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Foundation or higher papers at GCSE

(8 Posts)
lem73 Sun 30-Mar-14 21:28:04

My son is currently in year 9 and changed school after the last half term. I hated disrupting his education but he was so unhappy at his old school we felt we had to move him. He is much much happier now but I am worried we have made a mistake due to the sets he has been placed in. In his last assessments at his old school, he achieved 6a in maths, 6b in English and 6c in Science. When he joined the new school, they did an hour long computer based placement test and placed him in the 'middle band'. On his day he walked into his new class to find the boy beside him was predicted a 5b at the end of ks3 and the teacher said this class would be doing foundation papers. The maths department quickly moved him and he achieved a 7c in his last test, proving he is in the right set. In English, he has the same problem, he is top of the class and other pupils are much lower than him but the school refuses to move him up. I am afraid he will be made to do a foundation paper, although I haven't had a direct answer to this question. In his latest assessment, he got a level 6c which is disappointing but not that bad and was still the highest mark in his class. Can someone tell me if a pupil achieving 6b/c in English in year9 expect to do a higher or foundation level paper? Please give me advice as I don't know how hard to push it with the school about moving him up a set.
In addition, in old school he was told he'd probably do the triple science GCSE but in his new class he's been told he will do the double science. He got a 7c in his science test last week. Should I be asking questions about this as well? To be honest, I'm much more worried about English.

TeenAndTween Sun 30-Mar-14 21:53:00

My DD achieved 6b in English end y9.
They are currently predicting her A for GCSE (which might be a bit high, but even so B would still be higher paper.
As far as I understand it, they don't need to decide the paper levels until sometime y11.
I believe that they can also mix and match, eg for MFL to high listening but foundation reading for example.

noblegiraffe Sun 30-Mar-14 23:55:39

If he is getting a level 6 in Y9, then you should expect him to be entered for the higher paper for English as he should be aiming for an A/B grade.

In science, anyone getting a level 6 should have the entitlement to study triple science (says the DfE).

He has only been at the school for a few weeks so anything said now could be reviewed based on his end of year exams. They certainly wouldn't be deciding English tier of entry any time soon. Might be worth double checking with the science department though as they should have already put in their options forms and some schools start triple science in Y9.

circular Mon 31-Mar-14 09:06:16

Definitely fight his corner for higher papers, and triple science too if be wants to do it.
DD1(now yr12) was 5a English end of yr9. Took Eng Lang end of yr10 and scraped a B, Lit end of yr11 and got very high B.
6a/7c science. Did triple, which was an option choice, so 2 extra hours a week above those taking double. got A*/A/A.
7c Maths, got A in spring of yr11.

Also, although mix of higher and foundation allowed, and can achieve a B overall with. found when applying to 6th form, those that accepted B for MFL or Maths insisted on higher papers.

lem73 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:32:46

Thanks for the advice. I remember when I was at school only the really struggling people took the old style CSEs instead of O levels (that's what they were called right?) but I wasn't sure if things had changed. I just didn't want to come across at school as one of these deluded people who thinks her darling is Oxbridge material even though he's a straight C student so I thought I'd ask some objective people.

HolidayCriminal Mon 31-Mar-14 18:53:28

Does every school have certain sets (many sets?) that are only allowed to sit foundation papers? How does OP know that's the only option her child's school would allow?

TeenAndTween Mon 31-Mar-14 19:06:52

To provide you with some data, from DD1's leafy comp.
I have the list of exam entries in front of me, but am rounding numbers a bit.

Maths Higher 190, Foundation 30
English Lang Higher 170, Foundation 10
Geography Higher 70, Foundation 30
Biology B1 higher 120, Foundation 60.

lem73 Mon 31-Mar-14 20:36:39

Thanks when I look at those numbers I think I may have panicked a bit. To be honest I think I got it from my DS as he got worried on his first day when the teacher of the maths class he was placed in declared 'everyone in this class will do foundation papers'. He did get moved the very next day from that class but apparently he's got to 'prove himself' in other subjects. I don't understand why they placed him in sets according to a silly hour long test done on the computer rather than looking at his reports from a very respectable school from within the same borough. Don't national curriculum levels allow schools to compare pupils from different schools ie aren't they supposed to provide some sort of standard against which we can measure children?
I've tried to ask the head of his year about this issue but she's not replied to my last two emails which is quite a difference to how helpful she was when we were considering joining the school. Hmm ....

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