Just got back from DCs year 11 parents' evening and i felt a slight air of panic amongst the teachers .....

(114 Posts)
iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 20:59:06

They seemed all at sea about grade boundaries .... imparted some shocking statistics about the number of A* for example being awared this year as opposed to last year at the same modules.

A few of them alluded to 'Is this Gove? Who knows?'

Generally left us with the impression that August this year will be very different to the last few years. We are not OVERLY concerned by this as we do agree that the system needs to change BUT its worrying when it is your own child who is THIS year group.

Anyone experienced similar news at theor childs school??

webwiz Wed 27-Mar-13 21:05:37

When we had DS's parents evening the English department were a bit reluctant to make firm predictions after last years fiasco but the other departments seemed quite happy.

We did have presentation about revision techniques last week and I was so stressed by the end of it that I felt I ought to go home and start revising, DS however was unmoved hmm

AryaUnderfoot Wed 27-Mar-13 21:34:40

As a (soon to be ex) science teacher, I think this year's grades are going to be significantly lower than last year's.

A report was issued by Ofqual in about 2008-ish stating that GCSE exams in science were far too easy (note that this pre-dates Gove significantly). Hence new GCSE specifications were written with first teaching in 2011.

Basically, the 2006 specification revisions made passing GCSE science with a high grade far easier than before (our department went from 85% A*-C to 97% A*-C over night). The new specification is much more challenging, and our Core science results indicate that results are likely to be more in line with the pre-2006 ones.

I don't think this applies to other subjects, however.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 27-Mar-13 21:41:19

We have no idea what the grade boundaries will be. Also a Science teacher, and thus taking our first year 11s through the new specification. Massive shift in raw score to UMS conversion in some January papers compared with June papers last year, which makes us a bit nervous.

The English fiasco in 2012 at least made it clear that all notion of criterion referenced grading is out of the window, and norm referenced is back in.

Roisin Wed 27-Mar-13 21:43:46

The proportion of A* and A grades has grown rapidly over the last 10 years or so.

I think most Boards and many subjects have issued guidelines of their intention to reverse this trend this year; in fact modules taken by students for 2013 cash-in have already had these stricter grade boundaries applied. I know it is certainly happening in Science.

Rowlers Wed 27-Mar-13 21:47:01

IME the examining boards change boundaries all the time. In any subject where there is more than just right or wrong answers, it can be pot luck what grade a student comes out with. They will always be able to justify themselves by converting raw marks to UMS grades.

bigTillyMint Wed 27-Mar-13 21:49:50

This is so crap.

In a few years time, employers, etc won't remember that the GCSE's started being marked more harshly this year angry

iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 21:55:02

bigtillymint - yes that is exactly what one teachers said

iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 21:56:14

whoops posted too soon

THIS year it will be ok as ALL the grades will be lower but what about ten years from now and an employer comparing two young adults a couple of years apart...very unfair seeming

AryaUnderfoot Wed 27-Mar-13 22:05:35

Absolutely. And while Gove will be really smug that he has, singlehandedly, brought some rigour back into education, Wilshaw and his friends will still be commenting on the 'coasting' teachers who are not achieving the same levels of progress for their students as they were last year.

No one can win. Students, patients, pensioners etc always end up falling victim to career politicians who love to smile in front of the cameras and celebrate the fact that they've made life better for everyone.

This is why I'm leaving the profession. I loved my job for 10 years, and was bloody good at it. Now I don't.

Rowlers Wed 27-Mar-13 22:07:23

(*Arya*, have you got another job? curious, as I'm hoping for a way out ...)

ravenAK Wed 27-Mar-13 22:11:40

We (English Dept.) are converting raw scores to UMS very cautiously - ie. based initially on last June's 'fiasco' boundaries & assuming a Doomsday scenario, with a further twist of the knife & boundaries rising by another 10%.

We're telling students (& parents) that we don't feel we can confidently predict a grade is safe unless they're 10 UMS marks over the boundary based on the 'fiasco' conversion sad.

Much gaming of the system is in progress, with students off timetable to re-do Controlled Assessment with as much help as we dare (which is rather less than the HT is trying to bully us into, frankly).

If we're wrong & the boundaries don't get hiked again, the unprecedented level of hothousing & re-doing which is going on means we'll break all records. Better for the school, I suppose, at least in the short term, but not sustainable or better for the kids.

We want the results to be fair & accurate; neither nobbled like last year nor artificially inflated by excessive intervention.

If any of my dc were in KS4 at the moment, I think I'd be tearing my hair out entirely...it is indeed crap. angry.

iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 22:19:13

I actually feel relief reading this as when I've muttered to my parent friends about it they gave all said 'noooo'

Secondly I was worried it was just specific areas and exam boards and I almost need to hear that it's more widespread

Why had I not heard about this in the press??

AryaUnderfoot Wed 27-Mar-13 22:21:19

Rowlers I don't have another job. But, seeing as my childcare bills are currently almost as high as my wage, I'm not exactly in it for the money.

I used to say that I did the job because I enjoyed it and wanted to keep my CV intact. As for the former, that simply isn't the case and as for the latter, I simply don't give a shit any more. I have had enough of flogging myself and neglecting my children for a job that I no longer gain any pleasure from.

It's a shite state of affairs (to quote a favourite film). Underfunding, excessive scrutiny and a Secretary of State who has firmly pitched himself against the profession has led to this. I was once a firm tory voter who would rather have cut of a limb than go on strike. For me to get to the position where I would gladly stand on the picket lines must come as a warning as to how bad the situation is. I am not a 'leftie' by any stretch of the imagination.

I would rather serve pints in the local on a Saturday night than spend another year doing this job.

Rowlers Wed 27-Mar-13 22:34:36

Arya, have been teaching almost 20 years. Have never felt so sad, angry, despondant about the job. I hate it at the moment, and it's not the students. I agree with you completely (apart from the tory bit) grin

iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 22:47:17

oh my word ...

i must say what i felt from ds's ( lovely) teachers tonight is truly echoed on here.

The despondancy and uncertainty was palpable...

Very sad Arya and Rowlers

Rowlers Wed 27-Mar-13 22:53:13

I really feel that fab teachers are leaving as the whole system is arse over tit in this constant battle to "improve standards".
Anyway, best of luck to your DCs, OP! Let's hope their hard work is rewarded.

creamteas Thu 28-Mar-13 08:51:39

The political interference in marking and the constant denigrating of teachers is terrible. But I don't think worrying about the A* students is the real issue.

In the vast majority of cases, the exact pass grades you got in your GCSEs is pretty much irrelevant once you have achieved higher qualifications or been in work for a while. If the results are lower in August across the board, then sixth-forms, colleges, apprenticeship providers etc will relax their criteria (it happened last year with the English fiasco). So if the As become Bs, it won't be a problem.

The people who will really suffer are those who will get Ds instead of Cs.

ll31 Thu 28-Mar-13 08:58:15

Agree with creamteas, results are not relevant 5,10 yrs down the line, just this yr- and most serious for those who may fail, get d s etc

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 10:54:19

I totally agree cream teas that the c/d boundary is the crucial one but the problem will affect the more able students too

Medical schools and some top courses won't look at students without a majority of A* grades and particularly in the sciences - these kids will feel the impact

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 11:32:48

cream That may be true for some, even most, people, but it won't be true for all. There are careers and professions where even after your degree they do still look at your GCSE and A levels results when making entry level recruitment decisions. This is where it will bite, because the people applying will not all have done their GCSEs in the same year. Further down the line, the important factor is experience and performance. Earlier on, the kids will most likely (but it's not guaranteed) be competing with other kids from the same cohort, so it will matter less. But at the stage where they are looking to get into the world of work, it could well be an issue. sad Luckily for DD1 I don't think she is even slightly likely to want to pursue the sort of career where this will be an issue. But it;s still worrying for her (and me). It seems so arbitrary and unfair.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 28-Mar-13 11:36:32

I'm worried even without the grade boundaries changing! Dd has been generally predicted A/A* for Physics - then she got Bs in the January exams, and wasn't put in for a resit - which would be fine, but the teacher said 'as you got Bs in both, we've just changed your predicted grade to B' confused.

That's not how predicting things works, surely?

notnowImreading Thu 28-Mar-13 11:43:39

The one I'm particularly worried about is English Literature. The situation with the marking looks on course to be exactly the same as last year's marking for English Language - loads of results from the January exam far exceeding expectations. As these were published with fixed grades and UMS marks, it may well mean that boundaries for the controlled assessments and summer exams will be raised significantly to compensate - and schools like mine where we are sitting both exams in the summer season will suffer accordingly.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 28-Mar-13 11:44:17

When we chose options in Y9 for DD, her grades were enough that she would pull the 3 'C' grades she needed to get into a college.

Now she has NO 'C's predicted, in Y10. Those 'C's are now 'D's.

Which will mean no college for her. No job, as even shelf stackers & retail staff here are expected to have C in Maths and English, and she'll be up against thousands that do. Too able for life skills courses at college.

And as the current Y10 are the first year that HAVE to stay on till 18 - no JSA for her either. And my Child Benefit and CTC will stop too.

So I will have to feed her on fresh air, just because some smug bastard politician decided to fuck around with the grade boundaries. I've been told that DD would have been an east C in those three subjects, now she's an easy D.

I don't give a crap that less pupils will get an A* - the difference between an A and an A star isn't going to leve them with no money for food for two years, is it?!

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 11:48:08

cream That may be true for some, even most, people, but it won't be true for all. There are careers and professions where even after your degree they do still look at your GCSE and A levels results when making entry level recruitment decisions. This is where it will bite, because the people applying will not all have done their GCSEs in the same year. Further down the line, the important factor is experience and performance. Earlier on, the kids will most likely (but it's not guaranteed) be competing with other kids from the same cohort, so it will matter less. But at the stage where they are looking to get into the world of work, it could well be an issue. sad Luckily for DD1 I don't think she is even slightly likely to want to pursue the sort of career where this will be an issue. But it;s still worrying for her (and me). It seems so arbitrary and unfair.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 11:48:42

aargh. Sorry. Bloody laptop. blush

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 11:52:33

notnow Oh god, really? sad English Lit and Lang are DD1's top subjects and she will be gutted if she doesn't do as well as she is hoping. sad

bigTillyMint Thu 28-Mar-13 12:57:40

So notnow, it's better if the students sit the exams early in Jan?

notnowImreading Thu 28-Mar-13 13:33:23

BigTilly, there is no way to know in advance which sessions are 'better' - it's supposed to be bloody fair! Of course, I am not necessarily right; I'm only basing my ideas on last year's experience in English Lang and the results from the Lit modules taken in schools local to me.

Russians, if these are your DD's best subjects, you have much less to worry about. It is the pupils on course to hit D and C grades who will be in the firing line if my guess is correct. hmm

It really makes me so sad for the pupils - there is nothing they can do about the situation they're in except work harder, work harder. It's not as though they (for the most part) don't care. Poor little buggers.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 13:57:13

Actually, notnow I don't agree that I have much less to worry about. DD1 has significant challenges in her life and she deserves to do as well as she is predicted to do in those subjects. I am perfectly entitled to be worried about what will happen to her as a result of Gove's meddling.

bigTillyMint Thu 28-Mar-13 14:20:45

I am also a bit worried, though DD is only in Y9 - will her predicted grades (already doing 3yr GCSE course) be achieveable or will she be disappointed even if she works hard?sad

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 14:32:08

Yes it seems like that bigtillymint...

I think the reality is it will affect ALL kids in this year in different ways ... I wish as I said earlier that it was more publicised as I think a lot of children are in for a shock

What will happen in August - what will Gove say then? Maybe an over intellectualised conversation on news night followed by the whole thing being forgotten and the class of 2013 left to 'get on with it'?

AryaUnderfoot Thu 28-Mar-13 14:47:13

iclaudius the wonderful Mr Gove will make a grand statement about how our children have been let down by an education system that has been declining for the last 20 years. He will say that the measures, put in place by him, will help to bring back rigour to the education system, ensure teachers have high aspirations for all students and will help to restore our place in the international rankings.

The trouble is that he believes his own hype.

notnowImreading Thu 28-Mar-13 17:48:59

Russians, I apologise if I've offended you - it wasn't intended. I meant that there seems to be a lot less movement in the grade boundaries at the upper end of the spectrum and those pupils with high Bs to A* grades seem to have been penalised less than pupils on the C-D borderline. Again, that's only based on the changes we experienced in English last year. Actually, I agree that you have every right to be worried about Gove's pernicious effect on education, particularly for the class of 2013.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 18:57:53

notnow You didn't offend me thanks (although another poster did) but I did want to challenge the assumption that if a child gets an A or a B instead of the A* they would have got in other years, then that's fine and they should just suck it up because at least they haven't failed.

BrunellaPommelhorse Thu 28-Mar-13 18:58:35

yup - already loads of evidence that grade boundaries WAY higher than last year in lots of controlled assessments

IAmLouisWalsh Thu 28-Mar-13 20:19:00

January exams are going - this year was the last series for GCSE. And the November series will be resit only English and Maths - ie only open to those who sat the exams the previous June, and must be a full resit.

complexnumber Thu 28-Mar-13 21:39:45

"In a few years time, employers, etc won't remember that the GCSE's started being marked more harshly this year"

But in a few years the GCSE is going to be completely irrelevant any way as noone will be leaving school at 16 any more.

(Or have I misunderstood something)

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 28-Mar-13 21:49:10

Sorry, Russians, but I DO disagree with you. Getting an A rather than an A* won't stop you from getting onto ANY college course, or stop you from getting ANY job.

Getting a D instead of a C will when even basic retail jobs expect you to have a minimum of C at GCSE.

So what if you can't do medicine? At least you can GO to college or Uni and get ANY job that will actually FEED you.

Those in current Y10 that will be affected by the change in the C/D boundary may well NOT. Our local college is insistent that they will NOT relax the course requirements on any of their courses - they didn't for this years intake even with the grades fiasco.

So there IS a significant difference. And lots of these C/D pupils will have parents that CAN'T afford to support them if they are unable to receive JSA, unable to get CTC and ChB because they are no longer in education, and also unable to get even the most basic job.

In my town, even cleaners are asked to have Maths & English GCSE at a C grade or above, because there are so many applicants for each job (200 for each job), that many WILL have those grades.

So, it leaves the C/D borderline pupils with nothing to feed themselves with.

It doesn't leave an A*/A pupil in the same situation.

I HAVE another DC who will be an A*/A pupil. I'm not going to worry about being able to feed him if he gets an A instead of an A*. I AM worried about feeding my DD because her C's will now be D's.

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 21:52:48

couthy - you have to hope that when push comes to shove the local college example you give will actually lower the entrance requirements

if they don't they simply wont fill the places

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 21:54:39

I decoded tonight that PRE results the government should make a big LOUD CLEAR press announcement - telling the world that this is going to happen - then everyone - teachers - pupils- employers- colleges - the media - the world will know where they satnd and no one will be left feeling short changed

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 21:54:54

decided - not decoded

Startail Thu 28-Mar-13 21:58:53

I wish they'd stop messing about with English, DD1 is dyslexic, she's better at lit. than language, so I really didn't want to hear they are messing that about too.

She'll get a C disasters apart, but some sixth forms want a B and at present that looks like her having to do her least fav. language CAs again.

Core science she should get her A, stupid course work report things allowing (I can't remember what they are called)
Sorry, when she gets 99% on one exam paper, dropping a grade because of extended writing, waffly course work annoys me.
I'm a firm believer in nice simple old style end of two year exams. Spreading the stress and pain over two years seems utterly cruel.

Schooldidi Thu 28-Mar-13 22:10:20

Couthy aren't there ANY college courses near you that have lower requirements? I'm not talking about A levels; they tend to have a very strict C grade (or even B grade in some subjects) or no place policy, but other more vocational courses.

I currently teach a year 11 class where there are very few of them who are likely to achieve the C in both English and Maths, not through lack of effort or teaching, but because they find it incredibly difficult. Every single one of them has something lined up to do next year, whether it is a course at college that 'only' requires Ds and has the space for young people to resit Maths and English GCSE as many times as they need, or apprenticeships. Is it very different in your area? Our colleges seem to cater very well for young people without Cs at GCSE, offering childcare, construction, hair and beauty, agriculture, etc.

Haberdashery Thu 28-Mar-13 22:10:43

This is why it would have been better to stick to the system where the grades were based on where in your cohort you came, so top 5% A, next 10% B, whatever makes sense in terms of what you want the grades to mean. It would be an unlikely world in which one year's children were madly more intelligent or otherwise than the next/previous year over such a large sample.

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 22:21:03


Would have been better to completely overhaul the entire system and start again rather than merely denigrating the existing one...

howshouldibehave Thu 28-Mar-13 22:21:16

I thought you could claim child benefit until your child was 19, Couthy, if they're in f/t education?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 28-Mar-13 22:42:35

couthy you can disagree with me all you want but that doesn't make you any the less wrong. And SHOUTING at people just makes you look silly it doesn't convince them you are right. Nobody here has said it's not terrible for the C/D boundary kids. It's terrible for all the kids. You are the only person saying it's terrible for your kid but so what you couldn't give a stuff about other kids.

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 22:54:39

my son was hoping to do medicine and has working very hard over the last few years to attain theis goal...

not getting majority A* will preclude him from very many medical schools without any further considerations

that is sad

this time last year it looked a 'given'

Startail Thu 28-Mar-13 23:08:53

Surely medicine will take the same number of DCs, so if they make A* to hard they will have to take some As.

I'm assuming likewise, sixth forms will have to take C's for English if B becomes very difficult to get.

It's the C/D boundary that causes the problem, collages can't take DS because low Ds English probably isn't good enough to cope with many courses.

FourArms Thu 28-Mar-13 23:22:44

I'm worried even without the grade boundaries changing! Dd has been generally predicted A/A* for Physics - then she got Bs in the January exams, and wasn't put in for a resit - which would be fine, but the teacher said 'as you got Bs in both, we've just changed your predicted grade to B'
That's not how predicting things works, surely?

Is your DD in Y11? At this point in time if I was her teacher & could see she'd achieved 2 Bs, I'd assume probably the same for the final exam too. Her target may still differ, but my prediction should reflect what she will see on results day.

montmartre Thu 28-Mar-13 23:27:55

couthy- of course you'll still get CB for her- she has to stay in education!
The entitlement is up to 19yo.

What I don't understand is how all we hear is how much easier exams are now hmm yet I am astonished, genuinely astonished at how hard Y10 and Y11 pupils have to work- I mean continuously working hard, after school, weekends etc. I did GCSE, and honestly I did no work other than attend lessons during school hours. How can they be easier if children spend hours and hours each week for 2 whole years working for them?

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 23:30:10

My child doesn't Montmartre!

montmartre Fri 29-Mar-13 00:05:04

Get CB or work hard?

Startail Fri 29-Mar-13 00:14:06

Yes they do seem to do a lot more work than I did, partly useful work, but also they have to do their HW or get in trouble. A lot of my teachers were pretty laid back and my school at no formal did discipline system. Certainly no permanent record of forgetting a piece of German the teacher didn't give out clearly. DD2 is not impressed. 1/2 the class got formal detention. We'd have told him to get stuffed. My top set were bright, but we were far far stroppier than DCs seem to be today.

There are loads of courses at our local FE college which don't need GCSE passes at Grade C. They ask for grade D or above, or even Grade E for some courses.

Subjects include Art & Design, IT and Computing, Business Studies, Health & Beauty, Hairdressing, Carpentry, Floristry, Electronics, Health & Social Care, Childcare, Music, Plumbing, Travel & Tourism, Public Services, Sport..........


CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:14:03

Yes, at YOUR local college. None of our schools have a sixth form (well, apart from the Grammar and one right across town). The college here can take it's pick of students. Therefore as their courses are always full, they can pick and choose.

And my DD wants to do Catering. After speaking to the college, they will not relax their requirements of 3 'C' grades at GCSE at all.

DD was meant to get three 'C' grades - in particular in Catering GCSE. That's now been downgraded to a D. She will not get in. Her practicals are 'A' and 'B' grades, but due to her SN's, her written work is dragging that down to a 'D' now.

Not every area's college has the sane requirements.

And a 16yo with SN's is not going to cope with living away from home to get onto a college course.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:15:08

Howishouldbehave - that would mean being ABLE to get her into a college course to be IN FT education though...

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:16:00

Iclaudius - they WILL fill the places, that's the problem.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:18:43

The 'C' grades don't have to be in English or Maths (which is good, as DD is working her bloody socks off to try to achieve a 'G' in Maths, as she wants to get something other than a 'U'), but DD would have scraped a C in English, a 'C' in science, and a 'C' in Catering and Textiles.

These have ALL now been downgraded to a 'D'.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:21:18

Childcare - would you want someone with Autism that has violent meltdowns looking after YOUR DC?

Hairdressing - would you want someone with dyspraxia who cuts their toe while trying to cut their toenails cutting YOUR hair?

Catering is the ONLY skill she has.

And she can't use it because the course is so oversubscribed and they won't relax their course requirements.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:30:10

Russian - I will have another DC that will be affected by the grade boundary changes in future. I have no worries about how to feed him, he will maybe get A's instead of A*'s.

He will get into Uni, maybe not the one he wants, but he will get into Uni no matter what.

However - that is a far cry from having no way of feeding a child because they've missed out on College because of the changes to the C/D boundary.

I can understand the frustration of students who may not get exactly the grades they want, to study in exactly the Uni they want, but that in no way compares to having no way of feeding your child because you can't get them into FT education post 16.

Even DD's school is currently drawing a blank, as the LA is saying that she will have to travel by bus, train and bus to a College 40 miles away in order to get onto a suitable course - whilst ignoring the fact that at 15, my DD is unable to even manage going to town on ONE bus without an adult and get home, due to her SN's.

So it's all a massive fuck up, and I can't help but think of Gove as some sort of odious snake for putting families of DC's like my DD in that position.

It's just not the same to have to pick a less prestigious Uni because of getting A's instead of A*'s.

That's a minor thing in the scheme of it. Sorry, but if you can't see that going to a less prestigious Uni is far less of a problem than having no income for food, then there's something wrong there.

I can't work because a) I am disabled myself, and b) 3/4 of my DC's are also disabled.

How do you propose I support her and feed her for two years with no income?

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:38:29

There ARE no courses for the 'in between' Students in our town. The LA expect the 'in between' students to travel 40 miles on a bus from their home to the train station, a train to another town, and then another bus to the college to do the 'in between' courses.

They say they have ensured enough places on these 'in between' courses at THAT college to cope with the DC from our town too.

Ignoring the fact that lots of those on the new C/D boundary will have SN's that render them unable to do this.

By 'in between' courses, I mean the courses that are higher than 'life skills' courses, but below the local courses with a requirement to have at least 3 'C's at GCSE.

As far as the LA are concerned, they have discharged their duty to provide enough college places by providing more in another town.

Not going to help DC's like my DD though. And she is far from alone here.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:40:48

(My other DC that is likely to get A's instead of A*'s wants to do medicine. There ARE plenty of Uni medical courses that will take students that got A instead of A* at GCSE - they just happen to be less prestigious than the ones that will still only take A star students. Still not as much of an issue as my DD's 'D' grades instead of 'C' grades will be...)

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 09:07:35

couthy you have no idea what you a talking about when you atlas bout my DD. you also have no idea about education if you genuinely think that predictions are nailed on grades. Nobody is 'meant' to get any grade. None of us know what grades our kids are going to get (you certainly have no idea what grades your current Y6 child will get when he does his GCSEs ). All we know currently is that teachers in this thread are saying that grade boundaries at all levels are going thugh the roof and that is something to be concerned about.

You say so what if a young person can't be a doctor or do the course they want at a uni they want - how would you feel is someone said so what if your DC can't do catering? Which nobody is saying, incidentally, despite your aggressiveness and nastiness. As an aside - I have sever dyspraxia. DD1 has severe dyspraxia. There is no way either of us could ever ever do catering. I a million years. Last time I tried to do proper cooking in the kitchen I set myself on fire (as I've mentioned on MN before). And not for the first time either blush. I'm more than surprised you think catering is a possible option for someone with dyspraxia. I'm hmm

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 09:09:13

talk about Don't know where atlas bout cam from. Presume autocorrect. Or rubbish typing skills.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 14:56:06

She (albeit slower than most) cooks really well. Ok, her knife skills aren't the best, because she's slow, but there really isn't anything else she CAN do.

We haven't found her 'special skill' yet. sad

Tbh, I get your reservations. I really do, but WTF else is there for a DC with dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia etc?

She's not good with people, so people facing jobs are out (no retail or childcare), she's dyspraxic which rules out hairdressing (and probably the catering she has her heart set on), she isn't good with her hands to do a practical subject, she isn't any good at art, she is functioning at a 9/10yo's level in maths at 15, she really HASN'T got any other skills.

She eventually wants to do cakes, not main meals, so there will be far less knife work involved. She has got herself work experience in a local cake shop (best in town actually), and that's HER dream.

If she doesn't get the three 'C's, she can't do the course at college that she needs.

If an A* student gets an A, there ARE still medical schools they can go to.

It is hard on the A star / A pupils, but it WILL hit C/D pupils MORE especially in towns like mine.

Maybe not in every town, but in this town, if you miss out in a 'C', you're screwed.

Talkinpeace Fri 29-Mar-13 16:37:47

I suspect the aim will be to go back to the Normal distribution.
Makes it harder to preach about "improving schools"
but means that the grades will return to meaning something.

I almost feel most sorry for kids who got their GCSEs in 2011 as they are the year that had it too easy .... and will be remembered as such.

On the other hand, once the next stage of education is under one's belt, grades should be removed from the CV anyway.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 17:13:35

I think you're wrong about the medical school thing, but I have not looked into the subject closely since none of my DCs is interested in or could be medical doctors. I continue to be hmm about your complete refusal to accept that any child who is disadvantaged by the changes we hear, and fear, are going to happen (we don't know, after all) which means practically every single child taking the exams this time round, is being treated really poorly. DD1 is 2E and she is completely screwed by the system. But I'm used to that, there's no point moaning about it, there's no point crying about the fact that, as an ed psych told us two weeks ago, government policy is that people with dyspraxia, dysoexia etc should not be getting A*s because A*s aren't for 'people like them'. yep, someone in the DoE apparently told the ed psych this recently. But what can you do, it is what it is (and what it is is crap). But this arbitrary manipulation of grade boundaries that we are told is going to happen this year - this is something else entirely. And for you to claim it's irrelevant for everyone except your own child is just rude.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 29-Mar-13 17:17:38

fourarms yes, year 11. She's always found physics more difficult than other subjects, but she's predicted a* in everything else, so it seems to me there's no reason for physics to be the anomaly, if that makes sense.

They had a difficult year 10 with different teachers for various unavoidable reasons, but I'm disappointed her prediction and expectations have just been dropped like this.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 18:25:24


The point is, these 'D's are PREDICTIONS. She doesn't have those grades yet.

So what are you, the school, and your DD doing, by working together, to strain every possible sinew to turn those predicted Ds to Cs on the day? I know of a school which has been open every day of half term, and will be open every day over Easter, with a variety of drop-in sessions, booster lessons, exam revision classes, 'meet the teacher about your practical project', 'how to boost your controlled asessment scores' - anything to get their pupils the grades that they need, and this is a school just below the Government floor targets, in a very, very deprived area so it seems likely that other schools in better areas would be doing even more. Or does the college provide any access / booster courses that could help to bridge the gap?

Rather and sit there with a 'we're all doomed' approach, what are you, your daughter and her school doing about it? I appreciate that she has SN - has she accessed, and has the school asked for, every possible support, extension and special consideration? Does she have specific support in school, and are they working with her daily and in a determinedly targeted way on the things that are bringing her prediction down?

The current situation and uncertainty are dreadful to everyone, wherever they sit on the grade continuum - not forgetting those teachers and heads whose jobs depend on getting a certain percentage of certain grades.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 18:27:18

(Oh, and would the shop she has worked in for work experience sponsor her through something like an apprenticeship with day release study etc? Possibly another avenue into the same type of industry, as there is not a requirement to be 'in school' until the new 'leaving' age, just to be in a position that receives training or education.)

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 18:31:50

I didn't claim it was 'irrelevant' for any other child except my own - I said it would be unfortunate for all children affected, but far worse for those now getting 'D's instead of 'C's, or lower grades than that, especially in areas where those who are in the 'in between' courses aren't available.

That's NOT just my child, as pointed out upthread, it's lots of children.

I never expected DD to get A*'s. what WAS expected was that she would scrape 3 'C's, and get into college.

Those expected previously to get A stars, but will now get A's, will still have plenty of opportunities for post 16 education. At least they will still HAVE opportunities.

If 199 18yo's with A grades at GCSE and A grades at A level went for a retail job and one 16yo with D grades at GCSE and not even a college course after, who do you suppose is least likely to get the job?

Yes, it will be a shame for those who lose out on an A*. But to see it as exactly the same as those who may be left with no FT college course, no CTC or ChB, possibly parents that are unable to financially support them at this point, and no recourse to benefits as legally they are meant to still be in education, is just blinkered.

It really ISN'T the same situation at all.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 18:36:00

So, Couthy, what are you doing about it? (Just looked up the school I mentioned. Their Easter School, with personalised timetable for every Year 11, starts on Tuesday - they broke up yesterday. Does your school do something similar?)

I would dispute the 'far worse' comment. For every child whose previously mapped-out future looks to be in doubt it is a potential disaster.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 18:36:52

She is getting 25% extension time, and a scribe for CA's and exams. Not in class though.

The school is offering nothing extra to usual.

I am spending hours doing revision with DD, and helping her practice for her CA in Catering.

I'm organising appointments with her SenCo, ringing the LA, trying to find other avenues for courses.

I can't tell how the work experience is going to go, but the local college won't DO the day release, as that course isn't offered in that way.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 18:37:32

My earlier post was X-posted

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 18:39:56

And if DD can't earn enough to cover her food and clothes, then she MUST be in FT education.

It's also financial considerations in situations like mine - on a day release course or apprenticeship, she wouldn't be earning enough to cover her food, clothes and travel, yet her CTC and ChB would stop because it isn't FT education.

It's not as simple as all that for everyone, and not everyone has the ability to survive without that.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 18:43:20

Teacher Thank you for your informed and empathetic comments.

It's really sad to come into a thread where everyone is worried about the same thing and trying to be mutually supportive and for one person to say 'so what if someone can't be a doctor', 'so what if someone can't go to the uni they want' and 'I don't give a crap'. It's ride, it's aggressive and it's mean.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 19:12:29

Not once have I posted 'I don't give a crap', please stop putting words in my mouth that aren't there.

I have said I sympathise with those that will get an A rather than an A*, but also that that is quite a different situation to what will happen to some DC's in some areas where there are no college courses for those who get D/E/F.

And that those who were expected to get a C, and are now thrown in that position ARE going to be worse off than those who drop to an A.

That's not being unsympathetic, it's pointing out the differences in life outcomes between those who get an A and those who get a D, especially in areas like mine.

And they are different, significantly so.

Trying to say that it is just as bad for every child to drop a grade, when it clearly isn't, is disingenuous.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 19:17:00

couthy Sadly for you the evidence remains on this very thread. Yesterday at 11:44:17 you posted I don't give a crap that less pupils will get an A*

I await your apology for implying that I'm a liar.

noblegiraffe Fri 29-Mar-13 19:19:44

I posted about this in Feb 2012, it's definitely Gove's doing - he said exam results would fall as a result of his meddling.


teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 19:20:17

Couthy, could I suggest, therefore, that you book a meeting with your DD's SENCo within the first couple of days of next term?

You may also need to involve the teachers for the 3 relevant subjects, to identify exactly what the barriers are to her getting a C in each subject. It may also be helpful to identify whether it is 'current grade border uncertainty' or 'CM's daughter finding the grade requirements harder than originally expected' that has caused the prediction to drop - have you been informed which, or is it just your assumption that it is the current uncertainty around grades?

You then need to work out a joint plan of action, with the school, to give her the best chance of exceeding her current prediction AS WELL AS a fall back plan (e.g. sources of funding to enable someone to accompany her to the more distant college, specialist residential colleges for those with particular SN - I know that our local v highly regarded FE college for those with some specific SNs has a catering arm and has supported residential accommodation, or particular charities or helplines for her SN that may be able to provide advice or partial funding etc).

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 19:29:55

Apologies, x-posted.

Couthy, if it has been a child's lifetime dream to follow a particular career path, and it is stymied by the change in grades (because it is not always the case that children CAN just go to a different university with lower grades - many popular qualifications are offered with very similar grades by all possible institutions, and a child may have been just within striking distance of that but then miss out), and as a result they have to follow a completely different career path, less satisfying, probably less financially rewarding, and certainly not as emotionally fulfilling as the one they wanted to folklow, it DOES make a significant difference to their life outcomes.

There are obviously particular issues in your own family circumstances - your own disability, your DD's SN, the financial situation of your family as a whole - that mean that in you case a dropped grade and a significant re-think about career direction [though as a PP has said, it may not have been a viable career choice anyway] cause particular issues. But there will be many, many other hard cases at many other grade boundaries, and to claim that your case is uniquely bad, and in particular to claim that all cases with a vague resemblance to yours are all significantly worse than any others is extrapolating too far from your data....

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 19:44:01

Also, just a little puzzled on the financial front:

- If your DD is in FT education, you will receive CTC and CB, and will have to buy her food and clothes and ?pay her transport to college.

- If she is in an apprenticeship, she would be paid (albeit not a lot for the first year, though it would rise). You do not want her to follow this path because her food, clothes and transport would cost too much.

I apologise, I do not have all the figures to hand and obviously it will depend on your individual circumstances. Is the gap between the two in financial terms large? Is it so large as to make apprenticeship as a Plan B completely impossible, even if the alternative is her not doing anything and staying at home?

noblegiraffe Fri 29-Mar-13 19:49:11

Couthy has posted in desperation many times before about her DD's education and her DD has been appallingly let down by her school who have not offered a suitable education pathway for her, while also being screwed over by Gove's scrapping of modules.

From what I understand from her previous posts, if her DD doesn't get on the catering course, there aren't any other options and her DD may end up at home with no college course, no job prospects and no money, and a mother who can't afford to keep her.

That must be an exceptionally worrying prospect, and I agree that it is 'worse' than someone having to downgrade their university choice, while still having options open to them.

noblegiraffe Fri 29-Mar-13 19:51:07

...not that I'm saying being screwed out of your university choice by Gove is fine, btw.

montmartre Fri 29-Mar-13 20:08:34

Could she do horticulture perhaps?

If I were in the position where my child was being failed so badly by her school, and would have no opportunities in the area after school, then I would move. However, I appreciate that if you're disabled you may not have a choice of housing, or the freedom to do that.

Is it possible to look into that? Particularly if you have 2 more children who may find themselves in a similar situation.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:15:52

In social housing. No local connection to be able to get housed in any other area. Prohibited Steps order keeping me in this town also, for one of my younger DC's. No legal Aid to go back to court to try to get the PSO lifted, and it was refused last time I tried to self represent. Chances are it would still not be lifted. So another 7 years minimum tied to this town.

No, moving isn't an option.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:18:15

Ok, Russians, I apologise for that rudeness, but I guess I was feeling aggrieved that you can't see the difference between one child being forced to downgrade their Uni choices, and another having no way of feeding themselves or being fed.

I just feel that while yes, it will be a shame for the first set of students, it's a tragedy for the second set.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:23:40

The difference is that when we chose her Options, it was based around the predictions pre-fiasco, and she was predicted 'C's.

Getting the SAME marks, she now will only get a 'D'.

Therefore it's not that her ability has changed, or the hard work she (and I) are putting into getting her those grades has changed, but simply that for getting the same amount of total marks, she will not get the same grade.

And the boundary has changed the most for the C/D borderline pupils.

Where she may have scraped a C before, she will now be lucky to scrape a D.

If the grade boundary has changed by 5 points between an A* and an A, it has changed by 8 points between a C and a D.

So you could have been 7 points into a C before, yet now you will just miss out on one. And 7/8 points is a lot harder to make up than 5 - when you bear in mind that those attempting to make up 5 points are far less likely to have learning difficulties than those trying to make up 8 points...

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:30:10

The gap between the two is well over £40 a week. That is an insurmountable amount to our family, especially given the benefit cap changes and UC issues still to come BEFORE she finishes Y11.

I have another appointment with the SenCo after the holidays. Though she was in years at the last appointment, of frustration, as she has 27 in current Y11 in this predicament, and 32 in current Y10. She can't secure residential places for any but those who will get nothing but 'G' or less now. Those between 'D' and 'F' are only going to be 'ok' if their parents can fully find them for food, clothing and travel to college.

She is being told by the LA to apply to the further afield college's hardship fund. They are saying that they only have the money for 30 student's travelling costs. Over all the students in our town affected that don't have parents with the funds to cover this. Which is estimated to be over 150.

Sorry, can I just clarify something. Do we now not get ctc and cb if they stay on until 18 ?? Apologies if i've missed something.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 22:09:25

No couthy, that still doesn't work, that was your FIRST POST in this thread. All I'd done at that point was express concern and worry at what a PP had said was now happening, like many other posters above me. The OP expressed her concern in terms of A* boundaries. That was what this thread was supposed to be about. I have seen you do this so very many times under your various names - somebody posts something, other people respond, then you pile and and tell us all we have nothing to complain about because your life is so much worse. And clearly, it's pretty bad. But that doesn't mean other people can't express worries about their own situations on MN too. And as I said above, you don't actually ow anything about anyone else's circumstances anyway.

I'm generally very sympathetic to your plight. But in this case, you piled into the thread and were horrible and rude right from the start. So in this case, no, Im not going to spare any worry for you because I've got enough worries for my own SEN child. Who deserves at least as much consideration as yours, and who has apparent actual government policy saying people like her are not allowed to get the top grades. And who would never in a million years be allowed anywhere near a catering course.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sat 30-Mar-13 10:36:24

Ok, I'm sorry. I'll leave this thread now, as I've obviously upset you, Russians, and that wasn't my intention. I'm just struggling right now to sort everything for everyone, and obviously let this out on this thread. Once again, I apologise.

iclaudius Sun 31-Mar-13 00:19:22

i think you DO nutcracker - definitely do for CB as i've just had the letter

iclaudius Sun 31-Mar-13 00:20:58

couthy my understandning is that there is a HUGE change in the A* boudarie but this is then only a matter of a couple of points difference in the C/D boundary - teachers have told me this

ravenAK Sun 31-Mar-13 17:50:18

The C/D boundary in Eng Lang moved up by roughly 10% last June.

It really, really wasn't a couple of points.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 31-Mar-13 18:29:57

What Iclaudius (great name!) said was true for some of the science exams for AQA this January. The A*, A, B boundaries moved significantly but the ones lower than that did not.

So I think the only certainty is that we do not know exactly what will happen in June!

iclaudius Sun 31-Mar-13 22:42:46

ravenAK - thanks- i think the english was an exception and caused such a stir that things were rectified for January

i think the general TREND is as Shipwrecked stated and echoed in the January modules...in ds school last year in Biology 55% of students got an A* ( v high performing school) this year it was 7%

the biology department rang another similar school as he was shocked and they reported an almost identical result each time.....

is this going to be seen as FAIR?

IAmLouisWalsh Mon 01-Apr-13 08:55:26

Nothing has been 'rectified' in English - the solution was not to set boundaries. The boundaries for the November resit were very similar to those from the summer, and the trend will be likely to continue. Getting a C in English is significantly more difficult than it has ever been.

January modules will not run again.

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Apr-13 09:01:35

Getting a C in maths was much more difficult last year too, but not as well publicised as the English fiasco. The grade boundaries on one exam board's final module to get a C were way, way higher than previous modules, years, and reasonable expectations.

Copthallresident Mon 01-Apr-13 16:07:56

Last year there were strange inconsistencies in marking and grading across the board, it applied at AS and A2 too and in English Lit as well as English Language and even in IGCSEs which are supposed to be immune. The trouble was that it varied across exam boards so it wasn't as if it affected all DCs. As the Head of Magdalen school commented “The goalposts are being shifted but not necessarily by someone with a valid GPS.” www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9497631/GCSE-results-university-places-at-risk-from-grades-drop.html

IAmLouisWalsh Mon 01-Apr-13 19:25:46

There were no 'inconsistencies' with marking in GCSE English - no more than normal variations for an arts based subject. The difficulty was caused by the changes made to grade boundaries which are on,y set once all the marking is completed.

Copthallresident Mon 01-Apr-13 21:37:39

As the head of my DDs highly selective indie has pointed out with the expansion in the number of pupils sitting exams marking is too often now carried out by master's students and others with little teaching experience at the level of those being marked, marking errors are far too common and a rigid marking schemes have been introduced as a result which means that well argued and thought out answers can still be marked down. We were not going to challenge DDs RMT mark, surely there was nothing subjective to affect marking, she went up 10 UMS marks. Of course you can apply for a remark but does everyone get the same sort of support from school, it costs money (albeit returned if the mark changes), and can you trust the second marker?

Arisbottle Mon 01-Apr-13 22:28:50

I know of a few subjects that have sent papers back for remarks and they have gone from Cs to As. A C grade answer looks nothing like an A Grade answer, very worrying.

mumslife Tue 02-Apr-13 13:44:16


Copthallresident Tue 02-Apr-13 14:18:47

mumslife In the post GCSE results days last August a lot of schools and sixth form colleges were relaxing their requirements for individual pupils who had conditional places. Not immediately but after 24 hours when everyone realised it was a fiasco.

ravenAK Tue 02-Apr-13 17:03:39

iclaudius - nope, nothing has been 'rectified' for January re: Eng Lang.

We now have 180 year 11s with raw scores for their January exams, but no idea what these actually mean as the boundaries have not yet been set, & won't be until the June cohort take theirs (which mean our lot will all be re-taking, as we have no idea whether they've been successful already or not).

We've pretty much abandoned Eng Lit as a result for this cohort. sad

IAmLouisWalsh Tue 02-Apr-13 17:51:19

Raven - be careful, as you need Lit for Lang to count in the league tables. I know you probably know this, but one school last year didn't!

As for the idea which is repeated time and again about students marking papers - I have marked and moderated English for many years now with the two biggest exam boards, and I have yet to come across anyone other than a qualified teacher marking/moderating. Lots of retired teachers, several on supply, but no-one without actual teaching experience.

ravenAK Tue 02-Apr-13 18:30:43

They have to be entered for Lit alongside Lang for the Lang to count. They don't have to actually pass it.

So they'll all be trooping in to sit the paper, but the preparation they've done for it will be...well, minimal.

I know, it's bonkers. hmm.

IAmLouisWalsh Tue 02-Apr-13 21:29:01

It needs to be a U - I have one kid doing it because she got a C in Lang on resit but missed the January exams. She asked, in all seriousness 'Can I still get a U without revising?'. I bloody hope so.

Copthallresident Wed 03-Apr-13 00:34:07

IamLouisWalsh It isn't just that I have the observation about the declining standard of marking, and the use of graduate students, on record from DDs very selective indie school, and reports as well as personal experience of huge changes when it comes to remark. I am a PhD student in a Humanities Dept at a RG uni and have known several MA students employed to mark papers to supplement their income, albeit not a topic examined in the GCSE syllabus. It is regarded as a sad joke since 20 mins are allowed for the marking of an A2 question, and some who exploited the opportunity had not only not taught 18 year olds, they had not even been educated in the British system themselves.

circular Fri 05-Apr-13 13:17:10

Agree re the sicth form applications. All very well waiting till results and calling round to get a place in 'clearing'. But very nerver wracking to lose out on condtional offers as they are based on predicted grades.

A course may have a minimum requirement of a B, but due to over subscription, only students predicted A will get a conditional offer.
So you have the situation where a student predicted A but gets B gets a place, but one that is predicted B but gets A may not - unless someone drops out, or does not meet min requirement.

mumslife Sun 07-Apr-13 19:57:09

exactly what i was thinking circular those without provisional offer places in my daughters case three out of four grammer schools could potentially not get a place to someone who in fact gets a lower grade than them but was predicted higher kind of makes a mockery of the whole thing. So its okay grammers relaxing their requirements when it comes down to it but those with predicted higher grades regardless of if they get them or not are at an advantage as they already have a provisional place which they will probably get due to grammers relaxing their requirements yet someone on the waiting list without a prov places could get higher than them but not then get a place grrrr

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