legal advice re: dds high school, please.

(22 Posts)
Dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Apr-14 08:23:15

Dd doing AS German. She has wanted to go to Cambridge since she was nine, to do Literature.
She has two hours contact time a week. This contact time has not been used efficiently by the teacher. She is still on the book that other schools had finished by Christmas. She has not been given lists of words to learn. Her teacher shouts at her. Her teacher has told her that she can't help her as she doesn't know 'how she learns'. (Dd has AS). Teacher has asked me for sites to help.
I am now paying £40.00 per week for private German Tuition. In five weeks tutor has done more than the school have managed in two terms, getting dd's grade from an E to a B. (She got an A at GCSE, she is predicted A/A* in all her other exams). I personally think that as the school offered the German, they should be paying for her tuition or at the very least providing her with more contact time and a teacher that functions properly.
Oh, and so as not to drip feed, another A* student last year failed German for the same reasons. She too had got an A at GCSE and was expected to get the same in the A level.
I have had meetings with the director of sixth form, who informs me that the German teacher is upset that I've gone to her! I've had meetings with the head who claims that she called in ofsted because she was concerned about exam results but they told her that the teacher concerned was delivering outstanding lessons. I am waiting to meet with the governors.
Am I able to make them provide more or pay for her tuition?
Thank you and apologies for the essay.

happygardening Wed 30-Apr-14 08:39:06

I don't think there's a school out there be it state or independent who will voluntarily pay for private tuition. If they do then every parent will say heir DC needs it and come up with an lots of excellent reasons why.
I don't know that much about AS or A level MFL but what I hear from various children I have contact with is that German is significantly harder at this level than French, and that GCSE is not great preparation for it.
I personally would try next sitting down with the individual teacher and your DD and thrashing out in a non blame way (on either side) why it's not working.

Dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Apr-14 09:03:35

Yep. Tried all that. The teacher has blamed dds disability. The teacher has used the contact time to mark the work from the previous week. The teacher has cried when I have sent emails complaining that three essays and eight short pieces as well as speaking revision is too much for one week. In short, the teacher is bloody useless.
I know people are precious about their kids, but I have an extraordinarily bright worker. Her brother, now at uni, also very bright, but lazy. Dd has a physical disability too, it seems to have made her more determined than both. The tutor (who has experience of AS and who taught ds2) has stated, in writing that dd is more than capable of getting an A if given the right tuition. And when was 2 hours a week, with a teacher enough for a language lesson at this level?

happygardening Wed 30-Apr-14 09:17:14

I accept all you say but I just can't see any school paying for private tuition. My DS1 has a very significant processing disorder his various schools have never understood it, although it doesn't seem that complicated to me. He has been repeatedly written off and despite having an IQ putting him in the top 5% he has significantly under performed across the board. To make up for the failing in his his teachers we have tutored him on and off since reception with and without support from the school. We that's we as in us as parents, ed. psychs, his GP and even the schools senco's have cajoled, written guidelines and complained incessantly including to governors nothing changes I wouldn't even waste my breath asking for help with private tuition.

Dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Apr-14 09:41:57

That's why I'm looking for the legal position though. If I can frighten them enough, perhaps they'll get a damn german teacher in place for year 13!

HPparent Wed 30-Apr-14 17:32:35

A bit different to you but I did complain about an AS science teacher my DD had in year 12. She got high A's in her other 3 subjects but only a C in that one. I later found out we were the only family not to have hired a tutor when they found out who the teacher was. I did ask the head of year why at a super selective I was supposed to hire a tutor as the teacher was so inept. The teacher did get the push in the end.

On a separate matter another teacher bullied my daughter and I wasn't having it. The teacher was giving mentoring and regular sessions with a member of the SLT to improve her behaviour.

RiversideMum Wed 30-Apr-14 20:16:45

I do not believe the headteacher ofsted comment. First, it's the HTs job to manage staff and second, ofsted would be very suspicious of poor results + an observed lesson that contradicted data. A friend of DD's did an extra language via a private tutor and paid privately for an entry for the exam. That meant the school did not get credit for her A*. You could threaten that !!!

dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Apr-14 20:29:51

That sounds like a good idea Riverside.
The teacher at school today told dd to 'slow down because she needed more time to think of questions to ask her'. Dd has been practicing this particular piece (for her exam next week) for a number of weeks.
Tutor today found that modals had not been covered in grammar. Two weeks before her written exam. It's just bloody relentless!

MillyMollyMama Wed 30-Apr-14 22:25:27

An A at GCSE may well not translate to an A at A level in a language I'm afraid. Even with an A* at GCSE you will be up against it unless you are a native speaker. MFL students don't get many A* grades at A level - way lower than Maths students for example. If she is a Cambridge type student, presumably most of her other GCSE grades were A*, so why did she not choose one of these subjects for A level? If she hasn't got a fist full of A*s, you could be aiming a bit high.

dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Apr-14 22:41:03

Nine A* at gcse. A tutor who has known the family for years who says she can get an A with tuition. I am a history lecturers, dh a philosophy lecturer, she is predicted A/A* for Art, Lit and History. She chose German because she wants to do Lit at uni.

dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Apr-14 22:41:47

Bloody iPad, apologies for typos.

MumTryingHerBest Wed 30-Apr-14 23:44:39

dawndonnaagain based on your last post I would say "go for it", you have all the ingredients for success - an execeptionally bright daughter, a friend of the family who is guaranteed to help her get the grade and parents who are lecuturers (not yet worked out where this comes into the equation but as you felt if relevant I will include who am I to argue).

Needmoresleep Thu 01-May-14 07:21:14

Think about a three week Goethe Institute course over the summer. Well organised teaching in the mornings and whilst the afternoons are for varied activities.A great chance to hang out with kids of the same age from all over the world. They have a great time and make good progress.

circular Thu 01-May-14 12:17:08

Are you saying it is Eng Lit she plans to do at Uni, but needs German A level to do so? Unless she has to keep all 4 going, would it not be better to aim for the best possible result at AS then drop the German?
If she is going to need a tutor thoughout next year to get an A, it could start impacting on other subjects.

MFL are known to be a huge jump from GCSE to A level. I have a yr12 DD1 who got a very high A n French (A* for 2 of the elements, but CA downgraded to B let her down). Expected AS to be more interesting, shocked to find the same parrot fashion type learning going on, which she hates.. Admittedly a change of school and exam board not helped the mix, but is on track to get a D at best. Her other subjects suffering too, can't wait to drop French. Teacher at parents evening said the GCSE grade bears no relevance - they have A* GCSE students working at a U grade, and B grade GCSE students working at A grade.

Bramshott Thu 01-May-14 12:23:57

Can you pull her out of German at school and just do it with the tutor? The 2 hours she's spending on it at school doesn't sound like it's any benefit at all, and may be detracting from her actual work on the course.

Bramshott Thu 01-May-14 12:26:37

FWIW I had a disastrous year with A level German back in Y12 in 1991! Inept teacher, course not covered etc. The school pulled out the stops for Y13 and we had special grammar lessons with a new teacher brought in from outside, conversation lessons with a native german speaker, and extra lessons with the Head who was an ex-German teacher. In the end I got a B (probably an accurate reflection of my ability)

Petrasmumma Fri 16-May-14 17:44:16

Grade expectations aside, you'll get nowhere with the school, I'm afraid. We enlisted private tutor assistance when we discovered Dd's school was not pulling their weight and got nowhere speaking to the head. There are any number of ways the school will try to wriggle out of liability. I've also seen the other side, in being the tutor called in at short notice to remedy a poor situation on a private basis. Some of the situations are shocking.

You simply have to remain vigilant, be hands on about grades/homework/marking/feedback/syllabus coverage etc and be ready to backstop the situation with regular external assessment (get an assessment from a tutor who has nothing to do with the school), a solid/tested tutor and the cash to pay for it.

I know it's unfair, you have my sympathy.

AbsentDaughter Fri 16-May-14 17:57:29

I got GCSE A*s in three languages. I have a postgraduate qualification in languages, am a teacher of MFL and speak 5 languages. I only got a C in A level German. It was very very hard.

Regarding vocab lists, she should be creating her own. To expect to be spoon fed at this level is ridiculous. She needs to revise the topics and create relevant and challenging lists for herself.

AbsentDaughter Fri 16-May-14 18:00:30

I got GCSE A*s in three languages. I have a postgraduate qualification in languages, am a teacher of MFL and speak 5 languages. I only got a C in A level German. It was very very hard.

Regarding vocab lists, she should be creating her own. To expect to be spoon fed at this level is ridiculous. She needs to revise the topics and create relevant and challenging lists for herself.

AbsentDaughter Fri 16-May-14 18:01:33

Sorry, no idea why that posted twice. Goethe institute suggestion a very good one.

MillyMollyMama Fri 16-May-14 20:21:23

Oxbridge may not want 3 A2s that include Art, so it appears the German is vital. Next year will be even more of a challenge though. Dropping Art may be better to concentrate on the academic subjects.

Petrasmumma Sat 17-May-14 03:10:51

I second the jump distance between GCSE and A level; it is possible for a child with zero linguistic ability to get GCSE A* because of the way the exams are set up. An MFL colleague told me that frequently children with A* come to A level with few of the required skills and have to learn these first, almost starting from scratch. It's a tough two years.

As for Oxbridge and Art at A2, check their hard and soft subjects listing. Trinity for example views Art as "less desirable" but not in the same boat as say Critical thinking or General studies. Worth giving them a call, perhaps?

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