How many GCSEs should my son/daughter take?
There is no single right answer to this question and you should consider all the information above as well as taking advice from the school before coming to this decision. Pupils at Eaton Square Senior School generally start on the path to take 9 GCSEs.
How are GCSEs graded and what is a pass?
The 9-1 grading scheme was brought in alongside a new GCSE curriculum in England. The highest grade is 9, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded).
Three number grades – 9, 8 and 7 – correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A – this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end. The old A* is considered to be equivalent to a grade 8 and a good pass (formerly a C) is now somewhere in the region of a 4 or 5. A 9 is designated as a pupil who has performed exceptionally and is reserved for a very few results in the country.
As a general guideline to National results, in 2019, 20.7% of results were grade 7 or above. 67.1% were 4 or above. The most common grades are 3, 5 and 4 in that order.
How many pupils do you need to run a subject?
There is no hard and fast rule on this. We will need to consider factors such as the cost of resources and recruitment. In some cases we may run a course with just one pupil however a good rule of thumb is likely to be 3-5 pupils to make a course run.
Will my son/daughter get his/her first preference?
With pupils each taking an average of 9 subjects including their choice of 17 options, it may be difficult to give everyone exactly what they want. However, as a small school we can be more flexible than a larger one and we hope to be able to offer every pupil a subject combination they will be happy with.
What are the easiest subjects?
There are no easy subjects. It is important to select preferences based on individual talents and interests rather than trying to cheat the system by looking for allegedly ‘soft’ or ‘easy’ options.
I’ve heard about the EBacc, what is that and how do I get it?
The EBacc is not a qualification in its own right but is a performance measure for schools allowing for comparison in league tables. Pupils are considered to have taken the EBacc if they have sat for GCSEs in English (Lit and Lang), Maths, Science (including Computer Science), a modern language and History or Geography.
My son/daughter is fluent in another language can they take the GCSE?
Probably yes, but it may not be as easy as your think. In some language GCSEs there is a literature paper as well as language paper which can make the qualification much more difficult. The papers will test all four language skills (speaking, reading, writing and listening) so if pupils can speak fluently but are not able to write, they may need support to pass the GCSE. Our examination officer will contact home about this option at the start of Year 10 and Year 11.
Do GCSEs have coursework or module exams?
Almost all GCSEs are now examined by terminal examinations (that is final exams at the end of the course). Modular testing and continuous assessment are mostly a thing of the past with the exception of certain applied subjects such as Music and Art.
I’ve heard that GCSEs aren’t that important?
Whatever your opinion on whether there is still a place for a universal exam at age 16 when everyone these days has to stay in school or training until they are 18, the fact is that GCSEs are currently an important summative assessment and transition point to further education (16+). Choices of subject and results can limit choices for 16+ which can go on to affect choices further on in life. We are always happy to talk through the options with you.
GCSE Results 2020
Our first cohort completed their GCSEs in 2020. We are incredibly proud of our pupils and their triumph through adversity in what was an exceptionally trying and strange year from the impacts of COVID in the summer term. As a non-selective school our focus is that every individual achieves as highly as they can.
Our pupils attained a pass rate comfortably greater than the national average, achieving 97.3% vs 76% (2020) and a 7-9 results of 46.2% vs 25.9% (2020) On average, pupils attained 8.4 GCSEs.