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I feel my relationship with dd's school has broken down to the extent I can't contact them

(27 Posts)
WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 27-Apr-16 15:23:24

They fob me off and lie and im sick to the back teeth of it.

Dd is in Year 10. Ive posted before about how she is desperate to drop German as she is struggling so much with the subject. She is dyslexic and I think maybe a MFL wasn't the best choice but in year 9 they said she she was predicted a B, now she's predicted an E.

She has also been struggling with have the whole year because her class certainly had no chemistry lessons for about ten weeks at the beginning of the year. Teacher went off sick, they got a supply teacher in who taught them biology....and apparantly he taught them the same biology lesson three weeks in a row. The school didn't know until I emailed them and told them. God knows why the kids didn't tell someone sooner but there you go. HoY thanked me for telling them and said the head of dept hadn't known and that if I hadn't told them they wouldn't know. They said they were going to try and find another supply teacher but they haven't been able to. Apparantly they now have a TA in the class to make sure he teaches chemistry but dd says he's useless. All the kids were meant to sit the first part of their science gcses this year so they had less to do in year ten. Got an email two weeks ago saying they're now not going to. So great notice a few weeks before your gcse to be to,d you're now not doing it. Dd says it's because most kids (inc dd) failed their mocks.

Anyway German......I rang the HOY and german teacher a few months ago asking if dd could drop german to concentrate on science. They said no. Hoy said dd was doing fine in science. hmm. She also said that dd would pass german because they would give her the support she needs.

Well since this happened the german teacher hasn't spoken to dd, totally blanks her. I found out last weekend that all the other kids in dds class have done three tests which count towards their gcse and dd hasn't. The kids are taken out the class one at a time and do their test in the corridor. The teacher never calls dd. Each of these tests I believe are worth 15% of her gcse. The german teacher last spoke to dd to have a go at her about telling the HOY that she was struggling in german as she didn't think that her teacher was explaining stuff well to her. Maybe she should have taken that on board and tried a different approach with a struggling, dyslexic kid rather than ignore her for months? This has been going on since about xmas time.

School told dd when she was picking options and more recently that she couldn't do art as it clashed with graphics which she also wanted to do. She's since realised that a boy in her form does art when she does german so she could have done art. So she feels lied to. She's also upset that the HOY initially said she would have a meeting with SMT about dd dropping german but when dd asked her the next week about it shouted at dd saying she had more important things to do and dd shouldn't be so i,patient. Told her to grow up when dd cried. Called her back the next day and said she had now changed her mind about meeting with SMT and wasn't prepared to

It's parents evening next month and I feel like telling the HOY that dd won't be turning up for her german gcse exam due to having had no support for the subject. There's no way she will pass so why bother taking the exam?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 27-Apr-16 16:03:41

Sorry, I know that's mega long.

Dd has just come home crying again.

Because she couldn't do art as an option she's been trying to do it after school. One of the art teachers stays behind and helps her once a week. The art teacher said they would still enter her for her gcse if she could keep up. Well dd is upset as she's ten weeks behind.

Ive just emailed the mum of the boy who dd thinks does art, graphics and photography and he does do those three options.

So why have they repeatedly lied to dd and to me and said it was impossible due to timetabling. They were the only three options she picked so it's not as if there was another option they clashed with.

Her HoY knows she wants to be an architect to she needs art more than german.

RalphSteadmansEye Wed 27-Apr-16 16:49:41

I suspect that they railroaded her into the German as she's one of the higher achievers, so need her for ebacc stats. Won't work if she gets a D though...and also not relevant if she's not doing a humanity? Did you not have an options block that was transparent and showing what could be chosen in which slot?

You really need to find out what's going on with the German teacher and the tests that the others have sat. Maybe email HOD to find out what's going on?

It all sounds rather messy; it's bad news when communication breaks down and dd seems to feel she can't trust the staff at school.

TeenAndTween Wed 27-Apr-16 17:06:22

The others doing CAs for German and not her seem strange to me (unless your DD has been keeping quiet on purpose to you about them).

For DD's MFLs last year, they were told the questions, prepped them, got the prep 'reviewed for general comments', updated, learnt off by heart then were tested either oral or written. Whole process took 2-3 weeks each time for each of the 2 oral and 2 written each worth 15%.

Your whole options process also sounds a bit lacking in transparency. At DD's school they provided blocks and you picked one thing from each block. Some subjects appeared in more than 1 block to allow different combinations.

Mind you, Art, Graphics and Photography sounds like a lot of work and not very balanced. I can see why a school might discourage a more able pupil from doing that combination especially if they thought said pupil was capable of ebacc subjects.

At this point though you don't have much of an option but to try to work with the school. Pulling your DD out would be a mega drastic option unless you could go private and repeat y10.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 27-Apr-16 17:07:53

Funny you mention Ebacc as I suspect the same. If she had been given her chosen options she wouldn't have had an Ebacc as no humanity. So she was to,d she had to choose between graphics and art and do either geography or history or some computing option.

There were no option blocks given to us and I asked at options evening and was told not to worry about it, most people got their options, etc.

Then when were told she couldn't have her options they started talking about block a, block b, etc. I complained that we should have had the block lists to start with and they never really said anything.

I'm going to have to ring the scjool again tomorrow but don't think I will get anywhere. I am going to tell the HOY thag I know ive been lied to.

froomeonthebroom Wed 27-Apr-16 17:17:04

From next year schools have to report on the 'Best 8' grades for GCSE students rather that 5A*-C.

Best 8 actually equates to 10 subjects because maths and English (as long as you are taking lang and lit) count twice. So each child will have an average points score calculated by adding up all the points and dividing it by 10. So ALL children need to sit 8 subjects (9 if you could lang and lit) for the school to get the best marks. This is probably why they won't let your DD drop German.

This doesn't affect the children.....

BUT only certain combinations of subjects count towards 'Best 8', so for example art and textiles cancel each other out, so schools won't be allowing children to take both. This is probably why your DD wasn't allowed to take several Arts subjects.


TeenAndTween Wed 27-Apr-16 17:17:20

Who I'm not sure saying that will help anyone though (apart from make you feel better for 30 seconds).

You need to decide what you want to happen now, and muster your arguments for it.
- What is happening with German CAs
- What is school's catch up plan for Science
- Is Art timetabled against German
- Drop German transfer to Art if timetable matches. Otherwise drop German, self study on science in library.
- school to provide Science catch up after school sessions (or whatever)

You can use phrases such as 'I am disappointed that...' but 'you lied' will just stop them wanting to do anything for you.

titchy Wed 27-Apr-16 17:23:50

Take a photo of the other kids timetable to prove it is possible. Go and see the Head. Go into school to make the appointment if necessary.

catslife Wed 27-Apr-16 17:34:47

Agree with teen it all sounds a bit disorganized to me and some information may have not have been communicated clearly but that isn't the same thing as lying!
Just to confirm that at dds school Photography is listed as an option for "lower" ability pupils and can be taken instead of one of the EBacc subjects. They have different option lists for different ability pupils - could this be the case at your child's school perhaps?
There is a national shortage of Science teachers which is even worse in some parts of the UK so the lack of suitable applicants isn't necessarily the school's fault. There isn't any real advantage in taking the core Science exams in Y10 as most pupils achieve better grades in Y11 as they are more mature.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 27-Apr-16 17:51:31

No you're all right. I need to calm down a bit and not outright accuse them of lying. However they did specifically tell me that she couldn't do art and graphics when she could have and other people were allowed to.

There were two option forms for different ability kids although this wasn't publicsed at all. At options evening dd had a form where she wouldn't have been able to pick art, photography and graphics and had to choose between history and geography. But when I asked about this the HoY said it was fine and gave me a different form which other kids had. In this form iirc they couldn't pick triple science (dd didn't ) and didn't have to choose a humanity or a much more of a free rein in choices.

When I spoke to the HOY about this initially a few months ago she kept saying if dd dropped german she wouldn't have enough gcses. But I think she would because she's in the top set she does RS as a full gcse which not all kids do and especially if she could slide over to art then she would have enough. Though I suppose there's a problem that she may not be able to catch up? Failing art gcse would look worse than not having done it if she wants graphics or architecture degree.

I will ring the school up tomorrow and ask for a meeting.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 15:01:02

I've just spoken to the HOY and said I know it's possible from a timetabling point of view for her to drop German and do art contrary to what I had previously been told.

hoY immediately said thag if dd dropped german she wouldn't have an EBacc and wouldn't be able to get into a russell group uni and that she thought dd ought to be looking at RG unis. (I don't think she's that bright actually).

I pointed out dd wants to be an architect and art is more important that german and that I wasn't bothered at all about an Ebacc. She has said she will talk to someone else who I think is in charge of options/timetabling and get back to me but that it sets a precedent, etc.

So just need to wait now and see what they decide.

TeenAndTween Fri 29-Apr-16 15:10:14

You don't need Ebacc to go to RG university!

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 15:15:07

I know! Totally had to bite my lip to say she's talking bollocks. I don't know if she genuinely thinks this or that they just like telling parents this to scare them into complying.?

I told her I had researched the benefits of Ebacc extensively and thag I wasn't bothered about it. She did say something about worrying that dd might down the line regret not having it.

I think she is more likely to regret not being able to keep up with art doing it after school and failing art when she wants to be an architect or a graphic designer.

drivinmecrazy Fri 29-Apr-16 15:23:02

I think I'd be equally concerned about your DD's sciences if she wants to be an architect. DD has been advised that she needs at least one strong science or maths A level to stand a hope of studying architecture. She's hedging her bets and is hoping to do both maths and physics at A level.
The little research we have done at the moment (DD is only yr10) seems to suggest that she needs to be heading for at least AAA* at A level with at least one being a science/maths.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 15:46:46

Yes I dont think dd will make architecture grades. Thankfully she does seem to be heading more towards graphic design now.

Though I do know someone who started architecture at uni just and had levels in English, RS and physics. He did a portfolio in his own time and got an unconditional offer (not sure where from) as they liked his portfolio so much. No maths and no art a level.

Clavinova Fri 29-Apr-16 16:19:00

You need to be very good at maths to take A level physics.

Clavinova Fri 29-Apr-16 16:29:56

Posted too soon. Are you sure that your dd didn't refuse to take the German controlled assessments? I seem to remember her having a panic a few months ago and refusing to revise for one. If she's only Year 10 then presumably she still has time to take them hence the school are not keen to back down and set a precedent for changing options.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 17:06:41

I don't think she refused to take them. She was having a real panic over it and not revising but she says she's never been called out of class to take it.

I can see they don't want to set a precedent but the. If we had been given the correct info in the first place.

She wants to do art, graphics and geography for a levels.

RalphSteadmansEye Fri 29-Apr-16 17:39:13

She'll not get ebacc if she doesn't get a C, though, will she?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 18:00:26

That's very true. Hoy when I spoke to her a couple of months ago said she would pass german. I really don't think she will!

drivinmecrazy Fri 29-Apr-16 21:07:54

It's actually really sad how some schools approach options. I have no sage advice. I'm just really grateful that my DDS school gave them pretty much free rein. My DD is not doing Ebacc subjects at an 'outstanding' school. As one of their top students they accepted her options of art, dance, Spanish and PER with no pressure for her not chosing a humanities.
I thought the Ebacc statistics were not even relevant to a school til next year, and even then my impression is that it's more to do with the school league tables than an individuals chances of being accepted to a RG uni.
I also have a DD in yr6 so am doubly peed off with the lack of clarity and transparency due to all the upheaval relating to our kids education. Not an easy time to guide a child through the educational system. You have my sympathies x

bojorojo Sun 01-May-16 00:01:04

I think predicting a grade for GCSE on y9 is rsther silly. Lots can change in y10 and y11. Why can't she do the CAs in y11? Also 3 art type GCSEs is heavy and not showing all round ability. Architecture courses will require good A levels in the right subjects but Graohic Design is much easier to access and she may find her niche with this course. Possibly not so many of these courses offered at RG universities anyway. I would look really carefully at what A levels are required for Graohic Design though. Architecture is not about producing drawings and i would try and make sure she understands what Graphic Design entails so the right choices are made .

PonderingProsecco Sun 01-May-16 15:04:16

Ebacc not compulsory is it?
Sad that photography might be seen as only for lower ability students.
Apart from English, maths and science, surely a child should be able to do pretty much as they please, time table permitting...
Naive old me!

peacheshoney Tue 03-May-16 07:11:36

Re the option blocks- at dcs school the students choose which options they want, then, once they have everyone's preferdnces they draw up the blocks in a way which suits the maximum number of pupils.

t4gnut Tue 03-May-16 08:52:12

Okay but first you need to calm down.

Get your issues outlined rationally as above. Call for a meeting with the head. Be clear what you want - no recriminations, no blame, no 30 minute long recitations of grievances past. This is the issue, this is what I want, what are you going to do about it. Ask for the meeting minuted/record kept and for HT to give a timetable for actions.

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