Advanced search

Get £10 off your first lesson with Mumsnet-Rated tutoring service Tutorful here

Scotland: S3 Options time for National 5s

(33 Posts)
myotherusernameisbetter Sat 03-Jan-15 20:53:34

Just looking at the timetable we've been given for the Options programme and it says that parents attend the S3 senior Phase Options Interviews but at this point it doesn't say if that's during the day or evening. We've still to have an information evening in a couple of weeks time so I am sure we will find that out then but it would be handy to know earlier so I can try to arrange time of work if I need to - anyone had any experience? I realise I can phone and ask but feel that they will just have me badged as problem parent grin

Anyone else in the same boat with a child about to make their options who wants to share their hopes, fears and issues? smile

ttlshiwwya Sun 04-Jan-15 16:07:46

My DCs school has the general info event in the evening followed by a parents evening a couple of weeks later and then individual option interviews a couple of weeks afterwards. Dates and times are in the calendar on the website. I remember with my DS1 that appointments were available during the day as well as evening but mainly evening. I wouldn't be afraid to ask - I find the pupil support teachers the most approachable - the office staff not so much!

This is my second time around with my DS2 however I am more anxious this time with my DS2 as he is smart but very lazy. So far he has coasted along in the top sets doing the minimum of work. However he has decided that he would like to be a doctor which is hardly the career choice for the lazy. I'm hoping that when he does some relevant work experience he will realise this and either step it up or think about other possibilities. I am going to try and persuade him to keep his options as open as possible which is quite difficult as his school only does a maximum of 6 national 5s. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else had tried to influence their teenagers choices and whether they regretted this in the long term.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 04-Jan-15 16:35:11

Thanks for that ttlshiwwya.

DS1 is very quiet and always loved making things and as far as I am aware is a clever all rounder (they only get marked on effort so I am not really sure!). The only subjects he hasn't enjoyed are Social and we have had some crises when he has had to make presentations in English and French class. DH and I kind of had him marked out to do engineering or something of that ilk. His Tech teacher says he is talented in tech drawing and his art teacher says that he has a talent but he also did well in a Maths competition etc. However, when he did a mock choice selection he chose Modern Studies, Business Admin and French along with Maths, English, Chemistry and Computer Science. No Engineering Science, No Graph Comm, No Physics, No Art. he doesn't like to speak in English so we are particularly puzzled by the French and with a dislike of Social the Modern Studies and Business admin were also a bit of a surprise.

He says he thinks he'd like to do something with computers.

We went on this today

and he did the My Strengths quiz - god knows what he answered as apparently he is high on Decision making - you could wait forever for him to express any opinion on anything and his general response to a choice is "I don't know" confused

Anyway - it will be interesting to see what the actual finished option papers look like - they get to choose 7 subjects and move into the senior phase at the beginning of May to accommodate the extra subject hours required.

ttlshiwwya Sun 04-Jan-15 20:38:19

I too was surprised by my son's mock option choices. He has never had any interest in French however selected this instead of physics (like your son he has enjoyed building and dismantling things since he was little). Apparently he finds French easy as you just need to memorise stuff and regurgitate. He has a good memory and it very outgoing e.g. Did his last oral french exam in the style of Joey Barton to entertain his classmates. I would have liked him to select physics to keep the engineering type options open. I wonder whether your son's teachers might persuade him to select his stronger subjects. I remember my DS1 wanting to select PE as a higher and being persuaded by his PSE teacher to choose another subject he was more likely to do better in and would be more useful for his future career plans. My husband had suggested similar but he only took heed of his teacher. I also remember getting "predicted standard grades" for my DS1 which helped him make his choices. Also I'm going to ask to see the recent exam results by subject for the school and compared to other schools (less popular subjects are taught in multilevel classes and I'm not convinced they are well taught - I was surprised that no-one got an A at national 5 in computing last year especially as some of the same children got As in national 5 maths).

We tried the "my strengths" questionnaire yesterday as well. I watched him answer the questions and thought he answered truthfully but I'm not sure I agree with the summary - they had him high on wanting to help others etc whereas I think he lacks compassion etc. Maybe others have found this more useful.

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 04-Jan-15 20:50:23

Very interesting! I am hoping that they give us a better idea of his likely results in his last report and parents evening which are squashed in between the meeting for parents and the options interviews. Every report we've had so far only tells us how hard he works, which is good but not that helpful when he himself tells us virtually nothing! He was top in his primary school (but wasn't an academic group really and not a feeder school for his current high school) and his Reading level was 3-4 years above his age when he was 10/11ish. so I am thinking he is reasonably bright based on that really. He attends a high achieving school but i had heard that a lot of that is down to wealthy parents paying for tutors.

He loves Art and his teacher thinks he is great but he hasn't so far picked it so I'm not sure if there has been any influence at hand....on the other had his registration teacher teaches French.

All his teachers seem to say he is hard working, but I don't see much evidence of it, homework is rattled off in 5/10 minutes. He is very very compliant though, and quiet which will either make him popular with teachers or maybe invisible. It would be good to be able to see into the future to help them make the right choices.

I think with the National 5s being so new, it is maybe harder for the teachers to predict likely grades though? Who knows!

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 04-Jan-15 20:53:30

I wish I'd watched him put his answers in, but I figured he would be more honest or at least be forced to answer himself without prompting from me if I left him to do it himself. I wonder if I can go back in and see what he answered? It said his secondary lot of skills or whatever it was were all about Motivation etc but he doesn't speak to people at all so I'm wondering just how that would work!

ttlshiwwya Mon 05-Jan-15 22:03:41

My DCs school do give an rough indication of progress in reports - usually just level 4 secure etc. and at parents night usually indicate whether this is at the top level of the set. However it's not a high performing school and being in the top sets is no guarantee of success.

I'm no fan of tutoring - several of my friends at uni had umpteen tutors all through secondary but struggled at uni without the extra help and ended up with thirds. I can understand getting a tutor for illness or if you are really bad at a particular subject and just need a C to get on a course and will never need to use the subject again. Even in my area it's common amongst the wealthy parents with some having tutors for 4+ subjects for national 5s. Scary.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 05-Jan-15 23:06:49

Tutoring wont be happening I don't think - I agree with you, to me it's something that you would maybe do short term if they they needed a subject and were struggling or had missed stuff and needed to get back on a level with the class, otherwise they are on their own and will need to find what they are good at and stick with it! I have this to do all over again next year for DS2 as he is only 13 months younger.

prettybird Wed 07-Jan-15 09:34:26

Ds chose his subjects last year in S2. - doing 8. Not sure if he gets to drop one at the end of this year, so not sure if he ends up doing 7 or 8 Nat 5s. He was very sensible about his choices and keeping is options open - but he's a good worker and very bright. He's already talking about which subjects he might do as "Crash" Highers in 6th Year.

The disadvantage of choosing in S2 meant that he had to drop "Expressive arts" in breach of BGE principles as they were in the same columns as Physics, Chemistry and PE - all subjects he was determined to do. His other subjects are English, French, Maths, Geography and Computing Science.

If he has to drop a subject, I suspect it would be Computing Science.

myotherusernameisbetter Wed 07-Jan-15 10:35:53

Hey, prettybird smile I remember our boys starting at the same time and it seems that we have got to this point so fast.

No1 son tells us nothing, he is a man of mystery! He may very well have an idea of how he is doing or what he wants to do but he is not sharing. I was up at school for a different reason and his PST shared the choices that he had made on their dummy run. In addition to English and Maths he chose Business Administration, French, Chemistry, computing Science and Modern Studies - we were expecting him to want: Physics, Chemistry, Computing science, Tech whatever it is and then have a dilemma about Art/Graph Comm.

We get the forms next Thursday and we've been told that there is no room to manoever out of the columns as they are additionally moving to a 33 period week and it makes it difficult to have any flexibility.

prettybird Wed 07-Jan-15 11:34:20

Don't know how many periods ds has you don't expect him to share a timetable do you?! wink but we had no flexibility either - hence him doing Computing Science as his "extra" fun subject, whereas I think he would've liked to do Art I was surprised at how good his Art was when I saw his teacher at last year's Parents' Night

No point angsting until you actually see what is in the columns.

Our Parents' Evening is on the 22nd; we are trialling an On-Line Booking System when went live yesterday. I'm about to go and try it out. grin

myotherusernameisbetter Wed 07-Jan-15 16:53:53

Our parents evening is the 22nd too - but it will be the usual shambles - i bet we can only get appointments with teachers of subjects he doesn't want to take!

The change of the periods means that the school times need to change - hence me knowing - they did a consultation, asked for feedback, which I gave and then they went for their preferred choice anyway.

My problem with the whole column thing is that they were given two dummy opportunities to put in what they wanted - the first time I think they were just asked if there were no columns at all what would you choose. No1 son having already seen a copy of the previous years column options stuck to what he thought was possible, so basically the final form will have had none of his input taken into account - I could shake him sometimes!! grin

prettybird Wed 07-Jan-15 17:50:32

Did my on-line booking: got all 8 appointments (not bothering with RME which was the 9th option).

5 minute appointments (but you can't make 2 consecutive appointments as you need to get from one to the next), but due to availability, I'll be there from 7 until 8.45 (a couple of 15-20 minute gaps).

It's a trial system that hopefully afterwards will be rolled out more widely across Scotland.

myotherusernameisbetter Wed 07-Jan-15 18:00:18

I've got friends with children in other schools - different council - and they've been using it for years and say it works perfectly well. The onus is then on the parents rather than the kids.

DWismyfavouriteaardvark Sat 10-Jan-15 01:27:43

It's worth looking at a few university courses even this early and see what's required. I can't remember specifically but if you want to do Maths at either Glasgow or Edinburgh one of them was asking for a second science at Higher so just be aware. Also there are now some courses where physics and biology are favoured rather than physics and chemistry but our school actively discouraged physics and biology together in s5 .

It's also not unusual for someone who was dead set on engineering throughout school to announce they want to do Languages in s6 or move from languages to architecture. They just need some swivel room in their selections.

Mine are all beyond this stage but I'd get them to suggest very loosely the Highers they think they may want to take and then put a university prospectus in their hands. Spend 20 mins sitting with them going through the A-z of subjects and put a post it note at every possible degree they could sit and see if there is a diverse range of opportunity for them and not a narrow group.

You don't need to do anything beyond working out that they will have say 40 courses to choose from and not just ten. In my opinion it's best just to emphasise that you're not asking them to choose a career. Tell them that in say eight years time the career they go for might not even have been invented yet grin

All tHis of course assumes they are thinking of university. They might not .

Walkingonsunshine00 Sat 10-Jan-15 13:55:48

Dd gets form next Friday! They have a week to choose blush

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 12-Jan-15 20:07:41

Thanks DW that's a good idea. I've done this myself before when i thought that he was interested in doing some sort of engineering/design but I really have no idea what he wants to do now and I think he is basically just wanting us to tell him what to do, which we aren't going to. I asked him what his friends were thinking about doing in the future and the answer was that most have no idea, one wants to be an Actuary and another a Magician...

I would imagine that he is more than capable of getting a decent degree but we have been wondering whether a good apprenticeship might suit him better. My DH has had many many changes of career and late return to study plus an OU degree etc so we definitely don't see choices made at 14 to be the be all and end all of his choices in life. He would be an extremely conscientious employee, is clever, diligent and compliant - I don't think he'd make a great boss as he struggles to speak to people and to exert his authority (but then he is only 14) so I'm thinking some specialist type role would be good for him.

walkingonsunshine00 I think we have a week and a half to choose but don't actually know. It suggests parents get the forms at the info night on Thursday and then we have parents night the following week and then Interviews the following Monday/Tuesday in order to finalise option choices.

DWismyfavouriteaardvark Mon 12-Jan-15 21:22:57

Officially they may have a week to choose but I'm sure your school will give you more time on the QT if you really, really struggle.

You can always put something down for now and amend later. Even if the school says not. They just want to discourage too many people from doing the same.

Someone else will be able to confirm this but it's likely the timetabling expert normally starts by sorting out the potential S5 & S6 kids first, then the S4s and then your crowd so the actual time when they put names down into boxes will be during April. S3 are way down the pecking order in the scheme of things.

There was a tiny amount of swapping in May and again in August for all of mine when timetables were out although it was Int 2s and not Nat 5s.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 12-Jan-15 21:30:16

DW - they are the potential S4s - our school has done (more or less) the proper BGE so although they move into S4 at the beginning of May rather than June like most schools, they really only have a year to do their 7 Nat 5s and then they are down to choosing highers.

DWismyfavouriteaardvark Mon 12-Jan-15 21:48:04

Yes of course sorry ... but no matter in all seriousness he still has an element of wriggle room until early August. The school will have parent's appointments where you can chat your concerns.

Don't know if anyone has mentioned this already but if he is desperate to be with his pals make sure he chooses the same subjects in the same columns... eg if he can do Chemistry in either Column 5 or 7 get him to take it where his friends are taking it... equally if he wants to keep out of someone's way, take it in a different column.

My youngest is currently in S4 and the only one of mine to do the 'new' system. The other two did Int 2s. Can't say I'm seeing huge changes but that could still be around the corner. Youngest is starting to think about which Highers but has prelim exams first.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 12-Jan-15 22:04:28

My only reference point is when I did my own O grades which was in 1982 and chosen in 1980 so it's been a while smile

They are moving to a 33 period week at the same time so we've been told that there will be no opportunity to switch things about. the issue for me is that it's a small school by my experience (less than 800 pupils across 6 years when over 90% stay for the full 6 years). Even being one of the larger years (millenium babies smile ) they still only have about 150 pupils in their year so it means the variety they are able to choose isn't large. I remember being able to choose Geology, Russian, Chinese etc as well as the standard subjects but my school was huge!

prettybird Mon 12-Jan-15 23:35:16

Ds' school has a Careers' Evening prior to the kids having to make choices. It's for S2s (given that at his school they make their choices then), S4s, S5s and any S6s who still aren't sure what they want to do

In fact, it's taking place on Wednesday with representatives from 35 (I think) "potential occupations" (eg hairdressing, veterinary science, nursing, entrepreneurship, PR, journalism, optometry (actually, I think that's one we're missing this year hmm) etc plus c20 institutions or bodies (Unis, colleges, Institute of Physics etc).

It's in 2 halves: for the first half of the time the younger group and their parents are in the Assembly Hall being given a talk about making their choices (with a bit of background about CfE and BGE) while the others are at the Careers "Fair" and then in the 2nd half the two groups swap.

Ds doesn't get to go this year as he is in S3.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 12-Jan-15 23:49:33

that sounds great prettybird They don't organise anything like that. I think they tend to think that because there are a lot of affluent parents that they will sort it all out for their offspring and that they will all be trotting off to uni anyway - I sometimes think that the ordinary pupils get a bit of a raw deal- but hey ho!

We've been told that there will be a careers adviser available on parents night - it seems to be singular and I'm sure they will be able to see 150 sets of parents in 2 hours hmm

Appointments are half 4 to half 6 so not the best either - i can be there but DH doesn't finish till half 4 (10 miles away) and isn't in the kind of job he can leave early and i'm sure some parents are in a worse position. i appreciate that teachers have lives too, but there isn't a great deal of thought in the whole process I don't think. Clearly this is an important parents night so presume that most parents will want appointments with a lot of the subjects, especially Maths and English. 5 minute appointments mean 12 in an hour so total of 24 - there are more than 24 in maths and English and some of the other teachers (Tech etc) will have more than one class per year as there are only 2 or 3 of them for that subject in the school.

prettybird Tue 13-Jan-15 08:15:49

It's something you could suggest to the Parent Council. It's organised by our Parent Council in close conjunction with the member of senior management team responsible for "pupil destinations" (can't remember the correct term). This will be the 3rd year that it's been run.

We also only have 2 hours for our Parents' Evening (although from 7 to 9 so a bit more "working parent compatible"), which is something that has been raised by the PC - also how to stop some parents overrunning the 5 minutes and causing backlogs.

One of the advantages of the new online booking system is that the school will be able to see who HAS been seen and if there are any parents of kids about which there are concerns who need to be followed up separately.

myotherusernameisbetter Tue 13-Jan-15 11:22:28

Parent Council! It's the secret f'king service! Intended for those and such as those and by private invitation only I think.

There are no contact details, you have to email the school and ask for it to be passed on - i did and got no response at all. They used to have a section on the school website that at tleast the dates and minutes of the meetings were on but that's gone and the evening they did hold the meeting coincides with something I need to go to for work.

They don't actually do anything as far as I can see. Our primary PC was great and did lots of events and fundraising and stuff for the school. I stopped going as the mother of the child who was bullying mine was on the committee and after a few encounters with her and her husband, I couldn't look at her wothout wanting to punch her face in, so for my own health and well being, I thought it better to avoid it grin

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: