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Anxious yr 11 Dd, mixed moxk results and conflicting views from school(73 Posts)
Hello! I apologise in advanced; this is most likely going to turn into a massive rant, i'm lost at what to do next.
So, DD is in year 11, gifted but dyslexic... now that is about all i can 100% say she is as some teachers tell me she is
the work of the devil challenging, where as others say shes quiet and anxious. Anxious i agree with... she has always been a worrier.
At the end of October she sat
a hell of a lot a full series of exams.
Her results looked as it they were sat by 2 different people they are: 2 9s, 2 8s, 2 7s, 1 and 3 Us.
She did not cope with this at all; her anxiety went sky high, worst it has been since changing schools in year 9. Her body focused repetitive behaviours returned , scratching and lip biting, as well as regular panic attacks. After this period of mocks her 'bad' / 'coping' / i've no idea as everyone wants to call it something different behaviour returned. In the form of truanting lessons, avoiding situations she finds difficult (e.g assemblies, English lessons, social situations) and refusing to work. These have not gone away and are causing her to get in a lot of trouble at school (some quite rightly so) however DD is getting extremely stressed and building higher barriers.
We had parents evening last Thursday. Not one teacher could say the same thing about her... it went from "the barriers need holding and she needs to realise she cant get away with this, needs to work harder and revise more" to "she needs support, take the pressure off herself and relax". Honestly i felt like every teacher i spoke to was talking about a completely different child, and they're are all taking different, conflicting approaches to dealing with her.
I spoke to the year 11 SEN lead and all she basically said was "she's in the top pathways, getting ok results there is not much we can do to support her. She has her exam access in place and uses it. She needs to toughen up and buckle down."
This was completely different from the weekly chats i'm having with DDs mentor, who is telling me she needs support.
Now if i'm honest i'm not really sure what i'm asking. Any ideas or advice on what to and where to go next? . All i know is i have an extremely stressed, anxious DD who does not want to go back to school and, in my eyes, is not coping.
Thanks in advanced, was nice to let it all out.
I think you need almost a 'good cop, bad cop' strategy with her. She clearly does need some type of support, so I'd be looking at what form that should take. Whether it's counselling, your GP or an educational psychologist, as this kind of behaviour is extremely unusual for an otherwise able DC. So, I'd definitely be looking to get help.
Having said that, she is in her GCSE year. Her results show she's also very able. So if she's to reach her full potential she also needs discipline and hard work. I'd put in place a strict revision and study programme for her. This might also have the side benefit of giving her focus and reducing anxiety.
During Year 11, DS had to do a minimum of 3 hours work every school night(including homework and revision) and 8 hours over the weekend. I then increased this to 4 hours a night and 6 hours per weekend day as exams approached. DS definitely wasn't happy at the time, but thanked me when he got his results!
She's clearly very able in several subjects and not in others, assuming she actually turned up for the tests she got Us in. Are English lang or maths ones she got low scores in? If not, eg if it's a school that forces everyone to do say PE and RE GCSE, then I'd focus on emotional support and encouragement. If eng or maths, then need to get to the bottom of it - is she getting support or adaptations in other subjects but not those? Or is she too anxious/scared of certain lessons because of shouty teacher/disruptive kids/doesn't understand basics so is completely at a loss?
The results and behaviour sound like my DP and ds respectively, both with autism - is that possibly relevant? Techniques to alleviate anxiety for ASD kids and help with executive function may also help with dyslexia.
What are the 1 and Us?
Could she drop a couple and concentrate on bringing 2 of them up to 5s. If she can get 8 GCSEs and 6 of them are top grades as the mocks then she'll be fine.
Thanks for replies.
With regards to results the Us were English lit, English Lan and Sport science. The 1 was RE, the 9s were maths and geography. Science was 2 8s and a 7. Last 7 was psycology. She sat all the exams.
ASD is something I've mentioned to both her secondary schools as well as her primary, the reply i got in all 3 cases were along the lines of 'she is too socially capable an advanced so it would be unusual for her to be autistic'.
It does seem to be she is avoiding the loud, disorderly lessons as well as the subjects she finds difficult e.g English. She has always preferred the smaller, lower set classes ( she was in bottom sets in her previous secondary and started in bottom sets at her current secondary) where support is available. This does seem to match her results as her psycology & geography classes and small and receive in class support due to high numbers of SEN kids. For science she is in one of the bottom sets, but sits higher paper, due to regular meltdowns in the top set science class.
A strict revision regime will go one of two ways. I'm a bit reluctant to try with her current state of mind, as i'm picking her up from school and shes either a nervous wreck or a ticking time bomb ready to explode with no in between. I do not want to add to the stress, as school work and, by all accounts, talk of exams and gcses sends her into panic. However, having said all that, clear structure and routine may help to organise everything and reduce her worries.
In the exams she got the 1 and the Us for-did she panic/freeze and not write anything?
My DS got 8s, 7s and 6s in maths, science and IT.
He didn't even take RE and he got 3 for English literature and English language.
He is autistic and has the not uncommon issue in autistic people of finding ambuiguity and uncertainty extremely stressful, and getting a "freeze" response to stress. In the earlier years he would leave his essay subject exams mostly blank but with a LOT of guidance and support he now does manage to stay calm and get something down. What he writes is excellent quality but despite extra time and laptop he still gets very little down.
You need to see DD's mocks. Is she waffling (often a poor revision or poor subject knowledge issue) or leaving things blank (anxiety, usually) or not writing anywhere near enough (combination of processing and anxiety)?
I just feel like support needs to be put in place soon, as i'm not going to be able to keep getting her to school. She is getting progressively worse with not wanting to go and there is only so much I can do without support from the school- it what form I do not know. I dread to think what the uphill struggle will be in the summer when its the real exams. I am at a loss, she is worse now than she was when we moved her school back in year 9, she isn't going out with friends at all (something she normally did quite regularly) and is loosing interest in hobbies.
The exams she got 1 and Us in the teachers mainly said at parents evening, especially English, they think she freaked as very little if not nothing was answered.
I would suspect it's an "ambuiguity intolerance" issue then. This should have been evident earlier than year 11 mocks.
I tried to use logic with ds:
If it's a 6 point question, writing down some bulleted answers or a partial response may get you 4 marks, or 3 marks, or 2 marks out of 6. This is ok.
Leaving it blank guarantees you 0 marks.
DS really struggles with the essay type question '20 marks are available in theory but most answers won't be given 20 marks' . He just finds that intolerable and it triggers a brain freeze. He much much prefers question and answer papers.
“The exams she got 1 and Us in the teachers mainly said at parents evening, especially English, they think she freaked as very little if not nothing was answered“
What does she say herself about it?
English is a massive worry. I’d start there. If she doesn’t get a 4 a lot of courses will be closed to her and she will have to retake it.
Request counselling through school. Also hypnotherapy and daily meditation. Good sleep routines.
A nightly walk together. Just half an hour to destress calm
I would recommend doing as many practice papers/exam style questions as possible and then using the mark scheme to mark them herself to see where she dropped marks and what the examiner was looking for.
What access arrangements has she got? If she qualifies, a computer reader for the English Language would make a huge difference
Ok so year 11 is hell for many girls especially girls who suffer from anxiety issues. Your DD sounds possibly autistic as someone else said, essay questions are hard poetry and interpretation is just unphathomable. If she’s dyslexic what help is she getting off that on her English exams? A scribe, a quiet venue (which could help or as in my DDs case hinder her anxiety) coloured sheets to help adapt the pages.
I had the year from hell with my DD in year 11 from this time last year to the exams. Every day was a battle her stress and trichtillomania went through the roof, not helped by the pressure school puts on them and a major falling out in her friendship group.
So my advice is stop , take breather over Christmas try and talk to her to see what she has to say, but don’t push just tell her you both need to talk about the plan for next few months.
Start with What does she want to do after GCSEs?
Where does she want to go ? (my DD wanted to get away from school and the bitches who made life hell). Once we put that in place, local college, she had a count down of days left on her wall.
If she knows where she wants to go and what she needs talk about how to get the grades. Help for English etc.
Speak to your GP I doubt you’ll get to see a counsellor before the exams but at least start the process unless you can afford a private one.
But at the end of the day I told my DD as long as she went into school and got enough grades to go to college and do what she wanted I didn’t care! Sounds awful but all I wanted was her health and happiness, she was in such a bad place mentally I had days I didn’t want to leave her in case she hurt herself! Taking the pressure off helped both of us.
You both need someone to talk to.
I think you need to request a meeting with well-being and the SEN support.
I am a music teacher so get a wide range of students from different schools so get insight into how different organisations deal with it, some are ALOT better than others. Drawing on this, things that have worked for my own children and various students if this were my child I would:
Make arrangements with the school for partial attendance. ie drop RE, PE lessons, Assemblies. (I had a student who suffered from chronic fatigue that was able to do this and it worked really well)
Get an English tutor, she needs the English language and I'm guessing that she is very capable but needs coping strategies. My DD is dyslexic and really struggled with English but we had an amazing teacher at the school who gave her extra lessons and she pulled it up from an E in mocks to a B, I have never seen a smile so huge.
Are you able to partially home school some of the more stressful lessons with high disruption factors?
Get to a GP, there are depression, anxiety issues raising their heads here and I think you need some advise from someone not connected to the school, sadly schools in year 11 have so much on their plates you are unlikely to get any mental health support when you have so little time left.
She has unmet SEN needs. Lots of children are going undiagnosed due to schools Ed Psych funding. Its late in the day but I would try to get a cognitive profile done privately if you can. For exam strategy I would recommend
- pull her out of one or two subjects completely to reduce her stress
- request that she does independent study with intervention if possible for the subjects she is disruptive in (its mainly revision now so with study guides and your support she might do better than in class)
- explain to her that it is not her fault, you now recognise that she can’t study in some environments, and you want to find out what helps her come out with the best 7/8 results.
- use the mock results as evidence they need to do this
- meet with tutor, senco and head together to get this sorted
Honestly, some of the late diagnoses I have seen recently (of moderate or severe learning disability!) the parents ought to sue the schools.
When I asked her what she thinks went wrong with English, Re and sport the response I get is "None them went well, I don't like school, I don't like exams and i can not do it anymore so please stop bringing it up. School and exams are the last thing want to be thinking about"
So, not much coming from DD, even the thought of school is stressing her out. Really quite dreading getting her back there in the new year.
She is entitled to a scribe, reader and extra time. She uses these in all exams apart from maths (and of course English where a reader is not permitted)
The school are extremely reluctant to let her drop the 'problem' non core subjects due to attainment 8 and progress 8 figures.
The behaviours facing us now are all issues we've had in the past; just not to this severity and all at the same time. I had said in various meetings and phone calls since last year that she needs extra support. The reply from the school is always she's doing ok and needs to learn to stand on her own 2 feet.
DD is unsure what she wants to do next year, if you catch her on a good week and ask she will tell you she wants to go to 6th form, catch her on a bad week and she doesn't want to do anything now let alone next year!
(and of course English where a reader is not permitted).
A computer reader is permitted for English Language - a human reader is not.
A computer reader is permitted for English Language - a human reader is not
Ah yes, sorry forgot to mention Dd really dose not like the computer. All involved are trying to encourage her to use them.
Get a private ed psych to fully diagnose
ED psych will suggest how best to support
@treeshade - are you serious? 4 hrs per night AFTER a full day at school?!
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