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4th year support plan thing, am I being too soft?

(22 Posts)
WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 18:19:11

DS2 is in 4th year. He missed getting a praise card with his report this time as he only received a 4 for one subject (on a scale of 1-6 for effort) a 4 means Good. 5 is Very Good and 6 is Excellent He got 4 x 6s, 2x 5s and the 1x4. As I understand it, he only received a 4 for that subject as he failed to hand in a piece of homework and he admits that he could definitely be working harder. It's a subject that he wasn't that interested in but the columns sort of led him to do. He has had a praise card for every single report up until now.

The missed piece of homework resulted in a letter home. We all talked about it and agreed that he was letting himself down and whilst we didn't expect him to suddenly become enthused, he needed to ensure that he was meeting the requirements and that he was capable of easily getting a pass with a little effort. If he wanted to channel his energy into getting a better grade in his other subjects we were fine with that, but not doing the work wasn't acceptable.

Since then he hasn't has an issue and he was pleased that he scored very highly in a recent test after he had done the self study/homework that was asked of him. The teacher seemed to give him a telling off before the test as she seemed to think he hadn't done the work, he had, as the results showed.

Anyway, not achieving a praise card seems to trigger a "voluntary" programme which entails the pupil getting a signature from each teacher at the end of each lesson to confirm he is trying (or something).

DS decided not to volunteer for it since it is voluntary and he doesn't feel he has an issue anymore. However, he and some other pupils were pulled into a special meeting today basically being encouraged told to volunteer.

DS doesn't think this is very fair as he would be asking teachers who rated his effort as Excellent or Very Good to report on him every lesson. He feels that he's got the message and doesn't need this programme.

I agree with him and have said it's up to him to do it or not and that if he doesn't think it would help him, he should go to the teacher who held today's meeting and tell them that he isn't going to do it and why.

I've suggested that a compromise might be to do it only for the subject that he got a 4 in.

Am I being too soft and should I be telling him to go and sign up as the school so clearly wants?

prettybird Tue 25-Oct-16 18:26:59

I'm shock at the amount of unnecessary admin that this would involve the school/teachers in, even in the subjects where by their own admission his effort is excellent.

I don't think you are being too soft. You've talked to your ds, the issue had been addressed - and the scheme is supposed to be voluntary.

Doesn't sound like a particularly supportive scheme. Sounds like a "tick box" exercise rather than support where there is (or might be) an issue hmm

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 18:32:30

I agree with you but wondered if I was missing something and being over indulgent of DS2 faults grin

Tbh I thought the letter home about the homework was probably unnecessary but it did prompt us to give him some encouragement etc so I suppose it did what it was supposed to. I don't get the impression that one of the teachers he has for this subject likes him very much, but then , she doesn't have to like him (sometimes I don't like him grin ) she just has to treat him equally.

prettybird Tue 25-Oct-16 18:47:19

Ds had one subject last year (French) that I don't consider he put in the required effort - and surprise, surprise he only got a C in it.

It wasn't helped by his teacher being off for a large part of the year (although he actually started to be enthused more by one of the supply teachers hmm) and the fact that we never got a report home for the subject (because she was off ill).

But as it wasn't essential for his university aspirations (even though it's the subject I have a degree in confused), I wasn't going to get too uptight about it. The fact that I have a ds who is enthusiastic about 4 out of his 5 Higher subjects (he'll thank us for forcing him to do English in years to come grin) and working hard for them is good enough for me.

Keep looking at the long term picture. What does he need for his Highers? What will keep him enthused? Is he enthused by the "important" subjects?

That's what matters in the long term.

he's not been totally let off it: I've told him I know he was *capable* of getting an A in his French.... grin

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 18:56:37

Strangely enough it French that is the subject in question...

He is enthused and working for the other 6 (well 5, he isn't enthused and keen on Maths but he is trying hard and got a 6 for effort).

He can be lazy so he is planning on doing the subjects for Higher that he has the best chance of getting a good grade in. He is clever. At the moment History and Modern studies are his favourites, he'll do English as he finds it a breeze, I'm not sure what else, he's talked about crashing RMPS (as an atheist) as he sees it as an easy ride given that he only needs to be able to write a decent essay hmm. I guess it depends on the columns really and his prelim/exam results. he now has not a clue what he wants to do,thinks he might skip 6th year and go to Uni at the end of 5th, he'll probably change his mind. DS1 is only one year ahead so effectively i could have the two of them starting Uni together.

ttlshiwwya Tue 25-Oct-16 19:06:03

shock at the system of a getting sign-off on effort at the end of each lesson because of one bit of missed homework. It would be totally unworkable at my DCs school - three quarters of the class would be getting sheets signed each lesson.

I don't think you have been too soft at all. I can't see any gain for your son in participating. He already has modified his effort and participating is probably quite embarrassing for a 15 year old.

At my DCs school letters home only for failed unit assessments or failure to complete compulsory coursework. Sign-off sheets are only for truancy and serious behaviour issues and rarely in S4. At most pupil support teacher may call parent with concerns or feedback on improvements or otherwise.

Agree with prettybird as long as my DC concentrate on the subjects they need and aren't distruptive to others in subjects they don't need then I'm relaxed about their effort.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 19:14:47

It's a very high achieving school but I have already complained to them that they aren't doing enough to raise the attainment of boys in DS2s year. Well, to be fair, I asked them what they were doing, the answer in not so many words was "fuck all". I am currently sitting on my hands waiting until I am thinking rationally before I write back. I'll need to give it a few more days...

So I guess i feel like a hypocrite too. However, it wasn't DS2 in particular that I was asking about. It was overall as there are very few boys in that year who were awarded compared to the amount of girls. To me anyone could look at his report and see that what they are asking him to do is not really appropriate, it's a one size fits all approach.

ttlshiwwya Tue 25-Oct-16 19:16:20

My boys were a bit of a nightmare in French too. Luckily my DS2 didn't have to sit an exam in it (they only do 6 national 5s so he dropped after S3). My DS1 ended up getting moved away from his mates to sit with the able girls (which he loved not for the French but for the girls- did improve his French a bit as he was keen to impress). He'd recommend this over a effort-sheet any day.

prettybird Tue 25-Oct-16 19:21:58

Even As a Modern Languages graduate, I don't see the point in forcing him more than he's doing already.

I also wonder of him participating would actually be counter productive: instead of getting on and getting settled in his next class, he's having to wait around to get his "effort" signed off in the previous class confused. I'm sure even the teachers would get pissed off with this. (I'd be interested in the opinions of the various teachers who contribute to Scotsnet)

One thing I would recommend is getting him to practice both the spoken and listening elements of the French exam. I had a day to work with ds on his spoken assessment: made massive progress in that day, but I could have done sooooooo much more hmm and he wouldn't let me work with him on the listening element

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 19:59:27

thanks for the tips smile I failed my French prelim and then just didn't bother going to the classes anymore or sit the final exam. My parents were oblivious. Dh didn't go to school for most of 3rd/4th year - he wandered in and sat 4 O' grades and passed 3 of them (none of which were french).

Given the above, I don't think we are the best placed to help judge grin

It's a shame because words and language really are his thing. This boy started speaking before he could sit up and could successfully argue black was white whilst still in nappies.

He was keen on politics, I'm encouraging law or similar. Now he wants to play bass in a band - the fact that he hasn't taken music, isn't in a band and can't play bass yet doesn't seem to be an issue though... He is a member of the Labour party too. I've even suggested he might want to work in Unions or the diplomatic sector.

prettybird Tue 25-Oct-16 20:12:06

Can you get some French tutoring for him? It really does make a difference. If his teacher doesn't like get on with him, then having someone else work on the speaking and listening could help enthuse him.

Interestingly (given your comments about the school not stretching the boys in your son's year), ds said that the girls got on better in the French class. Don't know how much of that is a "girls and MFL" thing though. It really does benefit from the little and often approach.

I used to read Paris Match which gave me practice in French and a better understanding of French society and politics. Would something like that interest him?

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 20:23:54

tbh, i don't think it's worth chucking money at. He is capable of a pass with very little effort. If he does that then I'm fine with it, he doesn't want to keep it on for higher. I'm already paying DS1 to give him 2 half hours a week in Maths grin I think that's more important. We've said the same to him about Maths as we said to DS1 about English. If you want to drop it in 5th year, that's fine but you must get an A -B- in National 5. It worked for DS1.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 20:25:05

The only thing he is really really interested in in the Byzantine Empire, they don't cover that in history so he self studies in it. I wish there was an exam in that.

Lidlfix Tue 25-Oct-16 20:37:29

Interesting to see your perspective Wankers as my DDs' friends attend same school as your DSs (same year as your DS2) and they (and their parents) all feel that the girls are outnumbered and undervalued. They feel so much is aimed at the boys and encouraging their success that girls might as well be invisible. Sighs all round when assemblies begin with "in a boy heavy year group like this...".

But with 4 DDs I often hear how tired they get of school life being geared towards boys. Their school is more .. eh "diverse" so it might be more about managing behaviour smile

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 20:55:57

Did you see the results of the annual awards for their year Lidl? Something like 7% of boys got awards compared to about 70 % of the girls. The boys are equally annoyed about the assemblies telling them they are shit. My perspective is that the vast majority of the boys are no different to the boys in DS1s year - that year are equally represented in all awards. There are a few "bad apples" in DS2s year and between that and constantly being told that they are letting the side down, they are becoming demotivated. My impression is also that the leadership are happy to let them coast and leave and then they can forget about them.

But then I'm not in the school so I may be way out. there is clearly something wrong though when the boys are obviously struggling to achieve or the perception of the teachers is that they aren't doing as well.

DS2 says that a lot of the teachers clearly dislike the boys. DS1 says nothing.

Lidlfix Tue 25-Oct-16 22:09:37

Where would you get that info from if you're not a parent at the school? Did the school publish it? Not that I want to wind up DDs' pals or anything, not me winkAlso have friends with DSs at the other schools which use the praise card system and they believe, perhaps not anecdotally, that boys have a much smaller chance of being awarded one.

WankersHacksandThieves Tue 25-Oct-16 22:33:23

The normally do publish it but I see they haven't updated the website. I thought your friends parents might have mentioned? We got a copy of the programme at the award ceremony and I noticed how few boys were getting an award in DS2s year, so i counted them on the programme. Basically the vast majority of the girls got an award, only 7 boys did. DS2 missed out by one mark i.e. he got mostly 6s and 2 5s, you needed to only have one 5 at most to get an award.

That's fine though as he didn't meet the criteria it's a shame when they are so close. Sooo, if I was the mother of a girl that didn't get an award I'd be more gutted since they seem to be in the majority. I wouldn't for a minute suggest that the girls didn't fairly and squarely earn their awards, but there is clearly something wrong. I'm either a complete visionary since I can see it or everyone can see it and they are not doing anything. It makes me sad really. i know my DS will do well, we encourage him and support him and tell him that they are only pieces of paper and they won't mean anything at all after he leaves school. We have to be careful though as DS1 has lots of pieces of paper and we have to appreciate that he has earned them and they are of value. It's a fecking tightrope walk at times smile I do however feel for the boys that are trying hard under difficult circumstances. i think the year have been somewhat demonised so they are not expected to do well. The boys seem to get picked up on stuff that girls seem to get away with according to DS2 - he is a quiet boy so isn't involved in any bother but he gets fed up with the attitudes sometimes. I suspect the "bad apples" will probably leave at the end of 4th year so things may improve for the Highers hopefully.

I'm a bit of a stats bore so I did a bit of counting. I may have got the odd gender incorrect where there is a Sam or other unisex name, but if you are interested the figures were (awards are a year in arrears):

S4 - 16 boys and 16 girls (plus 16 boys and 18 girls for academic achievement)
S3 - 7 boys and 39 girls
S2 - 24 boys and 35 girls
S1 - 11 boys and 51 girls

Clearly last year's s1 is a similar position. But you can't tell me that the girls are not being recognised and awarded for their endeavors in general. i have o idea of the gender ratio for any other years.

ttlshiwwya Thu 27-Oct-16 11:10:42

Surprised your DSs school are not looking at their praise system themselves given the gender imbalance especially since it looks like academic achievement is similar (or only slightly better for girls). I'm a bit a stats bore myself so dug out my DCs prize list this year - same pattern in favour of girls but not quite so marked. I've both a DS and a DD still at secondary and when I think about it my DD will go the extra mile to get a merit certificate - likes the acclaim from the staff and probably would lobby for one in a subject that she had got one yet to get a full set. Her friends would do the same. My DS and his friends don't give a fuck. My DS never goes to prize givings out of school hours despite getting academic prizes. For my DS and his friends the merit system isn't a motivator to work harder.
I would be interested to know what other schools do.

prettybird Thu 27-Oct-16 15:25:23

Just looked out the programme for ds' Awards Ceremony. It's difficult to quantify as it's done by form class, with some kids getting lots of awards. In ds' year, there are a few boys who got almost all the subject awards (only reason he didn't get the Nat 5 Maths award was because he got the Maths Higher Award!)

The school recognises all sorts of things: from representing the school in the Glasgow Schools' Adventure Race to Scottish Swimming Triallists, to Saltire Awards for volunteering to the Edinburgh Nook Festival Graphic Lyrics Project to DoE Bronze/Silver/Gold Awards to Achievements & Contributions to Rugby (one of ds' awards smile) to Maths Challenges Awards to Gymnastics & Dance Awards to Young Enterprise Scotland.....and so on shock

There are 11 A4 pages of Awards at 1.5 line spacing ! shock The Awards Ceremony takes a long time, even though they've streamlined it by giving each individual all their certificates at once (that's why they do it by form class).

There do seem to be a higher proportion of girls getting recognition, at least in S4 and S5 but in S6 there seemed to be more boys getting awards. But I don't know the split of boys v girls in the respective years - and also the difference that a couple of clever kids who win everything can make.

FWIW, both the Dux and the Proxime Accessit were boys.

WankersHacksandThieves Thu 27-Oct-16 18:12:01

Yes, ours also gives some sports and community awards etc. There are also individual awards for top marks but I ignored all those and focussed on the ones for effort (which is mainly what S1-3 can earn) and then S4 & 5 can get effort awards plus academic achievement for 7 A passes at nat 5 or % A passes at Higher.

The Dux etc are done on a points scoring based on academic achievement so that's completely un gender biased as are the academic awards. The individual subject awards I guess are based on highest scores too. DS only dropped two points in his Nat 5 Maths but still didn't get it so there must have been pupils with 100%. He didn't get an academic award either as he only got 6 As.

and yes ttls I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any systems that are different and successful. I don't think the praise cards or end of year certificates are are prized as the badges they get at interim reports for all 6s, DS1 has coveted one of those but has always missed out by getting a 5 for PE or RME. He has one now though smile

weegiemum Thu 27-Oct-16 18:21:56

We had similar issues with dd1 and physics. I helped her. DH helped her, she still just didn't get it. And it was like this in maths as well - she just doesn't have a mathematical brain and struggled with them both - while getting As in ~English, ghaidlig, History, Art.

This was in S4. We've given her a break and she's doing higher in English, Ghaidlig, Art, History and Graphic Comms. She'll resit maths at N5 (with a tutor) next year b she needs it as being an art teacher is one of her options

She's currently planning on Glasgow School of Art but taking a year out to do a portfolio course at the Tramway in Glasgow, and work, and go abroad to volunteer with a friend of ours in a school..

Lidlfix Thu 27-Oct-16 20:22:22

Ttlshiwwya (hope that's right) you just made my day, "DS and his pals don't give a fuck" grin. So spot on, and not negative, just honest. Awards and merits mean something to some and nothing to others. Lots of the award winners at my DDs' ceremony didn't go and many at the school I teach in preferred to just get theirs at a school assembly "cos it's boring pish too many folk talking for ages". I went as DDs won subject awards wouldn't get those hours of my life back for an effort one. They know how much importance I place on effort thanks to my mortifying request for DD2 to get an effort booklet when she failed to get a praise card in S2. That was a great motivator blush

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