Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
Image of Hilary Wilce

The Quandary - 11 Dec 2008

My daughter cannot take GSCE triple science, despite the government saying it is her "entitlement". What can I do?

Hillary's Advice

Go and see your daughter’s school head again and wave in his or her face the Government’s 2006 ‘Science innovation investment framework’ which says that by this September all children achieving level 6 or above at Key Stage 3 will have the entitlement to study triple science at GCSE, “for example through collaborative arrangements with other schools, FE colleges and universities.” Ask what collaborative arrangements they will put in place if the school itself cannot teach triple science. Make it clear that you are not going to go away, and that if they continue to be obstructive you will be kicking up a real fuss. This will include getting other parents on board, then going to the governors, the local authority, the press, the science associations and anyone else who you think will be able to help you.

This is so important. If your daughter wants to aim high in science she needs to study chemistry, physics and biology. That’s not to say her prospects would be irredeemably blighted if she doesn’t, but why should she have to make compromises at this early stage because her school is too lazy to make an effort?

But check first that she would be willing to go to another school or college, maybe alone, to take science lessons. It would be very embarrassing if, after causing such a stir, she decides not to do it.