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(165 Posts)
Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 17:54:22

Apologies for shouting but I am so pissed off. My poor dd1 was given all A* targets for all 12 of her GCSEs. She's done pretty well so far in keeping on track for that but has always felt very pressured by this. She is extremely bright and works ferociously hard. Having the A* as a target has not boosted this. What it's done is made her feel like anything less than A* represents failure. Today she did her second French speaking assessment. She worked hard, I worked hard checking it with her. She got 27 out of 30 which she is told is an A. This means she has 2 As for the speaking element. She is upset by this, she feels she has failed. In what sort of screwed up world is an A grade a failure?

Overall she got As in her mocks (which I think is damn good). I am dreading results day because every A grade will be seen as a failure by her and every A* as only what she expected. How the heck to I help with this? I told the Head at target setting parents evening I thought this was a crappy thing to do and I am even more sure now.

OfstedOrganised Mon 10-Mar-14 17:57:57

It does seem though on her. Keep boosting her confidence and reassuring her that A grades are just fine smile

BackforGood Mon 10-Mar-14 18:04:17

dd's maths teacher told her he'd be disappointed if she didn't get 100% in her GCSE.... no pressure there then grin
But mostly she treats these targets with the cynicism they deserve. She's always been reminded that the schools have to generate targets as if pupils are machines but they are very formulaic and not what we are interested in. She has a pretty healthy disregard for them.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 18:04:29

I do that and she doesn't believe me sad Poor little lamb.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 18:06:20

In her whole school career dh and I have never, ever had to put one ounce of pressure on I was talking about GCSEs to a mate and she said 'oh you've nothing to worry about' - my laughter was audible from miles away. I wish.
If I had to get her to work hard I could do that - but how do you make somebody give themselves a break?

bulby Mon 10-Mar-14 18:11:56

In fairness, you daughter's targets are probably no less achievable to your daughter than all D targets are to another student who will feel just as much failure, more even, if they get an E.
I really feel for you because exam years are so stressful for all involved. The best help you can give is to continue to provide the supportive environment at home you already do and make sure you enforce breaks and treats during revision time! Good luck.

Dinosaursareextinct Mon 10-Mar-14 18:14:22

Surely As at mocks are good - she has time to work up to A*.

impty Mon 10-Mar-14 18:18:40

It's hard. My dd is I the same position, but the school issue two target grades. Supposedly the achievable (12 xA) and the achievable if you work really hard (12×A*). I'm not sure this helps though. French will be a B if she's lucky, in reality.

Dd1 is feeling very stressed and under pressure so I'm trying 'enforced fun'. Anything that takes her mind off her exams. Tonight chocolate and Call the Midwife. grin

impty Mon 10-Mar-14 18:19:36

Actually, I think they are all feeling the pressure regardless of the predicted grades!

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 18:21:14

The way the French works she feels she won't be able to get A* now as she would need to do amazing well on the other elements that she doesn't feel are as strong.

The difference between her and a student with a D target is that they can excel, achieve or fail. She can only achieve or fail. Bit depressing. It's not that the target was unachievable, just that it devalues all the other good grades.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Mar-14 18:24:55

Maybe she needs to visualise exactly what would happen if she didn't get 12A*s.

She won't get into trouble for missing her targets, instead she will be congratulated by everyone on an excellent set of results. Because they will be excellent, even if they are As.

Fear of failure can be paralysing. She needs to realise that if she does fail (in her eyes), it's not the end of the world. Then she can stop stressing about it and just get on with doing her best.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 18:35:21

That is the line I'm trying to take, thanks I think you're right.

This is the child though who in Year 6 was in a play through school and the local theatre. The author was coming to see it and it was a complex piece. Some kids were not working hard enough and they all got a bollocking from the head. Dd was in floods of tears at home and I pointed out I knew she had done all she could. She said 'I know but the author is coming and he will be so disappointed....<<snot, tears, snot>>'

I think she believes that dh and I are ok whatever she gets. It's letting down the teachers she worries about and of course they are all push, push, target, work hard.

TalkinPeace Mon 10-Mar-14 18:55:29

I feel your pain as my DD has a similar set of targets and is working unbelievably hard to achieve them.

I keep reminding her that the Exam boards are under huge pressure to only let the very very brightest get strings of A* now
therefore that either an A or an A* is still a fantastic achievement

we also looked at the college requirements and they clearly state A/A* at GCSE to do the A level successfully.

Knowing that the relax space of As is there seems to have helped.

NB one of her teachers got a bit funny about it but I let DH growl at them (as they all know what he does) and they backed down.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 18:59:22

I think I've spoken to two teachers so far because she's been in a stressed out state. The rest she's managed herself. It's just so hard to see her unhappy with great results. I've just eaten a loaded cheese Panini, a coke and a penguin. Sympathetic comfort eating...........

totallyuseless Mon 10-Mar-14 19:03:38

My DD is the same age, she has just got all A* in her mocks, her teachers told her at parents evening she should now be aiming for 100%!!!! no well done, nothing. I couldn't believe it.

An A in the speaking part of French is fantastic its much harder than previous years. She should be proud of herself.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 10-Mar-14 19:08:35

It is so sad to think that the only "successful" grade appears to be Grade A*. Of which my children got none. They are still alive and happy successful graduates in gainful employment!

TalkinPeace Mon 10-Mar-14 19:11:38

^ her teachers told her at parents evening she should now be aiming for 100%!!!! no well done, nothing^
DISGRACEFUL I would have complained on the spot.

For some kids, top grades should be a given.
I admit I'll be very disappointed if DD gets more than 1 B as I know she's at the very top of her cohort, and has been such in several inter schools challenges
but A or A* : both are good by me.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 19:13:04

What's the point of being told to aim for 100%? angry Are they actually trying to break these kids?

Capitola Mon 10-Mar-14 19:14:49

I think these predicted grades are questionable at best.

My ds was predicted all A*, and I think he was in year 8 at the time. He is doing his GCSEs this year and will undoubtedly do well, but there is no way he will get all A*. He's a typical boy though, so doesn't put any pressure on himself, I bet if he were a girl he'd be more like your daughter, Northern.

ExcuseTypos Mon 10-Mar-14 19:22:26

My dd had very similar targets, throughout GCSe and A level. It used to make me so angry that an A wasnt good enough and I did tell the teachers. on several occasions

In fairness to them, they have to produce targets for each student, so they do have to push each child to do "better".

TheBuskersDog Mon 10-Mar-14 20:02:33

I'm left wondering why if these children are so bright they are being predicted all A*s, they are having to work so hard to get them. I think perhaps these girls (and they usually are girls) have always worked hard and so have done well and being praised for it, they daren't ease off in case they don't then get the top grades that people have come to expect from them.
My son is bright but not exceptionally, he's lazy and didn't really work at GCSE so he got a mix of As and Bs, if he had spent the previous years working hard I'm sure they would have been A*s and As. He does have a couple of very clever friends who don't have to work hard and still get top marks, they don't feel pressure because it really does come easy for them.
If they are having to work ridiculously hard at the expense of a life they are unrealistic targets.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 20:10:16

Oh she has a life but yes she is working hard too. I think the targets are individually realistic for her - but to get them ALL is the problem.

Roisin Mon 10-Mar-14 20:43:09

This is awful: it's teachers projecting the stress they are under onto the kids. Ds1 had all A* targets and yr10 consequently was awful: he was so stressed all the time. I spoke to the Head, to governors, to teachers, SMT, but they just didn't see it... well, some did, but the head wasn't for budging.

ds2 by contrast moved schools towards the end of yr9, so they didn't know him and he's had to prove himself and demonstrate his ability; because he wants high target and predicted (and eventually actual) grades. It's so much better that way around.

Oh, and try this for size. Ds1 and some others were told they could certainly have got an A* in maths in yr10, but the teacher wanted them to aim for as near 100% as possible and take it at the end of yr11 instead, which they did. (Queue a very boring and tedious year.) The results duly came out, and they got A*s, but as they did the linear qualification the results weren't even recorded!

bigTillyMint Mon 10-Mar-14 21:38:57

Thanks for starting this thread - DD has pretty demanding targets too and at times is really buckling under the stress. She also feels that if she doesn't attain them, she will have failed.

I am trying to get her to just aim to do her best and that we will be proud of her whatever she gets, but that isn't what she wants.

Does it get better in Y11 Roisin? She is in Y10 ATM

bigTillyMint Mon 10-Mar-14 21:41:34

NL, I agree that she has the potential to get each one individually, but 14 or 15...
Well she is definitely taking one this year.

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