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Moving to the Scottish education system after GCSEs

(18 Posts)
ExamFatigue Fri 03-Jun-16 17:45:34

I would be really grateful for advice from anyone who has done this. We are planning to relocate to central Scotland in the summer due to my husbands work. I also have the option to relocate my job. But I am increasingly concerned about DS1 who is currently completing his GCSEs in England. He will need to go into S5 in Scotland and sit Scottish highers as his main university entrance qualifications next year.

DS1 has some educational issues and qualifies for extra time, but has been doing reasonably well at school recently after a few difficult years until we worked out what the problems were. I am really concerned about moving him at such a critical stage in his education from one system to another.

Has anyone else done this, did it work out OK? We could at a stretch put him into a private school in Scotland which follows the English system with A levels, would this be a better option? Any advice gratefully received as I am increasingly worried we are taking chances with his education and should not move till he is through school though this would mean prolonged commuting for DH as the younger DC will then be at difficult stages to move.

Thanks for any advice with this!

ThisCakeFilledIsle Fri 03-Jun-16 19:09:16

Bumping this for you. I haven't done this but am in Scotland.

Higher courses are beginning this week in my child's school. I think It would be difficult to move in August and be prepared for Higher next May. Schools in Scotland have been encouraged to go their own way on timings for exam presentation so you would imo need to speak to any individual school you are interested in.

ThisCakeFilledIsle Fri 03-Jun-16 19:11:17

Also posting in the Scotsnet board may generate other replies.

ExamFatigue Fri 03-Jun-16 20:24:47

Thanks very much ThisCakeFilledIsle for your posts and advice, much appreciated. That is my main concern, moving a child who struggles a bit into a situation where he is months behind in a new syllabus even before he starts. Will post on the Scotsnet board too. Thanks again.

prettybird Fri 03-Jun-16 23:38:37

I know you'll be posting again on Scotsnet but I'll add a few comments.

Yes, most pupils will be starting S5 this coming Monday (a few schools started this week but the Nat 5s only finished today hmm) BUT there are only 3 more weeks at school before they break up for summer (at least in Glasgow) and in that time some schools will be doing volunteering/work experience (at ds' school they'll be out on work experience for a week)and in the last week, not much gets done anyway (and school closes at 1pm on the 24th) (so the schools that have to shut for the referendum the day before will really struggle with attendance)

Just as importantly from your ds' perspective, he'd have to start back at school in the middle of August shock (Unless you go private)

He doesn't have to do 5 Highers in a single year: the education system is very flexible and he can do them over 2 years. The only downside is that Unis might expect more "points" in total if he spreads them out.

Even though it's possible to go to Uni after S5/Y12 (I did), many most? who're going on to HE stay on for S6. Ds will not be going to Uni after S5 - he'd spend his entire 1st year at Uni "underage" which wouldn't be much fun so at the moment the plan is for him to do 6th Year but another option (as he'll be sitting his 5 Highers at the end of S5) is, if he's got results good enough for him to get unconditional offers, for him to take a year out.

I know of Scottish MNers whose kids get extra support in exams for various reasons: eg a scribe, use of a computer, extra time to allow for those needs.

Hope you manage to work something out. smile

ExamFatigue Sat 04-Jun-16 10:48:09

Thanks prettybird, that is really really helpful and good to know DS may not miss a huge amount if we can get him moved for mid August. Also good to know Highers can be spread over two years if he really needs to. Will speak to the schools again to try to work through the best thing to do. Many thanks.

prettybird Sat 04-Jun-16 10:54:48

Any ideas about where you'd be moving to? We're really helpful on Scotsnet advising on schools and areas! wink

prettybird Sat 04-Jun-16 11:08:26

....for example, ds' school (Shawlands Academy) gets lots of enquiries from international students (it's been awarded "International School" status by the British Council but that's more to do with the extent of its international links) and is very good at coping with students who come in at different stages - and levels of English knowledge not that that's an issue for your ds wink

Lots of nice areas to live in in the Southside of Glasgow - and good transport links plus close to the airport smile

ExamFatigue Sat 04-Jun-16 17:24:46

Thanks prettybird, it is Edinburgh we are moving to, a pity as your DS school sounds perfect! smile

prettybird Sat 04-Jun-16 17:46:04

There are plenty of the Edinburgh MNers who'll be able to advise on a Edinburgh schools. The good schools will probably also be used to coping with people transecting from different systems with the Financial Services sector. Your challenge might be finding schools with space.

It might be worth considering somewhere close but easily commutable like Linlithgow which I've seen people recommending.

ExamFatigue Sat 04-Jun-16 18:01:13

Completely agree about space, that may in the end be the deal breaker in terms of the move. The schools we approached though seem willing to consider an application including some of the private schools. Have posted also on the Edinburgh local mumsnet. Thanks again.

motherstongue Sat 04-Jun-16 18:01:53

There are lots of kids go private in Edinburgh but not all private schools do GCSE & A Levels. I might be wrong but I think it is only Fettes, Merchiston Castle (boys school) & Loretto that do A levels. Unfortunately these 3 schools are at the top end of the fees scale. The Private predominately day schools all follow the Scottish system and will be doing Nationals followed by Highers and advanced Highers. If I was in your shoes and could stretch to the school fees for one of those I've mentioned for 2 years then I would go with that as it will feed on exactly where he has left off. Depending on the ages of your other children they could still go state to your catchment school (in theory) either primary or secondary.

prettybird Sat 04-Jun-16 18:17:36

Post in the Scotsnet topic as well as Edinburgh Local - you can't actually see the local boards via the app and there is much more traffic on Scotsnet.

dotdotdotmustdash Sat 04-Jun-16 18:24:21

Another issue to consider is whether his GCSE content is comparable with the Nat 5 content, as obviously Scottish Highers are designed to flow on from a pass at Nat 5. In my experience (having one child do the final year of the old Standard Grade system, and one the first year of the new Nationals system), the Nat 5s have an increased level of difficulty. Scottish pupils only sit between 6-8 Nat 5s maximum against the English norm of 9-11 GCSEs, so presumably there is more covered. It might be worth your son having a look at some of the Nat 5 past papers on the SQA site, even sitting them and you can mark them (the marking guides are there too).

prettybird Sat 04-Jun-16 19:19:33

On the positive side, if he's studied "Of Mice and Men" (as I know some GCSE boards have it in their curriculum), it's also one of the books in the Nat 5 curriculum.

I came back to Scotland 6 months before the "O" grades shows how long ago it was after 2 years away and had to catch up (never did work out how I had to work hard to catch up after jumping ahead 6 months in a Southern Hemisphere school and then still had to work hard to "catch up" after reverting back 6 months when we came back after 2 years hmmconfused).

It was hard work but I still did well in my exams - both "O" grades and Highers.

My choice was slightly restricted, as I could learn Latin in 6 months but not German (I'm good at learning off by heart plus wouldn't have had time to learn enough German before the Aural) and I ended up doing Hamlet for English for 3 years in a row as I'd studied it in NZ and my Scottish class had already finished Macbeth (restricted the questions I could answer but that was ok). By the time we studied Hamlet as a class in S5 for Higher, I knew it back to front! grin

Surprisingly, the Science subjects were the most difficult to match up (Chemistry easier, Physics harder) as they also required an element of practical work as well as learning by rote.

I know the curriculum has changed twice blush since then but the point I'm making is that it is possible if you're motivated and have supportive parents (mum and dad organised a bit of tutoring for me - didn't need much, but it was good to know it was available if I needed it) smile

ExamFatigue Sat 04-Jun-16 19:29:26

Thanks all, lots to consider and I agree that doing Highers without covering the National 5 content may be too risky in view of his other issues. I think we will look at the private schools in Edinburgh that do A levels as that may be the safest option if we can get a place, thanks again everyone.

pepperpot69 Sat 04-Jun-16 22:27:03

Def look at Loretto & Merchiston first. My advice would be Merchiston first, great pastoral care and very good with all levels of ability. Also more central to Edinburgh.

Agadooo Sat 04-Jun-16 22:32:12

Does he have a career in mind re University courses as this will
Decide whether he needs to gain the highers in S5 or whether doing them over S5 and S6 would be ok.

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