Unsatisfied with school(32 Posts)
I?m new to this so please bear with me.... I will try make this long story short!!
My daughter is in year 11 in an independent school, her predicted GCSE grades are mainly As and Bs.
Her English predicted grade is CC. The English department (there are less than 15 children in the class) seem to want to scrape them through with a CC IMO so the school can keep their status of 100% A-C. The whole class has suffered a bit and none of them reached their predicted grades last summer. I, amongst many of the other parents, have had to call in an English tutor who is a teacher in a local state school and thinks she is capable of a B or above but the school have only entered her for foundation (guaranteeing the C grade for their stats).
The problem she now has is that most of the sixth forms want a B grade for maths and English (she is A* maths) so she will struggle to get in to study the A levels she wants to do.
I am fuming with the school I pay a lot of money and now I wish I had sent her to the local comp. this is just the latest thing in a succession of problems with the school.
I guess I just needed to rant as I feel like there is nothing I can do now but wait and support her.
You poor thing. You're up against it now and need the easiest route for her, considering she is now so pressed for time.
I would have her tutored hard for the higher paper offered at the school and tell the school to enter her for it, period. Then check with the exam board to make sure she has been entered and on the day, make sure she sits the correct paper or calls you immediately the papers are handed out so you can intervene. Seriously.
This subject is so vital. There are 2 basic types of C grade in my experience: those whose English is appalling but were taught to test, and those whose English is perfect but whose school failed to take them through the course. On paper, colleges and unis will assume the former, which makes this all the more serious.
As for trying to claim money back from the school, it won't work and will antagonise them towards your DD in her remaining time there. Best to spend whatever it takes on securing her grade at this stage and keep things as relaxed as possible.
Yep - you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
Why wouldn't you rock the boat? you are paying for an education and they are not providing you with one. If you bought a Rolls Royce and it only went up to third gear wouldn't you complain until it was fixed.
To abuse your analogy... if you turn up with a Skoda, the garage cannot turn it into a RR.
the proper exam Floranomad
You are not... how shall we say... a snob, by any chance?
(or did you mean 'appropriate' exam?)
I think it is worth meeting with the tutor or head of year for a discussion about your DD's potential.
They should be able to show you her MidYIS or ALIS results which give an indication of GCSE potential. If your DD is on track for lower results than her early predictions, then you are quite right to expect the school to do more.
I have to say that my experience of parents is that their expectations can be much higher than reality. Sending DCs to independent schools does not automatically mean top grades. Some children simply do not have the potential. But you would expect them to get higher grades than they would have got at a large comprehensive.
Just because DD is predicted higher grades in some subjects, she will not necessarily reach those grades in all subjects. If that were the case, the system would be a single qualification. It's not. It is quite reasonable to do less well in English - you have to bring more into English from outside of school, such as a wide vocabulary.
The other thing to keep in mind is that this year is going to be different with regard to grades. I have had a letter from my exam board saying that grade boundaries are going to be much higher this year. If this is to be believed, then the days of 10 A*s are over.
Rock the boat! Make some noise! I'll bet the other parents want to, but it probably just needs someone to make the first move. And look at other options for schools while you do it. In these times no private school can afford to be complacent about results.
Thanks all for your replies, I will speak to the head after Christmas, as the old head has just left so I don't think we could have got anywhere before Christmas.
It's interesting to hear all of your schools different methods. The school just seem to make me feel like they are doing dd a favour by putting her into foundation and taking the pressure off her!
Interesting about the dyslexia as well, I wonder if that may be an issue which hasn't been picked up? What would we have to look for? She seems unorganised and struggles with spelling, I know nothing about dyslexia, so wouldn't have a clue where to start... Is it worth looking into?
Apologies for not writing back sooner, I have just found this app on my phone!
I've heard of some schools using a double entry - entering both GCSE and iGCSE in some subjects as both count and you can just use whichever is higher. Could you look into her doing an iGCSE either via the school (which sounds unlikely) or as an external candidate elsewhere?
NEC iGCSE English
Bizarre - at both schools I have worked at any child who has a glimmer of hope at getting a C does higher. Apparently it is easier to get a C on those papers than on foundation where they have to get virtually everything right. No idea if this is true - my subject has a single tier of entry.
This could have been about my DD! She started at an independent school half way through year 9 after numerous issues at her state comprehensive. All seemed to start well but then we began to have grave concerns, but nothing we could put our finger on. DD was put in the lower stream English class and entered for the foundation paper. She felt bullied by the teacher who had initially asked DD if she was dyslexic. The school tested DD (with an inadequate series of tests) and Announced all was fine and this was when the situation worsened. I only have this second hand, but details are confirmed by DD' classmates; the teacher often told the girls that she preferred teaching at her old state comprehensive, called the girls lazy and would burst into tears at the drop of a hat. DD was accused of being the laziest of the lazy and constantly called stupid. DD was in fact diagnosed with Dyslexia in the July of year 10 after her younger brother's dyslexia was picked up by his school! I asked his LS teacher about his sister's symptoms and it was this teacher who recommended I pay for an Ed Psych report to confirm what the issues were. Best money I ever spent that. Yes complex story which doesn't end there. DD's school re-tested her and decided she had an auditory processing disorder (correct but its associated with her dyslexia) and the school informed me I would need to pay for additional help. Like hell I was! Long story short, DD got free extra support for her final year which was also the year we found the school was in serious debt and when it merged with another school. The predicted C grade in English and A in Maths turned out to be a D in English and C in Maths! DD then retook her English the following year with the help of a tutor and gained a B grade, thus enabling her to attend the local state sixth form.
So in my own humble opinion OP - FIGHT! I did, however maybe not hard enough. I don't wish to leave you with more concerns......and I'm sorry I probably have. Speak to your daughter's English teacher again.. Don't allow any BS because they'll try this tactic and if necessary take the matter as high up as you need to.
You are paying the entrance fee for the exam. You decide if she is to do the higher paper. Simple. They will put her in for it if you tell them.
The school should be giving her extra help, not you forking out for a tutor. My DS was useless at maths and got two hours one to one for a month before higher tier GCSE, partly because they wanted to get him thorugh, but also because they wanted to maintain their excellent 5 A*-C results. And at a state school ...
Don't rely on the exam board giving a b on foundation paper.
Insist they enter her for higher- we're entering ours now, it needs to be done ASAP.
I have heard of this happening too often at one of local indies. Good for me, as I get the money tutoring for a re-sit and redoing the cw for a separate entry, but just awful for the children involved.
Though technically it is possible to get a B on a Foundation paper if it's outstanding. It's rare, as they are supposed to cover F-C, but it does happen.
Sorry, just realised that will be wrong if she's doing Lang and Lit separately.
The more I think about this, the more baffled I get. Has she not handed in any coursework or something (clutching at straws). If she's being predicted A/B for History, for example, it can't be a dyslexia type problem. Orcould it?
OP without wanting to be rude if your dd is in a class of 15 and likely only to get a CC for English with the help of a tutor have you not seriously considered whether she might be dyslexic. Has this been thoroughly investigated. That is an incredibly low grade for a well supported child who appears to be of above average intelligence.
Agree with everyone else, unless your DD has bona fide specific special needs A/B in everything except English has to be crap teaching. Do not accept a foundation paper, give the school a rocket, tutor her (unavoidable at this stage) and make it clear to her that this is important.
That's very poor on their part. We enter over 300 students for GCSE in Year 11 and probably under 30 of them do foundation. If we think there's any chance of a C at all they do higher. I would be delighted with a class of 15 and they would certainly all be aiming for their highest grades, not a scraped C.
I would be on the head teacher's doorstep first thing on Monday morning, and I wouldn't leave until this was sorted.
When did you get the predicted grades? whwt happened when you queried them then?
And what possible harm could rocking the boat do?
I'd be asking for a refund to cover the cost of the tutor. Step back a bit and think about how bizarre the situation is. You definitely need to get this sorted out and a new HT seems like a good opportunity.
Without knowing anything about your DD or the school, the fact that she has A*-B predictions in everything else would suggest that their predictions in English (and for it to be language and literature) are somewhat strange.
You can't sit both foundation and higher at the same time as they are in the same exam slot. I tutored a girl last year whose schoowanted to put her in for foundation, her mum thought she could get a B and wanted higher. She fought the school, won and with my he'll the grl got her B. I suggest you do the same for your DD.
Surely it is your choice whether she sits the foundation or upper tier english. The school can advise but in the end it is you who is responsible for her education. You merely delegate it to this school. It might be worth reminding them of this.
Tell the current school you want your daughter put in for the proper exam , if they have an issue tell them you'll pay for her to do it , and get the tutor to prepare her . Is it possible that she could do both the exams( foundation and other) ,my DS did that for maths at GCSE as it was his dodgy subject and he got a B in the higher paper.
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