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To think you shouldn't "have" to do GCSEs

(22 Posts)
Lucylou333 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:03:03

Basically DD 14 has SEN. She has ADHD, social communication difficulties, auditory processing disorder, dyslexia. The biggest issue for her learning is her memory , when she learns something new she often pushes out the last thing she learnt. She is in MS school and is socially very happy , has a good circle of friends etc.

They are currently doing mocks and she is predicted 9 U's. I have spoken with SENCO who basically said its a shame but she has to do them by law but worse still she'll have to keep repeating (due to new education law) till she's 18. I just think it's setting her up to fail and how crap it will be for her self confidence to get no GCSEs despite having to do them. They set 1 GCSE early and she went to collect with friends but still hasn't opened the grade and has asked me not to tell her. Does anyone with any experience of the education system know if there is any way around this , whilst remaining in MS?

DoJo Tue 15-Dec-15 10:12:44

Sorry, no idea about the legalities, but do you think that doing fewer subjects could help?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 15-Dec-15 10:22:25

Well I suppose there are two sides to this.

Legally, she will have to keep repeating her GCSEs until she achieves a D or above in Maths and English. I don't believe there is legal grounds yet for any of the other subjects, although the school will probably try to make her resit them. Could she drop her other subjects and concentrate on those two, to get her closest to a D grade? I'd argue that should be a reasonable adjustment.

Then, what are her plans for after school? If she's socially happy and enjoys MS school, will she want to attend sixth-form/college with her friends? Likewise university, a few years down the line? Because she'd need entry requirements for this. Apprenticeships tend to require GCSEs as well, and between 16 and 20, I was asked for my GCSE grades on every job I applied for (they are overshadowed by further studies now, so I list them but I think I could get away with not if I needed too).

By not taking any GCSEs, she may make it easier for herself now, but much harder down the line. It does depend on what she wants, though, and what she could be capable of with support. I'm presuming she has all the relevant support set up already, like extra time, someone else's notes for the exams that allow them if that'd be easier, being able to type, being in an empty room free of distractions?

Hatethis22 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:29:32

Why is she doing 9? From what you've said about the way she learns it would make much more sense for her to do 5.

Holstein Tue 15-Dec-15 10:32:12

She doesn't have to keep repeating- if she's working at the lower end, after Y11 she will still have to do English and maths, but not GCSE, she'll do functional literacy and numeracy.

TheBunnyOfDoom Tue 15-Dec-15 10:40:30

She shouldn't be doing as many as 9, surely?

IceBeing Tue 15-Dec-15 10:43:48

How does the 'keep resitting till 18' thing sit with the ability of parents to take their kids out of education at any time they like?

<home-edder wondering about skipping GCSE's here>

Lucylou333 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:43:52

Sorry my mistake she's doing 6. She has dropped humanities and languages. So she's doing science X 2, English X 2, Maths and a BTEC. Other subjects are none examined.
She has had (at home) a tutor for 18 months but it hasn't made much difference. I was hoping she could do the level 1 , level 2 equivelants but apparently it's not an option.

Finishing school will be difficult as she won't be staying on with her friends at sixth form. She gets very distressed at the meer mention of any talk about after school ideas.

Jw35 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:45:29

That seems bonkers if she's SEN! If you're asking me I think all exams should be scraped and an overall grade given in class work and coursework

blueemerald Tue 15-Dec-15 10:47:10

Do you know what she projected grades are? The ones based on her SATs results? I'm a teacher and find that schools tend to drag their feet over entry level qualifications until someone is going to miss their target.

Lucylou333 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:52:45

I don't know her projected grades but she has made no academic progress for 4 years.

Lucylou333 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:54:10

I wish they could take more of the creative subjects however in art for example her drawings are beautiful but her write up (forgotten the academic word for it confused ) brings the mark down considerably.

LaurieLemons Tue 15-Dec-15 11:09:49

I had no idea it was the law to repeat your GCSEs now! Seems ridiculous, lots of people do a lot better in college or once they work. I remember doing BTECs in place of a couple of my GCSEs. I was awful in lessons so they offered me them and I was at an average state school (no SN). It was before the law changed obviously but it seems mad that they would force her to continue, definitely have a word.

Arfarfanarf Tue 15-Dec-15 11:12:16

The school are being unreasonable. My youngest is still in school and they have completely redone his timetable. He doesn't do any of the subjects that distress him and which are of no use to him at all - geography, history, etc etc.

He has an individualised timetable. Comes in and out of lessons as required, has 1:1 lessons, he has timetabled basic skills stuff - like taking him out of school and to the shop, etc.

All this within mainstream. So I know it can be done. And the la are on board with it. They accept that it is necessary - and they're probably just thankful I'm not asking for a place at a £££££££ school!

He has full time 1:1 and 2:1 as required (he can be aggressive and he is also a runner!)

Yes it's true they make them repeat maths and english if they go to college and didn't get a C. My eldest is redoing his english at college. He also had a ft 1:1 and a differentiated curriculum at school although his needs were not as complex as my youngest.

What I'm saying is that schools can make adjustments if they are willing to do so. If they are willing to think outside the box. If they are willing to look at the needs of the child and put them first.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 15-Dec-15 11:15:35


I've got a 16yo who didn't have to do any GCSE's he has to stay in education but he's redoing foundation skills and certificates in daily living skills.

He wanted to do some GCSE's like his brother but was not allowed to!

Lucylou333 Tue 15-Dec-15 11:20:17

So it's clearly a possibility !
Think Im being fobbed off. DD is happy at school but I have concerns. When I spoke to her maths teacher she actually said "it's hard teaching that group, all the odd ones together doesn't work that well" shock

mouldycheesefan Tue 15-Dec-15 11:22:42

Thing is, she will need qualifications to get a job surely? How will she cope in a work environment without the basics?
Can they reduce the number of exams so she just does English and maths even? Doesn't seem much point in doing science etc. reduce it to 2 and just focus on those. 2 x c grades is better than 9 u grades that are no good to her.
Also at some point you will have to start thinking about what in earth she is going to do post GCSEs. There must be ways of helping her to remember information more effectively I would also be looking into that. What about catering it's less reliant in memory.
Good luck to you and to her.

sashh Tue 15-Dec-15 11:45:26

Well the school is wrong, she doesn't legally have to do GCSEs, they legally have to include her in their league tables though.

Did you know you can study at an FE college from the age of 14? And yes you still have to do Maths and English, but as the legal bit says 'GCSE equivalent' you can do level 2 numeracy and literacy qualifications.

Just how happy is she at school? Would she be happy to transfer to college and do something like BTEC Art?

What about 'alternative provision'? Link to a school that does this - I have no idea how good the school is it's just something I came across researching for something unrelated

My subject (health and social care) we often have groups from schools completing BTEC in an FE college but spending the rest of their time at school.

There are two things in conflict here, your dd's right to an appropriate education with reasonable adjustments and the school's lack of flexibility.

It stinks that she can't do level 1 and 2 because at college she can (and from the link at another school she could), and many many students with SEN of all degrees attend colleges. So the school are keeping her (and her funding) whilst not educating appropriately. I think if you start discussing college with the school they might find a way to provide an adequate education.

Where in the country are you?

bedraggledmumoftwo Tue 15-Dec-15 12:48:51

Good luck op, it sounds like you may have a fight on your hands if they are adamant. It does sound like college would be better for her.

Ta1kinPeace Tue 15-Dec-15 12:51:30

Put your foot down with the school.
She does NOT have to do a full set of GCSEs
The school will get marked down for not entering her for the Ebacc.
So what.
She should be able to do whatever subjects give her the most functional skills for later independence.
All else is political piffle.

balletgirlmum Tue 15-Dec-15 12:54:40

A friend's dd isn't taking gcses. Admittedly she's in a special school but she is taking some kind of Functional Skills exams in maths & English.

Lucylou333 Tue 15-Dec-15 14:53:52

I'm in Kent. Thanks for your replies , looks like I'll be at loggerheads with them for a while. I have booked a telephone appointment with ipsea so I know what I'm talking about when I go to them.

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