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How hard is it to come back to UK and go straight into Year 10?

(26 Posts)
sayatidaknama Mon 22-Feb-16 12:21:50

My eldest is in Year 9 equivalent overseas. My DC are in local schools, not english language so totally different curriculum. However he left UK half way through Year 6. If we come back for September he will go into Year 10. Is it going to be a complete nightmare?

Has a anyone done this or got any advice?

Scootergrrrl Mon 22-Feb-16 12:28:49

I ha no advice, I'm sorry, but we will be potentially in the same position in a couple of years. We are living abroad and the children are in international school, but my daughter could move back and go straight into year 10. Watching with interest and hoping you get some good advice.

Autumnsky Mon 22-Feb-16 12:35:15

I think Y10 should be fine, as long as you find a school that starts GCSE courses in Y10, which my son's school does. But some school starts GCSE in Y9, that would make it more difficult for your DS to switch.

I would assume that math and science would be similar , in some country, their math maybe more advanced than here.

JeanPadget Mon 22-Feb-16 13:20:21

Secondary teacher here. I don't see any problem with your DS starting in Y10, as long as he is there right from the start of the school year. The exam system in the UK is undergoing a huge change, with new GCSE specs coming on line, and already here for English. (Not sure about maths.) Many of these specs are being approved very, very late in the day, so it isn't possible to have a great deal of continuity between KS3 and GCSE right now. The government is also discouraging early GCSE entry, so fewer schools will be starting GCSE in Y9. Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much.

Autumnsky Mon 22-Feb-16 14:17:44

Some school has a approach of 3 year GCSE, the students still take the exam at the end of year 11, but they start the GCSE in year 9.

sayatidaknama Mon 22-Feb-16 15:11:06

How do I find out if schools start their GCSE course in Year 9 or 10? Is it just a case of ringing round and asking? Does anyone know if it is different at private schools out of interest?

DS might sit a GCSE possibly two this year, if I can get organised (so quite unlikely!). Is this something that is going to be frowned upon with the reforms?

Thanks for the replies. Sound's quite encouraging so far.

JeanPadget Mon 22-Feb-16 16:12:38

OP, yes, you'd have to ring and ask the school whether they start any GCSEs in Y9.

Regarding your DS taking a couple of GCSEs early, the issue in the UK had been that schools were getting pupils to take exams early to 'bank' a C, and then making them resit to try to get a higher grade. The government clamped down on this by saying only the first attempt at an exam would count for league tables. The new GCSEs are going to be much harder and are designed to be taken at the end of Y11 after a linear, two-year course.

The only problems I can forsee with your DS having taken some early are (1) if it is, for example, maths, then what will the new school do with him whilst the rest of the year is learning maths? and (2) it might mess up their Progress Eight statistics as he won't be taking the stipulated range of GCSEs all in one go. NobleGiraffe knows far more about that side of things than me.

sayatidaknama Mon 22-Feb-16 16:34:40

JeanPadget, it's actually going to be languages. One, Latin, which I don't think they actually do in UK state schools? The only reason I thought about doing them now is 1. We weren't going to come back yet and I thought he should start acquiring some for when we do eventually 2. If we come back this summer he'll probably be behind in some subjects and it will give him a chance to concentrate on those. Suppose I need to speak to any prospective schools when I know what we're doing. Thanks for the advice.

JeanPadget Mon 22-Feb-16 18:19:59

You're welcome, OP. It might be an idea for you to check on GCSE entry dates, though. I'm sure our exams officer said something about them having to be made by Feb 12th.

catslife Mon 22-Feb-16 20:42:55

i have a dd in Y11 and GCSE entries have already been made. (Deadlines may be slightly different for iGCSE though). Late entries are possible (for an extra fee).
Only a small number of state schools in the Uk offer Latin GCSE, so you should be OK. Early entry is more acceptable for languages but your dc could miss out on Ebacc if taken early. If it had been English, Maths or Science that would have been different.

sayatidaknama Mon 22-Feb-16 21:01:54

Ha ha that would be absolutely typical if I have missed the deadline! Thank you for the prompt though.

catslife, what is Ebacc? Please excuse my total ignorance.

catslife Tue 23-Feb-16 08:59:43

EBacc is a way of measuring schools (see school league tables) and depends on pupils taking a certain combination of GCSE subjects: Science, Maths, English Lit, English Language, a foreign language and either History or Geography.

sayatidaknama Tue 23-Feb-16 09:15:15

Ah, ok. Thanks catslife.

RascarCapac Tue 23-Feb-16 10:45:30

I think you need to be speaking to schools now, because of the need to make GCSE choices. I have a DC in Y9 currently, and we have just had to choose subjects - the form has just gone in. Plus there are some hard choices, usually around the humanities - depending on what the school chooses as core, you may find that you can't do History and geography and music and Latin or something similar. There are lots of threads on here saying variants of the same thing (ie variants of "oh bugger, my DC is only good at sciences/languages but their school forces them to do lots of languages/sciences"). Most schools have been having prep sessions/parents' evenings with a view to helping with this.

Now I don't think it is the end of the world, but I do think it would be good to understand what options you have and choices you will need to make sooner rather than later. Plus you may find that if you join after the choices have been made that certain choices are made for you: I dunno for sure but we were asked to list a back up subject which to my kind means there must be a concepts of "sorry, Art/ICT is now full".

sayatidaknama Tue 23-Feb-16 11:58:45

Thanks RascarCapac that is interesting. I wonder if this applies to private schools or state as well? If you or anyone can tell me of a state secondary in SW London that does Latin and the option to do at least 2 MFLs at GCSE, I would be very interested.

RascarCapac Tue 23-Feb-16 12:26:49

My experience is re private but mates in the state sector I think have pretty much the same experience/timings - the difference tends to be around the number of choices and what is core.

This is a massive generalisation and I could be quite wrong, but my gut feeling is that the private sector is a bit more "customer focussed" so may be better for later choices and changing choices. A friend told me re her DC's state school that once the form was in, that's it and no changing; if that is the case, I'm not sure that school would take a child in September of Y10 and effectively say "make a choice at your leisure - all options are open to you". But I'm sure there are lots of people on here who can answer that, plus the Latin plus 2 X MFL.

Noodledoodledoo Tue 23-Feb-16 23:40:57

Some state schools take the students options and work the timetable out to incorporate as many of them as possible. There is always a timetable constraint in state schools relating to options, could be number of teachers, number of appropriate rooms and number of students wanting to do the course.

I do know of a few state schools which offer Latin as GCSE and A level but they are few and far between.

I would look for language specialist schools as you are more likely to be able to take 2 mfls' although it does depend on what is offered. At my school it is only French or German - we don't offer Spanish. Mandarin is an extra curricular course.

catslife Wed 24-Feb-16 08:57:49

The MFLs taught at secondary schools varies enormously from school to school.
We are not in London (and dds school isn't a specialist language one) but pupils are able to take both French and German to GCSE and Latin is available as a evening class subject. But the chances of dds school having a vacancy in Y10 is extremely low. Some local schools offer Spanish (but not all). For other languages (unless you are a native speaker) you need a specialist school i.e. secondary school with languages as their specialisation.
For that reason if you have the opportunity to take the GCSE in a language now (even if you have to pay a late entry fee) it could be worthwhile as you may find it difficult to find a school with vacancies that offers a specific language.

mummytime Wed 24-Feb-16 10:23:03

Actually regardless of what theteacher said up thread; some schools are starting GCSEs in year 9, but because of the changes taking 3 years over them. This will not so much affect the OP but may affect people in future years.

I would suggest getting back to the England (I'm assuming you are not going to Scotland or Wales or NI) asap, and being prepared to make compromises with subject choices (eg double not triple science, and maybe not the ideal DT subjects etc.).

sayatidaknama Wed 24-Feb-16 13:09:53

Thanks for all the advice. It's giving me a lot to think agonize over.

If we don't come back to UK for another 2 years, does anyone know what DS's chances are of getting into a 6th form without any/many GCSE's? They do a different exam here aged 15 (which no one gives much credit to). If we stayed here he would be doing OIB/Baccalaureate General aged 18.

catslife Wed 24-Feb-16 14:00:37

The good news is that most schools in London (or other large cities) will be used to new pupils arriving in Y10. It cannot be guaranteed that there will be spaces available in specific schools or that they would be able to study all the GCSE subjects that they would ideally like to take. (If you look at the options threads for GCSEs many pupils who have been in a school since Y7 may not be able to take all the subjects they would like either e.g. they may be asked to choose either History or Geography and they would like to take both OR they can take either French or German and they would prefer both).
Applying at the sixth form stage may be better as that is a "natural" break where many pupils do move to different schools.
Some sixth forms do offer the IB as an alternative to A levels by the way (but that would be a whole new thread).

mummytime Wed 24-Feb-16 14:36:19

I know that my DD's sixth form college spends a lot of time trying to ensure that students coming from abroad have "equivalent" qualifications, and or get the UK ones they need. This may involve 3 years in sixth form though.

My DCs school also has in the past had students arrive in year 11 (I think forced by the LA to take them) and has arranged a timetable so they could get the bare minimium of GCSEs in one year. (eg. 5 including MAths and English).

I'm in Surrey and at DCs school you could do two MFL, and Latin, BUT Latin would be taken as a "twilight" subject so studied outside the normal school day. However lots of people do a GCSE in their "mother" tongue with instruction mainly via "Saturday" schools, but with the exams sat in school (and giving a nice boost to the league tables).

Blu Thu 25-Feb-16 08:40:45

Isn't the more likely difficulty even finding a school place in a preferred school for Yr 10?
For a state place If you come back, move on to the doorstep of the school, and go in the waiting list you will be in with a chance, otherwise the LA will allocate whatever places they have available, irrespective of whether it is near by, teaches Latin or any other factor.

sayatidaknama Thu 25-Feb-16 08:46:39

Yes I appreciate that thanks Blu

I'm just waiting to hear if DS can sit some GCSE s this year and I'll take it from there. My DCs' happiness outweighs all the stress involved in moving back and finding schools etc. Thanks for the input everyone.

eyebrowse Thu 25-Feb-16 19:46:26

The main issue with languages would be that most children will have been doing them since year 7 so they will already have a number of hours under their belt so it would be good to find a school that does a language your ds already has some familiarity with. It might be better to do than have him actually take a gcse if you are definitely coming back. However Latin is rare in state schools and useful for medicine, law, (Harry Potter) so would be worth him doing that as a GCSE early

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