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Can we insist on DS taking GCSEs?

(14 Posts)
stormb4calm Sat 08-Feb-14 15:30:49

We are trying to obtain information about the procedure for taking the yr 9 Options.

We need to prepare to fight a corner here as ds may not be given the option to take some GCSEs due to the fact he has shown no evidence of his ability to succeed so far.

We are told that there is a Foundation GCSE (sounds like the old CSE of the 80s) but we're really not sure how this all works.

Frustrated that DS can't see his potential to succeed but we want him to be given the opportunity to try. I understand the school league table debate but that should not clip the wings of children who have so much more to could also have a long term impact on self belief and confidence.

1. Any advice on how to go forward with the options and how that can prepare DS for GCSEs?

2. Can we insist on DS taking GCSEs or is it the school that makes the final decision?

3. If the schools refuses to allow ds to take certain subjects can we pursue them independently?

Sorry, so many questions!!

Reincarnatedpig Sat 08-Feb-14 15:44:13

I think you need to go to see the school and speak to them face to face about your concerns. There is no point putting him in for exams he is going to struggle in. What exactly is stopping him from working well in school?

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Feb-14 16:17:34

Foundation GCSE is exactly the same qualification, it's a GCSE.

Lower ability students may be entered for the foundation paper, the top grade available is a C, but on your CV it's exactly the same as a C gained from the higher paper.
Often, the paper the student will be entered for isn't decided until a couple of months before the exam if they are borderline.

He will at least be entered for English and maths GCSE, and probably some others. He may be offered BTEC in some other subjects, or some vocational training.

MaureenMLove Sat 08-Feb-14 16:26:06

It's unusual for a school to actually state Foundation or Higher tbh. The fact is it's a GCSE, regardless of level. You're right, effectively, Foundation is like CSE and Higher therefore is O level, but as has already been said, it's a GCSE never the less. The minimum most employers and futher education places want to see is a C grade at GCSE, which is achievable in both. It makes not one jot of difference.

I think you need to be investigating why your DS has shown no evidence of his ability to achieve, before you worry about which exams he's going to take though, tbh.

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 17:04:05

DCs school is completely transparent about foundation or higher ... its marked on the exam timetable and the kids know which practice papers they are doing
the middle set kids did not settle until after the mocks in December of year 11

ChocolateWombat Sat 08-Feb-14 17:33:57

Hi. There is another thread running at the moment. Someone is concerned that their son is being put down for several BTEcs instead of more than 4 GCSEs. was still active yesterday.

Information is the key thing. You need to know what the chances of success are for someone entering GCSEs with your child's educational profile. You need to know where their weaknesses are and to work out if there are GCSEs will focus on different skills. You also need to know what each different option opens or closes the door to in the future. The school should be able to tell you all this.
Email them very precise questions before you go in for a meeting, so they can gather the info you really need, rather than being vague.

ChocolateWombat Sat 08-Feb-14 17:36:46

That other thread is called 'fed up after options evening'. Might help a bit.

ChocolateWombat Sat 08-Feb-14 17:40:01

Sorry, me again.
I would also say that GCSEs are not right for everyone. They are the traditional academic option, but to insist someone does them, who they aren't right for isnt being kind or giving them a chance. It could be subjecting them to 2 or 3 years of misery, under achievement and failure. That's not good for the kids. It's not just about league tables.
I don't know what would suit your child. The school can advise you though.

clary Sat 08-Feb-14 19:05:24

Foundation GCSE is simply an easier version of the qualification where the highest level available is a (still very valuable) C grade.

You can do this in Maths, MFL, Geography, not sure what else but it is a very valid route for lots of students. (I teach MFL and all my yr 11s are doing foundation and if they all got a C I and they would be made up).

What are they suggesting for your DS OP?

ravenAK Sun 09-Feb-14 06:59:37

As PPs have said, Foundation is the same GCSE as Higher.

In my subject, English, Foundation covers grades from U up to B, whereas Higher covers grades D-A*.

we generally enter students for Higher if they have a fighting chance of a B. The final decision on which tier isn't taken until year 11 - & even then, I've currently got a lad in my top set who'll be doing Foundation if he can't show me a convincing C in his February Mock.

If the only concern you have is that your ds is being entered for Foundation tier GCSEs, that's really not a problem. No one will ever know which paper he took to gain his grade Cs. If he does blossom later he can be entered for Higher at any point up to the day he sits the exam.

what you do need to look out for is:

-limiting subject combinations (eg. separate Sciences are usually reserved for the more academic students, & not having them closes certain courses off at A Level & onwards),

- any qualifications that aren't GCSEs - you definitely need to establish in that case whether whatever they want to put him in for is going to be an equivalent qualification, which is recognised & accepted by FE/employers. Some BTECs & what have you are at least as rigorous, but different; others not so much.

As for whether you can insist - no, I'm afraid you can't. The school will make the ultimate decision as to which exams they're prepared to enter him for, based on their judgment as to which tier/qualification he's most likely to be successful at.

There's nothing to stop you entering him privately for exams the school aren't prepared to put him in for - except that if it's a question of the tier, both Higher & Foundation papers are sat simultaneously - so that's not terrifically practical. It might theoretically be feasible to enter him for a subject he isn't entered for at all, but then you'd need him to have been taught outside of school to the sort of level whereby he'd do well. Not really do-able in subjects with Controlled Assessment, either...

The simplest answer, tbh, is to convince the school that your ds is about to demonstrate the ability he has yet to show - & put a rocket under ds!

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 09-Feb-14 08:15:45

The decision to enter students for Foundation papers rather than Higher papers is usually made much later than Y9, so your son still has an opportunity to demonstrate his ability.

Y9 is a tricky year; last term we were told by many of DS1's teachers that there was a discrepancy between his ability and his output.
At parents' evening in November, the teachers explained to DS1 that in order to put him into the GCSE sets he has the potential to work well in, they actually need the evidence of higher levels of attainment.

Thankfully, he seems to have started putting in more consistent effort since then.

ChocolateWombat Sun 09-Feb-14 09:28:59

Good to hear your son is trying harder now. It would be a crying shame to not do GCSEs if he is capable of them, but schools do need to look at prior actual attainment, as an important indicator too.
In the past, Kids with a poor attitude to work could go on for years, without doing much or realising the consequences. There are loads of adults who wish they had worked harder at school and say they never knew it would matter.
On a positive note, it seems like all this analysis of ability, prior attainment and projections into the future might actually show kids earlier on, that their effort levels have consequences and open or close doors even now. Sounds like its given your son a kick up the bum in time. He might have learned a useful life lesson. Best of luck to him.

stormb4calm Sun 09-Feb-14 09:56:43

Many thanks to all for the valuable information, in particular raven, for taking the time to go through each area of my thread, although believe me 'rocket up ds' has been attempted in many ways!!
It has given me lots to consider and take before the school....

stormb4calm Sun 09-Feb-14 10:19:33

thanks Many thanks to all for the information which we can now take forward in order to liaise with the school..
Raven, thanks for taking the time to go through my thread and reply to each question.....rocket up ds has been in attempted in various ways and we remain confident that self motivation will prevail grin

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