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Early entry GSCE Year 10 - catch 22 - can I protest?

(27 Posts)
knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 11:49:01

Ds2 has just started a school (last summer) where they enter early for RE and Science. He has an EHCP for dyslexia. It is mainstream state school.

The school has a policy of not allowing children into the Sixth form with a low grade in RE, and not many sixth forms (let alone this one which demands A at in GSCE science) allow children to do A level science without a B..so if he does the GSCE early and gets a C in core science and lower than a C in RE, a lot of possibilities are closed to him.

At the moment he is predicted 4's in both, based on a test he took when he arrived at the school, rather than his CAT score in Year 7 (a different school) He is achieving an E in the RE atm, because he didn't cover the Year 9 curriculum (as he wasn't there).

Can I reasonably ask what benefit entering him early will have for him? I understand the school is set up like this, but for some pupils it will limit their options later on, to take something early which they do badly in, although by the school's measure, they have "passed" and met "targets". Ds is capable of more, and he has only just received an EHCP to give him that extra support in this new school.

I've emailed, but I wonder whether the school are going to budge, if this is what "everyone" does.

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 11:55:47

Ds has a scribe for exams now, but it is a new experience for him and he is not that good at dictating his ideas. He will either get better at touchtyping or better at scribing, but an exam taken now is not a reflection of his intelligence or his potential.

His older brother took Core Science in Year 10 at another school, and was caught in exactly the same catch 22. He recieved a C in Year 10, and from that point there was no point he was cut off from pursuing Science A levels in the Sixth form; they set their bar at at least a B grade in both Core and Additional.

I can see the advantage of getting one or more GSCEs out of the way, but not at this price.

Chocolatecake12 Wed 08-Feb-17 11:55:53

Is there the possibility of him retaking it if he gets a low score?

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 12:00:32

The school would not be able to use the retake grade in their league tables so it will be of no advantage to them, so why would they waste their energy letting him retake it? He is in the lower science set atm; I was hoping he would be able to rise out of it, but presumably the science department is just trying to get them through the exam rather than maximising their potential. Any "proper" scientists would already be in the higher sets.

But for ds2, as an individual, there is still the chance he might be really interested in science and do well in it, just not this moment, in a GSCE taken in Year 10, and taught to the test.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 12:04:27

Definitely query this, including what scope there is to retake. They may have good reason.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 12:06:40

and taught to the test.

He will have to be 'taught to the test' - the Science curriculum is enormous.

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 12:13:13

what I meant by that, from my experience of ds1's science lessons, is that they were given very little time to do practical experiments or discuss things, because the teachers were desperately trying to get them that magical C grade. Ds1 became very bored by science; and I understand why, the poor teachers were just trying to get them through the Core science exam by hook or by crook, and to a 14 year old it was demotivating, not inspiring. Ds1 was at a Science Specialist School btw!!!

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 12:15:42

Sadly that is what the teacher and student will be judged on. The curriculum is jam packed with content and there simply isn't time to fit in the inspiring extra stuff!

SweepTheHalls Wed 08-Feb-17 12:16:22

Core and additional only remains for the current cohort this year. From next year it is combined and triple only. We are not entering any year 10 now, and there are no retakes and more.

arbrighton Wed 08-Feb-17 12:19:43

I was about to say, my tutee, currently in Y11, didn't do any core science GCSE exams last year, and as I understood it, it was Y11 only from now on.

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 12:22:18

That is interesting Sweep. So I could suggest he goes for Combined next year. He would never be entered for Triple.

The irony is that at Dd's school, a girls's school they have a new policy of insisting that everyone continues Triple until end of Year 10, taking either combined or triple in Year 11. So a completely different mindset. They think that some children are late developers and miss out on Stem subjects by narrowing choices too early. Dd, ds2's twin is taking Triple Science for GSCE, with no early GSCE entries at all.

SweepTheHalls Wed 08-Feb-17 12:25:07

It depends what curriculum he has been taught as the current core and additional specifications are quite different to the new combined specification. Which exam boards are they? I would suggest asking for a meeting with the Head of Science.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 12:28:09

Have you asked for the logic behind this decision yet? Do this before making an alternative suggestion.

titchy Wed 08-Feb-17 12:46:10

As sweep says this is the last year of Core, so the school HAS to put everyone in for combined next year regardless. You might want to clarify that though...

EnormousTiger Wed 08-Feb-17 13:14:56

I think it's a pity. My children (private schools, quite academic) did all GCSEs in the same year 11. They all started triple science and could reduce to double in year 11 or during year 11 if necessary. I am not in favour of early entry for GCSEs. Presumably you could just refuse but the problem then is the school will be teaching to that curriculum and timetable so the school may not be pleased.

I wuold press to let him wait and do in year 11 if you can. Also many children take things more seriously as they get older. One of my twins is so very much better in the sixth form now (AAAA in AS) - always been bright but only put a lot of work in in the last year or two.

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 13:19:23

I emailed earlier today, so I don't think anyone will answer for a while, perhaps late afternoon when lessons ended, if they get time.

We never normally meet the teachers, just get assessment grades and targets online. Ds has been happy enough in lessons, certainly he hasn't complained (except about other people misbehaving) and no-one has complained about him.

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 16:32:43

He is doing Combined Science, it turns out. I have an email from four months back confirming that. But why have they put him for three I hour exams this year???

I think that must have been a mixup from exams officer. Feel calmer about that, what with the RE I must have leapt to conclusions.

However, still have to sort out the RE, which they are definitely doing early.

Witchend Wed 08-Feb-17 17:07:36

I don't like early entry, however dd1 has done 4 GCSEs early (2 in year 9, 2 in year 10) They also do RE in year 10. However it seems silly if they then use it as a requirement into the 6th form (are they even allowed to do that?)

noblegiraffe Wed 08-Feb-17 17:15:43

Here's the research from the government which shows why early entry for exams is wrong:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/184109/DFE-RR208.pdf

Ask why they are going against government recommendations? I'd also point out in the strongest terms that if they insist on a course of action that the government advises is detrimental to his results and that he receives a result that will not allow entry to the sixth form of his choice that the school will continue to fully teach the subject in Y11 and he will be allowed to resit free of charge.
If you don't get this in writing, I'd take it further (see school complaints procedure).

knittingwithnettles Wed 08-Feb-17 17:59:57

I have the answer on the Science! Edexcel does a free exam in Year 10 which is externally marked, for the new cohor,t so they can have some idea of what grades their students will get. This is what he has been entered for. So that is fine. Grades do not count at all, just a practice run for Edexcel and the school.

Giraffe thank you, I feel less like I am bleating now. I know school will say they have always had excellent results with the RE early, but this is a good counter argument.

SweepTheHalls Wed 08-Feb-17 21:08:44

Glad to hear that the science is sorted at least smile

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 22:52:15

We do exactly the same thing for our students in English, OP. Without this the school will literally be sticking a finger in the air to work out the new grading system boundaries. It is a good thing so I hope you have more confidence now.

HelenaGWells Wed 08-Feb-17 23:03:46

I can't understand this logic at all. Science is a core subject and so important why on earth would you enter early and literally loose an entire year of study? I honestly wouldn't send my child to a school that did this unless I had zero choice. It's a ridiculous ideals detrimental to the kids imo.

HelenaGWells Wed 08-Feb-17 23:04:55

Cross post and phew that makes sense now. Glad it's not insane after all!

knittingwithnettles Thu 09-Feb-17 07:36:08

Helena the logic at my other son's school was that there were three Science exams, Core, Additional and Further (all consisting of Physics Biology and Chemistry) and it was thought to be a good idea to get the Core exam out of the way early (ie basic scientific principles). I already know two schools that did this, but with the Combined Exam 9-1 coming in, as other posters have said, this arrangement no longer worked.

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