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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

drizzlecake Sat 09-Feb-13 13:48:18

Oops, you order prospectuses, you don't buy them.

drizzlecake Sat 09-Feb-13 13:46:37

3rd year is a bit early but can you interest her in what uni she might go to and where? Taking my DCs to open days at unis was a real wakeup call for them ('OMG I'm going to live here on my own with all these other people my age--- brilliant'). And helped to focus their school work a bit .

You could buy some prospectuses and look at the sports and pastimes available there, the social and night life, then her lazy friends might not seem so bright.

Skinidin Sat 09-Feb-13 13:45:32

Yes, The Student Room is the way to go.

Excellent stuff on there. My son found it really helpful too, he's at DJCAD now and I really think he wouldn't be without looking at people's portfolios on there.

and I'm an art teacher btw blush

Indecisive90 Sat 09-Feb-13 13:40:10

AmelieRose, that's possibly true, I'm not an admissions tutor. Are you? It seems logical that those with better grades are in with a better chance but grades aren't the be all and end all. I know people who got rejected with 5As and people who got a number of offers with AAAAB. There's so much more to a med school application, such as your work experience, interpersonal skills and UKCAT/BMAT for some unis. So I'm not sure how you can 'assure' me that it gives you a much better chance. It's one grade at the end of the day, as long as you meet the minimum you can be considered for a place. And yes, I know how competitive it is.

I've used The Student Room too and it is really useful, good advice from Skinidin.

AmelieRose Sat 09-Feb-13 13:39:06

Sarah This year is the last year of Standard Grades, so anyone in S3 now will sit the new qualifications.

sarahtigh Sat 09-Feb-13 13:36:24

but surely if she is in 3rd year she has not even sat her standard grades yet

AmelieRose Sat 09-Feb-13 13:18:42

Indecisive, yes 4As and a B are advertised as the entry requirements but I assure you 5 As in one sitting gives you a much better chance because places are difficult to get, especially at Glasgow, Ed and St Andrew's.

And to reassure you OP, the decision about Higher English would not be made in S3. However to echo what some others have said - she would need to do Nat5 in S4 otherwise she wouldn't get into Higher in S5.

I speak as a Scottish English teacher and HoD.

Skinidin Sat 09-Feb-13 13:12:10

A good source of information ( the best I reckon) is The Student Room. They have dedicated fora to Scottish uni's and Scottish Qualifications. We found them incredibly useful.

I may be a little out of touch. Retired as secondary teacher just over a year ago, but have just been through the joys of two kids going through UCAS in the same cycle. Both started this last September.

It was a very stressful time. As for med school, my daughter's friend did not get a place at med school despite 6 A's at Higher ( genius girl). We reckon she had not done enough of the right work experience and scored poorly on the tests that would be med students take.

She is now reading Pharmacy and hoping to transfer at a later stage.

Indecisive90 Sat 09-Feb-13 11:48:44

There seems to be a bit of false information flying around about universities on here.

You do not need 5As to apply for medicine, Glasgow and Edinburgh at least will consider applicants with AAAAB including Chemistry, Biology and either Maths or Physics. I haven't checked other unis. So LadyBeagle's son could have applied. If he did apply and unfortunately got rejected then it was probably down to UKCAT or personal statement.

And having checked Edinburgh's page for French minimum entry requirements are 'SQA Highers: BBBB, or more if two sittings, including a language other than English. Standard Grades: French at Grade 2, English at Grade 3 and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade 3' so they certainly will look at grades below AAAAB.

I think the best thing to do here is look at university entry requirements, speak to your daughter and let her see what she needs to achieve if she really wants to study French. I'd agree that S3 is too early for a school to really make a decision although I don't know anything about this new system. If you and your daughter both went in with all the information you need and the attitude that she will work hard then I'm sure they'd let her sit in S5.

bluer Sat 09-Feb-13 10:18:04

Oh and the entitlement attitude doesn't help...remember a lot of what happens for your child is down to the goodwill of teachers. We don't get paid for supported study, we do it for the love of our kids. We don't get paid to spend hours of our own time marking, preparing etc. in fact we are a profession that couldn't work were it not for goodwill...I don't know any teacher who only works the 35 hours we are contracted for..so don't take advantage or you might friends your dc teacher is suddenly less available grin

bluer Sat 09-Feb-13 10:11:59

Haha Scarlett I was only kidding...our senior management team in my school wouldn't suggest out for the very reason that we get excellent results, best in our authority and high across Scotland. we do offer supported study after school once a week but I think requiring twenty mins at lunch all the time would suggest that there's something wrong at the school, suggests the kids aren't getting what they need during lessons iyswim

Goodtalkingtoo Sat 09-Feb-13 09:55:36

Sitting the higher exam in 5 th or 6 th years makes no difference and the "less able badge won't follow her up, I have just been through the Scottish system with my daughter who is now in uni studying to be a teacher.

Don't panic.

My daughter needed 4 highers/advanced highers altogether, she knew here's
F she wouldn't pass them all if she done them at one time, so she sat half in 5 th and half in 6 th. when applying for uni it made no difference.

Your daughter has time to pull it around,

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