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Dd crying upstairs - poor predicted grades at A level

(32 Posts)
misblink Thu 26-Jan-17 16:39:28

I feel so sad for her and cross with myself. We moved her from a small private school to a large state 6th form for year 12. She wanted to go (she was bullied and numbers were tiny). She loved her new school at first but has now admitted she's really struggling with the subjects History Biology and RS. She seems to be doing OK in rs predicted a high C. But the other two are a struggle. She isn't particularly interested in the topics for history and she is finding it very very difficult. She says she's been working very hard and she certainly seems to be, but she's not getting the results. She has just had an outburst saying she's desperate to be clever and she hates being stupid. Her essays are garbled and badly structured and despite some advice from the school they don't seem to be improving. I now think we made a mistake moving her. She said her tutor today was dismissive and just told her to work harder. She's been assessed by the learning support and given extra time in exams but I dint have anything in writing about this and her teachers seem unaware of it. I don't know what to do. I really really wish I'd pushed for her to drop biology and do photography but she really didn't want to, she felt so confident and now she's in bits. I've emailed the school to see if I can go in and chat but any online advice welcome.

Mary21 Thu 26-Jan-17 17:04:28

Is she in year 12 or 13 now. If year 12 there is still lots of time. I think is hard for students to understand the depth they need to go into after gcse.
It is worth going back to learning support and ensuring they disseminate any information to all teachers. Has she done any study skills sessions. There are also some excellent you tube a level tutorials.
Lots of students struggle with the transition to sixth form. If she had stayed put it doesn't mean she wouldn't have struggled.
In reality I know so many people who have done a 3 year sixth form. From all types of schools and done really well. Some 3 years for Alevel, others changing to btec after 1st year sixth form. Just so you are aware . Doesn't mean your dd is on course for this.
Also not all uni,s require very high grades. Some excellent uni,s offfer foundation years for students with lower grades. This does of course mean more cost. Higher apprenticeships are another post a level option.

misblink Thu 26-Jan-17 17:06:23

Thanks she's year 12. I really want to get her a tutor but we live quite rurally and I can't find anyone

SecondsLeft Thu 26-Jan-17 17:07:57

Can you afford a private educational psychology report to rule out or diagnose any specific problems and give strategies?

Scarydinosaurs Thu 26-Jan-17 17:08:23

Mr Bruff YouTube videos for RS.

Get her a tutor- someone to sit and do essay work with her- you could get an English tutor, it just needs someone to give her a confidence boost and show her how to structure responses in an A Level style.

Wtfdoipick Thu 26-Jan-17 17:10:14

At this stage of year 12 my dd was working at d and e level but she worked hard, researched answer formats and ended up with the B's she needed for uni. It can be done. The step up to A level is a massive shock to the system.

thesandwich Thu 26-Jan-17 17:10:39

Some tutors offer Skype sessions. We got some good tutors via first tutors.

Scarydinosaurs Thu 26-Jan-17 17:10:42

mis lots of tutors will do Skype sessions- don't let that put you off!

FaithAgain Thu 26-Jan-17 17:16:41

Has anyone actually taught her how to structure an essay?

Prettybaffled Thu 26-Jan-17 17:20:35

I would say tell her:

1) at school there is a lot of pressure to do well with grades from some quarters, but grades do not = success in life on any measure (overall wellbeing, financial, emotional intelligence).

2) get a tutor assessment of where she's at in each subject even if you have to travel for it.

3) on the basis of that decide whether she needs more tutoring and in what and also if she needs a fresh start and to repeat year 12 again and do different/same subjects. Also if she needs a new school

4) does she need Ed psych assessment (I'm not clear on why she's getting extra time)

rachelrcrossley Thu 26-Jan-17 17:22:35

I don't have any direct experience of your situation, but just wanted to suggest getting more information about the assessment that was done. There must be a basis for offering extra time. For example, could the problem be dyslexia? I am married to a dyslexic, and essay writing was always a particular sticking point at school. Regardless of what the 'problem' may be, I think it's very reasonable to ask what practical strategies could be used to help.
I really feel for your dd as I recall the pressure you feel about exams at that age, as if absolutely everything in life hinges on an individual result. If you can, maybe remind her that in reality there is no great rush. Let her know that you will support her in getting to her goals, it just might be that you both need to use some different strategies to get there.

Trying2bgd Thu 26-Jan-17 17:35:39

Please tell her not to panic, she has only done one term so far. It sounds like she needs to learn how to structure an answer to get as many marks for History, this is achievable. Speak to Learning support to see what is going on and if she can have some time with them to discuss strategies. And yes you can get tutored online these days.

Leeds2 Thu 26-Jan-17 18:14:05

I would make sure you get something in writing from Learning Support to make sure she gets all the extra time she is entitled to, It will be helpful for her in terms of planning answers etc if she has the extra time in any mocks/tests so that she gets used to how long she actually has. I know from friends' DCs' experience that teachers don't always remember that certain pupils are allowed extra time, so your DD may have to remind them at the start of the test.

Re a tutor, as others have said, on line tutoring is a possibility. Or, if the problem is that you live so remotely that a tutor won't come to your house, could DD go to the tutor's house in a more central location? Say near her school. Or at the weekend when you could maybe take her.

misblink Thu 26-Jan-17 18:44:06

Thank you. I have contacted a tutor through tutor hunt. It's a gamble not knowing anything about them.

TeenAndTween Thu 26-Jan-17 18:50:00

Is she y12 or y13?

What were her GCSE grades? Mainly A*/A or A/B or lower?

You need to re-contact learning support re the extra time. Why does she qualify? Did she have it for GCSEs?

Could you get a tutor to explicitly help with essay structuring?

If she is y12 she can 'restart' in September, maybe elsewhere. A number of teens take 3 years over 6th form for various reasons.

misblink Thu 26-Jan-17 18:56:39

A/b gcse grades.

Year 12

She had extra time for gcses, at the time the school assessed her as having a processing problem but we never had anything in writing from them despite contacting the school on numerous occasions (all part of why we left). The new school Learning support dept assessed her as she came home pleased she was to be given extra time but again nothing in writing despite chasing!!

titchy Thu 26-Jan-17 19:04:32

Why do you need something in writing regarding the extra time? As long as she gets the extra time that's all that matters isn't it?

An A/B student would typically be looking at C/D grades at this point in the year, with B/C achievable by the end of year 13 with a lot of work.

Get the tutor to give her exam technique and essay structure tuition to start with - that'll help enormously.

misblink Thu 26-Jan-17 19:07:16

Just to make sure she gets it I suppose titchy. Her history teacher said when he set class essays it was impossible to give her extra time as the lessons were 40mons long and he also said he had no idea how he would accommodate her in the mocks next week.

misblink Thu 26-Jan-17 19:08:51

An A/B student would typically be looking at C/D grades at this point in the year, with B/C achievable by the end of year 13 with a lot of work.

Yes she's looking at cs and ds at the moment. It is reassuring that Bs might be possible. She's doing well in rs actually and oddly they say she writes good essays.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 26-Jan-17 19:14:16

RS and History are subjects that require clearly thought out extended essays- difficult for someone with processing issues. It's a shame that there isn't anything formally acknowledged about her difficulties.

A tutor may be able to help with structuring written work. Has she tried mind mapping? That can help.

AwkwardTurtles Thu 26-Jan-17 19:18:29

I had a similar problem at A level. Straight a's at gcse, down to c's and d's in as level, back to A's for a levels. I found biology a struggle because I was an essay subject person so I was answering things wrongly for a science subject. I think at this point she's just finding her feet, things will improve as the year goes on

AssassinatedBeauty Thu 26-Jan-17 19:24:27

You could ask the learning support person to speak to her subject teachers and ask them to factor in extra time. It should be perfectly possible to have it for the mocks, that should be part of the mock exam process.

Blossomdeary Thu 26-Jan-17 19:26:39

Young people feel under a heavy pressure to get good grades at A level when in reality it is not so important in the scheme of things. She only needs good enough grades to get into uni (if she WANTS to) unless she is aiming for medicine or one of the other high grade requiring subjects. Over the years no employer has ever taken any notice of my A-level grades but needed to know I had a relevant degree or experience.

There are many tracks to a career and they do not all involve A-levels or a degree. If her current route is leaving her feeling "stupid" then she may be in the wrong place and taking the wrong route for her. There is a big jump between some GCSEs and A-levels and it may be she should be looking at an apprenticeship or NVQs or something more vocational.Whatever - it needs to be something that makes her happy and that does not undermine her self-esteem.

She needs to increase her self-confidence and self-esteem more than she needs to acquire bits of paper at the moment. She at least needs to know she is not locked into this route and that she is not trapped. Focusing all the efforts on her educational or other "deficits" does not offer her a route out if that is what she wants. At least knowing it is there might help her to feel less anxious about it all.

I feel sorry for teenagers - they are asked to focus on exams when they have a lot of other areas of themselves that they need to develop and deal with. It is not an easy time.

Crumbs1 Thu 26-Jan-17 19:33:54

I suspect change of school is irrelevant. The step up to A level would be the same regardless. Alpha tutors do good Skype tutoring. We used for Chemistry to maximise chances of A* grade. We used for our second sons Physics too as he was being taught by a maths specialist.

FaithAgain Thu 26-Jan-17 19:44:17

I got mostly A-Bs at GCSE. ( 2 Cs). At A-level I suddenly struggled and couldn't get my words out sufficiently to do well in some subjects. I got B, C and E (!) at A-level and had to resit the E to get into uni. At uni I really struggled until I went to student services. I was assessed and diagnosed with dyslexia. It made such a difference, not just the extra time in exams but student support to help me learn how to get organised, how to structure essays, how to approach exams (I.e. Read the question 10 times before you answer to make sure you've understood it, do a spider diagram of how you plan to plan to answer the essay at the top of the page so that a. You can refer to it to keep on track and b. If you do run out of time you can still get credit for the plan!). I went from getting D's/failing and resitting to getting Bs!

Seriously, if an issue has been identified, I would persue a formal diagnosis. It could make a big difference to her and boost her confidence. She's obviously not dim if she got good GCSE results but translating your knowledge to paper from A-level onwards takes a different level of skill that doesn't always come instinctively. There's still time to help her turn this around.

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