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WWYD? English GCSE presentation preparation

(14 Posts)
GymPanda Wed 20-Sep-17 22:41:19

This is a bit tricky. My DS has been asked to start preparing for the spoken assessment of the Eng Lang GCSE. This week he was told that the school has moved these forward and they will be done in December, rather than January. His class was asked in July to start initial preparation over the summer holidays. Their mocks are at the beginning of November, by the way.

Today I was talking to a good friend and asking what her DS was doing his presentation on. She had no idea what I was talking about. Went home and asked him, then text me to say he hadnt a clue either, so it had caused a row.

Her DS is same set as mine, but just a different class, with different teacher. My friend isn't very switched on about academic stuff (she left school young and has a successful career in catering now) and has a habit of assuming her poor DS is always at fault and tends to blame him for stuff unfairly; he is quite laid back and his attitude does wind her up. Annoyingly it's often me who inadvertently "causes" their rows! My DS does talk to me a lot about school so I tend to mention things in conversations with friends, and some of them respond, but this friend nearly always goes back and has a go at her DS if she doesn't know what I'm talking about!

So what, if anything, should I do now?
I'm quite concerned if his class hasn't been prepped at all for this presentation: it means that the other class has had eight weeks more time on it, which doesn't seem fair. Should I encourage her to contact the school about it? She does rather have the opinion that the school is the one responsible for everything to do with education and assumes they will do everything right and in her son's best interests. Perhaps I am a little more cynical wink

I am very aware that this summer's GCSE students are a bit of a guinea pig year and that teachers are only human and do make mistakes. I hate the thought of my friend perhaps thinking that I patronise her by being a bit more clued up about current education stuff (I'm interested, I don't currently work so I have time to spend on it, and I'm quite anxious about my kids not making opportunities for their futures), I really truly want all the students to have a fair chance, especially my DS's mates, and it's hard to sit by and not say anything.

Sorry this is so long! Thank you for your advice smile

Newoneforthis Wed 20-Sep-17 22:46:37

In our school, each class does it at a slightly different time, based on teachers' timetables and cover requirements. We would not be able to do them all in the same day/week as there would not be enough other staff free to cover our classes. It could be the same with your DS and his friend?

The presentations take a while to prepare and we mention them in newsletters, assemblies etc so it would be unlikely any student was unaware.

Newoneforthis Wed 20-Sep-17 22:49:18

Ps Your son's year is in a better position than last year's Y11 as at least he will have all 9-1 grades rather than a mixture, and at least Eng and maths teachers now have a vague idea what we are doing (unlike last year when it was all guess work!).

Cynderella Wed 20-Sep-17 22:58:24

This is what I do. Tell class about assessment. Show them examples and we mark them in class. Hand out copies of mark scheme and explain. Suggest topics and take questions. Off to computer room. Give them time to research and decide. Offer advice.

Couple of weeks later, give them opportunity to watch some pupils willing to practice in front of class. Offer only positive advice. Give couple more weeks. Book room and give them slots for recordings.

That's it. It's almost impossible to fail if you prepare. It's not part of a GCSE. They have enough to worry about. Very much a case of do your best and forget about it. We have a lot of Merits and Distinctions and there isn't a huge amount of teacher input compared to the old Speaking and Listening days when it was all worth 20% of their GCSE.

GymPanda Wed 20-Sep-17 23:02:10

Thanks for that! Yes I'm glad that he wasn't taking them last summer, the furore about re-marks alone makes me feel very anxious

There has been nothing on newsletters or school website about this presentation, and DS says it hasn't been mentioned at school in his hearing, other than in his class. I knew nothing about it until DS came home with the brief on his personal homework website in July, which had been done by his class teacher. At that point, I googled it and discovered it's a compulsory thing across all exam boards. The website has a section about the specs for each exam, but the English Lang one is quite general and says absolutely nothing about this presentation. Which I find weird, considering that if you don't pass it, you can't be awarded the GCSE!

GymPanda Wed 20-Sep-17 23:04:50

Thanks cynderella. That seems to be the approach that DS's teacher has, keeping it low key and student-centred, so DS isn't overly concerned about it. So I really am at a loss as to why it wouldn't have been mentioned at all to the other class!

TheDonald Wed 20-Sep-17 23:15:42

My dd is in y11 but they did theirs towards the end of last year.

I think you're over thinking it. She had two weeks' notice but did it all the Sunday before in about 2 hrs. I got her to run through it with me a couple of times so she knew the structure without having to read it. She's really not a confident speaker but she did it in front of the class and answered questions and got a distinction, as did the majority of her class.

She's in one of two top sets of a badly performing comp.

I really wouldn't encourage him to spend weeks on it!

GymPanda Wed 20-Sep-17 23:28:59

Thanks, that's really helpful! I wish the school would give us that kind of info too, like telling us what the kids need to properly concentrate on and what is not so important. I get that they're supposed to be learning independence but realistically it is us parents who have to pick up the pieces when/if it goes wrong in the exams!

I will go to bed and try not to think any more about this gin

pieceofpurplesky Wed 20-Sep-17 23:34:45

The school have told you son want to concentrate on and he has told you. The school do not need to provide you with this information.
This 'assessment' is basically hoop jumping for schools and is ridiculous as it counts towards nothing. It was worthwhile when the pupils got a grade out of it. Tell your DS not to worry - I think 'presentation' is making it sound a lot more important than it is. My pupils presented theirs to a video camera. We have everything recorded then

quaqua Wed 20-Sep-17 23:40:31

My ds left his till the night before and got a distinction
It's really not that difficult to prepare for.

noblegiraffe Thu 21-Sep-17 00:43:54

Should I encourage her to contact the school about it?

In this situation, in Y11, the student should be perfectly capable of saying to the teacher 'Joe from X class says we have to do a presentation for GCSE by Christmas, is that right?'

WhatHaveIFound Thu 21-Sep-17 10:23:29

DD is in Y11 but did her towards the end of Y10.

They were given a couple of week's notice to prepare and her classes had topic ranging from the potential for alien life to LGBT rights. One girl did a presentation on Alzheimers as it was something which was personal to her.

I think some of the other classes are doing them at different times so none of them have been given their mark yet.

pointythings Thu 21-Sep-17 18:08:27

DD1 did hers over a couple of weekends and got a distinction. And it counted for nothing. Honestly, they either need to make it count or just ditch it altogether. My advice would be to tell your DS to speak about something he is passionately interested in - that really worked for Dd1.

AChickenCalledKorma Thu 21-Sep-17 21:45:35

What would I do? I would significantly cut down on talking about the details of your son's school work with your friend, if it frequently causes rows between her and her son. That's probably not helping anyone.

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