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Will DD's science teacher think I'm a loon for contacting her so early in the school year?

(23 Posts)
QueenJulian Thu 08-Sep-11 22:18:39

Brief background is that DD was in the top set for Maths, Science and French in Y7 (the only subjects her school stream for at that point). She?s just started Y8 and came home today and said she is now in the second set for Maths (I was half expecting this) and Science ( I was not expecting this at all). She has been fast tracked for French though, which is great.

The reason I?m so surprised about her Science set is because all the feedback and marks through Y7 were (I thought) very good. DD had two science teachers and the one I met at parents? evening said that DD had been ?marked as gifted? when they were tested at the beginning of Y7 ( I can?t remember what these tests are called? CATs?) and she was doing very well. At that point she was working at a 5c and predicted a 7c at the end of KS3. All through the year she got levels 6 and 7 for her class and homework with only 2 exceptions. Oddly though, one of the teachers had not marked any work since late March. DD got 68% in her end of year exam (she?s not really got the hang of revision but she did do some when reminded nagged). Her end of year report said she was working at a 5a and predicted a 6a so that had gone down (and how can you predict so far ahead anyway??).

I guess my concerns are firstly that DD will feel very comfortable in the second set (she is sitting next to her best friend!) and will just coast rather than put the effort in to get back up to the first set. Although she is able, she is not particularly driven academically like some kids are ? her reaction to going down in Maths was delight at the work being easier and the teacher being lovely... Secondly, I don?t know if she will have the opportunity to do Triple Science if she stays in the second set. And finally, I imagine that the top set are given higher level work and work at a faster pace so does this mean that the gap between the two sets just gets bigger as time goes by?

Does anyone think it?s a good idea to email her science teacher/head of science and just let them know that I?m concerned? I?m not even sure what, if anything, I?m asking them to do. Is it too early, should I wait a term and see what happens?

QueenJulian Thu 08-Sep-11 22:19:38

Sorry about all the question marks, I've no idea how that happend!

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Thu 08-Sep-11 22:35:07

By all means communicate with the teacher and ask if she'll still be able to do triple science, if there's a chance for her to move sets if she does show that she is consistently capable of more.
But TBH, her marks in coursework and in her exams would place her in the top third of the second set in my son's school. Top set were hitting confident 6b/a at the end of Y7, and exams were around the 75+%
So perhaps she is in the right place.

Kez100 Thu 08-Sep-11 22:41:37

Just to say, I sympathise, and am just about to start a similar thread!

cricketballs Thu 08-Sep-11 22:45:46

as professionally has said maybe others have progressed more quickly than your dd.

Too be honest, I would suggest you don't fret so much about what set she is in but concentrate on her general progress. Too often I have seen parents do this to the child's detriment (especially in year 7/8) as subjects requirements for levels are so different between KS2 and KS3 and the child ends up falling very far behind and this causes a motivational barrier to the subject.

My advice would be to trust the school at least until the next assessment point (usually half term) then have a discussion with the HoD but don't focus on the sets with your DD so to not cause anxiety

noblegiraffe Thu 08-Sep-11 22:49:44

Presumably her end of year level came from her relatively poor exam score which will be seen as a more accurate indicator of her overall level than individual pieces of homework.

I will say that if she had 'gifted' CAT test results and she is moving down sets and delighted at being given easier work so she can slack off, it sounds like she needs a boot up the backside before she starts seriously underachieving.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 08-Sep-11 22:52:39

I field phone calls like this all the time at the start of the year. I'd be expecting your call! Emailing the HoD would be my move I think.

QueenJulian Thu 08-Sep-11 23:03:06

Thanks for your replies.

cricketballs - I didn't place any pressure on DD when she is KS2 and although she got level 5s in her SATs, DH and I were (privately, we didn't let her know) surprised and of course pleased, when she was put in the top set for Maths and Science. I'm not surprised she's gone down in Maths because she said she was struggling with the work. Science however seemed a different story and, as I said, feedback from the school was very good. I do think that virtually all coursework being marked at 6a/b and often 7c is good at this level though, no? I take professionally's point about the exam grade but exams are a whole new skill set for DD, but then they probably are for most of Y7. I don't want to push her to be something she is not but I do want to help her fulfill her potential, if it's there IYSWIM.

Kez100 - I'll take a look at your thread smile

CustardCake Thu 08-Sep-11 23:15:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QueenJulian Thu 08-Sep-11 23:18:17

noblegiraffe - yes, I think it probably was her exam score. The other marks were also for class work, not just homework, so the school know that I wasn't doing it for her. And I don't just want her to slide further down simply because she's more interested in making friends and having a nice time than applying herself. I think I'll do as madonna suggests and email the HoD, keep on top of homework etc. Try to motivate without er...demotivating her

QueenJulian Thu 08-Sep-11 23:21:41

custardcake -that's a good point. I'll ask in my email if going down in the maths set has affected her science set.

startail Thu 08-Sep-11 23:34:41

A nicely worded email to the HoD and a firm word to DD about doing some work. Then watch marks and wait. Schools tend to need good end of term marks before moving people, but they will do it.
My DD got put in set 2 for English and 3 for maths and science. Barking mad because she's dyslexic and her abilities are the total opposite. I suspect no one remembered she had a scribe for her level 5 literacy, but no help or extra time for her level 4 maths SAT mark. Then she wasn't 100% the day she did her maths CAT and messed it up.
We sorted it out via her tutor because he happens to be head of science and at the end or the year she was in set 2 for everything except French, she just as bad at that as I amsmile

startail Thu 08-Sep-11 23:39:16

Yes should of said maths and science are linked at DDs school and 4 at maths seemed to over ride a 5 for science.
Given DH and my degree subjects and her natural interest in science things I suspect DD1 could do set one science work, but she wouldn't keep up with the speed at which they'd tale notes etc.

startail Thu 08-Sep-11 23:39:58

Take notes- no preview on an ipod

PartialToACupOfMilo Thu 08-Sep-11 23:44:34

Yes, email the HoD and find out whether there is a real reason to be concerned. I've spoken to five parents in similar situations already this week - it's fine smile

GrimmaTheNome Thu 08-Sep-11 23:47:49

I'd have thought it much better to contact them ASAP to discuss it, especially if the coursework starts to become differentiated. The triple science question is very valid (if that's what your DD is likely to want to do)

Having said that - from what I've seen of my DDs levels last year (in yr7) science levels can be higher than most other subjects (as can maths) - its the nature of the beast, these are the sort of subjects where things are definitively right or wrong. So while consistent 6/7 is solidly good, there might be some kids getting more 7s and even 8s.

cat64 Thu 08-Sep-11 23:50:26

Message withdrawn

QueenJulian Thu 08-Sep-11 23:51:44

startail - yes I would make sure it was nicely worded of course. DD does the work, she just doesn't push herself. She actually got a 6c for maths in her end of year report but a 5a for the exam (and is predicted a 7b at end of KS3) so her maths marks are actually higher than her science marks...

<losing the will to live at this point>

QueenJulian Fri 09-Sep-11 00:01:10

grimma -yes, differentiated coursework, that was the term I was searching for earlier!

cat64 - I think DD didn't really gel with her maths teacher who is also teaching the top set this year too. This has quite a lot to do with DD being happier being in the second set I think. But not for science as she was very keen on both her science teachers and marks were consistent throughout the year, until she got to the exams...

Thanks so much for all your replies. I have a much clearer idea of what to put in my email now. I'll send it tomorrow, maybe it will be one of many they receive as partial says.

aliportico Fri 09-Sep-11 07:46:53

Hmm, this is interesting. The consensus here is that you should email now, but I asked about querying my Y9 dd's maths set and was told to wait a couple of weeks. I guess this was because my dd is new to her school, and they know about your dd more - but I can't help feeling that if they don't know enough about my dd to set her properly, they should find out! I had decided last night to leave it for a bit, but I've just read this this morning and am feeling unsettled again ...

cory Fri 09-Sep-11 07:57:18

It is worth asking gently what being in second set actually means at your school. My dd was put in second set because of the results of one particular test (she was ill at the time), but in actual fact it has made little difference; she has still been getting As and the science teacher did want her to do triple science.

soonbesailing Fri 09-Sep-11 09:19:46

Well I have just queried my DS not being moved up a set, as promised and the HOD replied that they had some computer problems and yes he should be in the set above and will be moved next week.
I think it quite strange that his teacher (who is the same one as last year) didn't pick it up, as he has had 2 lessons with her this week.
I wonder if he would have been moved if I hadn't emailed?

QueenJulian Fri 09-Sep-11 11:07:54

Right, I've done it. Just a brief background and questions about coursework, maths and science correlation and triple science. And very polite, of course!

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