to think that instead of insisting students who don't get C in maths and English continue it post 16, the Government should put a lot more resources into supporting them a lot earlier?

(79 Posts)
kim147 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:38:36

Maths and English are essential skills an employer is looking for. And there's no doubt that many pupils do struggle in these subjects at school. I also recognise that there are students who don't take them seriously at school so possibly the reality at post 16 that they have to do more studying might make them try harder.

However - many pupils do struggle with maths and English and schools do know who they are. So wouldn't it be better if more resources were put in earlier, targeted teaching, specialised teaching for those who have dyscalcula and a focus on the actual maths / English skills employers need rather than "mathematics" - Pythagoras etc which only have specific applications.

Will resources and funding be provided in primary and secondary schools?

ForeverDarkrai Mon 02-Dec-13 16:58:35

I couldn't agree more with this!
I'm now at university in Loughborough but I used to tutor Maths to a couple of girls in Years 2 and 6 and they were both talented but they never had their brains stretched to reach their full potential.. I was told that they were struggling in class but it wasn't because of their ability, it was because they had been working at a much lower level than they should have been and, as a result, they fell behind because they got bored.
But then you have the other side of the table where students may not be as able but then do not get the attention they need.. My younger sister fitted into this boat. It's like some schools (not all!) just try to fit down the middle road when they should be catering for everyone's needs and abilities like they used to.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 30-Nov-13 12:46:36

Yanbu!

I endured years of being told I was under confident with maths. No, I bloody well couldn't do it. I go a C but only because I had a tutor.

It wasn't until I worked in a money handling role after my GCSE's that I "got" it. I could now merrily do everyone's monthly budgets and accounts.

Maths is fetishised at schools in an odd way. It is all purely academic teaching things few will use in real life (Pythagoras theory anyone?) but no teaching children how to manage money. Ridiculous.

Rufus44 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:34:55

I think there should be two options for maths, one the full Monty GCSE and the other covering business maths

The business maths would be straightforward adding and subtracting but based around balancing budgets, maybe a bit of book keeping etc

Leaving algebra, phythagoras theory etc out of the exam. Those things are an absolute bugger and a lot of people never use them again

It's shouldn't be easier to pass as such but it should not deal with "pure" maths

jlee1 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:13:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 04-Sep-13 22:45:31

I think we need to look at employers tbh and stop pushing people who are incapable of passing GCSE English and/or maths.
Many jobs don't need you to be good at English or Maths, obviously if you are going into work that does require them you should have them.
I am dyslexic and struggled terribly at school. Eventually I passed a level 2 in Eng and Maths at college through inclusive learning.
I am a qualified teacher (Post Compulsory) although don't teach now.
I have a lot of experience listening to people who worry about passing these tests and know how it feels myself.
I was never held back without the GCSE's as the jobs I went for didn't require them and employers didn't expect them.

kim147 Wed 04-Sep-13 22:36:53

That is a good question. I don't think they need to get a C grade but funding for courses is dependant on them "studying more maths". I am not sure if an actual exam is needed but they either need to get a C grade (or equivalent) or study more maths to be allowed on some courses.

That bit was not clearly explained by the Government.

Lazyjaney Wed 04-Sep-13 22:34:42

What happens to the kids who are just never going to get C grades?

soul2000 Wed 04-Sep-13 22:25:18

i have said up thread that why can they not make maths intresting for students. Those who are not going to do A levels in Maths or other relevant subjects. These kids have no desire or need to understand Algebra/ or other parts of maths that just make many kids fall asleep. Regarding Level 1-2 functioning skills i am pretty sure that most bright pupils would be up to that standard at yr9 because the tests look very similar to the CSSE 11+ past papers in Maths for "SUPER BRIGHT 10/11 yr olds".

kim147 Wed 04-Sep-13 22:17:43

Didn't the Vorderman report suggest different qualifications in "maths" and "numeracy"?

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Wed 04-Sep-13 22:12:47

Like most of Gove's ideas, this one is ill thought through bollocks.

noblegiraffe Wed 04-Sep-13 22:10:31

A pass in functional maths was going to be required to get a C in GCSE maths a few years back. Our Y9 sat the pilot. Then the September it was supposed to become mandatory, the whole scheme was pulled.

It was decided to integrate the functional maths into maths GCSE instead. Now maths GCSE is a hodge podge of numeracy, problem solving and pure mathematics that neither show the lower end capable of being ready for the real world (teach them easy algebra marks to make up for their deficiency in functional skills) nor does it stretch the top end sufficiently to prepare them for further study.

mrscog Wed 04-Sep-13 22:03:21

You're right - FS needs to become the 'common sense gateway' qualification for maths, and it should be expected of nearly everyone (SEN aside). Bright kids could get it done out the way as early as Yr 8/9 and then focus on GCSE, others could tackle it at the same time or instead of GCSE.

Lilka Wed 04-Sep-13 16:09:28

My DD2 has also been doing Functional Skills 1, (and did other bits of functional maths when she was in school) alongside a vocational course now, but I know most employers won't see it as having worth. She's struggling a bit with parts and she needs support and help from me with some of it.

Which leaves resitting GCSE but as an adult once/if her emotional and mental health gets any better and hoping for a C so she can get a job

I also think there needs to be a real change to what happens in Maths

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 15:59:20

At FE College people like my DD who got F last time arent expected to take GCSE, they do Functional Skills level 1 and then level 2 the year after. if employers could be persuaded to accept FS2 as equivalent to grade C (not all do) then that might be a way forward, as those skills are actually quite a good protection against being ripped off in later life.

noblegiraffe Wed 04-Sep-13 14:51:02

I've taught GCSE maths resit, our school won't let you stay in 6th form unless you have maths and English, or resit them.

The ones that were motivated and knew what they wanted (e.g. needed a C for nursing) got there. The ones that were taking the course because they had to didn't. They saw it as a doss lesson. One lad by the end of Y12 had six final GCSE certificates, all at grade D. He could have got a C with a bit of effort but ever made it.

I've also taught bottom set Y11. Kids who will get an F or an E, despite working hard. They heave a sigh of relief knowing they can finally give up maths. They have spent the last 5 years doing the same things over and over again, the same things they failed at in primary school. For them, secondary maths is an awful experience.

Unless the approach in Y12 is substantially different to previous years, I can't see this rule helping either group. GCSE maths isn't fit for purpose, if Gove wants kids who are numerate enough for the workplace, then he needs to be looking somewhere else. Flogging struggling kids through algebra that they will never be able to use in real life just feels unethical.

Lilka Wed 04-Sep-13 14:34:20

Actually, the information the government have given out seems to be very lacking - I haven't yet found any document clearly spelling out what's happening and who has to do what. Like which students are exempt for instance

Ditto the leaving age raising - lots saying the basics, nothing clearly spelling out who is responsible for xyz, what sanctions are for students who don't show up, what happens if no place for the 16 year old can be found anywhere, who has to make sure every student has secured further education etc etc

They really need to clearly spell out all the information in one place and put it out there very clearly for everyone to see

Lilka Wed 04-Sep-13 14:29:24

Yes it's multiple retakes in the same year that are being banned.

I would hope statemented students could easily be exempted if necessary, but I think there are some non-statemented students who should be exempt as well, that's where I think the real problem will lie since I assume the majority of retakers will be non-statemented. I know GCSE students who've sadly developed serious issues whilst in the GCSE years and don't have statements, or who've never had a statement but haways had issues and still won't reasonably be able to achieve a C by retaking a year. I'd also like to see some way to get exemption for those students. One size fits all won't work

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:04:46

Lilka, I would assume that students who are statemented would be exempt. DS2 has a statement that allows him to ignore the national curriculum, thankfully, as he has very profound learning disabilities and the idea of him sitting any exam, ever, is just funny.

DD OTOH is less affected by the same condition, and in her case it is a good thing that her FE College will let her do retakes until she scores a C (if she ever does....). But again, I think that FE Colleges will allow people to retake GCSEs- I get the impression whats being banned is multiple attempts within the same year, and sitting stuff in January, not going round again for another go the following year?

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 20:16:48

mantic
multiple modules and retakes are no longer permitted at GCSE.

Presumably this new rule will not apply to those SEN pupils for whom GCSEs will always be an irrelevance.

Lilka Tue 03-Sep-13 20:09:24

I think this move is the right thing for some students, who may be more motivated to work and get a slightly higher grade

I'm just glad it doesn't affect my own DD2, who completed 4 GCSE's last year (with an E in maths and an F in English).

She only achieved those grades (in spite of her learning disability, neurological damage caused by alcohol exposure in utero, and significant emotional and mental health issues) with years of dedicated amazing work by her teachers (at a specialist EBD school), with medication, with some social work involvment and with therapy from CAMHS and a specialist centre)

She wouln't hold a pencil and couldn't recognise the alphabet aged 8, and she could only count up to 5. She couldn't write her own name until aged 10, nor count up beyond 10. Only when the effects of therapy, medication, stability and great teaching were making themselves felt, did she begin to really progress. She proved that it wasn't her LD's or brain damage holding her back at that point. We made great progress up to a certain point, and then stalled. In this case, some E grade and all D grade GCSE maths topics were too much, although her teachers really tried hard. She's also done seperate maths lessons focussed on day-to-day maths skills.

I (and the school) am so proud of her and have heaped the praise on for what she has achieved. Going from reception to (just an) E grade Level in 6 years is fantastic. However in her situation, unless her emotional issues and mental health gets better, she won't realistically be able to achieve more. If things get better as she matures into her twenties, then adult education classes may well be a good idea. But now? No. There's very little chance at all of a higher result.

Also being told she wasn't good enough after all her hard work would be pretty crushing, and given her issues likely to make her start refusing to work any more

So basically I think this move should include opt outs where teachers or whoever is responsible can use discretion in the case of students who have genuine issues which mean a C is out of reach and that student can be exempted from retaking the exams.

soul2000 Tue 03-Sep-13 19:31:45

When friend"s Sister comes to visit.

soul2000 Tue 03-Sep-13 19:18:45

Daftdame. yes my friend is a one in a million Teacher/Person. The kind of snide comments she has taken from her sister over the years. These types of comments are "well if i had stayed at home rent free i could have got a Masters" I went to Cambridge you to RG at " 30" I was earning x while you were serving Chips.

But Probably the most upsetting was " I could teach with my eyes closed", obviously designed to make friend feel small. When sisters friend comes to visit her mum and dad, on occasions she has caused heartache by asking why are there so many pictures of Sisters Graduation. I went to Cambridge so why are there not more pictures of me than her.

The great thing about friend is that she lets all her sisters jealousy go right over her head. I know this is off topic but i think it demonstrates that no matter what people or even your own family members think ,you can achieve great things.

daftdame Tue 03-Sep-13 14:44:10

soul2000 Your friend sounds absolutely fab. I hope my DS comes across a teacher like her but she does sound like one in a million. Just shows how wrong it is to 'write people off'.

soul2000 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:52:19

I am going to tell the rest of the story because it is inspiring and tells you that there is always a future.

Everyday friend used to get up and leave to go to school with her elder sister. Her sister would then get on the bus and go to the "Girls Grammar School" friend then walked to the nearby "DUMP", Sister excelled at school and went on to read Law at Cambridge eventually becoming a Barrister.

Friend leaves school with no qualifications at all, her dad managed to get her a little job helping out at the local "NEWSAGENTS" counting Newspapers selling sweets and fizzy drinks. Her parents thought this was as good a job as was possible for friend. By the time she turned 18 she had got a bit more confidence and decided to do some work in the local pub . The work was mainly bar work waitressing on saturday and sunday afternoons.

In 2000 her parents decided to move up to the North west,and because friend has always lived with her parents moved with them, she took bar work at the pub in the village. Friend would join in with the pub quiz and would always seem to know the answer to every question and when she was asked what A Levels or Degree she had, would just laugh.

When friend decided to go to some Adult Education classes, she told her "ESTEEMED" sister she was going to do some Gcse"s, her sister "SMILLED" and said "PITY THE POOR TEACHERS" . Her sister is not a particulary nice person.

Fast forward to "Graduation Day" and friends mum and dad are in uncontrollable tears of joy, sister sits there with a face like "THUNDER" talk about curdling the milk.

My friend has been described by her line manager and members of the SLT, as the best NQT Teacher they have ever had,in fact she is so liked by all the pupils and teachers that some pupils actually look forward to having a Detention with her. She has to keep a straight face when telling said pupils that Detention is a Punishment not a reward.

She has proposed that if the school will allow her to use classrooms on saturday that she will every saturday morning from 9-11 am have Maths classes for all students but particulary those who are D-F Grades. This has called problems with the Maths Dept who are unwilling to help and tell her to stick to Chemistry and stay out of our dept. This is Unfortunate and sad that such a talented teacher can not give more back because of some "DINOSAURS".

My friend would never put a "CEILING" on what any pupil can achieve and yes it is a great achievement for one pupil to acheive a F. It does not mean they can not do better.

But for some "QUIRKS" of fate a brilliant teacher would not have found her way to the "Classroom" and despite her telling me "THAT SHE WOULD NOT OWE 40k" Teaching would be poorer without her.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 09:21:10

I think the idea behind the new rules is not to allow kids to give up aged only 16, but make them persevere. You dont have to get a grade C at 16, but you are probably going to need one eventually to get a job, so adults need to be encouraged to keep going at it. Your friend's story shows how wrong it is to write people off just because aged 14 they are not ready to do it.

And yes, the school was clearly rubbish.

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