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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.

sarahtigh Sat 09-Feb-13 13:48:29

with P1 the cut off date is 29th feb so to start in august the very youngest you can be is 4.5 generally the oldest and the oldest would be 5.6 ( generally you can defer if born in Jan/febwithout many questions but most opt not to) so would be upto 5.75. they do not readily accept deferrals from child in november/december unless very good reasons backed u by nursery HV etc ie were born premature etc

so there is not an 18 month spread more like 14 months at the most starting school in august 2012 were 5 from 1st jan 2012-28th feb 2013

i consider a feb cut off so range is 4.5-5.5 much better than september cut off when age range is 4-5

Indecisive90 Sat 09-Feb-13 13:49:08

Sorry for the double post, not sure how to edit. But I wouldn't have thought St Andrews was as competitive as other universities, it takes six years there as you have to transfer elsewhere after 3 years to actually complete your MB ChB.

Skinidin Sat 09-Feb-13 13:52:33

Yeah, we went to open days - they certainly focused DD's mind.

Another thing that was enormously helpful ( for anyone wanting to go to art college) is that Gray's have a portfolio advice day. They look at your work and tell you quite bluntly what you need to do to get it up to scratch.

Skinidin Sat 09-Feb-13 13:57:02

Seriously, go to TSR.

You will find fora where people are describing their offers.

Edinburgh and St Andrews don't usually send offers to domestic students until March but you can read last years ' threads.

And there is a dedicated med school applicants forum.

badguider Sat 09-Feb-13 14:00:54

I'd be asking why english? and what are her prospects in the other subjects like? is english her poorest subject?

I don't think there's a harm in considering at this stage doing english over two years if english isn't her strongest suit. Though obviously it'd be a worry if she wanted to do english at university. if she has good science/maths grades and that's where her interest lies then i wouldn't worry, or if she's more into art, or foreign languages, or anything except english and other humanities that rely on essay writing.

alternatively, is it something about her english class? is she in class with some of her friends who are likely to distract her? is it a behaviour issue in that particular class?

trixymalixy Sat 09-Feb-13 15:05:32

Hopefully your DD will have got a bit of a fright and she has plenty of time to turn things round.

Scarlett, I think the flexibility to defer children that aren't quite ready for school is one of the best bits of the Scottish education system. No way was my January born DS ready to go to school when he was 4.5.

amck5700 Sat 09-Feb-13 16:32:36

sarah - they may ask more questions, but they can't make you send your child to school if their 5th Birthday is after the start of the school year - what they could do is not fund any more nursery if they thought you had no valid reason to defer. In practice it is likely that the 4 year olds who are clearly aren't ready for school but are enrolled anyway are the ones from families where they just want the child out of the house longer each day. sad The more engaged parents will, together with advice from nurseries and/or school, mostly make the enrol or defer decision correctly for their child.

amck5700 Sat 09-Feb-13 16:32:53

sarah - they may ask more questions, but they can't make you send your child to school if their 5th Birthday is after the start of the school year - what they could do is not fund any more nursery if they thought you had no valid reason to defer. In practice it is likely that the 4 year olds who are clearly aren't ready for school but are enrolled anyway are the ones from families where they just want the child out of the house longer each day. sad The more engaged parents will, together with advice from nurseries and/or school, mostly make the enrol or defer decision correctly for their child.

AmelieRose Sat 09-Feb-13 18:27:50

Indecisive sorry if that came across as patronising - it wasn't meant to, I was typing it on my phone so was aiming for quick response, promise. smile

I'm not an admissions tutor, but have done two fairly longish stints as DHT in charge of S5 and therefore UCAS and all the bits associated with it. It was my experience with the universities I mentioned that they were generally looking for 5 As (it was a school with a lot of med applicants/law/oxbridge). I can only speak about what I experienced in that situation - other people may of course have had different experiences.

I absolutely agree with you about the wider achievements and work experience - some of the very academic students were accepted but some without 5 As weren't despite being fantastic candidates. One girl in particular was desperate to go into medicine to be a paediatrician and would IMO have been wonderful - she worked with children regularly, excelled at sciences, was gentle and caring and yet wasn't accepted. It broke my heart.

However there are a lot of uncertainties with the new system of qualifications and even the universities haven't quite made their minds up about how it will impact on future entry requirements. There may well be a system put in place where the number of sittings doesn't matter. The uncertainty is certainly unfair for you OP and your daughter, but she does have a little bit of time. I'd get her working hard now so she gets access to Nat 5 in S4 and if you have any concerns talk to the Principal Teacher of English and her year head if necessary.

sarahtigh Sat 09-Feb-13 19:37:44

amak that may well be true but very very few take that option, my DD was born in December so technically we could ask for a deferral but we won't and neither are the vast majority of parents I know, in reality most children do start school within the guidelines, there maybe a few unwise deferrals but they are not clogging up every primary school

it is also true in England that no-one has to go to school before 5 so technically is born on 31st of august you should start school about 5 days after your 4th bithday but a parent can defer till the next year, same if you are not 5 until octobet you could technically be almost 6 when you start school as unless there is a january intake you can not be made to start school in Spetember before your 5th birthday

amck5700 Sat 09-Feb-13 20:56:15

sara - I agree that not many do defer if their birthday is before end December, but you can if you want to. My great nephew is a Hogmanay birthday but is being deferred by his mum as he simply is no-where near ready. Her brother was a mid December birthday and wasn't deferred, he struggled and it affected him all the way through school so she doesn't want history to repeat. As said before, it's almost never a mistake to defer but can be one not too. And not being sexist here, but I think girls seem to cope with being a bit younger better than boys. I am just glad I didn't have that decision to make. It's such a shame that you have to make it in January when they have nearly 7 months of maturing still to do. I know that in the January my eldest son at 4 and a half years old was nowhere near ready but by the time August came round and he was 5 he was fine. But my younger son was more than ready by 4 and a half and was a bit frustrated to be still in nursery for that extra 7 months until school. Hope your daughter has a great time at school - so exciting for them.

MrsAceRimmer Sun 10-Feb-13 16:19:43

Just to weigh in on the P1 deferral. My DS will be 5 on 28 Feb, he starts P1 in August. Last August would have been far to early for him and he would have struggled badly - very demoralising.
He has made good friends with the children who are slightly (2-3 months) younger than him, so deferring him was best.
OTOH, my DB has a late Jan birthday, and my parents couldn't defer him (approx 25 years ago) and he struggled throughout school.
Deferment can be a positive for many children.

Goodtalkingtoo Sun 10-Feb-13 18:47:48

My daughter will be 5 on the 27th February and starting school in August. She will be the oldest in her class, the next child will be 5 two weeks into march, the youngest will be 5 in December. I think it's a personal choice and I am glad I had the option due to a fab system as no way was my daughter ready for school last year. However my oldest daughter was 41/2 when she started, a December birthday was more than ready. The law in Scotland is that every child must have started school by the August after their 5 th birthday. So any child born after August can defer.

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