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Anyone else's Y11 struggling massively with workload/exhaustion?

(42 Posts)
Somerville Fri 06-Oct-17 11:38:05

She's struggling so much with the workload of really full on days at school and LOADS of homework. Two long pieces per week for each of her subjects, plus often revision for a check-up test.
Most of her lunch breaks and the hour after school are full with either music lessons or attendance at optional extension/revision clubs.

Staff are clearly working very hard, and I suspect feeling the pressure of the new GCSE specifications themselves. How 'normal' is this for this point in year eleven? Should I be going in? Considering her dropping a GCSE? Cancelling her sporting/work experience/music commitments (which we've already cut to the bone)?

She won't get a break over half term, as is off on MFL exchange trip with school. I'm not sure how I'm going to get her through until the Christmas holidays at this rate.

BubblesBuddy Fri 06-Oct-17 11:56:57

How many GCSEs is she doing? This workload sounds high and I assume your DD is very conscientious. My DDs boarded and homework in Y11 was 1.5 hours a day. Catch up at weekends if necessary. They both kept a full range of extra curricular activities because all work is no fun. Lunchtimes should be work free and why is she doing revision already? What is extension work?

Work experience possibly isn't necessary unless it is vet/medic related. Sport and music should not be dropped. 9 GCSEs is fine. More than 10 is not necessary. The school sounds a bit desperate to be honest.

Somerville Fri 06-Oct-17 12:09:08

School recommended only 9 GCSE's because of the new, harder, specs. But she begged to do 10 (to fit in triple science and two MFL) and can't bear to drop any of them. School and I would have have to gang up on her and that doesn't feel right with a 16YO.
Yes she's conscientious bus she doesn't get it that it's kind of pointless to spend an hour perfecting an essay she's meant to spend 40 minutes (or whatever) on, as in an exam she'll only have 40 minutes.
The lunchtime/after school activities seem to be for y11's to go along to if there is something they don't understand, or to go into things at a higher level. One of them is for those considering medicine (which she is).

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 06-Oct-17 12:16:37

It's pretty full on at this stage ,what you describe was ds's experience from Christmas onwards.

charlmum60 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:20:50

My dd is also in Yr11 - she's only getting allot of homework in one subject (the children have been asked to complete a questionnaire about homework amounts etc). She has had initial problems with the controlled assessments which stressed her out...but now she has done a few more hours she is getting more confident and more at ease. She also has clinics during the week (Maths/History and French - all lunchtime). She is finding the Maths beneficial because its a young teacher who seems to be great on a one to one basis - more patient.

I would not cancel music etc she needs some time out - if its getting too much then I would speak to the teachers ...Is she doing work experience before her exams - my DD's school plan this after main exams...

charlmum60 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:26:05

Meant to add my DD is doing 10 but she may drop one because she just doesnt want to study the subject - it has been forced on her - there are several other's that may also drop this subject too- just seemed a total waste making kids take a subject when they have no real aptitude for it ...she is doing triple science but she is strong in all the sciences.

TeenTimesTwo Fri 06-Oct-17 12:26:20

In my opinion

She needs to drop the lunchtime stuff and the hour after school except for a couple of times a week and pick the most beneficial.

She needs to stop wasting time perfecting essays.

Possibly also cut down on the time revising for checkup tests.

Year 11 is a marathon, she needs to pace herself.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 06-Oct-17 12:26:48

We did cut down on music and one sports activity, ds needed time at home doing nothing but watch telly smile

Somerville Fri 06-Oct-17 12:33:27

Thanks for all the advice.

I think I need to contact school, because I can't stop her going to clinics, as I'm not there at the time. (And I'm worried about whether she eating enough at lunchtime.)
I'm also going to contact music teachers and ask if we can delay one of her music exams.

One of the problems is that she loves a lot of different subjects and is struggling with what to drop/specialise in for A level. She thought the work experience would help her decide, but it's left her too tired to make any wise decisions.

The volume of homework is just massive though. That's the biggest issue.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 06-Oct-17 13:01:18

She's got ages yet before A levels to decide and even when she gets her results she can still change her mind. She'll have more of an idea once she goes to the taster sessions . Ds was sure he wanted to do sociology but one taster session was enough to put him off!

I would definitely not do the music exam , ds didn't do his either. Imo that really is unnecessary pressure unless she's doing music for A levels.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 06-Oct-17 13:05:47

My year 11 has 3 pieces of homework per night - 2 x 40 minutes and 1 x 30 minutes. So 110 minutes a night.

Sometimes the homework set is to cover 2 different nights - so a 60 minutes hw (for the 2x30s) if that makes sense. If these fall over the weekend I try to persuade him to set aside an hour then to do that piece of hw.

There is still all the school sports, enrichment activity one afternoon a week etc and I have spoken to him about pacing himself as I don't want the work effort to slack off just at the time he needs it to pick up (ie. before mocks) and before gcses.

Having said that he is about to do his lifeguard training (so he can earn cash - so I won't want to discourage that!) and his MFL exchange too!

charlmum60 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:09:54

I would ask why they are giving out so much homework at this stage - are they behind schedule ? Most of my DD's homework is revision ... Allot of the children seem to be struggling with choices although if its medicine she is looking at - should be fairly straight forward....I know DD had a meeting in Yr 10 where they discussed options - they have also done some form of aptitude test too - although I have not seen the results yet.

Somerville Fri 06-Oct-17 13:20:49

I don't know if they're behind schedule - certainly hope not. But for the vast majority of her subjects it is a brand new specification, and for several of those there were no text books available (as in, they weren't yet printed) until they'd been in year ten for half a term. I don't envy the staff having to come up with lesson plans at such short notice.

Depending on her options she may need to change school for sixth form, so she's gone along to a few open days, and is feeling the pressure of that decision.

She's meant to get 1-2 hours of homework per night, but it's 2 hours every night, plus often being told to also revise for a vocab test the next lesson, which then she spends ages on. Last weekend she had 9 homeworks to do, and they'd all been given to her on Thursday or Friday (she'd been at a school event on Thursday evening) and had to be in by Monday or Tuesday. confused

UnaPalomaBlanca Fri 06-Oct-17 13:23:34

So 20 long pieces of homework every week plus test revision?
She risks burning out but conversely will probably do brilliantly well.
I have the opposite- Yr 11 DS. About one hour homework per week plus he’s so lazy and unmotivated. He might scrape through. Waiting, hoping desperately for something to click.

Somerville Fri 06-Oct-17 13:36:20

English lit and lan homework seems to be combined, but 2x9 long (40 mins - 90 mins and usually closer to the latter) pieces of hw per week, yes. Plus revision for tests - this is generally vocab revision for MFL but also seem to be a regular thing for history, where she has a very enthusiastic young teacher.

I'd be lying if I said how she does at school doesn't matter to me. But it matters much less than her health and happiness, which I doubt she'll retain at this pace.

Somerville Fri 06-Oct-17 13:39:00

My yr 10 DS is much like your DS, BTW, Una. (At a different school.) I'm sure I'll be tearing out my hair for the opposite reason in a year... the joys of parenting, huh?!

charlmum60 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:44:04

Wow...I am so shocked at the amount of homework ...I think last week my DD just had Chemistry revision for a test they did on Friday...lots of French homework(the mocks they took in July were not great!) and some English coursework to finish off. She has a fairly long school day 8.30 until 4pm. She's just got herself a Saturday job - which she is loving and I think it will give her lots of valuable work skills - she is finding it fun. Maybe the difference is the exams- she is doing Igcse's and I think only 3 of her subjects have a new syllabus - Computer Science/Maths/English

ifonly4 Fri 06-Oct-17 14:59:23

It's a pretty full on year, but does help prepare them for Sixth form which is worse. My DD did 11 GCSEs, Grade 8 music exam, art twice at lunchtimes, five school clubs, one out of school club as well as making scholarship applications in the first term. There was the odd evening she didn't do much, but homework tended to be 1-3 hours a night and a good few hours at the weekend - she was always one for trying to cover everything properly so she was used to what she had to put down in the exam - sounds like your DD is the same.

I hated the thought of DD going all day without food, but she'd eat the rest of her lunch on return from school.

They do get through it and looking back I'd say Year 11 was the happiest and best year for her at the school. Teachers tended to relax a bit more about homework being submitted on time as sometimes it was really too much to get it in on time which helped.

She doesn't need to be worrying about Sixth Form choice at this stage, apply to the ones she's interested in and see how she feels nearer the time.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 06-Oct-17 15:38:47

I imagine schools everywhere are panicking as it's final exam from now on.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 06-Oct-17 16:13:24

Charlmum60 - no my son is doing igces too. And still has approx 2 hours a night.

They will be finished the syllabus in most subjects by Christmas/Feb half term, Mocks are in January and then it goes into practice exam questions etc, techniques, revision sessions from then on.

charlmum60 Fri 06-Oct-17 18:14:44

I guess my DD should consider herself very fortunate by the sounds of it ......although she is now doing some past papers off her own back...just one each week....but hopefully it will act has revision for work she covered in Yr 9 and 10 (They did start their science iGCSE's in Yr 9 has a 3 year course)

greystarling Fri 06-Oct-17 18:20:03

My son is only year 9. But he started his gcse courses this September as his school think there is very little chance in fitting them in comfortably in 2 years so they are doing them in 3. They are all taking 10

BubblesBuddy Fri 06-Oct-17 19:09:11

I think if she is considering Medicine she does need to breeze through a bit more. There isn't time to be a perfectionist and working quickly and accurately will be better for the future. Obviously sciences and maths are important but the amount of homework seems extreme. Work experience will be vital but it can start after the exams and continue in y12. No need to bust a gut now. Sport and music would be better at the moment.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Fri 06-Oct-17 19:13:00

On the perfecting essays - you need to work with her to break this now. It becomes really unhealthy and you feel you can never hand anything in because you're paralysed by the possibility that it's not perfect.

She's going to have to write timed essays on exams, so she may as well start practicing. Make sure she undeRats day that her results will not be so good while she gets the hang of it, but it will help her organise her thoughts faster and be more concise in the long run.

Malbecfan Fri 06-Oct-17 20:47:53

Year 11 form tutor here. Had a Parents' Evening this week which was illuminating. Several complaints were made to me about excessive workload.

School ethos is 2 x 45 minute home works per evening. Subjects are set according to a homework timetable. Most were reasonable but one faculty is ignoring this and setting masses. Typically the conscientious kids (especially the girls) are trying to do it all and getting stressed out and tearful trying to complete it all.

To the OP, your daughter should not be perfecting her essays now. I would suggest spending 5 minutes planning each essay then 35 minutes writing them, as she would do in an exam. Most teachers love a plan as they can see how the student is thinking. If she doesn't get time to finish, at least her ideas are on paper. Communicate with the staff, explain what is going on and ask for strategies to help. At this stage, you all want her to do her very best without burning out, so dialogue is vital.

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