studies is the study of different models of businesses and how they work which is far more theoretical. It is also 100% exam. Marketing and Enterprise is a hands on course in which students design a business, cost it out and then pitch it to a panel, much like Dragons' Den. We felt this was a much more 'real life' and exciting way to learn about business in the modern world while also offering students a more flexible approach to assessment.
Q8. Does a student have to choose 3 choices from Block 2?
A Yes. But the subjects from Block 1 will also appear in there too so we think the range of choices is broad enough for everyone.
Q9. BTEC Level 1/2 isn't a qualification is it?
A BTECs are awarded at both levels. We will be pushing all students to achieve Level 2 which is the equivalent to a good GCSE pass. In exceptional cases students do not reach this level but do achieve Level 1 which is still a nationally recognised level and will contribute to their points when they apply to further education. Students should be aware that if they intend to apply to Hills Road or Long Road, however, that these institutions prefer a suite of qualifications made up mainly of GCSEs rather than BTECs.
Q10 Will Triple Science count as one of the Options?
A. No. We purposefully avoided doing this so students could have the full range of choices. It will be delivered during normal Science lessons
Q. Will students be forced to take subjects they don't like if we can't offer a subject they have chosen?
A No. We will have discussions with parents and students before allocating a replacement subject and come to an agreed solution.
Q Can we have a breakdown of what subjects include such as Design Technology?
A. Yes. We hold the Options Fair in January and publish the course booklets soon after that. Both the fair and the booklet will provide detailed information for each course so parents and students will be fully informed.
Q. Will there be a 6th form or university at this school?
A. Possibly a 6th Form one day but unlikely to be a university! There are no firm plans for a 6th Form at the moment but we would love to have one if it was financially viable.
Q. What will it cost?
A. First of all we were surprised by this question! Apart from ingredients for cooking, it won't cost students anything to access the curriculum they choose.
I really hope that helps everyone. Please do email if you need any more information at this point.
Please find a link to the presentation here
Head of School, LECA