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'Foundation' GSCE Maths - what's it all about??

(34 Posts)
SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 13:28:15

My DS, due to start Yr 10 and his GCSE options has been told he will be doing a 'Foundation' GCSE.He is at a non-selective comp which has special provision for ASD, DS has AS.

He has been in the next to bottom set for the first 2 years, the SENCO assured us it was the best set for him due to additional classroom support.
DS is reasonably bright, will be doing triple science and got a Level 6 for KS3 but will be doing this 'Foundation' GCSE.
We queried it but just got a snotty 2 line letter (the day after term ended) from the head of Maths saying that in their "considered opinion" DS was in the right set.

We haven't queried the set only the qualification he is being entered for as DS is very science-orientated.
Will try to talk to school again at the start of term, does anyone have any further information about this 'Foundation' GSCE and its implications?

hocuspontas Sat 27-Aug-11 13:42:37

I don't know anything apart from the highest grade for foundation papers is a 'C'. I imagine he would have to change sets to do the higher but I would make an appointment to see the HOD and discuss it further.

SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 13:48:16

It was the HOD that sent us the snotty letter, whilst I'd rather not seen them I guess they're the best person. hmm
I imagine it would automatically rule him out of A level study?

hocuspontas Sat 27-Aug-11 13:56:14

You would have to check the admission requirements. Normally a minimum grade is required to take a subject to A-level. But certain subjects e.g. Physics may additionally require a minimum Maths GSCE grade. So definitely needs discussion. Good luck!

michglas Sat 27-Aug-11 14:00:22

You need to be careful though because if you manage to get him changed to do the higher, then he will have to get a 'c' or above or he gets a fail, and if he has been taught in a set aimed at sitting the foundation paper he may not have the required knowledge to sit the higher.

SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 14:09:21

Yes, mich that wouldn't be much use would it?

noblegiraffe Sat 27-Aug-11 14:39:17

A C on the foundation paper is exactly the same qualification as a C on the higher paper at GCSE. They both give you a maths GCSE - it seems from the way you have put foundation in quotes that you might think it is a different qualification; it's not, and if an employer saw a C on his CV, they wouldn't know which paper he achieved it on.

If he got a level 6 at KS3 then he would probably be predicted to get a C at GCSE. The top grade you can get on the foundation paper is a C, so the school putting him in for this paper, if that is his expected grade is reasonable. He could sit the higher paper and get a C, but this would mean him taking an exam where he would be unable to answer the majority of the questions which can be quite demoralising.

If you want him to sit the higher paper, you need to have an argument as to why this would be a better paper for him to sit - i.e. you think he has a chance of getting a B.

spiderpig8 Sat 27-Aug-11 14:55:39

Fight it all the way!

noblegiraffe Sat 27-Aug-11 15:00:46

Why should she fight it all the way, spiderpig?

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sat 27-Aug-11 15:18:08

My AS DS is very good at science, middling at maths and a disaster at statistics.
I'd go and ask their reasoning OP, and if you decide to argue that he should do Higher tier, be prepared to do a lot of support work at home.

SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 17:28:21

My maths isn't up to supporting him at home! blush
I'm more confused now. He has a tutor to help him with English and does some Maths. She gave me this grade predictor but did not say where she obtained it from.

KS3 Level - Predicted GCSE Grade
8 + 7 A* + A
6 B
5 C
4 D
3 E
2 F
Below 2 G

This is one of the things that led me to question the decision along with a complete lack of information from the school.

Their response to our query was short to the point of rudeness. I guess I just am looking for reassurance that he is being grouped according to his ability rather than his diagnosis.

missmiss Sat 27-Aug-11 17:40:35

The SAT results for KS3 give you the expected MINIMUM grade, not the rare grade. If he got a level 6 for Maths, he should get no less than a C, but may well be capable if achieving more.

Does your son enjoy Maths? Is he motivated to succeed? Those things are more important predictors of success than KS3 results, IMO (although obviously if he had only got a level 4 he'd be unlucky to end up with an A* even with a lot of hard work).

missmiss Sat 27-Aug-11 17:41:03

rare = target, sorry!

noblegiraffe Sat 27-Aug-11 17:50:10

That's a predictor for other subjects, it's different for maths. A level 6 in maths would generally predict a C. It's tricky now that KS3 SATs have been abolished as that level 6 will be from teacher assessment but you could always ask the school what his FFT target is from his KS2 SATs to get a rough idea of his expected progress from that.

Talker2010 Sat 27-Aug-11 17:51:12

You say that the response was rude but I am not sure how ... difficult to tell as you have not said specifically what your query was

The set that your son is in will be doing Foundation so the "considered opinion" that the set is correct is also a belief that the entry level is correct

I would certainly say that a decision that your son is Foundation as he enters year 10 means that there is no way that your school's maths department would consider he is a suitable candidate for A Level

Any level 6 student at my school would be in a Higher set (though a 6 might mean that they were ultimately entered for Foundation depending on KS4 progress) at this stage and it would not be possible for a student to be in Triple Science and a very low maths set

The person to speak to is the HoD Maths ... I would be open minded going in ... the set decision will have been based on many points but may well have been overly influenced by his SEN requirements ... would he be able to cope in maths if he were placed in a set where there were no additional support?

SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 17:52:16

He is motivated and enjoys Maths, he likes things he thinks he is good at.

noblegiraffe Sat 27-Aug-11 18:01:59

If you think he has been setted due to SEN rather that ability, ask where his raw end of Y9 score places him in the set and the range of scores in the set above.

SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 18:02:07

Thanks Talker, I do not think I received a outright rude letter but the shortness of it was frustrating.
I do have an open mind but just need to enter into a dialogue with the school so that I understand their decision. I may end up convinced it is correct.
I am not trying to push him towards any particular A levels but know if he does veer towards Physics and Chemistry then Maths is complementary.

He gets frustrated at always having to be in a class with a TA and whilst he would cope I get the feeling, (I know it may be wrong) that the ASD kids are grouped together for convienience.

noblegiraffe Sat 27-Aug-11 18:04:06

I'm not sure if you were thinking of him doing A-level maths but at my school the requirement is an A or A*. He definitely doesn't sound like a potential A-level candidate.

SauvignonBlanche Sat 27-Aug-11 18:11:41

Thanks a lot noblegiraffe that's really helpful! grin
Jusr re-read my last post and feel a bit guilty I don't want to sound uncomplementary about the school, on the whole they are great and DS has really thrived there.
In some ways they're too good on ASD issues, in that you try to talk about something and you always meet with the specilalist ASD SENCO (who is lovely BTW).
I'm also conscious that I sound like a bit of a loon talking about a 14yr old's A levels! blush I just don't want him automatically excluded from something because of a decision made on the basis of his diagnosis.

Talker2010 Sat 27-Aug-11 18:14:23

At my school A levels require at least a B and Maths/Sciences usually want an A (or at least a target of an A)

We do not allow A Level Physics without A Level Maths either (this is quite common, I think)

In addition, A Level mathematicians will generally have achieved 7 or 8 at KS3 but the A Level scientists will have achieved a 7+ at that point too

Talker2010 Sat 27-Aug-11 18:15:58

Oh and ... you do not sound like a loon ... Think Post 18 to help decide post 16 and think post 16 NOW ... he needs to have the long term picture if he is going to understand how much work the next 2/4/+++ years require

mycatsaysach Sat 27-Aug-11 18:16:07

noble is right though op

my ds has just finished his as level maths
he got a high b in gcse after a tutor - then finished up with a u in as
he says as soon as they began their a level lessons at college it was a or a* students all the way.in his words he was left behind at the very beginning.

follyfoot Sat 27-Aug-11 18:22:01

My DSS was pretty good at maths at GCSE - got an A (might have even been A* thinking about it) but found A level maths really really tough going and packed up after the AS year.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sat 27-Aug-11 19:05:38

My DD got level 8 at the end of KS3, A* at GCSE and found Maths A level incredibly hard as she has somewhat inflexible thinking patterns and found the demands challenging to meet.
Have they made decisions previously that you feel were driven by his dx and not his abilities?

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