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Dd entered externally for gcse by own school

(68 Posts)
Jm69 Fri 16-Mar-18 18:51:14

Dd has missed a term of year 11 due to mental health issues. She’s at a top london girls school. She remained on the school role and we paid reduced fees during this period. She had limited access to education whilst in hospital but did some work although did miss her Mock exams. She went back to school at end of Feb and has reduced her GCSEs from 10 to 6 subjects.

Today she (and we) found out that she has been entered by her own school, where she has been since year 7, as an external candidate for her exams. I can only assume they fear that her results wil damage theirs. Is this allowed? Has this happened to anyone else? What should we do? Tia

OP’s posts: |
MrsJoshDun Fri 16-Mar-18 18:56:52

A local state school does/did this with kids they were concerned might not pass so they could fiddle figures. They used to make the parents pay as well but if the kid passed they’d refund the money. I believe someone challenged this and they stopped.....but might be harder with a private school to do anything?

Ethelswith Fri 16-Mar-18 19:00:27

Yes, it's allowed. The state school I went to (years ago!) would do this.

State schools still can, and independents can do too.

You can't do anything about it. Because they could refuse to enter her at all, and then you'd have the extra stresses - for you in finding a different centre where she could sit the same exams, and for her in doing the exams in unfamiliar circumstances.

LovingLola Fri 16-Mar-18 19:11:18

She’s at a top london girls school

Does not sound like a 'top' school to me. It sounds like a shite school.

mrsmonkey14 Fri 16-Mar-18 19:25:13

They will be worried about their 100% pass rate. Not quite the same, but 20y ago I missed all of year 11 due to glandular fever/ME and my ‘top’ independent girls school pushed very very heavily for me to repeat the year and not take GCSEs. Fortunately my mum fought for me and I took 5 GCSEs (had tutor at home) and aced them, as I only needed 5 to progress to A Levels (which I chose to move to a state school for despite having 100% scholarship at the indie) have never forgotten their attitude though and now your post makes me wonder if I was an external candidate?! I took the exams at home with external invigilator.
Back to your question though - although it’s shitty of them, it doesn’t really affect your daughter does it? Eg no one knows whether you were external or internal candidate.
And I hope your daughter gets well soon.

IntheMotherhood Fri 16-Mar-18 19:43:47

I don't give a shot if this is allowed practise and legal. It's wrong.
Highlights everything that's wrong with our education accountability system.

What would I do? Sit the exams as an external candidate and not let the school claim them if she gets high grades. Her uni application form won't specify.

What does your DD want to do though? Is she ready to sit the exams?

Jm69 Fri 16-Mar-18 22:31:30

Thanks everyone. Seems that maybe I shouldn’t be as suprised as I was. I think I will still ask the School why they did this without advising us. I don’t think it will make any difference in the long-run to DD but at the moment she is trying to catch up and got back in and this sort of thing feels insensitive and unnecessary. I am sure that one student out of 90 wouldn’t make that much difference. Also makes me wonder how many others they have entered externally to massage their figures. This school consistently appears in the top 3 in the Sunday times parent power table. It just feels wrong. Thanks again to all for you for taking the time to reply.

OP’s posts: |
Peregrina Fri 16-Mar-18 22:48:06

Let DD take the exams, do well, and then take her and your money elsewhere. Find a sixth form where they are interested in the welfare of their students.

IntheMotherhood Sat 17-Mar-18 07:10:22

Definitely have the discussion with the school. It depends how much your DD/you want to stay in the school but I would make it clear that this action and the manner it was done was highly insensitive given the fact she is recovering from mental health issues and has been a pupil since Y7.

This was an opportunity for the school to take the higher ground and ignore the pressure of league table ego. IF your daughter's results are a dip, they are aware the data impact will be Negligible and totally explainable should anyone question it. Explained in a way that highlights they made a decision driven by doing the the right thing for a child.

It feels wrong because they have not put your DD at the heart of this. They've known her since Y7 and have chosen to prioritise anonymous, external stakeholders who are obsessed about A* and forget that each % represents a young person.

clarevoyent Sat 17-Mar-18 20:48:41

I don't think it matters but isn't the school named on the certificate?

sanam2010 Sat 17-Mar-18 23:02:46

I have certainly heard this about THE top girls' school, if anything other than an A is predicted for GCSE. Your DD will bump into her class mates at the town hall.

HeddaGarbled Sat 17-Mar-18 23:31:29

One student out of 90 is over 1%. There will be other students who don't get straight 9s. 95% is higher up the league table than 94% & 93%.

If you feel that this is wrong, would you consider waiting until after she's got her results, and then going to the media? The more we expose how false and open to manipulation the league tables are, the more chance we have of have a genuinely egalitarian educational system IMO.

There was a recent media furore about a supposedly high-performing school which was kicking out students who didn't get high grades half way through their A level courses. After the negative publicity, the school backed down. Parents do have some power if they can get some media interest. However, I don't think it would be helpful for your daughter to expose this issue until after she has left this school.

TammyWhyNot Sun 18-Mar-18 07:34:53

Well done to your Dd for her catching up, and I hope she gets the success she deserves.

Is it at all possible that the school entered her after they had done the main list of entrants , because they weren’t sure when she was returning?

It is shocking that Schools pull these stunts in the name of a position on a power list, but then they wouldn’t do it if parents didn’t pore over these lists picking apart a one place drop or a % increase. If the position of the school wasn’t bound up with status and kudos. You see it on MN all the time. But the pressure on the kids!

Whatever grades she gets, and however many exams she takes and passes, the school should be proud of your Dd for the way she is re-entering the year and approaching the exams. Good for her, and good luck to her.

MaisyPops Sun 18-Mar-18 07:42:17

I don't think it matters but isn't the school named on the certificate?
It is on my GCSE certificates I think.

Equimum Sun 18-Mar-18 07:52:37

An’t offer any advice, but my own state school did exactly this to me nearly 20 years ago. They were concerned my results may affect their position in the league table. Tell your daughter not to worry, and that this says more about the school than her. I went on to get all A/A*s despite six months in a psychiatric unit during year 11.

Good luck to your daughter, and I hope she is fully recovered soon.

TalkinBoutWhat Sun 18-Mar-18 07:59:42

Have you SEEN what 1% does to their league table standing? This is not new in the independent sector. My DS's former prep school divides children up into those who will and won't be permitted to sit commom entrance. They are very proud if theiir 100% pass rate. I'm so glad my DSs are in the state sector now.

MaisyPops Sun 18-Mar-18 08:06:16

There's one secondary in the north who run 2 separate schools for GCSE and A level!
2 schools. 1 site.

One school has only the very top acadejic students. They are always very high in the league tables.

They sell it as being a more personalised and tailored pathway for the students, but actually it's them finding a way to pretend their school is better than it ism

pigshavecurlytails Sun 18-Mar-18 08:10:39

This must be Nlcs I'd assume.

IntheMotherhood Sun 18-Mar-18 14:12:16

The National Assoc of Head Teachers has recently launched a committee to look into an alternative secondary school accountability measure that will mitigate against all these perverse practises that are not in the spirit of providing quality education and care. It'll be relevant for state and indies.

Agree with the views of others - it's a push and pull tension, but we as parents and consumers should put a more proportionate value on attainment % - vis a vis how else the school is performing, and it's ability to educate and inspire kids to use their strengths to lead the most meaningful life they can.

This frenzy on attainment as the prized output of education still isn't making us the most competitive, equitable or productive nation is it? Theory fail.

FanDabbyFloozy Sun 18-Mar-18 16:02:18

This is allowed because parents don't want to create a fuss and embarrass the child. It's awful though, particularly given how vulnerable girls are to mental health issues in these top schools.

I'd love to know how widespread this is. Is there any way to work out how many schools do this from looking at the results, other than a FOA request?

sanam2010 Sun 18-Mar-18 16:46:08

FANdobbyfloozy, in their detailed gcse results, you should compare the number of entries for maths, english etc vs the actual number of girls in a year group. At the top schools, they all have to do maths, english, english lit, triple scince etc. So if you know 90 in a year group and only 87 entries for Maths and 82 entries for physics, for example, someone is missing.

FanDabbyFloozy Mon 19-Mar-18 22:56:00

Thanks @sanam2010. That is very useful.

horsemadmom Tue 20-Mar-18 08:33:39

Pigshave etc. Not NLCS. Nobody in my DD's year is in this position. When similar things have happened in the past, they have invigilated girls at home if they aren't ready to come back. I've known one who repeated year 11 at her parents' request. Nothing to do with league tables and everything to do with best medical advice about reducing stress for the girl.
OP, I hope your DD is getting stronger and healthier in every way. That is the most important thing of all.

Needmoresleep Tue 20-Mar-18 08:41:26

It happens. A few years back DD had a friend at a (THE?) top academic girls school whose name was similar to that of one of her teachers. By mistake she received a staff email detailing the criteria under which girls might be required to drop subjects prior to GCSE. There was a level of panic and the girl was sworn to secrecy, but it was obviously too funny for her not to confide in someone from another school.

That school seemed pretty focussed on results. Comparing preparation for maths challenges was interesting. At DDs school it was optional. Something you did one lunchtime if you felt like it. At the other school several lessons were spent on preparation. But the independent sector allows for choice, especially in London where you might have more than one good school within the same post code. When DD was much younger a friend who was part of the SMT in a third school said they had a conscious policy of sticking with girls through thick and thin. (Or goth to anxiety?)

DD knows three girls in her age group at the first school who were sufficiently unhappy not to make it through to the end. But equally knows plenty who loved it and have emerged with the results and confidence to take over the world. My advice to OP and others is to recognise when something is not working. London schools know a lot about each other and are normally willing to take those unhappy elsewhere. And in most cases they seemed to thrive, indeed are sometimes transformed, with a fresh start. Get those GCSEs, start afresh, and don't look back.

HPFA Wed 21-Mar-18 09:53:45

There was a recent media furore about a supposedly high-performing school which was kicking out students who didn't get high grades half way through their A level courses. After the negative publicity, the school backed down

Yes. And this school then had the nerve to boast about its A Level results again this year. An education journalist (who should have known better) actually said it showed the school knew what it was doing. You couldn't make it up.

I don't want to go back to the days when parents literally had absolutely no idea of how schools were doing but really it is terrible to see schools behaving like this.

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