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Should DS move up a group in MFL?! <long alert>

(4 Posts)
Erebus Thu 15-Nov-12 23:00:36

Sorry, am going to bang on here. No drip feeding!

DS1 is in Y9 at a high performing comp, which says it doesn't set. Tbf, it doesn't in terms of the groups aren't organised strictly into 'top 28 in group A, second 28 in group B' etc, but they do sort of have 'groupings' with a reasonable amount of overlap, I believe a reasoning is that it allows certain DC the opportunity to be in the top few of one group rather than the bottom of the group 'above' even though they may even have a slightly higher grade (a sublevel, say) than a few DC in the group above (those DC being the ones who are deemed likely to do better in a higher group, iyswim)

DS1 claims to 'hate' Spanish but is quite OK at it. He is a classic 13 year old boy in that respect- he'll claim individually, one by one, that he 'doesn't like this subject, doesn't like that subject' etc til I point out he's saying he dislikes them all, then he has a focused rethink and appreciates that he actually doesn't mind quite a few of his subjects! He errs towards science, though but has been made aware by me and the school that he must get MFL GCSE if he wants to 'get on'- and he knows he's perfectly capable of it.

The top DC in MFL were 'made' to do a second MFL at he start of Y9. DS1 was asked if he wanted to (and warned of the extra workload) as he was borderline and said No Way which was OK with me on the proviso that I wouldn't be impressed if his inherent boy-laziness had him being considered to not do triple science, come the day, as well. Soon!

Anyway, his teacher has just suggested to him that he is doing so well in Spanish that he should 'consider' moving into the top group (it won't involve a second MFL at this stage).

This is the thing. I have said Yes, I think you should (as has DH). My feeling is he isn't actually under much other pressure at all at school (amazingly as their exam results are stellar!) so he really could find the time to put in the bit more extra effort required for DC aiming for an A, not a B (even C) in Spanish thus I think that extra pressure on him will be good for him. An issue is I believe the school will leave it up to him (self-motivation is a big thing, there- great in principle but you don't, for instance, see many good privates allowing 13 year old DC 'decide' whether they'll allow themselves to be pushed harder, do you?).

FINALLY- my question: Do you think I or DH should contact the school and positively endorse our 'strong' desire to get DS into the top group? Or are we being precious? - an aside- I think to a certain extent DS would appreciate having the decision taken out of his hands, too... you know, if he 'fails' having 'chosen' the move himself, he'll feel 'stupid' whereas if the imposed move doesn't work out so well, he can 'blame' us! I also think he will impress his teacher if he shows some willing to be challenged which can be no bad thing!


Dominodonkey Thu 15-Nov-12 23:12:41

Sounds like the top set would be a good idea. I am surprised the teachers have let him decide though. The majority of time this would be presented as a fait accompli.

senua Fri 16-Nov-12 08:49:07

I think to a certain extent DS would appreciate having the decision taken out of his hands

I bet he would! That is why he has to come to your the correct decision himself.
You have already acceded to his laziness once (when he swerved the second MFL) so he is on the backfoot - you listened to his wishes last time, so now it's time to listen to the parents.
What are his mates doing - is that affecting the decision?
You could also try reverse psychology and ask if he feels up to it, could he do it? If he is a typical boy then he will react to this sleight to his manliness and do it just to prove you wrong.

What are the differences between the sets? Does the lower set cover as much of the syllabus as the higher set. Does the lower set take the Foudation exam and the top take the Higher?

Erebus Fri 16-Nov-12 10:05:40

Thanks for your responses, both.

TBH it 'irritates' me a bit that the school do 'allow' the DCs to make such decisions themselves, at 13. It's the same with extra-curricular stuff- it's more or less up to the DC if they 'have a go' or not, which sounds good, except it means that, for instance, the DC in such extra-curricular tend to be the confident and already somewhat accomplished. The shyer don't 'dare' get involved, but if we, as parents, knowing our own DC, got to hear about all the possibilities, not just the ones the DC choose to tell us about, we might persuade a reluctant 11 year old to 'go for half a term and see what you think'- then they might discover a new aptitude or interest.

But the thing is, the school doesn't really value-add. They take, by their own admission, (pun?!) above average DC from committed homes so they don't (the school, that is) have to try terribly hard. Their orchestra will be filled by grade 3 or 4 standard DC by Y8; their sports teams by DC who've been skiing or fencing from 8 etc.

Anyway, I digress- a bit. Except that I do wonder if the teacher will even listen to us, the parents- since we only know about this Spanish 'promotion' because DS chose to tell us (and a 'commendation' in Spanish arrived in the post yesterday), thus she will expect the answer (and commitment) to come from him alone.

I admit I didn't even know there was a foundation and higher level GCSE in Spanish! I thought they only existed in Maths & English, but I'm happy to be corrected! I believe he'd be on course for the higher in either set, tbh, anyway. I don't think 'mates' comes into it too much, actually- they're so mixed up and around in so many subjects (though note the school 'doesn't set' grin) I don't think that would be a consideration for him, he doesn't have a 'best mate' as such.

DS was told that 'the pace is faster' in the higher group which I'd imagine must mean they cover more curriculum!

I see where you're coming from with you remark about 'allowing' him not to do a second MFL. I confess that decision was made based on the fact he didn't seem that good at Spanish and certainly endlessly complained about how 'rubbish' he was at it and how he 'hated it', whilst we were mindful of the fact that they wouldn't have even allowed him (or us- we were told of that one) to consider a second MFL if he really were that bad at it! And I was more concerned that he put his focus into making sure he gets offered triple science. It comes as a bit of a shock, tbh, that he's doing so relatively well in Spanish, though he does recently appear in general to have taken on board my 'lecturing' about how his education is to his benefit, not mine etc etc, but he hasn't embraced that concept to the extent that I'd leave it all up to him in Y9!

I think we will have a discussion over the weekend where we will impress upon him the value in pushing himself a bit in Spanish and 'threaten' that we will check that he's actually gone to the Spanish Head to discuss it with her! It won't be the first 'opportunity' he's mentioned where the signed 'permission slip' hasn't got past his school bag at the end of the day.... 'Yeah, yeah, I'll tell her I want to go up'- 'So, all sorted?..'Um, no, she wasn't there/she said the group was full' etc etc... sure.

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