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GCSE level teaching in year 7!

(8 Posts)
ArcherQueen Sat 25-Mar-17 06:59:48

Yr 7 son is struggling with English language lessons, although his creative writing is very good. His spelling and grammar are good, he just feels overwhelmed by the questions and texts, which results in him not writing much at all in tests and class work.

At parents' evening last week this was all discussed and I mentioned that even I found some of the work he is set quite challenging (tests with poor results are sent home to re-do in the holidays). Teacher then explains that they are all being given GCSE level texts and questions as they need to get used to this level of work. He suggested my son was removed from standard class to receive specialist tuition (which I would pay for).

I hear of other local schools doing similar things, i.e. options chosen early and GCSE curriculum followed from year 8. My feeling is that this is a bit sad and desperate, entirely driven by the desire to improve results at the expense of a well rounded education. Is this an approach that schools have only recently decided to follow? If so where is the evidence that it improves results? Or is it just one big experiment?

My son's school is private and non-selective, and struggles to get results that are better than the state alternatives, so probably under more pressure than most to improve. But I am really worried that my son is losing out in a subject like English and I suspect they will ignore my concerns as it appears to be an approach adopted throughout the school for many subjects.

Is anyone else's school doing this? If so is your child getting on ok with it?

GeorgeHerbert Sat 25-Mar-17 09:37:18

No expert here but my ds (Year 10) has been told that the expectations for the new English GCSE are very different from the older ones. His school have been encouraging them to read more widely, more classic texts, Victorian literature. Could it be that the school are just starting to prepare student earlier for the raised expectations?

tiggytape Sat 25-Mar-17 10:29:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArcherQueen Sat 25-Mar-17 10:43:02

Thanks this all makes sense and yes the teacher mentioned that much of the literature was rather dry, so I can see what they are trying to do. But this stuff is too advanced for some children at this age and I think my son is not learning anything and his confidence is suffering. I cannot support teaching an 11 year old in the way you would teach a 14 year with no build up of skills. He is going to lose out :-(

DitheringDiva Sat 25-Mar-17 10:43:32

It sounds awful TBH. I'm a science teacher, and to me Y7 is all about making it fun and instilling a lifelong enjoyment of the subject whilst also learning the basics of some of the big topics that underpin all of science e.g.. atomic theory, energy etc. I can only speak for science, but I would guess other subjects should be the same?

Yes, the GCSEs have got harder. However, I don't see how teaching them GCSE stuff in Y7 is going to help them in anyway at all when they sit their exams in Y11 - it's just going to turn them off and make them feel like a failure. Maybe starting the easier GCSE stuff in Y9, but not Y7!

Maybe it's different for English, but I feel so sorry for your poor boy, surely they can find texts for his level, and change the questions slightly so they're more like GCSE, but for his level. There's a massive lack of differentiation, which the teachers wouldn't get away with in a state school. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the class are struggling.

And why should you pay out yet more money when the school aren't doing their job properly? The job of teaching is giving your child work at the correct level, which he can do, but also challenges him. The teachers have plenty of time to gradually increase the difficulty over the next few years before he sits his GCSEs.

ArcherQueen Sat 25-Mar-17 12:36:10

I agree with all of that, Diva. I will be speaking to the school but they won't change anything I am sure.

tiggytape Sat 25-Mar-17 14:14:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArcherQueen Sun 26-Mar-17 12:16:49

Yes I think Year 7 is far too early. Interesting what you say about private schools favouring IGCSE. However our school is run by a "chain" so I suspect the school's agenda is set by them and as such is not as "independent" as I would like.

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