Bloody Gove! Dd in state of total discombobulation re early entry GCSEs - please help me get my head round this in practical manner!

(132 Posts)

Because what I want to do is get a train to London, doorstep the git Gove and give him an earful.

So- dd1 attends a comprehensive school. Pretty good school tbh with conscientous and committed staff. She is doing 11 GCSEs:

Maths
Eng Lan
Eng Lit
History
French
German
Art
Textiles
Triple science

They also completed the RS short course whatsit last year. She got an A*. Her targets for all of the above are A* except for art where it's an A.
She's so far done some controlled assessments for English and also speaking and listening and achieved well in these. The school's plan has always been to enter all the cohort this November with retakes in June if needed. Dd1 has worked hard all term (plenty of stress on her and me both) with November in mind. They did a mock just two weeks ago. Last week we got a letter telling us about a meeting tonight, called due to the school's uncertainty of how to proceed in the light of the recent announcements re early entry. Upshot is they won't be entering any student in November. It's quite clear from the meeting that dh went to taht it isn't the school's league table performance that is their concern. They have some very able students who should achieve well above a C but they basically dare not risk putting them in because every sign they can see suggests that there will be further interference with grade boundaries. We are horrified by this but I totally take their point. In May their speaking and listening was scrutinised and the moderation moderated or whatnot. It was rated excellent. Yesterday they got a letter saying it would be reviewed. There's no way to see that other than as a threat to discourage early entry.

Dd1 is devastated by this. She's working well and was winding herself up (in every sense) to take the blooming exams next month, get A/A* and if she did that then it was done. Finished. Allowing her more time to stress about the others in June. Now that 'second chance' option has been taken away and she'll lose the speaking and listening marks already done.
School are also talking about doing Further Maths or similar because that's what the plan for the top set was anyway. I do NOT want her doing MORE bloody summer exams.

So my questions wise mumsnetters are:

1) What would you do in this scenario. Dh and I think we have to accept the school's decision. Are we right to think that?

2) How do you reglue a totally unglued 15yr old who likes structure and order and is struggling to accept that grade boundaries can be mucked around with and no it isn't fair (anybody giving me an answer that works on this one can pretty much name their price)

3) Should I resist any attempt to enter her for further qualifications?

4) has anybody else come across this scenario and what is your school doing?

Poor dd, 4 boubon biscuits and some popcorn have just disappeared in to the living room where she's trying to watch the Big Bang Theory wrapped in a blanket but she's still stifling sobs. sad

Wuldric - dh and I have had our feet well off the parental anxiety peddle for the last year. It doesn't make any difference to dd (except to hopefully help her cope a bit better) She can go from 0-60 in the anxiety stakes all by herself.

lainiekazan Sun 20-Oct-13 21:34:37

I agree with the few voices who are saying that there should only be one entry.

Some schools have been playing a game of entering kids several times. I learnt that dh's niece sat history three times. She eventually achieved an A. How is this fair to kids at schools who only enter at the end of year 11?

Exams are supposed to sort the wheat from the chaff; they are not there to squash the chaff through at all costs.

Talkinpeace Sun 20-Oct-13 21:37:23

lainie I have no problem with the change - but is should have been done to the current year 10 - who are just starting their GCSE course - not the current year 11 - who have nearly finished theirs.
THAT is why we are pissed off. Work that has already been done is now to be put in the bin.

soul2000 Sun 20-Oct-13 22:22:21

Talkinpeace. It is totally disgusting to the kids who have put in massive effort with their course work. Also it sends out the wrong message that putting in effort does not always get rewarded.

I can not believe you can change the rules in the middle of the game, only
a member of the taliban or a educational zealot does that.

bemybebe I am not sure about being on here same page exactly. I would love just to teach about maths, with no exam constraints, but I can't. The lower ability sets, in particular the C/D borderline need to be taught to pass the exam, they need to understand what the examiner is looking for, they need to understand they have to show specific steps hit certain marks. Every single one of my lessons needs to improve their exam chances or else I will be letting them down. Of course I try to make it relevant and interesting to them, but they also just need to learn some things for the exam that they will in loll honesty never, ever use again.

ninja Sun 20-Oct-13 23:05:35

Bruffin is right. There's a lot of evidence that whether they resit or not, students do better if they don't early enter (certainly in maths)

There's also no reason why they can't do the certificate in further maths ALONGSIDE GCSE, that way they have an even better chance of improving the gcse grade. That's how it's designed.

Interestingly it's schools in deprived areas that are more likely to early entry, with a mistaken belief that it'll improve results.

Starting AS levels in year 11 is in general a really bad idea both from the pov of universities and progression from there - ask anyone who works in a 6th form college.

Also - yes, kids do too many qualifications.

Gove, however, us an a**e and shouldn't have changed things at this stage.

I think one entry is a good system though it is clear that the current system has for example benefited those kids unlikely to stay in school until the end of the year.
The whole point though is that more dd and everybody else in year 11 was told from the minute that they started their course that there would be more than one entry. And now, right before the exam, that's been changed.

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