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Secondary modern school tells pupil not to return after poor AS results

(29 Posts)
JRJZ Sun 21-Aug-11 15:53:37

Can anyone help please? My niece has been told she's not allowed to return to school in September to complete her A level studies because she failed one of her AS subjects. This isn't an independent school or a selective school, not even a comprehensive school, but merely a secondary modern school. My niece was offered a place at the local grammar school after GCSE's because her results were very good, but decided to stay with her friends at her secondary modern school. She's had to suffer her parents getting divorced and her mum becoming ill, which probably didn't help her to concentrate on revision. She only passed two AS levels and has been told by her school not to return in September! Is this allowed? I feel the school should be supporting her, not washing their hands of her. She has 100% attendence, always offers to help on open evenings, is a very polite and quiet child and in many respects is a model pupil. She's never been in trouble with the school. She wants to complete her A levels even if she just ends up with two passes. It seems the school are just worried about the league tables.

peteneras Sun 21-Aug-11 16:49:40

This is a classic example of schools caring more about their reputation than their students' welfare in terms of 'League Table' standings so that they can tell the world later how bloody brilliant (after the culling) they are. If your niece was good enough to qualify for a grammar place previously, it's proof to suggest she's academically sound.

It's obvious her secondary modern has failed her:
(a) to see her extenuating home circumstances;
(b) on their watch that your niece has failed one AS subject.

The right thing to do is for the school to allow/help/encourage her to finish her A-levels next summer with a resit in January for the failed AS.

rosar Sun 21-Aug-11 16:50:23

An option would be to repeat the bits of the AS level in October, and complete all 3 A levels in June. She could do this privately or appeal to the school to support her. Does her tutor know about the difficulties she's had to cope with at home?

Another is to repeat the entire year at the grammar. If she explained about her past year, they may take her on, and she would be no worse off with the bonus of her added maturity than if she'd joined them last year.

Or either option at a college?

kritur Sun 21-Aug-11 16:51:02

I suspect the reason she is not being allowed to progress is because to qualify for funding in 6th form the student needs to be doing a minimum of 12 hours in school and with only 2 A-levels she would be doing 10. It is completely allowed although at my school she would always be given the option of picking up an AS or GCSE in order to make the hours up. Either that or the option to resit the whole year. What worries me is that this seems to be unexpected as from the perspective of someone who has been a 6th form tutor for 6 years I would have noticed that she was at risk of failing before the exams.

I suggest she speaks to the grammar school to see if they will offer her a place in Year 12 so she can start over again, fresh start i somewhere new and hopefully more supportive.

exoticfruits Sun 21-Aug-11 16:57:57

Good idea from kritur. I am surprised that they haven't just picked up on her and would monitor and mentor closely next term.

senua Sun 21-Aug-11 18:00:57

Most schools operate this system. At the moment, this agegroup are not in compulsory education so the school does not have the same duty of pastoral care.
Ours asks for, IIRC, 100 UCAS points. If the pupils don't get this they must either leave or repeat the year. They know this in advance; it is not a surprise announcement after the AS results.

Do people really believe that a Grammar school will offer a place to a repeat-the-year pupil?hmm Our local one is one of the worst for culling those who bring down the school reputation average. I doubt that they will help now, she is more likely to get in to a sixthform college.

PotteringAlong Sun 21-Aug-11 18:14:10

But merely a 'secondary modern'?!

a) isn't that a very archaic term for a type of school I'm not sure still exists

b) please don't be so dismissive to your niece about how much you think of the place where she us educated - the implication being that she / the school isn't good enough

c) she's not in compulsary full time education and school will not have not told her she was in danger of failing - I imagine she'll have known there was a possibility and what the consequences would be

d) what does she want to do with her life? If she doesn't need a-levels / uni then getting on a vocational training course this year before the glut of people ne t year who opt not to go to uni might not be a bad life Plan

elphabadefiesgravity Sun 21-Aug-11 18:34:47

Happened all the time when I was in 6th form. We had exams in January and July and if we didn't do well enough in a particular subject were asked to leave the course. What usually happened was that the number of A levels was dropped and an extra GCSe taken instead.

Not everyone is capable of the demands of A levels and in my opinion schools should be more stringent on not allowing students to carry on with a course they are not capable of or are not putting the effort in for.

noblegiraffe Sun 21-Aug-11 19:48:46

She might just want two passes, but is that really the best use of her time? If she is clever she should be a bit more ambitious and that and be looking at other options.

JRJZ Sun 21-Aug-11 22:26:05

She enquired about the grammar school route again on Thursday when the results came out. The grammar school was very sympathetic but said they had allocated all their places for year 12 this year. She's asked her current school if she can drop the subject she failed and pick up another subject at AS level, but the answer was no. She wants to do nursing so really needs to complete her A levels. My sister can't afford private education. The nearest sixth form college is about an hours drive away.

mercibucket Sun 21-Aug-11 22:33:09

If she can't persuade the school to take her back then the sixth form college could be a good option. I used to commute an hour and a half each way to mine so it is do-able - got a lift on a school bus going to a nearby private school on the way in, got either bus/train or bus/bus back again. sixth form college was so much better than school

exoticfruits Sun 21-Aug-11 22:34:08

They don't seem very helpful. Has she got a form tutor she could contact or head of 6th form to make an appointment and discuss it?

gingeroots Mon 22-Aug-11 11:11:55

I think the school's lack of care is shocking .
I don't think it's an excuse to say ( as some have on this thread ) that because this age group aren't in compulsory education that the school does not have the same duty of pastoral care .

In fact I shall check the format Ofsted reports on sixth forms to see if they comment on care of students/communication etc .

As I've said elsewhere if an adult were summarily kicked out of work that would be seen as wrong .

A similar thing has happened to my DS in the sixth form and I know how much effort was put into letting him ( and me ) know his options if there was a dip in his performance - none .

And please don't anyone wheel out " they're adults at this stage " and therefore no need to involve parents . We have to sign the contract etc and in any case what parent wouldn't want to be involved and supportive ?What school wouldn't want to encourage this ?

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Mon 22-Aug-11 11:28:35

Is there an FE college nearby? If they don't teach A-levels (ours has stopped for some bizarre reason) there are BTECs, Advanced Diplomas and so on she could look into.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Mon 22-Aug-11 11:29:36

Have a look here

LoopyLoopsTootyFroots Mon 22-Aug-11 11:30:24

There is another thread with exactly the same scenario and lots of advice, might be worth a search.

My personal feeling, as a teacher and former 6th form adviser, is that if you cannot get a good (C+) pass 3 AS levels, it is not worth your time continuing. Other routes are probably more suited to your niece. We need to stop looking at A levels and degrees as the be all and end all - not everyone is suited to this form of academic study.
That said, repeating from year 12 should be offered. Often when removed from their peers, students will perform better.

LoopyLoopsTootyFroots Mon 22-Aug-11 11:31:18

Ps. secondary modern schools don't exist any more, and schools are well within their rights to ask failing students to deregister.

LoopyLoopsTootyFroots Mon 22-Aug-11 11:36:52

Other thread.

exoticfruits Mon 22-Aug-11 11:54:15

It may not be secondary modern in name, but it isn't a comprehensive either if all the top end have been 'creamed off'. I would look at FE colleges-they get good results.

crazymum53 Mon 22-Aug-11 11:54:44

Although you niece lives in a grammar school - her school must be a comprehensive as secondary modern schools no longer exist !
There are alternative routes into nursing other than A levels and your niece may be better suited to a more vocational approach e.g. Health and Social Care.
Although the sixth from college is an hour away they are often the most flexible and have more options available than many sixth forms.

bigscarymum Mon 22-Aug-11 12:08:17

They exist in Buckinghamshire - they are just called Upper Schools instead of secondary moderns. Not that this is particularly relevant grin

JRJZ Mon 22-Aug-11 14:00:16

Just for the record, bigscarymum is correct, my niece lives in Buckinghamshire. The top 20-25% are creamed off into grammar schools and the rest go to Upper Schools (which are exactly the same as secondary modern schools). Thanks for all the advice so far - keep it coming! I will get my sister to look into the sixth form college route, even if it will mean a two hour round trip every day. Health and Social care sounds a good option, but I do fear the sixth form college may be full by now.

PotteringAlong Mon 22-Aug-11 14:08:29

She needs to look at where she wants to go to do nursing and what the entry requirements are. If they will accept her onto the course with 2 A levels / health and social then all is good; if not she needs to have a rethink.

She also needs a serious chat with her teachers and be honest with herself about whether, if she's failing A Levels, she'd be able to cope with the rigours of a degree course

JRJZ Mon 22-Aug-11 14:17:50

The other thing that is really bad about the school is that she wasn't told when she collected her results that she couldn't come back. Instead there was a letter telling her which day was registration day for year 13 and what the dress code is. It was only because my niece spoke to the head of 6th form just to check she could come back with 2 AS passes that she was then told she had to leave the school.

JRJZ Mon 22-Aug-11 17:25:08

Good news! The headteacher phoned my sister this pm. Said had been thinking about my nieces case, was very apologetic, says some valuable lessons have been learnt, says my niece is welcome back at school, suggests she does 2 A levels plus 1 AS level (perfect) and said very grateful my sister has highlighted failures within the school. My niece is delighted, but she is also now looking at Health and Social care options at sixth form college. Many thanks for all your comments and suggestions.

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