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Just got back from DCs year 11 parents' evening and i felt a slight air of panic amongst the teachers .....

(114 Posts)
iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 20:59:06

They seemed all at sea about grade boundaries .... imparted some shocking statistics about the number of A* for example being awared this year as opposed to last year at the same modules.

A few of them alluded to 'Is this Gove? Who knows?'

Generally left us with the impression that August this year will be very different to the last few years. We are not OVERLY concerned by this as we do agree that the system needs to change BUT its worrying when it is your own child who is THIS year group.

Anyone experienced similar news at theor childs school??

FourArms Thu 28-Mar-13 23:22:44

I'm worried even without the grade boundaries changing! Dd has been generally predicted A/A* for Physics - then she got Bs in the January exams, and wasn't put in for a resit - which would be fine, but the teacher said 'as you got Bs in both, we've just changed your predicted grade to B'
That's not how predicting things works, surely?

Is your DD in Y11? At this point in time if I was her teacher & could see she'd achieved 2 Bs, I'd assume probably the same for the final exam too. Her target may still differ, but my prediction should reflect what she will see on results day.

montmartre Thu 28-Mar-13 23:27:55

couthy- of course you'll still get CB for her- she has to stay in education!
The entitlement is up to 19yo.

What I don't understand is how all we hear is how much easier exams are now hmm yet I am astonished, genuinely astonished at how hard Y10 and Y11 pupils have to work- I mean continuously working hard, after school, weekends etc. I did GCSE, and honestly I did no work other than attend lessons during school hours. How can they be easier if children spend hours and hours each week for 2 whole years working for them?

iclaudius Thu 28-Mar-13 23:30:10

My child doesn't Montmartre!

montmartre Fri 29-Mar-13 00:05:04

Get CB or work hard?

Startail Fri 29-Mar-13 00:14:06

Yes they do seem to do a lot more work than I did, partly useful work, but also they have to do their HW or get in trouble. A lot of my teachers were pretty laid back and my school at no formal did discipline system. Certainly no permanent record of forgetting a piece of German the teacher didn't give out clearly. DD2 is not impressed. 1/2 the class got formal detention. We'd have told him to get stuffed. My top set were bright, but we were far far stroppier than DCs seem to be today.

LapsedPacifist Fri 29-Mar-13 00:18:12

There are loads of courses at our local FE college which don't need GCSE passes at Grade C. They ask for grade D or above, or even Grade E for some courses.

Subjects include Art & Design, IT and Computing, Business Studies, Health & Beauty, Hairdressing, Carpentry, Floristry, Electronics, Health & Social Care, Childcare, Music, Plumbing, Travel & Tourism, Public Services, Sport..........

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:14:03

Yes, at YOUR local college. None of our schools have a sixth form (well, apart from the Grammar and one right across town). The college here can take it's pick of students. Therefore as their courses are always full, they can pick and choose.

And my DD wants to do Catering. After speaking to the college, they will not relax their requirements of 3 'C' grades at GCSE at all.

DD was meant to get three 'C' grades - in particular in Catering GCSE. That's now been downgraded to a D. She will not get in. Her practicals are 'A' and 'B' grades, but due to her SN's, her written work is dragging that down to a 'D' now.

Not every area's college has the sane requirements.

And a 16yo with SN's is not going to cope with living away from home to get onto a college course.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:15:08

Howishouldbehave - that would mean being ABLE to get her into a college course to be IN FT education though...

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:16:00

Iclaudius - they WILL fill the places, that's the problem.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:18:43

The 'C' grades don't have to be in English or Maths (which is good, as DD is working her bloody socks off to try to achieve a 'G' in Maths, as she wants to get something other than a 'U'), but DD would have scraped a C in English, a 'C' in science, and a 'C' in Catering and Textiles.

These have ALL now been downgraded to a 'D'.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:21:18

Childcare - would you want someone with Autism that has violent meltdowns looking after YOUR DC?

Hairdressing - would you want someone with dyspraxia who cuts their toe while trying to cut their toenails cutting YOUR hair?

Catering is the ONLY skill she has.

And she can't use it because the course is so oversubscribed and they won't relax their course requirements.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:30:10

Russian - I will have another DC that will be affected by the grade boundary changes in future. I have no worries about how to feed him, he will maybe get A's instead of A*'s.

He will get into Uni, maybe not the one he wants, but he will get into Uni no matter what.

However - that is a far cry from having no way of feeding a child because they've missed out on College because of the changes to the C/D boundary.

I can understand the frustration of students who may not get exactly the grades they want, to study in exactly the Uni they want, but that in no way compares to having no way of feeding your child because you can't get them into FT education post 16.

Even DD's school is currently drawing a blank, as the LA is saying that she will have to travel by bus, train and bus to a College 40 miles away in order to get onto a suitable course - whilst ignoring the fact that at 15, my DD is unable to even manage going to town on ONE bus without an adult and get home, due to her SN's.

So it's all a massive fuck up, and I can't help but think of Gove as some sort of odious snake for putting families of DC's like my DD in that position.

It's just not the same to have to pick a less prestigious Uni because of getting A's instead of A*'s.

That's a minor thing in the scheme of it. Sorry, but if you can't see that going to a less prestigious Uni is far less of a problem than having no income for food, then there's something wrong there.

I can't work because a) I am disabled myself, and b) 3/4 of my DC's are also disabled.

How do you propose I support her and feed her for two years with no income?

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:38:29

There ARE no courses for the 'in between' Students in our town. The LA expect the 'in between' students to travel 40 miles on a bus from their home to the train station, a train to another town, and then another bus to the college to do the 'in between' courses.

They say they have ensured enough places on these 'in between' courses at THAT college to cope with the DC from our town too.

Ignoring the fact that lots of those on the new C/D boundary will have SN's that render them unable to do this.

By 'in between' courses, I mean the courses that are higher than 'life skills' courses, but below the local courses with a requirement to have at least 3 'C's at GCSE.

As far as the LA are concerned, they have discharged their duty to provide enough college places by providing more in another town.

Not going to help DC's like my DD though. And she is far from alone here.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 08:40:48

(My other DC that is likely to get A's instead of A*'s wants to do medicine. There ARE plenty of Uni medical courses that will take students that got A instead of A* at GCSE - they just happen to be less prestigious than the ones that will still only take A star students. Still not as much of an issue as my DD's 'D' grades instead of 'C' grades will be...)

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 09:07:35

couthy you have no idea what you a talking about when you atlas bout my DD. you also have no idea about education if you genuinely think that predictions are nailed on grades. Nobody is 'meant' to get any grade. None of us know what grades our kids are going to get (you certainly have no idea what grades your current Y6 child will get when he does his GCSEs ). All we know currently is that teachers in this thread are saying that grade boundaries at all levels are going thugh the roof and that is something to be concerned about.

You say so what if a young person can't be a doctor or do the course they want at a uni they want - how would you feel is someone said so what if your DC can't do catering? Which nobody is saying, incidentally, despite your aggressiveness and nastiness. As an aside - I have sever dyspraxia. DD1 has severe dyspraxia. There is no way either of us could ever ever do catering. I a million years. Last time I tried to do proper cooking in the kitchen I set myself on fire (as I've mentioned on MN before). And not for the first time either blush. I'm more than surprised you think catering is a possible option for someone with dyspraxia. I'm hmm

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 09:09:13

talk about Don't know where atlas bout cam from. Presume autocorrect. Or rubbish typing skills.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 14:56:06

She (albeit slower than most) cooks really well. Ok, her knife skills aren't the best, because she's slow, but there really isn't anything else she CAN do.

We haven't found her 'special skill' yet. sad

Tbh, I get your reservations. I really do, but WTF else is there for a DC with dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia etc?

She's not good with people, so people facing jobs are out (no retail or childcare), she's dyspraxic which rules out hairdressing (and probably the catering she has her heart set on), she isn't good with her hands to do a practical subject, she isn't any good at art, she is functioning at a 9/10yo's level in maths at 15, she really HASN'T got any other skills.

She eventually wants to do cakes, not main meals, so there will be far less knife work involved. She has got herself work experience in a local cake shop (best in town actually), and that's HER dream.

If she doesn't get the three 'C's, she can't do the course at college that she needs.

If an A* student gets an A, there ARE still medical schools they can go to.

It is hard on the A star / A pupils, but it WILL hit C/D pupils MORE especially in towns like mine.

Maybe not in every town, but in this town, if you miss out in a 'C', you're screwed.

Talkinpeace Fri 29-Mar-13 16:37:47

I suspect the aim will be to go back to the Normal distribution.
Makes it harder to preach about "improving schools"
but means that the grades will return to meaning something.

I almost feel most sorry for kids who got their GCSEs in 2011 as they are the year that had it too easy .... and will be remembered as such.

On the other hand, once the next stage of education is under one's belt, grades should be removed from the CV anyway.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 17:13:35

I think you're wrong about the medical school thing, but I have not looked into the subject closely since none of my DCs is interested in or could be medical doctors. I continue to be hmm about your complete refusal to accept that any child who is disadvantaged by the changes we hear, and fear, are going to happen (we don't know, after all) which means practically every single child taking the exams this time round, is being treated really poorly. DD1 is 2E and she is completely screwed by the system. But I'm used to that, there's no point moaning about it, there's no point crying about the fact that, as an ed psych told us two weeks ago, government policy is that people with dyspraxia, dysoexia etc should not be getting A*s because A*s aren't for 'people like them'. yep, someone in the DoE apparently told the ed psych this recently. But what can you do, it is what it is (and what it is is crap). But this arbitrary manipulation of grade boundaries that we are told is going to happen this year - this is something else entirely. And for you to claim it's irrelevant for everyone except your own child is just rude.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 29-Mar-13 17:17:38

fourarms yes, year 11. She's always found physics more difficult than other subjects, but she's predicted a* in everything else, so it seems to me there's no reason for physics to be the anomaly, if that makes sense.

They had a difficult year 10 with different teachers for various unavoidable reasons, but I'm disappointed her prediction and expectations have just been dropped like this.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 18:25:24


The point is, these 'D's are PREDICTIONS. She doesn't have those grades yet.

So what are you, the school, and your DD doing, by working together, to strain every possible sinew to turn those predicted Ds to Cs on the day? I know of a school which has been open every day of half term, and will be open every day over Easter, with a variety of drop-in sessions, booster lessons, exam revision classes, 'meet the teacher about your practical project', 'how to boost your controlled asessment scores' - anything to get their pupils the grades that they need, and this is a school just below the Government floor targets, in a very, very deprived area so it seems likely that other schools in better areas would be doing even more. Or does the college provide any access / booster courses that could help to bridge the gap?

Rather and sit there with a 'we're all doomed' approach, what are you, your daughter and her school doing about it? I appreciate that she has SN - has she accessed, and has the school asked for, every possible support, extension and special consideration? Does she have specific support in school, and are they working with her daily and in a determinedly targeted way on the things that are bringing her prediction down?

The current situation and uncertainty are dreadful to everyone, wherever they sit on the grade continuum - not forgetting those teachers and heads whose jobs depend on getting a certain percentage of certain grades.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 18:27:18

(Oh, and would the shop she has worked in for work experience sponsor her through something like an apprenticeship with day release study etc? Possibly another avenue into the same type of industry, as there is not a requirement to be 'in school' until the new 'leaving' age, just to be in a position that receives training or education.)

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 18:31:50

I didn't claim it was 'irrelevant' for any other child except my own - I said it would be unfortunate for all children affected, but far worse for those now getting 'D's instead of 'C's, or lower grades than that, especially in areas where those who are in the 'in between' courses aren't available.

That's NOT just my child, as pointed out upthread, it's lots of children.

I never expected DD to get A*'s. what WAS expected was that she would scrape 3 'C's, and get into college.

Those expected previously to get A stars, but will now get A's, will still have plenty of opportunities for post 16 education. At least they will still HAVE opportunities.

If 199 18yo's with A grades at GCSE and A grades at A level went for a retail job and one 16yo with D grades at GCSE and not even a college course after, who do you suppose is least likely to get the job?

Yes, it will be a shame for those who lose out on an A*. But to see it as exactly the same as those who may be left with no FT college course, no CTC or ChB, possibly parents that are unable to financially support them at this point, and no recourse to benefits as legally they are meant to still be in education, is just blinkered.

It really ISN'T the same situation at all.

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 18:36:00

So, Couthy, what are you doing about it? (Just looked up the school I mentioned. Their Easter School, with personalised timetable for every Year 11, starts on Tuesday - they broke up yesterday. Does your school do something similar?)

I would dispute the 'far worse' comment. For every child whose previously mapped-out future looks to be in doubt it is a potential disaster.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 18:36:52

She is getting 25% extension time, and a scribe for CA's and exams. Not in class though.

The school is offering nothing extra to usual.

I am spending hours doing revision with DD, and helping her practice for her CA in Catering.

I'm organising appointments with her SenCo, ringing the LA, trying to find other avenues for courses.

I can't tell how the work experience is going to go, but the local college won't DO the day release, as that course isn't offered in that way.

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