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Dropping a subject at end of Y10

(16 Posts)
yellowdaisies Thu 04-Jun-15 14:00:24

Has anyone done this?

My DS wants to drop French. He hates it. He isn't learning anything. The teaching's been poor - His class is is currently being taught by 2 teachers, having had one leave with no notice, and then a supply teacher. He bitterly regrets "choosing" it - was pressured by school who said at end of Y9 he would be on track for around a B. He's currently on track for a D - but should be getting A*-Bs in his other 9 subjects. I have been trying to support and encourage him to tackle the French, but I'm fed up with all the tears now. He either can't or won't learn. The school have said I can come in to discuss it, but I'm inclined to simply ask that he drops it.

It's too late to pick up a new subject. But there is a study support group (aimed really at lower ability kids) that runs at the same time. Do you think they would let him join it? Despite being generally bright, his spelling and handwriting are poor, and would benefit from some extra support. Are the school likely to put up opposition to him dropping it? And if so how could I counter their arguments? If it comes to it, could I simply threaten to not send him in for the exams?

hellsbells99 Thu 04-Jun-15 14:30:52

9 Gcses is plenty. Good luck

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Jun-15 16:26:42

The school will be reluctant because it could start an avalanche of requests.

If you choose to keep your son home from the exams then they probably will charge you the entry fee.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 04-Jun-15 16:29:56

I completely understand your point of view, but I'd be surprised if they let him drop French and move to the support group, especially if he is getting A*/A/B in most subjects.

ChablisTyrant Thu 04-Jun-15 16:33:45

I couldn't speak a word of German for similar reasons at the end of year 10. My mum found the money for 10 lessons with a private tutor and I made amazing progress. Ended up loving it. Can you think about doing this?

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 04-Jun-15 16:36:49

I have a son in Y10 whose MFL is one of his weakest subjects (due to lack of aptitude; the teaching is very good). It is possible to get reasonable marks in the controlled assessments by putting in a lot of preparation and rote learning. With the board he is doing, only 40% of the marks are done in the final exams.

yellowdaisies Thu 04-Jun-15 16:37:38

Chablis - that's interesting to hear. Yes I could afford to pay for some private tuition. I have offered this to DS but he wasn't keen. Maybe worth revisiting though. But 25% of the French grade depends on what he's done this year (ie it's already a D) I don't think that's alterable sadly.

giraffe - do you think they would be afraid of eveyone wanting to drop subjects? Seems unlikely.

I'm sure the support group isn't really intended for kids like DS - more likely aimed at pushing as many as possible over the C/D border in maths and English. But they're obviously not going to let him drop a subject and just do nothing in that time, are they, so I was hoping it might be a possibility.

yellowdaisies Thu 04-Jun-15 16:41:00

It is possible to get reasonable marks in the controlled assessments by putting in a lot of preparation and rote learning*- I don't think that's true. That's what we tried for the recent speaking exam. He really did work hard and had pre-prepared answers to all the questions they'd set. The teacher was patronising enough to tell him how hard she could see he'd worked, before telling him it was a "high D". She *knows he's a bright lad for whom a D is not a good grade. angry DS says he answered the questions he'd learned, but that the teacher then asked him follow up ones and he couldn't remember the right verb forms. He's never got the verbs sussed. He's never really been tested on them or made to go back and learn them.

funchum8am Thu 04-Jun-15 16:44:10

Teacher (middle manager) here. Ask for him to drop it but if they say no the easiest route is to make them aware he has your support in not prioritising it, and tell him to do the bare minimum to stay out of trouble ie attempt homework and hand it in but don't spend hours etc. Make sure he sits the exams if you don't want to be billed.

He will probably still get a D that way anyway, or not far off, but the tears and stress should stop.

I realise this doesn't sound great coming from a teacher but when schools are adamant that pupils should do so many GCSEs even when they cannot staff the subjects properly (often through no fault of the school) there is little else that can be done without open conflict, threats of paying exam fees etc.

You do need to be prepared to risk that he learns that mum will support him in giving up when things are tough know your son best but do beware that attitude! Good luck.

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Jun-15 16:55:37

Thing is, it's an Ebacc subject and so a D grade will be more valuable to the school as part of the Progress 8 measure than nothing, unless he is doing another 3 Ebacc subjects?

Is he also currently eligible for the Ebacc? That's another reason for the school to fight to keep him taking an MFL.

yellowdaisies Thu 04-Jun-15 16:56:09

Thanks funchum - I am very much weighing up the need to teach DS to keep trying at something that's hard, and the need to be supportive of his growing maturity to make his own decisions. It's not easy.

Not much danger of him having to put in too much effort on homework - It's been set about twice this year in French. I asked his previous teacher (the one that left suddenly) whether they could be given vocabluary to learn and be tested on, but she said she didn't do that because she assumed they should know all the basic vocabluary by the start of Y10 hmm

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Jun-15 16:57:43

If the French is poorly taught and other students are getting bad grades, then one student being allowed to drop it could well encourage other students to request dropping it too. This would be very bad for the school's league table measures.

yellowdaisies Thu 04-Jun-15 17:00:30

He's doing geography and triple sciences, so yes I think he gets the Ebacc if he gets a C (or rather he counts in the school's statistics - it will make no difference to him). I hadn't realised that even a D is better than nothing in that though, from the school's persective. I think from DS's perspective 9 GCSEs at grades A*-B is going to look a lot better than 10 and grades A*-D though. 9 is a respectible number, so no one would know he'd dropped one.

It's the school's enthusiasm for the Ebacc that led to them pressuring him to do French in the first place (he was told it was "expected" from those in the top set, which bizarrely he was in - possibly just because he was top set English). But later found out lots of others in top set had managed not to do it.

yellowdaisies Thu 04-Jun-15 17:01:52

I could promise not to speak to any other parents about it if they let him grin

funchum8am Thu 04-Jun-15 18:22:57

With so little hw and that attitude from the previous teacher I think you have a good case to be firm with the school and say that he has not been given the tools to work with to get a C so their Ebacc/Attainment 8 statistics won't be helped by him being forced to carry on (though Progress 8 figures may still benefit). Therefore why not let him focus on other subjects and use the freed up time to study in the lower attainers group, or at the back of another classroom. They are very unlikely to go for it as others have said, as it would lead to loads of other requests, but worth a try and to make the point. The more parents complain about the French teaching, the more likely the school are to prioritise fixing their staffing ASAP. They are probably trying really hard but if there are also pressures on other subjects they may have let French slide in favour of focusing on core subjects.

yellowdaisies Tue 07-Jul-15 23:38:18

Just thought I'd update here - finally got a meeting set up with DS's French teachers today. They told him it was the school's policy not to allow subjects to be dropped, and that they thought he was capable of passing if he put the effort in. But DS was adamant that he did not want to do that, and after much discussion I backed him up and said I could see no point in forcing him to continue in the circumstances. They then said that they'd already checked out other options and the only teacher prepared to let him switch into a new subject was music. DS then bounced to life with enthusiasm and swore he would love to do music instead grin. We still need to have a conversation with the music teacher but looks like they're going to let him drop the French. DS is delighted smile

I think the plan would be just to do music lessons without doing the GCSE, but that's fine with me, and DS is keen on the idea and very much relieved. He just needs to keep quiet about at school until it's all confirmed, as setting a trend was clearly a concern for the teachers.

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