I need to go in and see the teacher, don't I?

(83 Posts)
LittenTree Thu 04-Jul-13 23:01:54


DS1 is 'able' as in 'is capable of 9 or 10 decent GCSE passes, and most probably university'.

He attends the 'best performing comp' in the county as measured by exam results.

They do 'Business and Communications GCSE' at the end of Y10, presumably because they recognise that to a 'good', 'school-ready', 'MC' cohort it's 'a gift'.

DS has just admitted, after some wheedling from me- he got a D in the end of Y9 exam.

I am Not Happy.

He and I revised the reasonably detailed 'revision sheet'. Block a business letter? Check. H&S? Check. Methods of reimbursement? Check. All his notes were presented in text boxes, as in:

I am a H&S officer; DH is in IT. DS has had lots of help in his revision.

I have No Idea why he did so badly. He is a quiet, well behaved DS who is generally achieving well. Or as well as our expectation would, well, Expect.

So. D?

Why have we not received a personal communication from the teacher who is the Head of IT telling us of our DS's, well, FAILURE? Why has his exam not been sent home? Why did a 'D' from such a DC not ring alarm bells?

Why have our comprehensive schools not grasped that fundamental of a successful educational outcome, i.e. Child/Teacher/PARENT?! The famous Japanese three legged stool? Is that So Hard?

I am not blaming the teacher for his failure as such but I am suggesting that this glaring failure should have been immediately drawn to our attention so we can see what went wrong.

Did he give one word answers to questions? He claims not.

Miss the point entirely?

He has No Idea why he did so badly. He hasn't been told, just that his performance was 'disappointing'. And we have no exam to look at.

Like everyone, I am busy. I shouldn't have to go in and see, if not confront this teacher. They should have told ME there's 'a problem'.

Rant over but I am Not Impressed.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 04-Jul-13 23:05:31

I'm confused, if this is a GCSE how did you get the results now?

MultumInParvo Thu 04-Jul-13 23:06:56

Maybe if you are a bit more wary of calling him a failure, he'd be more inclined to talk to you.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 04-Jul-13 23:07:23

Oh right, year 9 exam.
Calm down. And stop trying to make this into some sort of bigger thing about what comprehensive schools have or have not grasped. You're sounding a bit silly, to be honest.

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 23:27:43

I would suggest you calm down, and ask the teacher politely about it - say you are a bit confused as you felt he was fairly confident and capable, yet your ds is telling you he doesn't know how he came to get a D. Explain you'd like to help him if there's a problem.
If it possible he was given a GCSE paper to have a go at, not having covered considerable amounts of the curriculum yet ? To give them an idea of how much they still needed to work on or something ?

TheFallenMadonna Thu 04-Jul-13 23:29:57

You could try emailing them first and seeing what feedback they give?

Clary Thu 04-Jul-13 23:33:37

yeah what back for good said.

I teach MFL and my yr 10s just did a couple of GCSE papers to practice. Some of them got C (Foundation paper) but plenty did a lot worse. Some results were disappointing but in several cases I was actualy pretty happy considering we still have a year of curriculum to cover.

By all means ask for feedback (by email maybe?) but calm down a bit first.

Clary Thu 04-Jul-13 23:34:20

aaaaargh to practise. I was going to say for practice", honest blush

Clary Thu 04-Jul-13 23:36:22

I meant to add as well that I haven't contacted anyone's parents to tell them about the glaring failure hmm

atrcts Fri 05-Jul-13 00:55:16

Describing your son as "doing badly" and "failure" seems a bit pushy to me shock and I know how I'd feel in his shoes right now, poor fella!

KlickKlackknobsac Fri 05-Jul-13 01:11:33

Agree with Clary- end of Y9 trial is insignificant.
Plus stop doing so much revision with him- he needs to develop independence.
He needs to do repeated past papers in all subjects over the next 2 years. This will help him understand the mindset of the examiner/ exam. They are like a good crossword- you need to get into the head of whoever sets the puzzle.
All past papers (except most recent) can be found on line on exam board websites.
All will be fine.

burberryqueen Fri 05-Jul-13 01:11:33

this glaring failure
FAILURE - hmmmm
OP no offence but you do not sound entirely balanced about this

NatashaBee Fri 05-Jul-13 01:26:23

So he got a D, and still has a year to go before the real exam? I don't think that's a glaring failure, I would imagine his peer group mostly got a similar result. I wouldn't call it a failure, I'd be pleased I had those results now so I knew what he still needed to work on.

Shanghaidiva Fri 05-Jul-13 01:34:10

I think some of the comments here are a little harsh. OP did not say she called her son a failure, rather she regarded the result a failure. Key issue here is that the son doesn't know why he got the D grade. It is vital to the learning process that the teacher goes through the paper with all the students and highlights what went well and what they need to work on. Exam technique also needs to be learnt.
I would email teacher and explain that DS would like to know where he went wrong so that he knows what areas to work on - a reasonable request imo.

BalloonSlayer Fri 05-Jul-13 06:57:03

He's only in Year 9!

As I understand it (happy to be corrected though!), the SATs grades they usually use at the end of year 9 roughly translate thus to GCSE grades:

Level 7 at end of Yr 9 - should get an A at the end of Yr 11, would get a C if took GCSE at end of Year 9.

Level 6 at end of Yr 9 - should get a B at the end of Yr 11, would get a D if took GCSE at end of Year 9.

Level 5 at end of Yr 9 - should get a C at the end of Yr 11 - would get an E if took GCSE at end of Year 9.

. . . and so on.

If your DS got a Level 6 now, you'd be pleased, wouldn't you? Level 6 is good for the end of year 9. I might be a teensy bit concerned that he hasn't got the time for his grade to come up to where it might if he was doing the GCSE at the normal time.

I guess I would drop a casual email asking:

"is it normal to get a D at this stage?"

"What does this suggest he will get at GCSE?"

"Can he take the GCSE at the end of Yr 11? Why not?"

Blissx Fri 05-Jul-13 07:02:06

I don't like pupils starting GCSEs earlier. In Year 9, they are generally not mature enough and in Shanghaidiva has a point-they just don't have exam technique yet. (can understand triple science for time, but it sounds like your high performing comp starts them earlier on GCSEs and then puts pupils in for multiple re-sits over the years until they excel)

I don't think your son's knowledge is the issue here, it is probably the way he interprets or reads the question fully, or writing enough for the marks on offer or even his handwriting as stress can turn writing into scrawls! By all means, send an email and the teacher will respond. However, without looking at their programme of study, you can't assume yet, that they were never planning on reviewing the paper. Oh, and try not to over emphasise this failure with your son as you won't want lack of confidence being an additional factor later on.

lborolass Fri 05-Jul-13 07:09:47

Ballonslayer - I haven't seen that relationship between Nat Curric levels and GCSEs before. Do you know how reliable that is?

OP - I would follow this up with the teacher if it's totally out of line with everything to date just in case he's doing something fundamentally wrong that can be corrected over the next two years

AuntieStella Fri 05-Jul-13 07:14:44

We have to rely on word of pupil for early sight of exam results, otherwise it's wait for the school report.

I'm not too sure what you mean by "such a DC". What is your school's normal practice and have they followed it? Or are you just expecting special treatment?

If you think the school policy of how they inform parents is wrong, then you will need to go in and make your case in terms of how it benefits all pupils.

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 07:24:55

I expect the teacher hasn't contacted you because he doesn't see the D as being a glaring failure. If your DS had got a great result in the Y9 exam you'd be wondering what more he was going to do in Y10 if he was already up to standard? It sounds like the D is on course for a good result in Y10 after another year's learning.

Contact the teacher by all means, but the word 'confront' in your OP is a little worrying. Like you, the teacher is busy too and probably doesn't have time to contact every parent in their own time. Maybe he was expecting your DS to take some responsibility and inform his parents himself or was planning on mentioning it as parents evening?

Theas18 Fri 05-Jul-13 07:40:40

Deep breath OP!

Surely a D now, with another year of teaching before the actual GCSE is probably about where he should be? (they may even be assessing to GCSE standards based on knowing about half the info they need for the exam,we have had that before). So you need so much more info before you fly of the handle!

When you say your son is " capeable of 9-10 decent GCSE passes" are you ( realistically) meaning the "mumsnet decent passes" of A/A* or the " govt/school" idea of decent passes ie A*-C. If it is the latter he's band on target!

headlesslambrini Fri 05-Jul-13 07:46:59

anyone else confused as to why she is a H&S officer and her DH is in IT should make the jot of difference here? Sounds to me like she is implying that a H&S person and a IT person are brighter than anyone else.

I'd be careful as to how you approach the school otherwise you are just going to make a fool of yourself.

burberryqueen Fri 05-Jul-13 07:48:09

actually yes i did wonder about that headlesslambrini

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 05-Jul-13 08:08:48

The problem with GCSEs that most people don't get is that simply knowing stuff isn't enough.

With GCSEs you have to be able to use what you know in order to answer the longer, higher mark questions and at the end of year 9 he is unlikely to have had enough experience with this.

DD1 used to spend hours and hours revising facts, rewriting stuff out and making little cards and charts at this age and often did badly in exams. She would get very down hearted thinking she was working hard ( which of course she was but just not in the right way.) as time went on she developed the techniques and ended up with As all but two of her final exams.

DD 2 is bright and at a high performing grammar school, is in year 9 and she started all of her GCSE courses at the beginning of this year. Some of her grades are in the C/D range and her teachers are more than happy with her results at this stage. She has another year before a few of her exams and another two for most so plenty of time for consolidation and exam technique to be developed.

I really think you are reading too much into this. He is only 14! His school haven't contacted you as they don't see it as too much of a problem and surely you will have eventually have found out by way of a report or at least pupil tracking information?

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Jul-13 08:21:17

Why have you not received personal communication from the teacher? Probably because it's not that big a deal. If teachers got on the phone at every slightly below par result (and a D a year from the exam isn't horrifying), then they'd never have time to teach.

Certainly contact the school if you are concerned (has DS had an end of year report yet? Perhaps wait for that if not). But don't go in all guns blazing as you have in the OP, it's really over the top.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 08:26:59

OK. I called the school (you can only 'make contact' between 8 and 8.30am). The Head Of Year has just called me back, to my surprise.

He says that he was 'very interested to hear my remarks' as, apparently, he has, over the past 2 weeks, received 'a significant number' of parents querying why their otherwise able DC have failed this exam (but presumably, like us received no feedback, either!). He actually put it as 'There appear to have been rather a few unexpected upsets regarding this particular exam...'. Apparently they were examined on the curriculum as taught so far.

He is 'in discussion' about it and will 'provide constructive feedback' a soon as he can.

Good. So it appears I'm not being paranoid! And the HoY actually telling me that he's received other 'queries' encourages me to believe that I am correct in thinking this needs further looking at. DS has never 'failed' anything before, his March report in this subject speaks of 'a good grasp of the subject'...

Something I see I left out which is rather relevant: They sit their GCSE at the end of Y10, further reinforcing the understanding that this should be a gift of a GCSE for an able pupil.

As for being a H&S officer, The revision notes DS brought home, 20 pages of them had a good 10 pages of H&S Law and 'issues' on them. Page after page of what the employer's responsibilities are, what the Law says, what the employees responsibilities are; cellular and open plan offices, pros & cons; and 'on this picture, ring possible H&S hazards'. So a goodly part of the course, I'd say. As for IT, another slew of it was spreadsheet management, blocking letters, formatting text, use of bullet points and so on- what DH does every day. We know this stuff. That's why it's relevant. Same as if you were a Maths teacher and your DS failed a Maths exam you'd helped him prepare for, you'd be asking questions, too; not because you thought you were 'better' than anyone else but because you had a deep and full understanding of what your DS was allegedly learning. IMHO that does make rather a jot of difference.

Balloonslayer - thanks for your input. Sadly the teacher apparently said to the D and E pupils 'I'm very disappointed in your performance' which implies she'd expected considerably better than a D at this stage! And yes, 'D', dressed up however you want to, is a fail.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 10:41:07

Amusing radio-silence from all of those who canned me yesterday, hey? grin

Got a call from the teacher concerned.

All now is much clearer. Apparently there was an exam timetabling mix-up/clash which means that the DC were supposed to get their mark along with a detailed explanatory letter in their reports in 10 days' time but instead, the exam result was published in isolation as yes, has caused a lot of bother!

She apologised for all this and recognised that a DC who was 'achieving well' suddenly getting a D a year prior to their GCSE didn't look good at all and she understood why parents were concerned. She says that in her opinion, with his works so far, DS is on target for a B as a minimum, she's happy with his progress but some massive complexity of GCSE marking scheme where getting 50% in one part gives you a C, but 67% in another a D was 'the explanation'. She also warned me that in the upcoming school report many DC will have apparently made no progress whatsoever since the March report but we are to 'disregard the mark but read the comment'...

You can see where the confusion has arisen!

Anyway, she read out a couple of DS's answers where I readily agree that there was detail missing which she said she wasn't surprised about at this stage etc, but, overall his grasp of the subject was 'solid' and so forth... which still doesn't really tally with a 'D', does it? She acknowledged that this looks like 'failure'! And apologised again that the result wasn't put into context properly due to this exam clash/report date thing. She also said she had done the teacher-thing in saying that D and E was 'disappointing' to the DC but hadn't meant to 'upset' DS as much as it had... OK.

So I am now satisfied that this was mishandled, they recognise it was, DS will be a whole lot less stressed about this out-of-the-blue fail; the teacher now knows we're 'concerned parents' and we can all move forwards.

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 11:11:31

I don't think there's any doubt that there are 'concerned parents'. A significant amount of time is spent placating them. hmm

I'm glad you got the outcome you wanted. Perhaps next time you should trust that the teachers in the 'best performing comp in the county' to be doing the best for your DS.

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Jul-13 11:18:26

The people yesterday who said it probably wasn't anything to worry about appear to have been correct.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 11:24:21

No, the school screwed up. By their own admission. I was not 'placated', I was given a plausible explanation, and an apology.

I accept that mistakes get made. Just because this is 'the best performing comp in the county' doesn't absolve them of responsibility for keeping their eye on the ball, nor does it allow me complacency in not keeping an eye on DS's performance, in search of steady progress. Maybe, just maybe this school does so well because all of us endeavour to be 'on the same page'; our DC, their teachers, us, the parents.

So no, 'next time' I shan't just 'trust in the teachers' if they've made a balls up, in the same way I would expect them to tell me pdq if DS was ballsing up- which a sudden unexpected, unexplained, isolated 'D' implies, does it not? I shall enquire as to What Went Wrong, like I have this time, thanks.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 11:28:30

noble - I admire your complacency. I really wish I were the sort of parent who'd just shrug if my DS, one year short of a GCSE he and I had every confidence he'd pass, and pass well suddenly got a D for his end of year exam. How I wish I were sufficiently supine I'd go 'Oh well, never mind, it probably doesn't matter. What's the odd thrown GCSE in today's economic climate?'...

How relaxed I'd be!

burberryqueen Fri 05-Jul-13 11:32:17

you still sound unbalanced about it tbh

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 11:36:26

They didn't balls up though, did they? They just didn't put the result in context ahead of the reports coming out next week. Feel sorry for the teacher tbh having to apologise for that.

Hardly worthy of the rant and gloating afterwards.

pusspusslet Fri 05-Jul-13 11:39:37

Ummm... I'm not sure why so many people don't seem to be able to understand your concern. I do.

I'm glad you contacted the school, and that they've been able to provide some sort of explanation. We rely upon schools to teach our children the things they need to regurgitate in order to pass important exams. If bright children who also work hard appear to be suddenly failing then I think it's fair enough for parents to be concerned, and asking questions.

And yes, a D is a fail.

Good luck to you and your DS, OP!

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 11:43:17

I really wish I were the sort of parent who'd just shrug if my DS, one year short of a GCSE he and I had every confidence he'd pass, and pass well suddenly got a D for his end of year exam

I think the minimum expectation would be to wait for the Y9 reports and if it wasn't addressed in that, speak to the teacher afterwards.

Not 'confront' the teacher assuming that she's let your DS down by marking the exam poorly & not phoning you personally to discuss your DS's disappointing result.

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 11:45:59

I'm not sure why so many people don't seem to be able to understand your concern. I do.

I understand the concern too, but the reaction was OTT.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 11:46:46

Well, intending putting a sudden, out of the blue, unexpected poor exam result in context via the medium of an explanatory letter with the report containing the exam bombshell -but failing to do so is a bit of a balls up, isn't it?

When the NC suddenly changed 'the rules' regarding how Science would be examined a good 2 years ago (far more 'use of facts', far less 'learn the facts'), the school sent us a 2 page explanatory letter prior to that year's report, telling us why our DC may appear to have made no progress this year as they were now using a new marking scheme. Fair enough. This is the sort of school, probably like yours, where this sort of thing is dealt with properly; so when it isn't, one can maybe see that the result is a parent who wants to know why her DS went from 'doing well/on course/all OK' to a 'D' and therefore might be looking for some answers.

So I called to find out what was going on; now I have my explanation (and an apology for the mishandling). Sorry if my telling you what happened next is regarded as 'gloating'. I don't see it that way.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 11:48:56

I said 'Hi Miss 'X', it's Mrs Y here, DS1's in Class A's mum. I'm calling because I am rather concerned about DS1's unexpectedly poor Y9 exam result in your subject.. What went wrong?!'..

If that's 'confrontational', you have thin skin.

Theas18 Fri 05-Jul-13 11:51:00

As I said before it is not a surprising grade half way through the course when measured against the end of GCSE standards then!

Dejected Fri 05-Jul-13 11:52:54

In the grand scheme of things GCSEs don't matter. They are simply a stepping stone into other avenues of education. Not all children are academic and the pressure put upon all children to achieve numerous academic qualifications makes my blood boil.

Exams can be taken at any time in your life. Life skills are far more important along with health and happiness.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 11:57:34

Theas it wasn't measured against an expected end-of GCSE standard!

in my post of 8:26 I said, following my asking the Head of Year, "Apparently they were examined on the curriculum as taught so far".

The teacher's explanation of how DS, apparently 'on-target' for a B, minimum, got graded with a D was, by her own admission 'difficult to understand' i.e. how 50% in one area gets a higher grade than 67% in another!

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 12:03:53

Dejected- yes, but you try accessing those 'other avenues of education' without the right GCSEs! Grand scheme or not, you can't get on an apprenticeship course here without 5 good GCSEs, the competition is just too fierce.

Life skill are great but they can in fact be taught alongside GCSE subjects. Health and certainly happiness have a significantly higher probability of befalling someone who has choices in their lives, who are not corks tossed around in the ocean of helpless fate. Doing well in school for a DC capable of doing well in school buys that choice. No not all children 'are academic' but my DS1 is. Not fiercely so, but certainly 10 or so GCSE passes, A levels, probably university if that's what he wants to do. If a degree of pressure is required to help him in achieving something approximating 'his potential' then I stand accused, guilty as charged.

lljkk Fri 05-Jul-13 12:05:32

I'm another one who doesn't really understand the problem.

happygardening Fri 05-Jul-13 12:11:29

"I'm glad you got the outcome you wanted. Perhaps next time you should trust that the teachers in the 'best performing comp in the county' to be doing the best for your DS."
DS1 was up until three weeks ago at one of these. IME no one in their right mind should trust the teachers at a "best performing comp" or any other comp probably for that mater to be doing the best for anyone's DC! [bitter and twisted smiley]
Litten you are right to enquire/jump up and down/ write stroppy letters to governors/threaten legal action etc etc if you don't mistakes/issues go unchallenged and you only find out when its too late that everything is not as rosey is the garden as you were lead to believe.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 05-Jul-13 12:24:33

OP I can see why you were unhappy, but your method of expressing yourself, on here certainly, has been awful.

You've come over as superior, arrogant, the over-use of putting things in quotation marks is massively annoying. Really hope this is your 'style' at work, because if you had posted in a different way I think you would have got a very different set of responses.

Dejected if you want to do anything that requires remotely academic qualifications within any kind of normal timeframe and build a full career in it, then GCSEs really do matter.
Health is of course important, as is happiness. IME it is far more likely for a person to be happy if they have the maximum number of choices available to them.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 05-Jul-13 12:25:38

That should say, I really hope that this isn't your style at work.

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 12:47:45

Unfortunately people don't usually come across well when they're having a rant.

But there is a difference between a concern that your DS hasn't done well in an end of Y9 exam at school and then comments such as I'm not blaming the teacher as such and I shouldn't have to go and see, if not confront the teacher.

You did go in all guns blazing in your OP and have delighted in the two apologies the teacher gave you for messing up on the timing of the release of the information.

I wonder did you apologise for starting a thread about her and putting in enough information for her to be identified by parents of DC and other teachers at that school? Probably not. hmm

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 12:54:07

Thank you pusspus and happygardening

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 13:00:59

What communication did you expect from the school, beyond being informed of your ds's result? Calling you to "discuss" it in person is absolutely not standard procedure.

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 13:10:39

Your assertion that your "deep and full understanding of what your ds was allegedly learning" should have somehow imbued him with this knowledge is; quite frankly, bizarre.
He was being examined, not you.

titchy Fri 05-Jul-13 13:23:51

Right so you expect each teacher, after they've marked all the end of year exams (that's all it was OP, not an actual GCSE, or CA, just a common or garden end of year exam), to phone each kid's parents up and give them a blow by blow account of what they did wrong?

Presumably they're more concerned with making sure those kids know where they went wrong (either in the next couple of weeks, or early next year), and keeping an eye on particular areas of weakness.

If you didn't know it was a past paper, and had the words 'Test' on it, rather than GCSE, would you be so bothered?

FWIW my year 9 quite often gets set past GCSE papers as end of year tests. But at the end of the day that's all they are - just tests.

Lancelottie Fri 05-Jul-13 13:32:01

Ho hum.

Litten, our ds is also allegedly rather able. I've just opened his report. He has managed every possible result from A* to U across his end of year exams. Ah, no, sorry, he missed out F and G.

I'll be very very interested to hear how he (rather than the teacher) manages to explain that little lot. Too much music-making and bugger-all work, I suspect. Am hoping it will put a rocket up him for next year.

AuntieStella Fri 05-Jul-13 13:36:19

If you had said in OP that you knew the school had departed fom its settled procedure (ie sending a letter at time of issuing results) you would probably have had a different tone in the responses.

It is right to expect a school to follow the procedure it has chosen.

Dejected Fri 05-Jul-13 13:48:30

Fair enough I won't argue with you. You know your children best and if they are able to cope with the pressure then that is great smile

glaurung Fri 05-Jul-13 14:13:15

Perhaps you were wrong to dismiss this as 'a gift of a subject' and an easy GCSE. It sounds as if you didn't help your ds learn the material to the required standard (maybe he'd have done better if you'd let him get on with it himself?) probably as you'd dismissed it as a soft subject.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 05-Jul-13 14:55:54

My silence was only because I was busy: I still think you needed to calm down and stop being so confrontational. I do hope your 'what went wrong?' was said in such a way as to avoid sounding as rude as it might in print!

Also if your ds has to be 'wheedled' before he will admit a low result, you might want to think about why.

BalloonSlayer Fri 05-Jul-13 17:44:42
pusspusslet Fri 05-Jul-13 17:49:03

I'm frankly at a loss to understand all the hostility towards the OP in this thread.

She's told us she has a bright boy, working hard, but for some reason he got a D (a fail) in his pre-GCSE test which was based only on what he's been taught so far, rather than the whole syllabus. OP and OP's partner are particularly concerned because they understand the subject, helped DS to revise, were sure he'd covered what the teacher told him to cover and therefore can't understand how he's gone so badly wrong. In OP's position, my own concern would be that the teacher has not taught the syllabus effectively enough for DS to get a passing mark. Maybe that's OP's concern too: I don't know. It sounds as though the head-teacher is also concerned and confused, though, and that OP is not the only parent to express concern.

What's the problem with OP coming here to express her concern? This is the place to let frustration out, isn't it? OP has told us that she approached the school tactfully, and that she was met with understanding because other parents had expressed similar concerns.

Yes, it's 'just' a test, but so is a GCSE 'just' a test. Isn't it natural for involved parents to be concerned if their DCs fail practice tests, because that suggests they might fail the 'real' test too? And so not get onto their preferred course at uni? To me that seems like quite a big deal.

BackforGood Fri 05-Jul-13 17:56:42

I have a dd at the end of Yr9.
I would not expect her to feel she had to "admit, after much wheedling from me" that she got an unexpected low mark - I know we have a relationship where she could tell me this herself, without fear, and know I wasn't going to over react (with her), and that I wouldn't go storming into the school.
She's 14 - if she got a 'd' in a subject she would probably be expecting an A in, then I would expect that she had sought out the teacher and asked about it, if it wasn't gone through in the lesson they were told the results.
I certainly would not expect a personal phone call from the teaching staff if she dropped under the radar with one test in one subject. These people actually have teaching timetables you know.

BackforGood Fri 05-Jul-13 17:58:16

pusspuss 0 I think it is the confrontational language and aggressive sounding stance, rather than a question about what others would do in this circumstance perhaps. Maybe added to the fact that she is micro managing his homework / revision and that he was afraid to tell her he'd got a low grade in something.

titchy Fri 05-Jul-13 18:26:49

There's a massive difference between an end of term test and a GCSE bagpuss! Last time I checked universities weren't asking for applicants' results at the end of year 9.....

titchy Fri 05-Jul-13 18:27:28

Sorry puspuss blush

pusspusslet Fri 05-Jul-13 19:17:14

No probs, twitchy smile Bagpuss is actually a better name. Should have thought of it first!

I understand what you're saying, but tests that come before the real thing are an indicator of likely success/failure. I got the impression that that's why the OP was concerned.

pusspusslet Fri 05-Jul-13 19:20:20

Doh and aargh!!! I meant twitchy, not twitchy!!! Sorry flowers

<retires with tail between legs>

pusspusslet Fri 05-Jul-13 19:21:35

Um... titchy! Blasted iPad speelcheeker!

<retires to bed>

titchy Fri 05-Jul-13 20:54:28


lljkk Fri 05-Jul-13 20:57:59

If OP came on to say "I'm worried" she would have had plenty sympathy.

Instead from the start OP came across as entitled and indignant. With no sense of perspective.

Cassieyellow Fri 05-Jul-13 22:19:04

The main issue here is that the pupil himself, 'didn't know' what he had done wrong. He should be encouraged to be an independent learner and go ask himself. The teacher would be far more impressed with that rather than Mummy calling up. As usual, children aren't always self motivated to achieve and improve their progress because they are used to others doing it. If there is still 2 more years to go then these parents have got a lot more revision to do! Good luck with that. Sadly this child Will struggle at A Level and University. Well done parents...

xylem8 Fri 05-Jul-13 22:34:38

Crikey you sound hard work OP.The report is the standard method of feedback to parents why would the teacher have to make immediate personal contact with you separately before that?
I find it hard to believe the teacher did not go through the exam afterwards with the students, so your child should have a clear idea of where he went wrong, and if not needs to be asking the teacher for clarification. You need to back off a bit and remember that your DC is the student not you!!

marriedinwhiteagain Fri 05-Jul-13 23:43:58

I'd be worried if my dc were studying something as vocational as Business and Communication for GCSE tbh. Doesn't it get in the way of English, Eng Lit, French, Latin, Physics, Maths, Geography Chemistry, Biology, RS, etc, for a bright child?

Clary Sat 06-Jul-13 00:11:30

"IME no one in their right mind should trust the teachers at a "best performing comp" or any other comp probably for that matter to be doing the best for anyone's DC! "

Blimey that's a bit depressing happygardening. Really? What exactly do you think the teachers are doing then? You actually don't think they are doing the best for any students? Surely that's their job?

Doing the best for all the students is certainly difficult, but surely most teachers are doing pretty well for some of their students...?

cricketballs Sat 06-Jul-13 00:40:17

This thread has been an interesting read! There are though a couple of points I would like to comment on....

"No, the school screwed up" sorry, but no the school hasn't screwed up at all. They set a test, your DS didn't do as well as you expected; in his report will be the information.

"They do 'Business and Communications GCSE' at the end of Y10, presumably because they recognise that to a 'good', 'school-ready', 'MC' cohort it's 'a gift'." again no! Business and Communications is not a gift, it is a qualification that (depending on the board) usually has a weighting that is 50% coursework. This works in favour of year 9 starting the course so they can see an justification in the work that they are doing (which is often a downfall to year 9). It is based on the types of software usually seen in the workplace (offices) and is based around problem solving and therefore suits the curriculum for ICT. The business part of the spec is the sort of thing that every young person should be aware of for the adult life. It is not easy, and it is not a gift (as you have been witness to)

"I readily agree that there was detail missing which she said she wasn't surprised about at this stage etc, but, overall his grasp of the subject was 'solid' and so forth... which still doesn't really tally with a 'D', does it?" yes it does! I mark GCSE papers and the key to success is to fill in the detail, answer the question linking to the scenario, bring in the factors surrounding the question; all of which is practice and experience which he will gain in the next 12 months.

As other posters have said; you are in for a rude awakening over the next couple of years...intelligence counts for something; practice, experience and the teachers' input count for a lot more.

From reading your posts, I do feel for your DS - if a D grade in year 9 is not good enough in your eyes; what will he do if he struggles to meet your expectations? His parents experience and knowledge do not give him a GCSE grade A - he has to do the work and you have to let him do the work and let him face the reality of not doing enough work

cricketballs Sat 06-Jul-13 00:46:44

marriedinwhiteagain - "I'd be worried if my dc were studying something as vocational as Business and Communication for GCSE tbh. Doesn't it get in the way of English, Eng Lit, French, Latin, Physics, Maths, Geography Chemistry, Biology, RS, etc, for a bright child?"

so should only 'thick' students need to learning about the work place? Forgive me whilst I tell my previous students who are at Oxbridge/Russell Group that they should never have bothered with a vocational course such as Business.....(even though there isn't a career invented yet that will not use something they learnt in the course at some point)

burberryqueen Sat 06-Jul-13 01:55:57

comment from marriedinwhite about 'bright children' and GCSE subjects a bit silly IMO

EduCated Sat 06-Jul-13 02:42:32

It is more than possible they were marked to GCSE standard but that the questions set only cover what has even taught so far. They aren't mutually exclusive.

xylem8 Sat 06-Jul-13 04:30:34

why oh why are the school putting your kid in early for this exam if they are only forecasting a B for her ? I hate this policy of lots of gcse at mediocre grades and re sits to give the school the highest number of a to c passes, rather than aiming for a clean sweep of as and a *s passed at first attempt

olivevoir58 Sun 07-Jul-13 09:10:59

At my dds school (a high performing c of e comp) the whole cohort takes RE gcse in Y10. In my dds year 50% achieved a* - c in the Y9 mock (based only on y9 coverage). In the actual Y10 exam 51% achieved A*/A and 88% achieved A*- C. I mention this only as it seems like similar scenario and also to show likely progression. From these results you can see that a D in Y9 likely predicted a B in Y10.

xylem8 Sun 07-Jul-13 10:15:05

olivevoi8r so why didn'y your school give it an extra year if 50% are failing to get to A or A*

olivevoir58 Sun 07-Jul-13 10:27:11

Because the school use this gcse as a 'barometer' to guage how well the cohort will perform in the other subjects at the end of Y11. They also use it as 'taster' for the year group to understand the level of work needed to achieve a gcse. Also the RE lessons are freed up in Y11 for English and maths. This is an historical arrangement. The school has always done this and doesn't do early entry for any other subject, not even for its highest attainers, of which there are many. Though they now do science gcse in Y10 as well (with additional or triple in Y11). I personally don't agree with early entry but think this arrangement is sensible.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 07-Jul-13 10:34:32

Why have our comprehensive schools not grasped that fundamental of a successful educational outcome, i.e. Child/Teacher/PARENT?! The famous Japanese three legged stool? Is that So Hard?

This sweeping statement, based on your unfair extrapolation from one exam in one subject in one school, comes as a result of your anger and frustration at not understanding what is going on, yes?

Because it in no way reflects my experience and comes across as very rude and aggressive.

ukjess Thu 01-Aug-13 19:27:45

D is often not a fail.
It depends on context and personal targets.

If a kid has a prediction of an E but with tremendous work and application gets a D then thats a success, however you want to dress it.

As to what the other posters have said I would urge you heed their advice and relax a tadsmile

ukjess Sat 03-Aug-13 17:35:50

sometimes D is a real success.

Coconutty Thu 08-Aug-13 20:25:39

My concern would be that by sitting it in year 10 he will perhaps not do as well as if he did it in year 11, I would prefer DS to get A/A* than a B.

Have to say OP sounds like one of 'those' parents. You don't come across at all rational.

DS has just admitted, after some wheedling from me- he got a D in the end of Y9 exam.

I know it's a month old thread but I'll stick my two pennies in, I would be concerned that he is worried about opening up to you because your idea of whatfailure is is bothering him. Be wary about putting too much pressure on him, your OP suggests you might be a little intense.

As you were. wink

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