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Really feel school has let dd down - WWYD (if anything)

(56 Posts)
sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 09:48:04

I will try and explain our situation as briefly as possible - I;d really appreciate any views of how we should handle this.............

Dd is just about to sit her GCSE exams, she is not academic and really struggles with school. She has had various test's over the years but always deemed to be borderline dyslexic. She has had learning support throughout secondary school.

In year 9 she took her options - unfortunately 2 of the subjects she picked were under subscribed and scrapped by the school which meant she ended up doing a language and a humanities GCSE - both courses she wasn't really interested in. She also took a "study support" option which basically means she took 1 less GCSE subject than most but uses the additional timetable time to focus on core subjects.

In year 10 we were called by her language teacher to say she was not progressing in the course well and would ultimately fail even with lots of additional support and they felt it was best if she dropped the GCSE and focused her efforts elsewhere. I told the school she could only drop the language if they supported her in another course - I didn't want her wasting more time in the study support center (which is independent learning) and loosing another GCSE.

The school arranged 2 additional courses for her - a level 2 sports course (she had already completed level 1) that is coursework based and a finance course that was exam based. No other student in the entire school was taking these courses. I told the head I was worried that because dd didn't fit the usual mold she would slip through the net. He assured me that he personally would not let this happen.

I have had a letter over the Easter holidays from the head saying that before the holidays dd took the finance exam twice and failed both times (she says she missed out by 2 marks). She can no longer sit the exam again so this is yet another qualification that she will loose.

I am really cross with the school and I feel they have really let dd down. I don't understand why they let her take the exam the 2nd time if she was borderline - shouldn't they have made sure she was well clear of the pass mark BEFORE submitting her for the exam the 2nd time?

Dd has had her college interviews and has a conditional offer in place for the college and course she wants to study in September and fingers crossed she will still get the grades she needs to do this but I just feel so sorry for dd that she is coming out of school at a huge disadvantage compared to the rest of her peers.

Is there anything I could or should be doing regarding the school? Is it worth complaining to the governors? I've no idea where that will get us. Dd only has 3 more months at school so not really sure it's worth making a fuss about.......

Any help or advice please?

TheWrathofNaan Wed 06-Apr-16 09:56:12

I would not drop another subject! I think it sounds like they want to massage their figures and as your daughter might not get a 'c' they want to exclude her.

Your daughter has nothing to loose by sitting the exams. She has worked at them for two years. Insist she takes them.

sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 09:58:43

Sorry wrath I think you've misunderstood. She has already taken the exams and failed. She is not dropping any more subjects - she only has 5 weeks until her GCSE exams start.

You are right though - the suggestion that she drop the language course in the first place was all about the schools exam results which is why I'm so cross.

noblegiraffe Wed 06-Apr-16 10:03:33

What are her predicted grades for her other GCSEs? Will she get maths and English?

Tbh, I think you just need to focus on her meeting the college entry requirements. Once she's in college it won't matter that she has fewer GCSEs than others.

Snowberry86 Wed 06-Apr-16 10:03:56

The decision to drop languages may not be based on improving the school's figures. The government introduced the progress 8 measure in which a student has to study a GCSE language or humanity. They get points for the progress they make in this, not for hitting a certain outcome. So even if she was only going to get a low grade as long as this was good progress for her they would have wanted her to still sit the exam.

Languages are very hard, especially for a student with dyslexia and so it is likely they wanted her to have more time to focus on other subjects rather than get stressed over a subject that she was unlikely to achieve in.

Can the school look at a different exam board for the finance course so that she can sit the exam but with a different board?

LIZS Wed 06-Apr-16 10:04:19

I don't understand why she can't resit the finance exams. Can they go over her errors to enable her to pass?

RalphSteadmansEye Wed 06-Apr-16 10:09:22

It does seem like they have "let her down" in the sense of not offering subjects suited to her needs or in supporting her with the ones she did take.

BUT at this point, all that's really important is that she does as well as she can in the subjects she is taking and particularly in English and maths. Has she got a revision timetable sorted? Areas of difficulty known to you so that you can help? Revision sessions at school and materials at home?

OddBoots Wed 06-Apr-16 10:20:14

How many GCSEs is she doing and what is the conditional offer from the college?

It's not too late to try to get an additional qualification such as ECDL, this could be taken after her GCSE exams are completed if she needs all her time focused on those right now.

sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 10:26:27

Hi all,

We are keeping everything crossed she get's her C grades in English and Maths - she needs 5 C Grades for her college course (she already has 1 in the bag) so just really hoping she gets English, Maths and 2 Science - she is very unlikely to get the C grade in the humanities she has been studying!

Apparently with the finance course you can only sit the exam twice. It's NOT a GCSE course so not sure what would apply with her sitting it under a different exam board but I could ask.

I really feel like the school has just let her slip through the net. She doesn't conform to normal so it seems they have just let her flounder on her own.

She is revising at home, the school are doing lots of additional revision classes for all students in the run up to exam and she has a tutor twice a week so I feel like we are doing everything we can in the other areas. Neither the finance course or the other sports course would have any impact on her college acceptance - they do not count towards the minimum entry requirements.

sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 10:27:33

Course requires 5 A-C grades (which must include English and Maths)

She has 1 C grade GCSE already so needs to get 4 more

CotswoldStrife Wed 06-Apr-16 10:32:04

If she's not academic I really wouldn't put her through more exams than necessary, if it was me. The school have supported her learning during her time there and come up with two subjects specifically for her - I can't see what else they could have done. As PP have said, can you focus on college as the next step? Is she predicted to get the grades that she needs for her offer?

CotswoldStrife Wed 06-Apr-16 10:33:10

Cross posted there - I'd definitely work towards the GCSE exams if the others don't count towards the college offer and that's what she wants to do (go to college).

LIZS Wed 06-Apr-16 10:33:35

But passing a level 2 is equivalent to a C so might give her some leeway. Most vocational courses allow for resits, they are often available online, find out what it was and see if you or school can run through it with her. 2 marks shouldn't be tricky to find.

catewood21 Wed 06-Apr-16 10:35:15

I think you are looking at this the wrong way.It is good she is doing fewer subjects so she can focus on getting her 5 Cs

apple1992 Wed 06-Apr-16 10:37:29

It's not too late to try to get an additional qualification such as ECDL, this could be taken after her GCSE exams are completed if she needs all her time focused on those right now.

This is a good idea. It can be completed solidly in a couple days and is a GCSE equivalent. I've done it with a few students who were not going to get enough GCSEs to get them through.

sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 10:40:17

Could anyone explain what an ECDL is please? She is currently predicted C's in English, Maths and Science - she's predicted an F in the humanity subject - she's also doing a BTECH course which she has already passed but hoping for a merit or distinction final overall grade but I'm not entirely sure how that sits with the college entry requirements.

sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 10:41:02

I think the trouble is she is VERY boarderline for the C grades - it could go either way. So what if she misses her C in science - that's 2 GCSE's - she doesn't have ANY other back up's!

LIZS Wed 06-Apr-16 10:42:20

ECDL is a computing qualification, mainly based on Ms Office packages and their functions as modules. You can do it online or at a college on a drop in basis.

LIZS Wed 06-Apr-16 10:43:43

In practice many colleges take students with less, but English and Maths become compulsory as part of the next course.

Newmumma85 Wed 06-Apr-16 10:46:38

I am sorry but I fail to see how the school have let her down. I think personally think you are being very unfair. You say they have personallised her timetable to allow her to undetake two courses no other pupil is completing, you say they give offer her study classes, she had had learning support throughout secondary and it appears they keep you informed of her progress. I fail to see what else they could do! Some children/adults are not academic and that is not the schools fault. There will be routes to enable her to get to college even if that perhaps takes her longer than her peers.

I am teacher btw and it's parents like you that make me want to get the hell out of teaching!

middleeasternpromise Wed 06-Apr-16 10:49:30

Its a shame you weren't aware of the first fail in the finance exam as you may have been able to work with the school to support the second exam better. It sounds like she struggles in assessment situations - how is she in general competence? Does she seem to understand the subjects has she progressed in her learning over all? Getting too caught up in exam accruements can be a stress focus - it might seem the done thing to leave school with a clutch of GCSEs but the balance is making sure young people feel ready for the world of work and are acquiring a range of skills not just the ones needed for sitting exams. Having a potential college offer is great it sounds like you have a plan - complaining to the school is worth it if you feel they have something to learn that could help other pupils who need a level of support to achieve and you feel they misjudged it. All schools are under pressure to not put pupils through exams if they are unlikely to pass.

Does your daughter go to other extra curricular activities to boost her sense of confidence - for children who struggle academically and might have dyslexia this is brilliant advice so they can recognise they have many other qualities that can aide them in working life ie leadership skills; team working; people skills etc etc. Exams can be retaken throughout learning years and no employer is going to turn their nose up at someone who works hard to get where they need to go its all about presenting things as a strength not a weakness.

sweetheart Wed 06-Apr-16 11:15:06

New mumma, I think you are being pretty unfair - i came here to ask for advice before going to the school, I have worked with them every step of the way where possibly and spend a considerable amount of money getting dd extra support outside of school. She had 1-1 tuition for this finance course and I think it was short sighted of them to put her in for the 2nd exam without being confident of a pass.

She does activities out of school - is part of a team sport which she is very good at. She also has a part time occasional / ad hoc job (which does not affect her studying) which supports the college course she wants to take and has good references from this which will support her college entry.

I know that GCSE's are not the be all and end all I just really want her to get onto her college course and the odds always seem stacked against her sad

She is a good girl who works hard and deserves to do well. I just want the best for her.

CotswoldStrife Wed 06-Apr-16 11:31:25

I think posters are trying to gently point out that she may not pass - not everyone does well at exams. If she has failed with 1 to 1 tuition it is difficult to see what else the school can do. She is obviously getting a lot of extra help (from you as well) and if that isn't working, it's difficult to say if anything else will. But it doesn't sound as if the school is at fault either. Not everyone is academic or does well in a way that is measurable by exams or results. There are other ways to do well, your DD is a hard worker and that will take her a long way towards her goals.

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 06-Apr-16 11:45:08

I would phone the college and explain she already has a pass at BTech and is likely to do better by end of course. Ask if that is equivalent to one or more GCSE passes for the course she wants to do. It should be taken into account in any case and that may take the pressure off her a bit. They may be rigid about the GCSEs for particular courses but I'd be surprised if they didn't count BTECH as equivalent.

Newmumma85 Wed 06-Apr-16 11:47:39

Sorry perhaps I was harsh and didn't offer any constructive advice. I do think you are wrong to blame the school and it sounds like they are doing their utmost to help her. Perhaps it would be better to continue to work with them rather than "complaining to the governors". It must be very stressful for yourself and your daughter but blaming the school actually won't alter things.

It sounds as though you are supporting her learning at home which is excellent and hopefully she will gain entry into college. It really wouldn't hurt to get plan b sorted now as of course she may not get the necessary qualifications. Speak to the colleges and find out if there are access courses which would be available to her. Would volunteering or work experience in that sector be beneficial? Does she have a support or guidance teacher who could advise you of the best course of action if she does not get the required grades?

It's important your daughter knows that there is always hope and failing exams does not mean her dream career is closed to her forever.

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