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.

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

amck5700 Fri 08-Feb-13 23:02:14

redlac, In practice yes, probably only a few will defer, but even if your child will be 5 in September then you can still defer. Maturity varies but it is almost never a mistake to defer and can be a mistake not to.

Doha Fri 08-Feb-13 23:27:29

Although DD is a bit older than your DD she is in her 6th year doing Higher English, The school recommended that she took English is stages so she did an Intermediate 2 in 5th year and got a B from a prelim fail with he help of a tutor. She has just sat her prelim Higher and feels she is more prepared for it after learning at a slightly slower rate.

Wowserz129 Sat 09-Feb-13 00:07:00

It won't make the slightest but of difference to universities what year she obtained her higher if she wants to study French. Only difference will be she can't take advanced higher. S3 is way to early to be worrying about it anyway!

Skinidin Sat 09-Feb-13 00:17:28

I would say it depends on the Uni.

Edinburgh won't look at them unless they've got at least 4 A's and a B taken in the same year. I would say St Andrew's is the same.

But I'm certain no decision is taken about this in S3.

And my daughter's maths teacher told us she was innumerate when she was in S2.

She got an A at Int 2 when she was in S4.

She is now studying Eng Lit at Edinburgh.

Don't let one teacher put you down!

HelpOneAnother Sat 09-Feb-13 00:35:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 09-Feb-13 07:18:49

Bluer- I didn't say teachers should only have twenty minutes, I said they could give their pupils twenty leaving them with forty. No, I am not on the senior management team in teaching, but if your management team are suggesting the same thing there's probably a reason for that. As I said, I don't know anyone nowadays who has the luxury of a full hour for their lunch every day.

tabulahrasa Sat 09-Feb-13 08:35:24

I've never been in a school with an hour long lunch break.

Most schools already have lunchtime study sessions, after school study, teachers are available during study leave and some offer sessions during Easter holidays - resoundingly most pupils just don't go to them.

Schools can't force reluctant students to give up their free time.

AngusOg Sat 09-Feb-13 08:41:33

I certainly would expect under performing children to be given extra help over lunch time if required

Apologies OP, this is way off your topic.

I would expect under performing children to have parents who get them off social media sites and games consoles. Who monitor TV use. You know, so they can do their homework, study work etc.

I don't know anyone nowadays who has the luxury of a full hour for their lunch

No, neither do I. It doesn't happen at my school either.

^ 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^

It does? Which set of data are you using for this?

so Angus attitude isn't surprising

Angus's attitude, as you so prettily put it, is down to being sick to the back teeth of entitled parents thinking that they have a right to things which are entirely voluntary. I will happily give pupils my time, but I will choose to do so. I will not give time to pupils who waste theirs as detailed above.

tabulahrasa Sat 09-Feb-13 09:08:28

Also, I've never met a teacher who would turn down a request for help from a pupil - if a pupil comes to you saying they're having trouble understanding something they are offered help.

roughtyping Sat 09-Feb-13 09:29:17

To the poster worrying about how deferring affects pupils - don't smile my DS is a December 2003 baby, there are kids in his class who were born in January 2003. The only difference between them is their height grin. There may initially be a gap in terms of phonics or whatever but this will close very quickly. DS has always been in top groups despite being one of the youngest.

LadyBeagle, a friend's girlfriend has just qualified as a doctor, she did a chemistry-related degree (not sure what exactly) then wnt back and did medicine. Took a long time, but she's doing what she always wanted.

Bonbonchance Sat 09-Feb-13 09:39:29

Just a few points, I know quite a few secondary teachers, and I know they might have ideas about exam routes for their pupils at this point, but definitely no decisions on highers so early on. Still lots of time.

(Sorry OP off topic now)Re: getting 5 As in 5th year for medicine, my friend didn't get anything near that in 5th year, did a science degree, worked hard & did well. Went back to do medicine, did amazingly and finished top of her class, working her first year as a doctor now. Yes she's in debt, but she really wanted to be a doctor not matter what & her wages will make up for that! All is not lost if you don't get 5 As!

Deferred entry: as a teacher in nursery & primary, deferred entry mainly occurs with the January & February born children who aren't quite ready for school, children can be 4 on 28th February & due to start in August or 5 on 1st March and start the same time. Jan & Fen born (especially boys who quite often mature a bit later) just sometimes aren't ready so parents & nursery staff can make the decision quite simply to defer. Occasionally earlier born children (typically October, November, December) children can be assessed if parents wish and a joint decision can be made to defer. Can honestly say that in my experience (teaching in nursery and P1, P2) deferring has only ever been a good thing for ALL the children, as they are all a more even level of development, maturity & able to cope with school, which usually is what contributes to a happy class which works well together.

chocoluvva Sat 09-Feb-13 09:51:58

Scottishschools, the (scottish) school my DC goes to - he's in S2 - said that the majority of pupils will sit the new equivalent of the standard grade credit level or the new equivalent of the Intermediate level in S4.

I would think that the head of the english department would have the final say, if need be. My experience of the current/old system from seeing my bright but uninterested older DC (S5 now) is that the bright pupils seem to manage to do well in S4, without doing a huge amount of work, but the highers, especially English, are a different kettle of fish.

Scarlett, I sympathise with your worry about your daughter being the youngest in her class. Could you defer her entry into P1. The primary teachers I know are usually grateful to have fewer 4Y0's in their class. My DN (who is very very bright - his vocabulary is amazing) started school aged 5years 8months (dec birthday). Mum and teachers think was a good decision.

chocoluvva Sat 09-Feb-13 09:54:29

Sorry - premature posting!

Often they settle down in S4 as it gets closer to the 'real thing'. Or even settling down in S5 will do (at a nervewracking push!).

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,

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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 13:39:06

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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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