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Year 11 - possible GCSE disaster - what are the options?

(12 Posts)
MEgirl Tue 18-Nov-14 15:12:28

My children have had a lot of problems over the last couple of years but I'm now feeling as though we are staring at a brick wall with one of them. One seems to be doing better but the other has missed so much school this year due to ill health and is finding it hard to get help from his teachers to catch up.

He is off again today. I've arranged for him to see a private consultant to try and get to the bottom of his health issues which means even more time off school. I've offered to get him a tutor for science (triple) and he already has an English tutor. The other subjects may just have to fall by the wayside.

Seeing as he really wants to go to Uni what are likely to be his options should he not do well in his GCSEs? I've raised the possibility of repeating a year with the Senco but that is only something that they will discuss at a later stage if things don't improve.

He tells me that he is chasing various teachers for help but they never seem to be there when they say. The problem is being exacerbated because even on those days when he manages to make it in to school he ends up being out of the classroom for long periods so the amount of material that he is missing is ever increasing.

I'm at a loss and really don't know what to do except for look for a private tutor but I can't do that for all subjects (9 in total).

Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble but I'm trying to keep my own mind coherent, never mind writing it down.

ISingSoprano Tue 18-Nov-14 16:42:59

My advice would be for him to try and complete Maths, English and Science. Once he has those under his belt he can worry about the others. If he manages both English language and English Lit and the triple science with Maths he could have 6 GCSE's which would give him access to further study.

So sorry you are having such a hard time.

noblegiraffe Tue 18-Nov-14 16:43:51

Could you negotiate dropping some GCSEs with the school and using the lesson time freed up to concentrate on his other subjects?

Rather than him chasing up the teachers for work, it might have more impact if you do it. Can you get the email addresses for his teachers? If not, can you go through his head of year? Are there any resources the school has access to that would help for self-study, e.g. Mymaths website? Can he borrow textbooks? Revision guides as he is in Y11 would also be a good idea, and there are lots of videos on youtube he could use to teach himself stuff.

MEgirl Tue 18-Nov-14 17:08:56

Thanks ISing and Noble. We've already tried some of what you both suggest. I want him to try and chase teachers himself because I don't want it to look as though I'm blaming them for not helping. I have actually got to the point though where I'm beginning to feel as though I need to make a nuisance of myself. He's already dropped one subject. He's distraught that he will probably fail music as he would like to be able to take it at A level. He'll probably have to resign himself to the fact that it isn't going to be possible. He has revision guides but complains that they don't help. Unfortunatley because of the health and mental health issues he isn't hugely motivated to self study. I'm probably going to have to do a lot of babysitting him through this in addition to getting an external tutor for the sciences. DH can get him through the maths. His maths teacher is excellent and won't want to see him fail. Can't say as much for the other teachers. The Senco has been brilliant which has taken a lot of the mental pressure off him regarding missing lessons

I think that I'll contact the teachers and ask them to email the info to me and I'll forward it on rather than him try to chase teachers which then makes him late for the next lesson.

Who knew that getting kids through secondary school could be so hard. Keeping fingers crossed that DD doesn't go down this path as she gets older.

Moominmammacat Tue 18-Nov-14 17:09:48

My nephew is super-dyspraxic, totally failing in Y11, and ended up having seven private tutors for GCSE as school was doing nothing. It sounds absurd now but he came out with 11 A*/As, did ok at A level and is now at RG uni. At 15 he just needed someone to sit quietly with him and help him concentrate. I think they were very gentle with him and it paid off (but at a financial price).

headlesslambrini Tue 18-Nov-14 17:20:40

He needs 5 A-Cs at GCSE or equivalent to get into Uni. If progressing onto A level at the next step then, grade B or above if he is doing the subject at GCSE. If all fails then he can do an access course when he is 19 or over. It would be a good idea to have a plan B in place as well so I would encourage him to look at local FE colleges as well as 6th forms. Btec extended diploma is equivalent to 3 A levels but usually in 1 vocational subject area and the focus on assignments rather than exams. A level programmes are changing to be more exam focussed, if this is stressing him out now then the btec route might be worth considering.

MEgirl Tue 18-Nov-14 17:47:08

Moonin, that is very encouraging to hear.

Headless, he needs 6 Bs as a minimum to get in to any of the 6th forms in our area so that is what I'm going to target. If he catches up he is predicted to get at least As in Maths and sciences. We're hoping that he scrapes a C in English.

I'll discss the options of a Btec with him though I think that we've missed the open day for the college that teaches them around here.

I don't think that the idea of the exams themselves is stressing him just the fact that he has missed so much material.

titchy Tue 18-Nov-14 20:06:44

Dd swears by MyGCSEScience website if that helps?

summerends Tue 18-Nov-14 20:56:42

If the school are unable to help him and he is not attending much in the way of lessons could he stay at home and be tutored for the important GCSEs including music? If not affordable he should repeat a year rather than lose out on the grades he needs for what he is aiming for. You certainly don't want stress or worries for the future to be a hindrance for him getting better.

cestlavielife Wed 19-Nov-14 16:20:52

see if you can get head of year and senco to sit and agree with you and DS regarding emailing work etc.
make it part of his health care plan /individual education plan.

focus on the main subjects english maths science plus music.
if it takes him extra year to sit the others it 's no big deal long term.

MrsBartlet Wed 19-Nov-14 21:53:07

Dd was in a similar situation in Y11 so I sympathise as I know how stressful it is. She started off with a physical illness which developed into mental health issues as she became stressed at getting behind and also kept panicking that she was going to be ill again. Her absence rate for Y11 was 27%.

Talking to her head of year regularly helped and the school did everything they could to take the pressure off her. Her teachers were very good about letting her have extra time to complete coursework to alleviate the pressure of trying to get caught up and she also stopped doing PE and was allowed to go to the library and work during those sessions. Maybe your ds could do similar?

We also were ready for her to drop if Art if necessary as it was very time consuming.

Sorry you are going through this - it is very difficult.

MEgirl Wed 19-Nov-14 22:08:22

We've just come back from the school's 6th form open evening and I'm feeling much better. I managed to talk to their science teachers and they have all assured me that despite missing so many lessons that they don't feel at the moment there is a problem. So I'm going to drop the idea of getting a tutor for the moment. We're going to get some extra text books for him to read in his spare lesson time (he's dropped geography) and stop worrying about RS. Having face to face time with his teachers this evening was really helpful.

I had yet another long discussion with him yesterday. Apparently his music teacher is doing all she can to help him catch up but it isn't an essential subject for his uni application. I'm in constant contact with the Senco who is being incredibly helpful. Managing his anxiety is the key. He claimed this evening that he has his motivation back. I heard the same thing just a few weeks ago and it goes tits up again after an argument or a bout of illness.

Now that he has heard what is on offer in the 6th form and knows the requirements for uni I'm hoping that he finds the motivation and energy to stay in school.

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