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In the wrong year group at secondary

(29 Posts)
Dinosaursareextinct Tue 25-Feb-14 14:57:01

My DD is at a very small private school (non-selective), which goes all the way through. There are not enough children to have one year per class, so it is ability based. Her class is mainly Yrs 7 and 8, but they are treated as Yr 8 and are heading towards common entrance. Age-wise she is a young Yr 7.
I'm worried that if things stay as they are, she will be taking GCSEs a year early. Even if the class splits into 2, which may happen at some stage, she will probably be kept in the top group, as she is relatively able (though not hugely so).
I think that if she takes her GCSEs a year early, she will do less well than she might do if she had an extra year of both studying and maturity.
Also, she is unlikely to do A'levels at the school, due to its size, so would she be stuck at age 15, having done her GCSEs, and legally required to go to a state school for a year and re-take the GCSE year? Or would the 6th form college consider taking her a year early (I doubt it)?
I can't afford to send her to a different private school (she has financial support for this one), and am wondering whether I should move her to a comprehensive in the next year or so, so that she takes GCSEs at the usual time. But she really doesn't want that, and there are some good things at her current school which she wouldn't get elsewhere. I'm also not sure how she would cope in a very big state school after being in a tiny private school where everyone knows her. There might well be a risk of bullying.
Any thoughts anyone?

schilke Tue 25-Feb-14 15:04:39

Have you talked to the school about it? I think you need to find out what will happen from them and then deal with it. It might be that they fully intend to enter her for GCSEs in year 11.

schilke Tue 25-Feb-14 15:08:45

Not sure if that sounded blunt...wasn't meant to! I realised I used the phrase 'deal with it' which is what my 15 year old ds1 always says to me grin

MillyMollyMama Tue 25-Feb-14 17:36:04

How can a school this size can actually offer a decent range of GCSEs anyway? Also if she is staying to 16, why is she doing CE work? This would not work for me. I cannot imagine a school combining years at secondary level. She will get a shock at 6th form anyway, so I might see what the comprehensive has to offer.

Bullying is not as rife as people say. It also happens in private schools. It can even happen in small ones when cliques form and a child is cold shouldered!

What has happened in the current year 10/11 at the school? This must give you some guidance regarding their policy. I would find out immediately because some subjects may have hardly any children doing them and this would be less than stimulating too.

yangsun Tue 25-Feb-14 18:01:44

I imagine a school sixth form would not have a problem taking a younger student - it might be more of a problem in a college. As someone else said you need to talk to the school. Perhaps they have a plan that would mean she will take gcses in y11 or they can offer her additional gcses if she stays on for y11. Perhaps they have had this situation before and can advise what has happened in the past. Most private schools are concerned about the progression of their students and should not expect to just cut a student loose at 15.

lljkk Tue 25-Feb-14 18:48:35

Small schools can have bullying problems, why wouldn't they?
6th form here would take a pupil a year early if they had the right GCSEs.
If she stays at the indie an extra year they get an extra year of fees from you, so I can't imagine them pushing her out early.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 25-Feb-14 21:30:02

I had a miserable time at secondary, and can imagine it happening to her too, so the fact that she is happy where she is is important to me. It would be easy to spoil that dynamic. Yes, bullying does happen in small schools, but there is probably potential for more bullying in a huge school than in a tiny one where the staff all know the pupils very well.
I must talk to the school, to get a better idea of what is likely to happen, though I doubt that I will get a definite answer. They do seem to offer a decent range of GCSEs, mostly mainstream subjects, but that's what she'd probably choose to do anyway.

cory Wed 26-Feb-14 07:03:57

Dinosaurs, I think it's important that we don't project our own experiences onto our children. They are not us, their lives will not be ours.

I was bullied at school and never believed the grown-ups could do anything to help, so I assumed that was what would happen to my children. It never did. And when there was some smaller problem, the school was straight onto it.

Ime large secondaries are often very proactive about bullying and very well resourced when it comes to dealing with pastoral problems.

OddBoots Wed 26-Feb-14 07:09:06

Don't do anything until you've spoken to the school, if you want her to take the GCSEs at 16 not 15 I'd hope that they will do that, it must be in their interest too both in terms of results and in an extra year of fees!

mummytime Wed 26-Feb-14 07:14:39

In my experience a large school can be much better at dealing with bullying if they take it seriously. It also has the advantage of there being more chance of finding other people just like you.

Please don't project your past issues onto your daughter.

I would go and look at the alternative comprehensive. See what you think and then if that is favourable take your daughter. She may just surprise you and suddenly realise that she would love to study Product Design or Mandarin or Sociology or whatever he present school can't offer. Or that she has always wanted to be in a Chamber Choir, play Rugby, go to Edinburgh with a Theatre group, or build schools in India.

Change can be hard at this age, but sometimes it offers more than you can imagine.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 26-Feb-14 10:27:23

There is no telling how she would get on at the comprehensive school (a new child has just joined her private school from there, because they were being bullied, but that's obviously just one child). That means that there is a risk factor. The private school also specialises in the one thing that my DD is passionate about, which is why she goes there, and losing that would be a wrench. I must talk to the school to try to make some sense of the situation, if only in terms of what has happened to children taking GCSEs a year early in the past. Perhaps they have stayed on to 6th form, I don't know.

PsychicPaper Wed 26-Feb-14 10:56:04

I was in the same situation

resolved by taking the gcses i was guaranteed to get an A in in yr10, which left me a year to study hard to get good grades for the remaining5. I also did an early AS in year 11 so I didnt get bored.

Happy to help if i can

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 26-Feb-14 11:00:25

Thanks, Psychic. But did that mean that you repeated a year for the GCSEs that you were less good in? So that you did the final year of GCSE study twice for those subjects?
Then there's the issue that some unis like you to take most or all of your GCSEs in the same year?

PsychicPaper Wed 26-Feb-14 11:46:53

yes, i suppose in a sense I repeated year 11, but it was not unusual at school, and by the time I finished year 11, I had an excellent set of GCSEs and one early AS level.

I was also very well read around my preferred A level subjects (due to spare time) and I think this helped a lot when applying to universities.

My school moved people like this a lot, so were able to support.

I have never had it queried that my GCSE's were taken in different years. so I cant comment on that.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 26-Feb-14 12:36:17

Interesting, and you're very positive about it, but I think I would have found it boring having the same lessons twice.

PsychicPaper Wed 26-Feb-14 12:58:04

Hi Dino,

Yes I can see what you're saying, but that wasn't my experience.

Is this common at the school? Can you ask to talk to any of the dc who are having the same experience but are currently in Yr11?

I don't know if this is still the case, but I was told by my school if I left after year 10 I would have to have an ed psych report stating I was able to go to sixth form college a year early.

Even if I had been able to though I would never have been ready for university a year early (and I am a September baby).

So I think really as you say you have 2 options, to stay at the school with a potential yr 11 repeat and risk boredom in year 11 (mk2), or move early to a different school (and risk boredom in that year or longer, i.e if she is at the top of a "yr 8" class now, do you think she will be stretched in a comprehensive yr 7?

Martorana Wed 26-Feb-14 13:01:46

Remember in your planning that universities are nowadays inclines to look a bit sniffy if GCSEs aren't mostly taken in one sitting............

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 26-Feb-14 13:22:55

The school is non-selective, so many of the brightest kids are creamed off to go to selective privates. Plus the comprehensive should have some setting. So she might not find the comp less of a stretch. It would be a big change for her though.
Must and will talk to someone at the school.

hench Fri 28-Feb-14 09:56:14

Is the school financially secure? If it's that small and offering financial support packages too I'd be concerned about its viability.

Dinosaursareextinct Fri 28-Feb-14 10:09:53

It is an unusual school. If I say much about it it will become too identifiable I think. I don't think financial security is a problem at the moment. The school have been supportive of my DD in a number of ways and there is much about it that I appreciate.
I've now had a discussion with the form teacher. She said that the likelihood is that my DD would take GCSEs a year early, as she is one of the more able pupils in her class. Others have done the same in the past and they have got into the local 6th form college and then started uni a year early. Alternatively my DD might want to spend an extra year on A'levels (I don't know how the college would view that though).
I will continue to consider the options, as ideally I would prefer her to sit GCSEs at the usual time.

titchy Fri 28-Feb-14 10:14:24

Oh don't send her to university a year early, especially as she's young for her year - she'll be very isolated socially as she won't be able to go to the bar etc. Her tutors may well have to be DBA checked as well, and living in halls won't be an option unless all the other students are also DBA checked.

Dinosaursareextinct Fri 28-Feb-14 10:33:28

No, I've looked into this. it's fairly common for under 18s to go to uni, and they should be treated more or less the same as other students. Certainly no need to run checks on other students. I think there are some misunderstandings about this though, which could cause problems.
I do think that it would be better to be the same age as the other students, in terms of maturity, similarity of interests, etc.
I'll go and have a look round the comp when they have an open day I think.

Martorana Fri 28-Feb-14 10:35:45

It's not about DBA checks and so on- it's about being a year younger than the others- she wouldn't be able to go to the pub with her friends for a start......

Dinosaursareextinct Fri 28-Feb-14 10:48:37

Would be able to go to the pub, but not drink alcohol. But in essence I agree - it would not be my preferred option. An alternative would be a year out at 17, eg a year at school abroad. I know some people do that.

BlueStringPudding Fri 28-Feb-14 10:59:47

DD has a friend who was in a similar situation. She did her GCSE's a year early, and then went on to do her A levels at a local Sixth Form College. Whilst she got good GCSE results, they weren't fantastic, so in her case she probably would have been better to do them along with her normal year group.

However she's doing well at Sixth Form, and has decided to take a Gap Year, working, before going to University, so that she will be back with her right age group.

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