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Fed up after options evening

(63 Posts)
toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 20:13:19

Hi, my ds(12) isn't the most academic kid but tries so hard, he is a little below on maths/english but hopefully will improve in time. tonight after options evening at school I noticed he is being put forward for the lowest group, practically all BTECS in motor mechanics/hairdressing etc with only a few GCSE options. The school did tell me that they 'band' kids from their results and a computer programme decided to put him in this group, and I am so annoyed that he isn't automatically being offered the chance to pick other subjects and seems to have been sent to the bottom of the pile at a young age!

I think the school should be encouraging all kids to try for the GCSEs rather than just get lumped in with a group where vocational subjects (not even that many offered!) are offered. ds is very upset and feels like he's stupid sad.

NorthernLurker Tue 04-Feb-14 20:19:38

The school is trying to meet your son's needs. It's not good for him at all to be trying to do stuff he can't do. What GCSE does he want to do that he hasn't been offered?

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 04-Feb-14 20:20:55

To me that reeks of the old o level cse divide.

OddBoots Tue 04-Feb-14 20:23:44

How many GCSEs will he be doing with these options? English, Maths, double science, RE?

Do any of the vocational subjects suit his interests?

toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 20:27:18

there were a few he wanted to pick from but none offered at that level. The only GCSes offered are History (which he loves and wants to do) and geography, nothing from arts. Just lots of BTECS. He's only 12!

There is something called english and maths gcse support which I assume would give him extra help to get these two but it just seems to harsh that he will miss out of lots of different subjects. I know it isn't good for him to do stuff he 'cant' but he may be good at one of the others! not sure what to do

toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 20:28:35

GCSEs would be maths, english language, citizenship and History.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 04-Feb-14 20:35:39

Options evening at age 12!

Dd is 12 in year 7. She won't be choosing options until the end of year 9!

toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 20:51:47

i know it's really early to me too, when i was 12 i was still in middle school playing kiss chase

OddBoots Tue 04-Feb-14 20:59:14

So is he Y8? That doesn't seem many GCSEs at all.

toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 21:05:36

yes only in year 8 and they are offered double science btec, not even a gcse in that. yet he can pick from 7 btecs

toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 21:29:12

not sure what to do, he has to decide by next week and i work so can't get in to see the school.

MrsBright Tue 04-Feb-14 21:55:49

Schools are now reluctant to let any child 'try' GCSEs in case they fail and stuff up the League Table figures. Its that simple and that brutal.

If this is only Year 7 or 8 this 'banding' isnt a done-deal. It can't be. There has to be room for him to move up before the final 'going into Year 10' options are decided at about this point in Year 9.

Talk to the school - Head of Year or similar and get the full timetable for deciding GCSE options. At the very least, he has to do English, Maths and RE as named subjects and GCSEs may become possible in at least a couple of these.

Bunbaker Tue 04-Feb-14 21:58:49

"Schools are now reluctant to let any child 'try' GCSEs in case they fail and stuff up the League Table figures. Its that simple and that brutal."

MrsBright is right. Schools do everything they can to massage the results because of these stupid league tables.

I am surprised that they are starting the options process in year 8. It is usual to do them in year 9. Why are they doing them so early?

GlitzAndGiggles Tue 04-Feb-14 22:04:10

I remember the banding business at school. I wasn't doing great academically and had additional support after school in some subjects including maths and health and social care which I took as a double GCSE. I went from second top maths group to second bottom in a matter of months. With support and encouragement I still didn't do great but done better than what I would've if I carried on pissing about. We were put in grouped classes depending on our ability from year 9 onwards

ravenAK Tue 04-Feb-14 22:08:01

Two year courses starting in year 9, with flexibility to do additional subjects/re-takes in year 11?

toomanyoptions Tue 04-Feb-14 22:22:45

it's so depressing, i asked the english teacher if i should get additional tutoring for ds and he said yes definitely. lost all faith in the school

FirConesAtXmas Tue 04-Feb-14 22:32:07

There's a few threads around GCSE options around. It seems to be increasingly popular for schools to do this in year 8 and start the GCSEs in year 9, so to cover the syllabus in 3 years rather than 2.

MillyMollyMama Wed 05-Feb-14 10:27:28

Agree with Fir Cones. Schools spread the syllabus over 3 years to massage the tables. It means the children do not get a broad education and are pigeonholed early. I would insist OP that your son does science GCSE as well as English, Maths, History and an Art subject. I am also aware that schools that offer quite a few BTEC streams have far fewer GCSE courses to choose from. They tailor their curriculum to the lower end and then expect the pupils to fit it. 8 GCSEs would be fine by the way.

If he is having difficulty with his subjects at school, have you spoken to anyone about his lack of progress or what help the school can offer? I think you MUST talk to the school and try and get a bit of time off work. The school will have made projections based on tests they have run and also his SATs test results from primary school. They should, at least, explain why they are suggesting mostly BTECs. Make an appointment with the head of year right now!!!

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 05-Feb-14 10:34:07

Genuine question as I have to keep all dds options open

The school she is currently at sometimes asks children to leave after year 9

So if other schools at doing GCSEs over three years what happens to children who transfer for year 10?

Bunbaker Wed 05-Feb-14 12:00:54

"The school she is currently at sometimes asks children to leave after year 9"

Why? What kind of school is it?

DD's school are entering some year 9s for GCSE maths this year. DD is in the top set and they are already covering GCSE level subjects. Her class has some real Einsteins in though and they are already getting A* in GCSE maths tests.

They also start the new academic year at the end of June and it works exceedingly well. The pupils hit the ground running when they go back to school in September.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 05-Feb-14 12:10:26

It's a vocational dance/ballet school

They can assess out any year (except year 10) but usually in year 9

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 05-Feb-14 12:11:58

Lol at the academic year starting in June

In June (after GCSEs are I've for year 11s) normal timetable is pretty much suspended for the annual dance show rehearsals.

Bunbaker Wed 05-Feb-14 12:21:59

"Lol at the academic year starting in June"

I think quite a few schools do this now. It means that they work at school right up until the last day of summer term. No winding down for the last few weeks.

Also the GCSE results were significantly up last year and school has moved up the ofsted ratings so they must be getting something right.

OddBoots Wed 05-Feb-14 12:24:13

I'm not a big fan of the 3 year KS4 but starting in June makes sense, my ds's school doesn't but a few around here do - they even refer to the children as being (say) Year 10 from the June of Year 9.

OneMoreMum Wed 05-Feb-14 17:02:38

We had a similar situation last year, DS (also 12) was given the non Ebacc options form, which other kids spotted straight away was for 'thick kids' - we were not happy!
After a bit of a chat at school they were happy to change him over, it was just a starting point and not fixed in stone.
Ironically he is now being forecast Bs and Cs from his original Cs and Ds target and will hopefully continue to make progress.
If you're sure he can do more fight for it. Equally BTECs are more rigorous now so don't discount them out of hand.

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