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Fuming with school, I think they have made a cock-up

(133 Posts)
CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 11:54:55

So DS is in year 10. He is doing triple science - science is one of his favourite subjects - and is looking at doing science A levels. We received an email telling us DS would be doing an assessed piece of work this week which would count for 25% of his GCSE grade (which surprised me so early on in the course, but hey, what do I know). It was emphasized how important this was.

Anyhow, the assessed work is being done today (I am going to call it an exam for want of a better word).

However, yesterday, kids who had won prizes in the school annual awards thingy had to go to a two hour rehearsal, which clashed with their last (double) science lesson before the exam. I told DS not to go to the rehearsal - the science lesson was more important as it was essential preparation for the exam - the kids were told it was vital they didn't miss any science in the two weeks before this exam.

However, DS was told he had to go to the prize award rehearsal by his tutor. DS found his science teacher, who said opps, but yes, he had to go to the rehearsal. So DS missed the science lesson.

After the rehearsal, DS and the other affected Year 10's were told there was a catch up lesson for them after school, so not to worry. However, DS had a hospital appointment (we've been waiting for months for his - it is important), so he couldn't go.

So, last night DS was pretty worried, then didn't sleep because he was worried, and has gone off to school to do this exam which counts significantly towards his final grade in his favourite subject, without getting the preparation he should have got.

AIBU to be flipping cross with the school, and more importantly, is this it? Does anyone know if he can do it again if he feels it doesn't go well this morning because, due to the school cock-up, he missed a vital preparation session? It sounded to me like the teachers at the school had not talked to each other by scheduling these two important things at the same time. However, it may affect DS's GCSE grade in an important subject hmm

Twowrongsdontmakearight Thu 12-Nov-15 12:13:03

I can't give you a definite answer but DS had a piece of assessed coursework for Spanish early on and the class were told that they could 'bank' it if they did well but there would be other pieces too so they could make up for a not-so-great mark. Try phoning or emailing school to find out because your situation does sound bonkers.

Chilledmonkeybrains Thu 12-Nov-15 12:14:18

I think an email to the head explaining your worries and asking what can be done is the first step.

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 12-Nov-15 12:19:57

If it is a practical skills assessment, and it sounds as if it is, then they get three shots at it over yrs 10 and 11 and their best score is the one that counts. DD is in yr11 doing triple science and this is the case with her anyway.
But I agree that it sounds as if the school departments hadn't coordinated very well.

PenelopePitstops Thu 12-Nov-15 12:22:25

Take a step back., school didn't know about the hospital appointment so had covered themselves in terms of the catch up lesson. See what his result is first, then look for solutions. He will probably be able to re sit.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Thu 12-Nov-15 12:25:54

TBH, if DS didn't know what he needed to know on the day before the exam, I doubt a 2 hour catch up session would have greatly affected his performance anyway.

CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 12:31:57

Right, I have found the original email from the school. The 'exam' is an Investigative Skills Assessment, it will count for 25% of (I think) DS's chemistry GSCE. No mention of any opportunity to redo.

The catch up session was only hurridly put on when the school realised they had timetabled the two things together - there was no notice and other kids may not have been able to attend given that no one knew it was going to happen until lunchtime that day! I don't think this catch up sesssion is an acceptable solution to their mistake tbh, as in the end result, DS wasn't given the information he needed during school time to successfully complete this exam.

I think the exam thing is all day today, so I won't know how DS has got on till later. I do know that he didn't sleep well and was anxious about it and feeling under-prepared, which was the fault of the school.

Any idea when he might get the result? Is it marked in school or sent out to be marked?

CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 12:35:12

MrsLeigh. DS was made to miss a double science lesson billed as vital to his success in this exam.

I don't know what he didn't know, and nor does DS, as he wasn't allowed to attend! However, missing a two hour session focussing on the exam the next day probably was quite significant.

Thanks for your supportive comment though. Hun.

Nicky333 Thu 12-Nov-15 12:40:16

He could be fine. For my maths GCSE, the teacher gave extra tuition to people she thought would get a high grade and guessed what was on the paper, so focussed on that. She was in the exam room on the day and looked at the paper. Her face went white.

We all still got As. Anyway, it might still be okay for your DS, fingers crossed.

swashbucklecheer Thu 12-Nov-15 12:42:00

It can be incredibly difficult to schedule a isa in the school calendar. The preparation can take up to a couple of weeks which is vital as the sci dept has said. However during that time you will have pupils missing for prize day, sporting fixtures, orals, visiting speakers (insert any other reason for pupils missing class). The isa will be done at the same time as the topic is is based on is being taught - that's why it's so early in this case. There's virtually no time in the school year where there could be a clear run for this. Isas are a major pain in the backside for teachers. Just wait until the rest of subjects start controlled assessment and see how many of them get uninterrupted preparation. I'm afraid this is just a feature of school life.

grumpysquash Thu 12-Nov-15 12:45:33

Slightly off the point, but are you absolutely sure that your DS is doing an assessment that counts for 25% of the final GSCE grade, just 8 or 9 weeks into a 2 year course?
My DS is also y10, also doing triple science, and his assessment isn't until next year (although they do 'milestone' assessments under exam conditions each term)

Anastasie Thu 12-Nov-15 12:50:45

Gosh what a rude response to MrsLeigh. I hope your son does OK today but tbh that's all I'll say as you don't sound particularly friendly.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Thu 12-Nov-15 12:56:14

Chill.

Of course they won't advertise that resits are available because they want the pupils to concentrate and work hard so they don't need them. But there will always be those that for whatever reason which may well be not their fault, don't get the required marks so need to resit.

The 2 hour session is important but unless he's missed every other class so far this year, he should be fine.

He's probably anxious because he can tell you are freaking out.

Wait and see his results (not just how he thinks he's done) before losing your shit

CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 12:56:24

Thanks swashbuckler that gives me a sense of proportion at least. I still think it is really poor of the school. The teachers organising the awards evening had no idea of the ISA thing - surely there is a 'master' calendar somewhere that staff can look at?

I really don't find it acceptable that DS should have to miss this important prep in school time, for what I consider to be a 'frippery'.

grumpysquash the email I got said "The Science ISA is worth 25% of the overall grade for each Science GCSE. The ISA is a practical exam based around a topic taken from Biology, Chemistry or Physics" From re-reading this, although I think DS is doing a chemistry topic, it sounds like it will be 25% of his marks for all three science GSCE's. Great.

It then goes on to say how important it is that pupils attend ALL sessions!

swashbucklecheer Thu 12-Nov-15 13:00:11

If he is doing triple science (3 gcses) it will be 25% of the chemistry only. There'll be another one for biology and another for physics.

CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 13:02:33

Thanksfor replies.
I did O levels, so concept of resits to get higher marks is alien to me. I thought they had been stopped by Gove? It is something I will ask school.

FWIW, I have been my usual calm, cool, breezy self with DS, and sent off this morning with a cheery good luck and a smile. I have only 'freaked out' on here.

DS is predicted to get A*s in his science exams, so it is important to gets all the marks he can. He is very capable at science, but prone to worrying if he thinks he has missed anything - perfectionist tendancies which we have worked on forever. However, I don't want him disadvantaged because the school organisation is poor.

Alonglongway Thu 12-Nov-15 13:29:45

I have DD in year 11 doing triple science and she's had similar clashes. Schools are so complex with students doing so many different combinations of subjects that I think it's pretty impossible to avoid. Her experience is that a lot hangs on what subject the tutor teaches. She's lucky that her tutor is a science teacher so has good insight into the demands and can help with judgments about what which activities to prioritise

chicaguapa Thu 12-Nov-15 13:39:41

Just mention it to the school. DH (also science) is always losing students during controlled assessments to vital hmm parts of school life such as play rehearsals and things that other departments think are more important than controlled assessments. For some reason they come bottom of the list of importance. DH pulls his hair out over it and has to rearrange them for a few students usually after school when he and the students have a million other things to do and the drama department has gone home.

srslylikeomg Thu 12-Nov-15 13:44:20

I think MrsLeigh may have meant that he will probably do better than he thinks as he has presumably been working hard all term (so far) and will have a good base knowledge? Surely the school don't expect a two hour lesson to cover it all?
People are posting to try to help....

MrsBartlettforthewin Thu 12-Nov-15 13:57:36

Sorry that your DS is stressing about this it can probably be re-sat. Did he not think to skip the rehearsal thing and just go to his lesson? In my school pupils are expected, once year 10 and above, to take on a bit of responsibility for themselves - did the rehearsal get sprung him at the last minute so he didn't have a chance to raise the issue with either teacher?

SplatterMustard Thu 12-Nov-15 14:01:48

The science ISAs can be repeated, so can the coursework. DS did triple science GCSE last year.

CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 14:06:11

Thanks again.
My frustration is that DS tried to prioritise the science lesson, but wasn't allowed to, and that he has missed a lesson by school order, not an extra session, that is integral to his GSCE exam. I just can't see how school can justify it. I have emailed school to ask what the situation is regarding a resit (my concern is that he might get a B or A rather than A*, so not be considered necessary to do a resit, but it could pull his overall grade down).

srsly - I appreciate you are trying to support MrsLeigh, but I think her message was fairly clear. if she had wanted to be supportive she could have said that my DS probably had it all covered and would be fine. Instead she said "if DS didn't know what needed to know..." which is a rather different slant.

Anastasie I don't think my short, somewhat sarky sentence to Mrsleigh was really a "rude response". Pretty mild by AIBU terms, especially given she was being pretty dismissive.

Anyhow, I will see how DS feels it went later on. I am still very cross at school - the thing he missed the lesson for was an award rehearsal. Hardly important.

Want2bSupermum Thu 12-Nov-15 14:11:25

I was like your son and I had lacrosse trials for country level the day before my assessment. My dad called me the night before and sensed my panic. His words of wisdom were you can only do your best and in life you have multiple priorities to juggle. This is just the start and you need to think about your priorities and how you can work with others to manage them.

I think my dad was 100% right and if I were you I would be quietly supporting my son. I would be having a strong word with the school that your son not being able to prioritize his work over a rehearsal for prizes isn't setting him up well for learning how to prioritize. Health always comes first followed by work (which is school work) followed by everything else (like a rehearsal for prize giving which could have been rescheduled to the end of the day).

CrochetPocket Thu 12-Nov-15 14:13:41

MrsBartlett - I said upthread, that DS tried to get out of the rehearsal. He was told no. So he went to his science teacher, who told him he had to go to the rehearsal, not the lesson. DS is a sensible kid, who is well motivated. DS said the science teacher had only been made aware of the clash that morning, and DS was only told at tutor time yesterday morning.

Splatter - I am not sure if it can be repeated. There is so much change with exam courses going on. I have asked the school to clarify.

TBH, even if he can resit, I still think the school have done wrong. I am just surprised at their sense of priority - making award night go smoothly to impress parents compared to enabling DS to get the information he needs to do well in his exam.

MyNewBearTotoro Thu 12-Nov-15 14:27:25

Is your DS hoping to sit his A-levels at a highly competitive sixth form?

If not I wouldn't worry too much. Even if he should get an A/B in this exam and even if it does bring his overall grade down from an A* to an A or B it is unlikely to matter in the long-term. It might be disappointing when he gets his results but then he will do his A-levels and his GCSE results (as long as he has 5 Cs or above) will suddenly become unimportant. If, for example, he wants to go to university then his A-level results will be what matters.

Obviously if he needs an A* to get onto the A-level science course then that is a somewhat different matter and I think you are right to be annoyed at the school. Although hopefully whilst a 2-hour revision session is no doubt useful it would, presumably, only be going over information the students already knew. As your DS is very interested in science fingers crossed he picked up what he needed to know first time around.

Hope he hasn't found today too stressful and has done as well as, or better than, he expected to.

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