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Trying to get foster DD (year 11) decent GCSEs after a year out of school

(17 Posts)
StephofArc Mon 25-Mar-13 18:08:15

Title says it all really- I've just taken on 15 year old foster DD, her life's been fairly chaotic for the past year and she's just gone back to school after almost a year as a drop out. She's missed most of the summer term of year 10 and all but the last couple of weeks of year 11 and is sitting her GCSEs this summer. So basically she has a couple of months to try and remedy the situation and get at least half decent grades. Before she was excluded last year she was doing well at school, she's gone back to the same school now and the general feedback from her teachers is that she's always been capable of getting good grades but has always had to work for them. Ie she's not going to be able to remedy the situation completely, but might be able to get some decent grades with a hell of a lot of work.

So DD has two months to cover as much of what she's missed as possible and come out with half-decent grades. [insert stressed emotion] At the same time as getting used to living with someone new, being back in a school environment and generally settling down again after a pretty disruptive year or so.

Intensive studying over easter is going to be the way forward I think. I've ordered her the CGP revision books from amazon and her head of year is sorting out what she needs to catch up with coursework wise ASAP, I'm meeting with her tomorrow. Her subjects are all mostly exam based, with the exception of two heavy coursework subjects which she's dropped because they're just not going to be doable in the time she has.

Any advice/support would be much appreciated.

musickeepsmesane Mon 25-Mar-13 18:15:47

wine Good luck. You sound like you have everything sussed. As long as foster DD is on board, it seems a good plan smile I hope it works out for you all.Unexpected rewards for hard work will encourage her. By that I mean surprises not "If you finish this essay by..... you can have......."

creamteas Mon 25-Mar-13 18:21:20

What does she want to do next?

Round here you need 4 grade Cs to get onto a level 3 college course. I think I would try and identify what next, and focus on the qualifications to get in. Having something to work towards can be a god motivator.

Good Luck

notnowImreading Mon 25-Mar-13 18:28:36

She will struggle to complete English controlled assessments in the time that is left - they have to be sent off to the moderator by 7 May. If your foster daughter's school has a very sympathetic exams officer, you could ask if they could enter her for the iGCSE (level 2 first language English 0476) with Cambrige exam board - it is much more do-able in a short time because it is mostly exam and is quite easy to administer. It might be too late to enter but I don't think so.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Mon 25-Mar-13 18:31:13

Depending on how vital academic success is to any future plans, would she not be better going back a year and sitting next year?

StephofArc Mon 25-Mar-13 18:54:53

She doesn't know what she wants to do next, but given this is the same child who a month ago was determined was NOT going back to school end of I'm hoping she's going to surprise us all again and decide what she wants. In year 10 she was predicted Bs and Cs in the subjects she's carrying on with if that helps, what's really frustrating is that she was predicted As in the two subjects she's had to drop because of the coursework issue.

The school managed to get a couple of controlled assessments and an attempt at a language oral and writing out of her just before she dropped out mid summer term year 10, those are all graded Cs.

Resitting might well be an option Bingo, that's one thing school want to discuss with me tomorrow I think. DD is adament she doesn't want to but then she's really struggling to adapt to being back in a set routine, so we'll see.

Hadn't thought of IGCSE notnowI'mreading, I'll bring that up tomorrow. She's done one English controlled assessment and has a C, would be nice if she could have done better but it's not bad so not going to be picky about that, one less thing to worry about!

I have a good friend who teaches English and has agreed to do some tuition with DD over easter. I'm a teacher myself so will have the holidays off with her to make her crack on with it/help her as much as possible.

She hasn't really settled into a friendship group again yet, given what her easter break is going to be like I'm starting to think that might be a good thing!

Dominodonkey Mon 25-Mar-13 19:56:32

notnow that's not the right code. Am pretty sure that's lit.
The one you want is 0522 for state schools.

Also I would ask the school if they could pay for extra tuition. She should get extra attention as there is money set aside for Looked After Children (the pupil premium)

StephofArc Mon 25-Mar-13 20:03:43

Dominodonkey it's a private foster care agreement and she's almost 16, do you know if DD would still qualify for extra tuition on the school? I'll add it to my list of things to mention tomorrow.

tiredaftertwo Mon 25-Mar-13 20:10:33

Good luck, you sound really on the case. I just wanted to say that - and to spend your precious school holidays doing this,

I think the CGP books are great - they cut straight to the chase, which is what she needs at this stage. How many is she doing - an she cut down?

StephofArc Mon 25-Mar-13 20:20:06

She's doing 7 tiredaftertwo- two of those are double award science so the plan is to drop it down to single science if it's too much. Already got her out of Art and Dance as it was going to be too much pulling it all together last minute, and ICT and PE btecs.

The results from the school aren't always that great, but I think most kids leave school with about 9-10 GCSEs don't they? sad

She has done her homework unprompted this evening though, we're getting somewhere!

Dominodonkey Mon 25-Mar-13 21:12:26

steph - The pupil premium was to try to narrow the gap. Students who receive it can be looked after or on free school meals (or previously on free school meals etc)
TBH - most schools are very keen on keeping their percentages up so if your DD is willing will be happy to give up time to help her. Especially if you are supportive and keep up a good dialogue.
Good Luck

Kez100 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:49:23

Revision timetable - make the most of Easter holidays
Revision books - like you have bought
Past papers - print off of Internet and the mark schemes.
BBC bitesize GCSE questions and revision resources

Any lack of interest, look at future college courses. Try and get her motivated as to where she wants to go in September.

And tell her well done!

StephofArc Tue 26-Mar-13 18:26:11

I met with DD's head of year today, we're going to go with 7 GCSEs for now and reassess the situation after easter. Thanks for mentioning the pupil premium Dominodonkey- brought that up and they're going to organise extra tuition after school for her.

She's got to finish CAs in 2 subjects by May shock I teach one of those and my friend has offered to help her in another so we're just going to have to keep pushing her I think.

I'm going to try and work out a revision timetable for DD tonight. I know it's meant to me down to the child at this age but given how out of the habit of school environments, deadlines, study etc she is I think this is an exception.

DD's missed the deadlines for college courses but school have said they'll keep her next year, they'll work out exactly what they do with her once they have her results. No pressure then!

I think she's feeling very overwhelmed sad

creamteas Tue 26-Mar-13 19:14:40

Most colleges will accept late applications, and there is also quite a lot of movement in August when the GCSE results come out so don't be put off applying if there is something she wants to do.

notnowImreading Tue 26-Mar-13 20:43:57

Oh sod it, Domino! I thought I was being helpful - have been ploughing through the IGCSE syllabi as an option for us and must have got muddled. Sorry if I muddied the waters.

sashh Wed 27-Mar-13 07:42:01

Once piece of advice I was given coming up to O Levels (yes I'm that old) was to do 10 mins revision of each English and maths every day and 10 mins of the subjects you are not doing homework in that night so that you do a bit every day.

Don't worry about college, that always changes when the results come out.

GCSEs is all anyone needs as long as they have English language, maths and science.

You could also look at Level 2 numeracy and literacy, these are intended for adults who don't have GCSEs but can be taken by anyone. They are online tests so test centres do them on various dates.

One college I worked at did an August 2 week immersion for students who missed their C grades so they could 'upgrade' to a pass. They are much easier than GCSE but classed as the same level.

I hope she does well, both at school and in her new home.

tiredaftertwo Wed 27-Mar-13 10:16:38

That all sounds very sensible.

I am sure she is feeling overwhelmed - I think most year 11s do at this point, even without the extra obstacles she is facing!

I think helping her do a revision timetable and also to break the work down into lists of topics so she has covered everything even if fleetingly, are really good ways to start her off. And look for the "easy marks". And I wouldn't worry at all about them supposed to be revising on their own at this stage - some do, some don't, but she hasn't been taught it the first time round.

I may be completely off base here but could there be a sense in which this could help (apart from the exams themselves I mean), after a chaotic and I assume upsetting year? Some steady regular calm sessions with 1to1 attention, encouragement, structure and focus can give you a sense of achievement, self esteem and control over your life - whether GCSE revision, piano, or whatever?

Very good luck to her and to you.

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