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Scottish education question - to be freaking out a bit?

(88 Posts)
scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:19:09

Sorry am posting on here for more traffic as am panicking a bit.

Daughter is in third year and has always been bright but has fallen in with a pretty bad crowd this year and I've suspected she has lost interest in school. This was confirmed at parents night tonight when to our slight horror her teacher said he doesn't think she should sit her higher English till the end of sixth year though he still needs to decide for definite!

This is an option for the 'less able' pupils. I am really upset she has gone from being a bright, interested student to 'less able' and feel sure that with enough encouragement from us, tutors, etc, she can definitely deal with the Higher at the end of fifth year. I know she is capable. She wants to go to university to study French and I don't know if this would mean that no decent university would accept her, if she sits one of her highers at the end of sixth year. I think this has given her a fright and she has promised she will take her work more seriously. If however her teacher is adamant that she is not to do the exam until the end of sixth year is there anything I can do? Are there any Scottish education people there that would know?

Sorry please don't flame me, am just very upset to see my once able girl now down at the bottom of the class and potentially mucking up her opportunities.

Annunziata Fri 08-Feb-13 21:21:08

Is she doing the new exams or not? I am not sure how they are working.

She will need Higher English to get into uni, it would depend on what levels her other subjects are at I think.

Annunziata Fri 08-Feb-13 21:22:08

Scuse the shocking grammar!

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:24:12

Yes the new exams. You do the national 4 or 5 at the end of 4th year and then Higher in 5th year or 6th year if 'less able'. She will need the English for uni and I would have presumed she would need to do it in 5th year.
Thanks!

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 21:24:43

Is it likely that by sitting later (with the less ables) that this will shock her into performing - the stigma of being 'less able' will be with her for life.

(I have to confess, I dont know squat about the Scots system)

There is a three year gap though? Surely she has at least 2 1/2 years to pull herself round?

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:26:43

I think it may be too late though HollyBerry....the decision is made at the end of third year and I think she will have to pull something quite special out the bag to change the teacher's mind. He wasn't clear on what though - and I also want to know how much we can challenge his decision...

Annunziata Fri 08-Feb-13 21:27:28

Okay- so she is on track for 4, then has to do 5 in fifth year and then go onto Higher, but you want her do to 5 just now?

I'd make an appointment with teacher/ head of department/ head of year and see what they say.

In my DC's school (although SGs/Int 1s and 2s), they go on prelim result, then classwork. She really will have to prove herself.

mrsbunnylove Fri 08-Feb-13 21:27:58

well, i'd move her. move house if necessary. move her out of the way of her friends.

i'm a bit worried that you say she's 'fallen in with a bad crowd' and has 'lost interest in school'. those are not options, they are things you have allowed to happen.

youmeatsix Fri 08-Feb-13 21:29:48

sitting the higher in 6th year will give her the same ucas points as 5th year sitting would
but she wont be able to sit her advanced higher unless she goes to college for a year after school
sitting it in 6th year shouldnt be a huge deal unless she needs/wants the advanced higher

MarinaTheMarvellous Fri 08-Feb-13 21:30:49

There should also be options of extra study clubs after school or at lunchtime so she could catch up a bit.

I sat Highers 12 (shock) years ago, and i remember looking at uni entry requirements then. Some courses required the grades to be obtained in one sitting I.e. over one year, and some didnt specify. It might be worth looking at the courses she wants to do to see if a two year Higher English course would be acceptable.

Not sure if this is how it will work but will she sit Intermediate 2 in 5th year? If so if she does well there could be a chance she is moved up to higher?

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:36:47

Thanks everyone.
Mrsbunnylove, that's not helpful at all,and not true. Short of accompanying her to school, it is difficult to control who she hangs about with. Of course we do everything we can to try to maintain her interest in school and study - it is very important to us.

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:37:59

Unfortunately I don't think we could move school or house, we have negative equity on our house and would struggle to sell it - also I would think that the new school would go on old school's recommendations and still present her in sixth year.

AmberBrown Fri 08-Feb-13 21:38:33

Slow down. I teach secondary school in scotland, though English is not my subject. 3rd year waaaaaayyyyyyyy too early to make firm decisions about whether highers would be sat in s5 or s6. Focus right now should (and I hope, is) on preparing her for either nat 4 or 5 at end of s5. If she is genuinely bright and gets a wee bit of a kick from this, she will be nat 5. Then she would progress to higher in s5. If that was not going well, it would be suggested as a two year higher.
Obviously you are in the know about her current crowd of friends and attitude, but if I were you I would focus on the here and now and the plan until the exams she does at the end of s4. The school may be letting you know their 'vibe' (bad choice of word, have had wine smile) but are entirely flexible as to a final decision about this until well into s5.

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 08-Feb-13 21:38:52

Ds got a B in English in 5th year, but 4 A's in the sciences and Maths.
He's in 6th now and on the way to getting 3 advanced highers but that fucking B has curtailed his ambition for medicine.
He's clever and articulate and it makes me furious that the we will probably lose an amazing future Dr, just because he couldn't dissect a crap book in the way they wanted.
Just Grrrrrrr.

AmberBrown Fri 08-Feb-13 21:41:00

P.s. to answer crucial question. As a school and as teachers we can recommend ad recommend forcefully but final decision as to level sat and when lies with you. If you have faith in staff and they say two year higher, do listen, but don't accept anything without evidence and explanation.

AngusOg Fri 08-Feb-13 21:41:27

There should also be options of extra study clubs after school or at lunchtime so she could catch up a bit.

Why 'should'? If teachers offer these in their own time, all well and good. But there is no should about it. What we choose to do with our lunchtimes /after school time is certainly not up to the school or the parents.

OP - this might be the shock your child needs to get down to some serious work and turn it around. I hope it does - good luck.

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:42:22

Thanks Amber, that has definitely calmed me down - the way it was presented to me was that the decision was made for definite at end third year.
LadyBeagle, that's totally shit - sorry for your ds.

tass1960 Fri 08-Feb-13 21:43:02

In my experience they shouldn't necessarily make that decision right now - she hasn't even had her standard grades yet - seems a bit premature to be making decisions about highers - surely it should be based on her exam results at the end of 4th year.

Does she realise that she might be scuppering her chances to do what she wants at uni?

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:45:10

I think so Tass. She kept saying But x and y are doing worse than me and I yelled at her (not great I know) that I and the university admissions board don't care what x and y are doing but what she is doing. I think she is finally beginning to get it and to realise that she has to come home and study every day.

AmberBrown Fri 08-Feb-13 21:48:16

She's in s3. She doesn't have to come home and study every day. But she has to do her homework and she has to revise for class tests and assessments and be responsible.
You are v welcome, I do hope info put mind at ease a bit, Tass is spot on too in saying it's far too early.

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 21:52:01

What I mean is that on days she doesn't have homework she should be at least looking over what she's learned that day. Instead I find her thumbing her through magazines or tidying her room.....

tabulahrasa Fri 08-Feb-13 21:55:29

Firstly, whether she does higher in S5 or S6 depends completely on her exam results.

Secondly, unis don't care if highers are sat in S5 or S6 as long as its done in one year and not done in S5 and again in S6... A lot of courses do require a certain number of highers be sat in one year simultaneously, but again they don't care which year that is.

bluer Fri 08-Feb-13 21:55:51

Scottish English teacher here! Don't worry... S3 is way too early to decide what will happen in two years time. I find some pupils really warm up in s4 once the reality of exams etc sets in. tbh i'm shocked the teacher said this to you...also know that if she is capable (as long as you are not blind to the possibility she isn't) then I've found from experience that if you get in touch with school and stamp and insist she does it they generally concede. Don't buy the two year higher thing...it doesn't work. Also pupils rarely make the jump from int 2 to higher in English...the stats just don't support it unless they get a high band in int 2.

CecilyP Fri 08-Feb-13 21:56:19

It isn't unusual for pupils to sit Higher English in 6th year. By 'less able' they don't mean the genuinely not very able (and certainly not bottom of the class), they just mean pupils who need a bit longer to reach the required level. This often includes hard-working pupils who get A's for maths and 3 sciences at the end of S5.

Have to say, I can't see any reason why the decision is made in 3rd year. When pupils took standard grades, pupils who achieved grades 1 & 2 took the Higher in 5th year and pupils who achieved grades 3 and 4 did Intermediate 1 and, if they wished, took Higher in 6th year. So the decision was not made until the beginning of 5th year after pupils had got their results.

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