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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.

AmberBrown Fri 08-Feb-13 21:57:59

Well said bluer. More concise than me. Maybe you haven't had wine wink

DonderandBlitzen Fri 08-Feb-13 21:59:38

LadyBeagleEyes Is there no way back from that? I'm hoping a Scottish teacher can advise you. I have a cousin (who is now 47) who failed her 11+ and left school at 16. She lazed around for a while and then a boyfriend motivated her to go back and do retakes. She then took A levels, then a biochemistry degree, then medicine degree and is now a surgeon. I'm not suggesting your son goes down this route and admittedly it was a while ago and she got into a lot of debt, but I'm just wondering if a career in medicine can have really been totally ruled out already for your son over one English result?

bluer Fri 08-Feb-13 22:00:06

Thanks amber! A bit pregnant at the mo so no wine grin

scottishschools Fri 08-Feb-13 22:04:06

I think the problem with the new system is there is far less room for making a decision at the end of 4th year though...at the beginning of 4th year they decide if they are working to nat 4 or nat 5, and if it's nat 4 then they have to do nat 5 at end of 5th year so can't do higher till end of 6thyear - no jump from nat 4 to higher - at least that is how it was explained to me....

determinedma Fri 08-Feb-13 22:04:33

Crap. Scottish exams have changed? Dds are both out of secondary now and big gap to Ds means I haven't been playing attention.
He goes to high school in autumn though. I had only just managed to get my head around the whole foundation/general credit thing.

AmberBrown Fri 08-Feb-13 22:11:03

Scottish exams are indeed a changing.
Don't fret it now though your DS gets to this stage we will all have had a bit more practice at this!
Scottish - you are perhaps right in that if your DS does nat 4 at end of s4 it may limit her in s5, but no more than doing int 1 or general would have done. Jump from there to higher in a year simply too big. Focus should be on getting best for her and her effort/ability by end of s4. If she can't do nat 5 by then, s5 higher English probably beyond her.
Bluer - congrats thanks

mum47 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:12:46

Maybe the teacher said it in the hope she would get a fright and knuckle down a bit. She still has time to change his mind.
I have a DS in second year and a DS starting high school this year. They seem to have changed the system so bloody often that i am totally confused about what is happening. I really need to go and read up on it.
Not the same but a DS1's parents evening the the physics teacher shocked us by being v negative, saying he was not doing as well as he could, I went into immediate panic mode - teacher then showed us a class graph and DS was up in the top three! It seems to be more about meeting targets these days than anything.

bluer Fri 08-Feb-13 22:12:49

To be fair we are expecting almost all pupils to be presented at national five so they shouldn't be deciding this at the start of s4. From what I understand our kids will complete the national four unit and sit the national five with that as a fall back if they fall the exam. The choose should run the same as it's the same skills etc not a drastically different course for four or five. We have high standards for our pupils and would never pigeon hole them into a national four only class if they had even a chance at national five.

CecilyP Fri 08-Feb-13 22:15:17

Yes, I see now scottishschools, they do one or the other; no more general/credit, seeing how they do and making the decision from there. Still OP's DD has a few months to turn things around but, even if she doesn't, it shouldn't be the end of the world.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:23:21

I went through the English system and now work in Scotland with teenagers. The Scottish system is unbelievably complicate d and totally confusing. There are that many different classifications it's impossible to tell what is even a good grade! Really maddens me that there is not a straight forward grading system with A to E or Fail and everyone sits the same exams at set times like everywhere else in the UK. And don't even get me started on the deferred entry system for P1. angry

MarinaTheMarvellous Fri 08-Feb-13 22:30:09

AngusOg - sorry didn't mean 'should' meant it is likely that there will be.... My son makes use of after school clubs and I'm very thankful he has that opportunity and do appreciate that teachers don't have to give their time like that!

tabulahrasa Fri 08-Feb-13 22:34:42

What's wrong with the entry system for P1?

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:36:13

Actually marina, I think Angus was a bit unfair- I certainly would expect under performing children to be given extra help over lunch time if required. I don't know anyone nowadays who has the luxury of a full hour for their lunch so I am sure twenty minutes would be reasonable enough if it meant the school got a better pass rates. It should also be pointed out that Scotland has the worst literacy and numeracy rates in the uk and worse than parts of eastern Europe and Mexico according to the OECD so Angus attitude isn't surprising.

amck5700 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:37:03

Nothing to add to the original question really - I agree that it is far too early to be making that decision. As someone who has just started to get their head round the new system (eldest in 1st year), I'm not finding it too complex so think I am probably missing something grin

In my son's school - they choose 7 subjects towards the end of S3 that they will study at national 5 (plus the required pe & rme). They should be awarded National 4s for most subjects based on the work they have done in the Broad General Education. So, any subjects they don't choose for their 5s they can add the 4s already achieved. Then they choose their Highers as normal towards the end of 4th year.

National 4s are assessed by the school, 5s are external awarded exams.

Does that seem right?

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:40:32

I personally think the deferral system is very silly as you have a situation of children who are almost six in the same class as children who have just turned four. If those children were anywhere else in the UK they would already be in P2. Great for the older ones but terrible for the younger ones. And before anyone says that the older ones bring the younger ones on, they don't. The younger ones just end up being compared to children who obviously can do more and end up demoralised by being in the bottom groups. Really silly.

Roseformeplease Fri 08-Feb-13 22:41:11

English teacher in Scotland here too. I second what is being said by others. It is too early to know. She needs to do Nat 5 in S4 to go on to Higher in S5 but they can't possibly know for certain. It is probably worth prioritising English at home: get her to read a newspaper article and discuss it with you each day (her choice of topic) make sure she reads (or listens to) plenty of books. Discuss things with her in detail. But Higher in S6 is not the end of the world. My concern would be Nat 4 is pretty low level as a starting point (think grade 4 at Standard Grade) and she would have to be very weak to be doing this next year. Ask to see concrete evidence: reading papers (old Standard Grade ones) or her essays. If she can write with few errors, at length and pass a Credit Paper, then Nat 4 will be too easy and, probably, very de-motivating.

She shouldn't be attempting any of the courses over two years as she is unlikely to do any better, courses are not designed this way and she will end up de-motivated.

Maybe the teacher was just trying to get her to buck up her ideas?

bluer Fri 08-Feb-13 22:42:15

Yes the broad general education in secondary covers mainly level three and level four, although some may still be at level two. National four is separate and should not be covered until s4..., it it's different from level four in s3. National five is external the test internal

bluer Fri 08-Feb-13 22:43:45

That's should say the rest are internal

redlac Fri 08-Feb-13 22:46:59

I thought you had to be at least 4 and a half to start P1? Not just turned 4

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:50:46

Not sure being not from Scotland but there will be a 18 month gap between some of the girls in my daughters class when she starts in August. My daughter will be one of the youngest and I am worried sick about it.

plentyofgrowingroom Fri 08-Feb-13 22:55:02

There shouldn't be an 18 month gap - the youngest will be 4.5 and the oldest 5.5.

amck5700 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:55:20

you do redlac - latest birthday is 29th feb. to start previous mid August (depending on council) so 4 and 5 and a half months at the earliest. No-one has to start school unless they are 5 before the start date, so everyone has the same choice whether to put their child in or defer them, so it shouldn't be a case of people moaning that their 4 and a half year old is in with nearly 6 year olds as they could have deferred too. Don't see what the issue is, some children are earlier than others. Mine were both Summer born so didn't have an option but I would have considered very carefully putting a 4 year old into formal school.

tabulahrasa Fri 08-Feb-13 22:55:33

But the deferred pupils aren't a full year older than everybody else in the class, just the ones with a birthday near a cut off date and it's only one or two in a typical class that defer, nowhere near enough to make up whole groups.

I like the fact that it's flexible, some children just aren't ready for school at 4.5 years.

I mean it has to be either unfair to those who benefit from deferring or unfair on those that start school young, starting school by date of birth is going to do one or the other.

bluer Fri 08-Feb-13 22:57:55

Scarlett you do know that teachers don't get paid for their lunch hour don't you? And whilst I am available if a pupil asks it is a voluntary thing, and certainly some days you do need the full hour. Twenty min would be reasonable for lunch of it meant a better pass rate...you're not on the senior management team are you?

redlac Fri 08-Feb-13 22:58:20

But surely there will only be one or two deferred and they will have deferred for a reason (not ready socially etc) not just because they didn't want to start school.

My dd (who will be 7 in 4 weeks and is in p2) is the oldest in her class and the youngest in the class turned 6 in December. Dd wasnt deferred she was just born 10 days after the cut off

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