Year 9 Options

(5 Posts)
72Angel Tue 25-Jun-13 11:45:55

I really need some advice. My daughter is in Year 9 and completed the paperwork re her options choices a while ago. We attended the meetings, read all of the literature and my daughter made her choices - Sociology, Psychology and History. As part of this exercise my daughter had to put down two alternatives - which to be honest she didn't give too much thought to as she wasn't interested in any of the other subjects - nevertheless, she put two subjects down (really for the sake of doing it) and she was assured there would be no problems in her getting her first choices as long as there was enough interest in each subject. However, we have since received a letter stating that she can only do two of the three first choices - Sociology and History and has been allocated Product Design as the third option (not sure where that came subject from). My daughter was very upset about this. I rang the school to see what was happening and was told that she couldn't take Psychology as they can't "set my daughter up to fail". When I questioned this I was told her CAT scores from tests taken in year 7 and 9 were entered into the computer and the computer said she would fail if she took this subject.

I cannot for the life of me understand why they think she is more likely to succeed studying Product Design - a subject my daughter has absolutely no interest in at all or even why she would be more likely to succeed at Sociology or History.

Without going into too much detail but to give some background - which I think is important - our family has been experiencing on-going intimidation, verbal abuse and threats of physical violence for over two years now as a result of unfounded allegations made against my oldest son by some one living around the corner from us. As a result I had to take the decision to move my daughter to a school out of the area - she has been attending this school since September 2012. Also as a result of what has been happening my daughter basically stopped going out - the only time she will leave the house is if she is driven to school or to her dads. It is fair to say my daughter hasn't been the "best she can be" this academic year. Getting her to school on time in the morning has been a logistical nightmare as the new school is miles away with no school bus service and in the opposite direction from where I work. However, rightly or wrongly, I have not driven her too hard because she has had enough on her plate dealing with the issues at home and trying to adjust to life at a new school where she didn't know anyone. Then, finally, we got some fantastic news last week - we are moving home - out of the area where we have been having problems and two minutes down the road from where I work with a school bus service a short drive away. We will be moved by the weekend and I firmly believe that this is the fresh start we need.

Throughout this school year and with all this stuff going on the only time my daughter came home from school showing any interest at all in anything was when she was studying Psychology and Sociology as part of Humanities. She talked endlessly about the topics they were leaning about, researched things on the internet, read everything she could get her hands on and even recorded programmes on sky that peaked her interest. I personally believe that hard work and determination is what gets you where you want to be. My daughter is bright, is interested in the subject matter of the options she chose and eager to learn which I don't think are things a computer programme picks up on. Surely, being interested in a subject is part of the battle won. I am beginning to wonder why the school gave her the option to choose subjects if she cannot study the subjects she is interested in. I feel a bit like they have written her off by saying she can't do it because she would fail.

I have tried talking to the lady who sent the initial letter to us and she said she would "have another look" before sending me a two sentence e-mail with words to the effect that she had put the same information into the computer and my daughter cannot do Psychology. I e-mailed her back saying that I was not happy with this and asking her to telephone to discuss and I have heard nothing further from her. A week later I telephoned the school and was put through to another lady who said that she would "see what she could do" and again I have heard nothing back.

And now my daughter is coming home upset because some other kids in her year who had similar issues have now been allowed to take up their chosen subjects.

I telephoned this morning to speak to the lady again and was told she was too busy with a "heavy teaching workload". I really don't know what to do now. Of course I don't want my daughter to fail but if I didn't think she was capable I would have steered her away from choosing the subjects to begin with and with the end of term fast approaching I feel like we are being fobbed off.

RedHelenB Tue 25-Jun-13 16:32:00

Hard to say but I think it unlikely the school would be saying this for no reason. My friend's daughter definitely found psychology one of the harder GCSE's. Could you perhaps suggest that your dd sits in a lesson to see if it is what she thinks it will be like?

homework Tue 25-Jun-13 16:36:36

Hi you need to ring school back and book an appointment with person who's doing the allocation for next year and her humanities teacher and find out why they don't think she capable of doing these subjects .
Especially ask her humanities teacher how she doing in class how her project work is , any discussion that they done . Has she worked hard , participated well in these topics .
Cats test do not factor in a child's personal interests , only there perceived results , which you can't factory hard work and interest in . If there really interested hopefully there teacher will be able to say , yes there grades this year may have been affected by external circumstances but I've seen a real passion for these subjects from this child .that they would be happy to continue to have child in there class for this subject.
Please be persistent ask that they give her a trail , if she can't or doesn't prove herself then you agree that you will look her her doing another subject in that group but something that she has a general interest in.
Hope this help we where in similar position with choicing subjects in year eight for options , but school had meeting and discussion and all his teachers where happy for him to give things a go especially things he has a passion for cause they know his ability to produce work is greater in subjects he enjoys as will work harder to get or make the grade.
Hope you have a sussessful outcome , but may be bit late to get them to change there minds if they already done allocation for next year , which I don't envy anyone , as there always going to be some child that's unhappy .

creamteas Tue 25-Jun-13 19:03:29

If a school really is relying just on a computer algorithm rather than actually assessing the situation in full I would make a big fuss. Ask for a meeting to also include the form tutor/year head or who ever is responsible for pastoral care

If they absolutely refuse to let her take psychology, they should at least give a couple of alternatives rather than just allocating her to a single subject.

It does sort make a mockery of the 'options' process doesn't it.

homework Thu 27-Jun-13 08:08:24

Hi 72 angel, wonder weather you managed to speak with anyone and how you had gotten on .

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