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DD told ‘underachieving’

(125 Posts)
Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 12:12:24

Just got an email from school following dd getting a Level 6 for chemistry. It states that my dd must attend an afterschool revision session (and then one every other week after that) as her level 6 is classed as underachieving, compared to her target grade of Level 9.

Firstly, her target grade of Level 9, I explained to the teacher, didn’t really bother that all of her target grades are 8 or 9 (mostly 9) and they were given those grades in year 9/10 based on SATS.

So a Level 6 is a B in old is that underachieving??

Dd has been suffering with a long term unknown illness since September, which school know about and unless dd specifically states that she wants to go to the sessions, I don’t feel like pushing her. She is stressed enough and finding each day hard due to being poorly.

I need addition, the chemistry teacher (who is also somehow head of science) checks the answers with the 2 brightest kids in the class and regularly gets information incorrect! DD corrected him the other day on something even I knew the answer to and I’m rubbish at chemistry.

I’m not sure how him teaching even more rubbish lessons, is going to help anymore than her revision guides will.

The email stated....
‘These sessions are mandatory and should be seen as a priority by DD’

How can afterschool revision session start be mandatory....they’re from 3:30-5.

Titsywoo Thu 11-Jan-18 12:18:23

I'd tell them to fuck off. I hate those bloody target grades. I mean how can they give a target grade based on SATS when they are only really maths and english. My DD has target grades of 6 for everything based on those bloody SATS. How can they base her PE or history or Art grades on that. Ridiculous.

BarbarianMum Thu 11-Jan-18 12:52:20

I was about to start a similar thread. Y7 Ds1 is now under-achieving (well below expected) for half his subjects. His targets have been set according to his SAT/CAT scores which to be fair were very high. So now, every time he scores less than a 9 he's failing. And whereas I can just about see how these scores might relate to eventual maths/science grades, the link to other subjects is far more tenuous. The result is his confidence in any subject that's not very mainstream academic - art, music, drama, food tech - is now at zero. The fact he's never studied these things before (well a bit of art at primary) matters not - he has to go from zero to perfect or he's failing. angry sad

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 13:22:51

So glad it’s not just me who thinks the target Levels are crap then!
Half the town has paid for private tuition from the local private school teachers...because they’re all failing in triple science!

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 13:50:02

I’m thinking of writing this email ....

Dear Mr (science teacher),
I’m currently struggling to understand how achieveing a Level 6 (old style B) for GCSE Mocks chemistry is ‘under achieving’.
Of course, DD is aiming for as high a grade as possible but her progress has been hampered slightly by a couple of factors, one of which being a lot of illness over the autumn term. With further exam practice and more revision, she is hoping to increase her grades by at least one grade, possibly two.

If DD wants to come from 3pm -5pm to after school revision sessions, she will, but it certainly isn’t ‘mandatory’ and I don’t understand how the school can deem it so.
Indeed, the whole point of the school cancelling the RE GCSE half way through the course was to increase triple science lessons from 6 to 7 a week. Has this extra lesson not succeeded in helping students get better grades? Perhaps not....especially seeing as how half the (school name) students have been accessing private tuition at £40 an hour since the start of year 10 from (add local private school name) in order to pass their triple science exams!

The chemistry target level 9 that DD received from your system was based upon year 6 SATS....that were taken in maths and English and NOT in science. So at any point where DD is getting below a level 9, she is seen as underachieving. I hope you’re beginning to see why I mentioned to you at parents evening that the target levels really didn’t mean much to us. The pressure that the school puts on children is immense and telling my Grade B/Level 6 in chemistry dd that she is ‘underachieving’ really isn’t going to help her self esteem.

Perhaps it’s not the students that are ‘underachieving’...

Kind regards,


Is that a bit harsh?

TeenTimesTwo Thu 11-Jan-18 14:47:26

Too harsh.

Dear X

Thank you for you letter inviting DD to attend after school revision classes for Chemistry.

Although we appreciate she achieved below her target grade in her mocks my husband and I have discussed with DD and on balance we do not feel it is in her interests to attend at this time.

This is due to the fact that we are all happy with the mock grade she achieved and we do not feel that 'mandatory' revision sessions at this time will be good either for her general health (you will be aware of her ongoing health issues) nor general mental health at this time.

Thank you again though for offering her this support

Yours sincerely

TeenTimesTwo Thu 11-Jan-18 14:48:57

too many 'at this times' but you'll get the gist

TeenTimesTwo Thu 11-Jan-18 14:49:56

It won't help anyone least of all your DD to unnecessarily annoy the teacher over the last few months of the course.

RatherBeRiding Thu 11-Jan-18 14:54:46

I would be extremely cross too, and you definitely need to respond to state that a) you aren't unhappy with the level 6 and b) these sessions are not "mandatory".

However, the trick is in the wording and I really like Teen's response. Short, to the point and polite. And with no room for doubt.

I also agree it's important to keep teaching staff on side as far as possible.

hodgeheg92 Thu 11-Jan-18 14:56:59

Too harsh with the mentioning of tutoring and questioning the usefulness of the change in timetable to give an extra science lesson. This comment "Perhaps it’s not the students that are ‘underachieving’..." is also way too passive aggressive!

Other than those things, I think you're being firm but fair. Although, Teentimestwo's letter is much kinder in tone and still gets the message across.

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 15:05:12

Thank you both so much!
Glad I wrote the harsh letter though as it got it off my chest but yes, if DD is adamant she isn’t doing the revision sessions, I’ll send teentimestwo’s version.

I guess I am passive aggressive sometimes —all the time— but it just annoys me that some schools are so out of touch with reality.

Seeline Thu 11-Jan-18 15:07:46

I would have been overjoyed to have been offered free revision sessions when I was doing O levels. I appreciate times have changed, but with schools under so much financial pressure, I think it is great that they are offering such an opportunity. Presumably the staff are not being paid for their time.

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 15:12:43

Hmm. I guess I was cross about the ‘mandatory ‘ part.
I realise that it’s great staff are giving free tuition however, it wasn’t quite obvious that it’s not just dd getting lower than expected. The science dept. Has been pretty useless for a good while now and the school ofsted just carried out, gave a ‘needs improvement’ in all areas.

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 15:14:07

One, plus I found dd says yes, she go and do them, that’s great. I just dd and can’t see that she was just working out how to respond to the teacher.

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 15:14:49

oh and plus if dd says yes...

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 16:36:41

Dd said no way is she doing them (I didn’t tell her that, I said they might help her) and is adamant not to.

I showed her teen’s example letter and she said yes to that if he doesn’t listen when she tells him. She is going to try not Tony Stark not go and see if he notices!

MillicentMargaretAmanda Thu 11-Jan-18 16:47:40

I do feel for the teachers here. From what k understand, they are judged against these crazy system generated target grades. They might well be aware that they are unachievable, and take no human factors into account, but unless they pretty much kill themselves trying to get kids up to that target grade, they will be called to account for why Johnny or Jemima did not achieve as predicted. This is one of several reasons that my lovely, talented teacher friend was driven to thoughts of suicide and is now leaving the profession at Easter.

Titsywoo Thu 11-Jan-18 16:53:03

Oh I also feel bad for the teachers millicent. However our kids own mental health is just as important and if they are doing well we don't need to put them under ridiculous pressure all the time. The fault is entirely with the government on this.

MillicentMargaretAmanda Thu 11-Jan-18 16:56:22

Agreed.. The pressures on both teachers and kids are ridiculous. And in this particular example, even more ridiculous as for most of these subjects no one has any real idea what 8s or 9s look like yet as no one has taken an exam with that marking format!

Witchend Thu 11-Jan-18 16:59:50

I think this is a mixture.

It's great that they're assessing the children on their own level. So a child aiming for (old style) A and getting a B is given as much help as the child who is achieving a D and might just squeeze a C.
And equally well a child who is predicted a E is celebrated for getting a D as much as a child who is predicted an A and gets A* etc.

However it does produce silly situations. My dd "failed" all her science exams last term-she's year 9 and predicted 8s (won't predict 9s). She came out distraught-she had to redo the exams (the exact exams after taking the papers home, which I see no point in either).
Upon enquiry I found that she had actually scored in the top 25% in the form, however her target grade is 2 grades higher than a lot of them.
She's now decided that it's too much stress being in that set and is asking to move down, despite actually being in the top half.

She can be a little lazy, so I kind of see where the school is coming from. However the situation is that she has now given up totally rather than trying (as she used to) to be at the top end.

Titsywoo Thu 11-Jan-18 17:07:06

That's the issue witchend - it's so demoralising for the kids. My friends DD is very very clever and got pretty much full marks in all her SATs. But that means she can't really improve much on her target grades which I assume are all 8s or 9s so if she gets 7's she gets a report saying she is underachieving which is crazy!

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 17:07:53

I would kind of feel bad if I though pt it was only the system but this particular teacher isn’t known for his great teaching skills; he has little ability to speak coherently to parents at parents venting without loads of “err” and “um” comments.

Pengggwn Thu 11-Jan-18 17:31:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Parker231 Thu 11-Jan-18 17:37:17

Just respond - thank you for your email but DD is unable to attend.

You don’t need to go into all the details - not relevant.

Verbena37 Thu 11-Jan-18 17:41:52

Hi * pengggwn*
Not sure if you read the rest of the posts....i agreed it was too harsh.
Plus, his email was that a school cannot make it mandatory to do revision sessions after school. That in itself annoyed me because of the very incorrect but matter of a fact way it was worded.

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