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DD not happy with Higher classes...

(16 Posts)
skrumle Tue 09-Jun-15 18:46:47

My DD's school is doing a different approach to most schools so all kids are doing a two year run at sitting exams in 5th year - at higher/nat5/nat4, whichever level is appropriate. She's just moved onto her S4 timetable and is unhappy with the class she's been put in for two of her six subjects. She will be in these classes (same teacher and pupils) for the next two years.

Basically she feels that in these two subjects the classes she's in are for lower-ability kids. And I know how snotty that sounds... But she was in tears at the dinner table tonight and is talking about switching subjects.

She is very academically able and we were told six months ago that she was already working at Higher level in one of these subjects, so when she's complaining about going through absolutely basic stuff very slowly I do have some sympathy. The two subjects are both more practical subjects, and she's now talking about switching to more straightforwardly academic subjects - which I'm not keen on as we'd like her to keep her options open in terms of careers/uni courses.

Any advice??? Do we just tell her to suck it up, do I speak to her head of year, do we let her just switch subjects?

GloriaPritchett Tue 09-Jun-15 21:30:51

TBH, most 'academic' kids would tend to stick to the core subjects. So anything from English, Maths, History, modern languages and all 3 of the sciences.

Home ec/ tech/ PE don't attract as academic a crowd IME. Art is a bit different and so is Music because you need a fair bit of talent.

What has she picked?

Groovee Tue 09-Jun-15 21:43:33

We had this problem with dd and modern studies. They put her in a 2 year higher than Nat5.

The difference is it is the ones who got their Nat4 in S3 and all gained 100%.
If you have any concerns, you need to speak to the school asap.

skrumle Tue 09-Jun-15 21:52:14

graphics (she has an aptitude for STEM so wanted to keep her options open in terms on engineering-type stuff) plus music.

it's the music that's particularly bothering her/me - she is a natural and it's also something that she loves so I don't want to end up with her losing interest altogether!

Annunziata Tue 09-Jun-15 21:56:01

For engineering she needs Maths, Physics (and they must be A) and maybe Chemistry. Graphics is not essential at all.

Don't know about music.

skrumle Tue 09-Jun-15 22:19:15

she's doing maths and physics as well - she'll sit six highers in 5th year.

she was keen to do either graphics or art but the art teacher said that while she was good she was likely to only get a B as she wouldn't have the time to devote to it considering her subject spread (and basically pushed her to focus on music as her "arty" subject). one of the subjects she's considering switching to is chemistry.

Lidlfix Tue 09-Jun-15 22:31:05

Is she doing Nat 5s in S4 and Highers in S5? I'm interested in how (within a timetabled school environment not using external factors) 6 Highers can be covered in one session. Grovee -think I posted on your previous thread any resolution?

Annunziata Tue 09-Jun-15 22:34:47

I have heard that art is a nightmare, time wise.

If she is unhappy and not learning, she should switch. No point wasting her time.

skrumle Tue 09-Jun-15 22:51:08

unless planning to leave school in 4th year none of the pupils are sitting exams in 4th year. in 5th year they'll be presented at the appropriate level - so 6 of any combination of highers/nat 5s/nat 4s.

school says this gives nearly 8 weeks additional teaching time as they have no 4th year exam/prelim study leave. the fifth year pupils that have just sat exams are the first cohort to have done it this way - will need to see what the results look like! think only half a dozen schools are taking this approach.

thanks everyone for comments so far

Annunziata Tue 09-Jun-15 22:58:55

But they're teaching 3 courses in the one class? That's just daft. Is it a small school? Only one of each class?

skrumle Tue 09-Jun-15 23:10:13

average/big school. at the moment virtually all the classes in theory are working towards higher but they've definitely set the maths and english classes. the other subjects it's less obvious that they've been set but generally they are grouped according to ability.

IndigoApple Wed 10-Jun-15 09:05:26

I can't really offer any advice, op, however I have similar concerns. DD has just started S4 and will be doing 5 N5s next year. In her science classes (she's doing all 3), she is in mixed classes with S4, S5 and S6. All doing N5 but think is a mix of crash course, people that did N4 etc and it's not what I hoped for. DD is academically able but easily distracted. I just can't help thinking a class comprising only S4 continuing directly from S3 would be preferable.

Groovee Wed 10-Jun-15 09:09:45

Grid - I agreed for her to do the higher as that was her preference. But I made my concerns to the school and they have promised to reassess if needs be.

Lidlfix Wed 10-Jun-15 15:49:19

The 8 wks is total hyperbole. This year's study leave period was longer than average at 6 weeks (give or take a day). In the school I teach in our S4 started the Nat 5 ( though some will be Nat 4) after May holiday which was first Monday. The content of the courses does not always allow for bi level far less tri level teaching.
What if they don't like a subject?
What is the school's view on their restriction of the amount of qualifications their pupils will attain?
What do the pupils think?

SchoolAgeKids Wed 10-Jun-15 16:42:08

This has happened in our local school OP. Problems in my view are that for my child 6 Highers was a lot to cram in, so 5 Highers plus a Nat 5 in 5th year was a lot too!

Are they giving any option of sitting some National 5s in 4th Year? Because that is preferable if you are not a really strong student.

Regarding the tri level classes - I would ask about it and if you are not satisfied with the answers please complain. The more issues with the senior phase of CfE are highlighted the better imo.

howabout Mon 15-Jun-15 14:02:20

I have a dd starting 3rd year. She is not doing music in school but pursuing it via the abrsm route instead. This was our solution to already being at higher playing level. She may do a straight higher in 5th or 6th year.
She wanted to keep art and graphic communications and we will see how the workload goes. I have concerns about how academic the rest of her graph comm class will be but the department were very enthusiastic about having her as a student. I think there is quite a lot of scope for working at your own pace / ability in these subjects so hopefully range of enthusiasm / ability will not be such an issue.
I would be asking about the option to sit a nat 5 in 4th year and then drop a subject rather than forcing the workload of 6 highers. If this were possible would she prefer to keep art?
Also does your dd intend to do 6th year and if so what subjects are likely?
If she wants to keep science options open then physics / chemistry is the best combination. Lots of DC I know do Biology one year higher and even medicine specifies phys / chem at one sitting but OK to do Biology separately. I checked as my dd was adamant about not doing Biology but you never can tell with her.
I am watching with interest as you seem to be having similar curriculum connundrums to us and I have another dd to negotiate with next year.

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