we are moving to Aberdeen from england and the secondary education is sooo different

(24 Posts)
olderworkingmum Thu 15-Nov-12 11:09:21

I'm sure we are not the first to do this although it feels like it.
Our 3 children are currently in years 8,9 and 11 and their ages translate to S1, S3 and S5 which may be ok but feels a bit odd.
The yr 8 (S1) is currently at a grammar school which don't exist in scotland - will he still be pushed (which he seems to like!)? Latin?!
The yr 9 (S3) will go into S4 where Scotland is starting a whole new qualification which may not be great and she will leave after only 3 years whereas she would get 4 more years in England.
The yr 11, being half way through A levels may have to stay here (!! she wants to come with us) Can an AS level can continue as an advanced higher instead of A2??!! Highers seem much more common than advanced highers but will english unis be happy with just highers?

I can do all the practical stuff - moving house, selling, buying making friends but when we moved around before it was when they were small! We did all the education decisions/discussions at yr 6 so starting now with a totally different system feels very daunting.
Any help and information at all would be much appreciated.
Thanks

FromEsme Thu 15-Nov-12 11:20:46

You sure ain't the first - Aberdeen is full of English/other international people. I come from Aberdeenshire and my school was probably about 20% English people - and this was in the countryside, so if you're in the city, I imagine it would be higher. That means you'll get a lot of support and advice from people who've been through the same thing. And there's really very little anti-English sentiment any more.

Not sure about your oldest daughter, don't really know how A-levels convert, but I'm sure she'd be accommodated.

I'm sure your son will be pushed. Education is highly valued in Scotland - in my experience, more so than in England. I work in education in England and I find some teachers here unbelievably lax compared to Scottish standards. My school didn't do Latin, but I guess it depends which school he's going to.

I find that English universities are a bit snooty about highers - I got into a Russell Group university in Scotland with mine, but was rejected from very middle of the road English universities. But there are so many great universities in Scotland (and it's free!) that your children could go to university there. I find that the Scottish system gives you a far broader knowledge than the English one - I studied about 12 subjects in all at university and my final two years were basically studying whatever I liked from my degree subjects. And if they go to an ancient, your degree is a 4-year Masters - for free! Anyway, that's university so jumping ahead a bit.

I really hope you enjoy it. I miss the Aberdonian sense of humour so much, and speaking doric. Get out and see the countryside as soon as you can, it's stunning.

prettybird Sat 17-Nov-12 17:29:44

Because of the difference in cut-off dates, sometimes Scottish schools will accept the number of years schooling rather than pure age - have you talked to the school/Education Department yet? We are more flexible regarding age (but bizarrely, once you've started, less flexible).

S1 is not the equivalent of Y8 - it is the equivalent of Y7. (The difference starts at P1 which is the equivalent of Reception; we also have different cut-off dates, between March and February - plus the ability to truly defer the child turns 5 after August --in practice only January, February and maybe December kids might defer--).

So ds, who was 12 in September (born 2000) is in S1 and is in the young half of the year, despite technically being slap bang in the middle, as some of the "youngest" kids were held back and only started in the same year as him (one of his friends in the same year will turn 13 in December - but another one, whose parents chose not to defer him, will turn 12 in February).

The S2 (Year 8) child will be doing Curriculum for Excellence, which is still sorting itself out. Don't know the detail but most schools still seem to be choosing their subjects at the end of S2.

The S4 (Year 9) child will be doing (the last year of) Standard grades I think. These are broadly equivalent to GCSEs.

The Year 11 (S5), midway through A levels kid could probably sit Highers - but we tend to sit more - so you'd probably find the AS Levels similar. We tend to sit most Highers in S5 and then maybe do a few more in S6 or some Advanced Highers (or even shock A Levels). That's what the universities prefer anyway. It means a lot of work in S5 - but it is possible to go to Uni at the end of S5.

I got a conditional acceptance from an English Uni (Leeds) for my Higher results - but chose not to go there (went to St Andrews instead - at the end of S5) - but that was many years ago. One of my school friends went to Cambridge to study medicine and the others went to Glasgow to do medicine - they all stayed on to do S6 but were given unconditional acceptances on the basis of their Higher results.

Re the Latin - it depends on the school, as Latin teacher are getting in short supply. Ds' school taught Latin until last year and I'd have made encouraged him to take it but unfortunately the teacher retired and they've not been able to find a replacement. Instead he is learning a 2nd MFL (Spanish this year - if he'd started next year it would have been German as they alternate years) over and above the French he had already started at primary school.

amck5700 Sun 18-Nov-12 00:04:33

The curriculum for excellence really changes things, but I think for your children it probably works out okay. This years current S3 will be the first group to do the new exams. At our school the S3s are about to choose the subjects they will do for their National 5s at the end of 4th year. They start working for those as soon as the year above break up on exam leave (late April/May) and would sit the exams the following year. Your child starting in 1st year will follow the Broad General Education until the end of S3.

Our High school believes that by the time they start to choose their National 5 subjects, they will probably be able to award the majority of students with a number of internally assessed National 4s in the subjects they don't take forward as 5s. Schools differ in how many subjects they allow pupils to take at National 5 - my sons school is very academic and they are allowing pupils to take 7 subjects but some school are only offering 5.

Here is some info about how it is meant to work:

www.dunblanehighschool.org.uk/images/stories/dhs/documents/SMT/CfE_Parents_Leaflet.pdf

www.dunblanehighschool.org.uk/images/stories/dhs/documents/Parents%20Overview%20CfE.pdf

If you scroll to the end of this there is a table showing how different schools are approaching it.
www.dunblanehighschool.org.uk/images/stories/dhs/documents/Primary%20Info%20Evening%20DPS%20Oct%202012.pdf

I don't know how exactly it will work for your older child - many private schools offer A levels if you could afford that for the short period to allow her to finish off.

As for Latin depends on the school. Most High schools are smaller than they once were which has the disadvantage of them not being able to offer as many subjects as they once did - really just depends on what teachers they have. Our school has a lot of science teachers and not as many language ones so can offer all 3 sciences at exam level but struggle to do more than one language.

JollyJock Sun 18-Nov-12 00:10:36

Do you know which school your children will be going to yet? I'm not sure any of the state secondaries in Aberdeen do Latin, but I could be wrong.

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 13:53:35

I wouldn't worry about Highers not being accepted by English universities as your daughter will probably do advanced Highers in sixth year which are at least the equivalent of A2's if not more. Also there are no resits of modules etc. in Scottish exams ( there weren't when I did them anyway).

Latin is likely to be a problem, it has almost died out in state schools, there is an online campaign to save it from extinction. I went to amck5700's school many years ago and you could do Latin then.

I suggest you buy some revision guides to check course content.

There may not be guides to the new exams yet but Intermediate 1 is roughly equivalent to the new National 5 and Higher and Advanced Higher should be roughly the same as they are still working on them ATM.

We used to do quite a lot of Scottish specific History and Literature which might take a bit of getting used to.

PS. I know plenty of people who went to Russell group uni's with Highers and one friend who went to Cambridge.

FromEsme Sun 18-Nov-12 14:52:30

wigglybeezer I haven't found it to be the case that English universities accept advanced Highers. At the very least they weren't overly impressed with my CSYSs, even though I could have skipped the first year of university in Scotland with them.

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 16:54:28

I can only offer anecdotal evidence but my sister got in to an English uni and the aforementioned friend who ent to Cambridge. Also live near an independent school and many children of Friends are off to places like Imperial College with Scottish Qualifications.

Shame they didn't like your CSYSs, I have only got one but it was damn hard!

FromEsme Sun 18-Nov-12 16:56:23

Well I didn't do exceptionally well, I was a lazy fucker. But I went to a RG university in Scotland, whereas even shit universities in England wouldn't take me. I found that to be pretty consistent with my friends' experiences.

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 17:07:05

I was lazy too, mine is a C and I spent the rest of the sixth year in the Art Dept doing my Portfolio ( they don't let you have such an empty time table now).

Surely they must be a bit more flexible about different qualifications now as they have so many overseas students.

I think the kids I know who have got in probably have straight A's at Advanced Highers, as well as nice posh accents and much polished personal statements.

My own kids will be going local if at all grin.

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 17:10:41

I was lazy too, mine is a C and I spent the rest of the sixth year in the Art Dept doing my Portfolio ( they don't let you have such an empty time table now).

Surely they must be a bit more flexible about different qualifications now as they have so many overseas students.

I think the kids I know who have got in probably have straight A's at Advanced Highers, as well as nice posh accents and much polished personal statements.

My own kids will be going local if at all grin.

prettybird Sun 18-Nov-12 19:11:25

As I've mentioned, I was accepted from S5 to do Languages at Leeds Uni (ie on the basis of projected Higher results) although I chose to go to St Andrews instead. I got (easily) the results required for both the English and Scottish Unis. But that was a loooong time ago blush. One of my school mates went to Cambridge.

At the (state) school ds has just started at has had a number of students recently go to Oxbridge. Although they did S6, they actually got unconditional acceptances on the basis of their S5 (Higher) results - and presumably judging them by what subjects they were then choosing to do Advanced Highers in.

As in England, it's also what else the kid is doing that helps the university acceptances - things like Duke of Edinburgh Gold awards.

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 20:32:17

I get depressed when i hear about D of E awards, its hard enough getting my teen to do homework and go to bed on time. They had to have a lottery for places on the Duke of Edinburgh Awards at DS1's school, he didn't get on it. I don't think he would have persevered anyway he is a bit immature about that sort of thing unfortunately, i strongly suspect he is going to get where he is going by an indirect route.

Prettybird, I have heard more stories like yours than I have negative ones about getting a place with Highers. I mean Highers are more like the school leaving exams in all the other European countries than A-levels are, A-levels are the unusual qualification really.

Apologies to the OP if this thread has gone off course a bit.

prettybird Sun 18-Nov-12 20:57:28

I never did DofE (or anything like it). I mentioned it 'cos ds' school started doing it a couple of years ago (...but was getting kids into Oxbridge/RG/"old" Unis before then wink).

Didn't even "do" Guides or sports. The most "organised" activity I did was play the flute in a concert band and ballet.

Teladi Sun 18-Nov-12 21:02:52

Hello! I live in Aberdeen. I think it's only the private schools that do Latin here. My own DD is just a baby so no current experience but I did go to secondary school in Aberdeen. I was quite academic and did lots of extra curriculars. I think different schools are better for that than others. I did Highers and Advanced Highers and when I enquired at English universities they were happy enough about them (and this was the year that Advanced Highers were introduced), and quite a few of my pals went to universities in England.

Teladi Sun 18-Nov-12 21:03:24

*some schools are better for that than others!

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 21:09:40

We all just picked somewhere you could get to by train easily that had a course we liked, you might pick somewhere a bit further out if it was easier to get in and your results weren't top notch. No idea about RG or anything although a lot of us ended up at Edinburgh or Glasgow and came home at weekends!

I went to art school and never had to discuss Highers or CSYSS ever again.

wigglybeezer Sun 18-Nov-12 21:11:01

The nice thing about this thread is that Xenia is unlikely to turn up.

HastaLanugo Sun 18-Nov-12 21:16:17

WRT your oldest, all Highers, A-levels and the qualifications convert to UCAS points which universities across the UK use as entrance criteria. Scottish qualifications do not lose their value in England! I am a Scot now based in England, btw.

How far your children are pushed will just depend on the school. My (only) local high school did offer Latin, for example.

prettybird Sun 18-Nov-12 21:19:05

I deliberately didn't apply to any of the Glasgow Unis as I (and my parents) was determined to leave home for Uni. Didn't want to risk only being accepted by a "local" Uni. grin

Went "home" at most, once a term - St Andrews could get a bit claustrophobic.

olderworkingmum Mon 19-Nov-12 13:57:39

Goodness, thank you all very much. It seems that highers might be the way to go and surely UCAS points are just the same for everyone. If eldest daughter could decide where she wants to go and what to do it would be easier as we could just ask 2 or 3 unis. She was thinking about Edinburgh anyway, before we knew about the move.

Thanks again!

HastaLanugo Mon 19-Nov-12 14:33:01

For entry points etc (comparable) see www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/lt/publicinfo/kis/ all unis have to publish this info now.

wigglybeezer Mon 19-Nov-12 18:46:46

I think you have to be resident in Scotland for two years to qualify for the no fees deal so should work out well for you if she goes to Edinburgh.

prettybird Mon 19-Nov-12 19:15:15

Looks like from this year it goes slightly more complicated pragmatic: details here

As far as I can make out, it used to be 3 years and now it is as long as you were living in Scotland on the relevant date and that you hadn't moved to Scotland within the preceding 3 years with the purpose of getting free tuition.

So it depends on the reason for the move!

Could be interpreting that wrongly though....

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