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AIBU to be upset with school re:sixth form?

(94 Posts)
Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:10:16

My DC is in y11 and in the middle of GCSEs. She wants to stay in her school for A levels. Recently her school has decided that students need 6 6s and above to be eligible to stay, including Maths and English. This is a comprehensive academy, not a grammar. DC has some SEN but is doing well, although she finds some subjects quite hard, and in line for a couple of 9s, and the rest 6s, 7s and maybe 8s. Science not great but not needed for humanities A levels. Maths probably a 5. What I am upset about is that DC asked head of year if they think she will be able to stay for 6th form, the reply was "will you get 6 6s and above?, lots of people will get 9s, you know?". No consideration for the fact that there is SEN (dyslexia and ADHD), and she's predicted 9s and 8s in the subjects she wants to do. No mention of the fact that DD is a model student and has never been in any kind of trouble. She might fall a bit short in maths, but I would expect a "well done for trying so hard, we know you find it difficult". I am quite disgusted that they put their own reputation and league table position before what should be duty of care. The pressure is enormous to get those high marks, lots of kids have given up. Many are going elsewhere for sixth form, but DD wants to stay as one of the subjects she wants to do is great there, and she loves the department. Are comprehensive schools allowed to select like this? All other 6th forms I know ask for 5s, and 6s in the subjects they want to do, which is so much more inclusive. The system is becoming increasingly heartless, I am not surprised that so many teenagers are stressed and depressed. Rant over.

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Wolfiefan Thu 16-May-19 22:13:52

My eldest is Y11. He has to get 6 as a minimum. It’s not about being selective. It’s about recognising that A levels are hard! Kids who can’t get higher levels at GCSE can fail completely at A level.

superram Thu 16-May-19 22:15:28

Is it over subscribed? If so they will take the highest achieving students. If not she will get in-we need the funding.

FreeFreesia Thu 16-May-19 22:20:24

Yanbu so long as the subjects she wants to do don't have a maths element eg economics. If she wants to do say English lit, art & history & gets a 7-9 in those gcse then why wouldn't she be likely to do well in them at a level?

Rosieposy4 Thu 16-May-19 22:22:10

I can’t see why you are worried, in your post you say she is on target for a couple of 9s, some 7s and 8s and the rest 6s, ergo you have the minimum 6 6s.

Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:23:35

Well, she's in line for 9s and 7/8 in her 3 Alevel subjects. But also, I think we are so used to this system that we are blind to any other possibilities. In other European countries they are allowed to grow and develop and there are no exams until they are 18. Until then, they are given a lot of room knowing that they change and mature a lot in later adolescence. In these countries the do the baccalaureate from 16 to 18, with many more subjects than Alevels. Most kids rise to the challenge.

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Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:24:24

I grew up in a European country by the way, so I'm talking from experience.

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Wolfiefan Thu 16-May-19 22:26:21

But that’s not the U.K. system. confused

Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:26:45

can’t see why you are worried, in your post you say she is on target for a couple of 9s, some 7s and 8s and the rest 6s, ergo you have the minimum 6
Because she'll probably going to get a 5 in maths and the HoY was implying they offer places in order of how many 9s they get

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stucknoue Thu 16-May-19 22:27:03

I do understand that kids have different abilities but to study for a levels you need to have at least 6's ideally 7's & 8's because they are a lot harder than GCSEs. There's other courses available for lesser able students but at colleges rather than schools. A levels are very academic and have been toughened in recent years. The school are just being realistic

BallyHockeySticks Thu 16-May-19 22:28:04


Think I'd try booking a private meeting with tutor and HoY or something. Over the years with a child with SEN I've learned that rules can be quietly bent, however loudly they shout in public that there will be no exceptions. It might also be important to emphasise that with her additional needs, stability is that much more important to her.

Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:29:26

But that’s not the U.K. system and mental health in british teenagers is deteriorating at a very worrying rate. I work in education and I have noticed a sharp change in the last few years

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Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:32:51

SEN children have, bh definition, spiky profiles of achievement. My point is that the HoY makes no acknowledgment of this. The system is heartless and takes no account of children's wellbeing

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professorpecked Thu 16-May-19 22:33:44

Isn't the entry criteria on their website?
Surely your dd would already have been offered a place with the terms of admission. Why is she only applying now?

Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:40:08

Isn't the entry criteria on their website? yes, it also talks about the care of SEN students and how they offer some BTechs, when they don't

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RainbowMum11 Thu 16-May-19 22:40:54

This isn't new though, I did my GCSEs 23 years ago and then there was a requirement of at least 5 GCSEs at grades A* - C, definitely in maths & English as well as the chosen A-level subjects.

Applesbananaspears Thu 16-May-19 22:43:08

Our school is also 6 x 6’s. She sounds like she will get that. They don’t do it to be difficult, it’s because A levels are hard and there’s no point in students taking them if they are going to struggle.

Wolfiefan Thu 16-May-19 22:43:13

Surely it is about their wellbeing if the school aim to prevent them applying for an academic course they’re not suited to?

Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:44:59

there was a requirement of at least 5 GCSEs at grades A* - C, definitely in maths & English yes, and by the government's own definitions a 4 is a lower pass and a 5 is almost an old B. A 6 is a high B, not it has changed. Most schools I work with ask for 5, 6 and above in subjects they want to do for Alevel.

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Applesbananaspears Thu 16-May-19 22:45:24

* they offer places in order of how many 9s they get*

If their criteria is 6 x 6 they can’t offer according to how many 9’s they get unless it’s in the selection criteria and that’s totally unheard of even in highly academic selective schools.

professorpecked Thu 16-May-19 22:45:54

So what is the entry criteria exactly?

MsJaneAusten Thu 16-May-19 22:46:44

@RainbowMum11 - five A*-C would be the equivalent of five grade 4s now, much lower than what the OP is referring to.

Bustarold Thu 16-May-19 22:47:19

wolfie as I said, she's getting 2 9s and one 7/8 in the subjects she's taking for Alevel. She has SEN and struggles with maths. Despite this the HoY showed no care for how stressed she feels.

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Applesbananaspears Thu 16-May-19 22:48:03

bustarold our school also ask for 6 x 6 and for some subjects you need a 7 to do the A level e.g maths and science and you can only do physics A level if you also do maths. I think it’s fair. No point doing badly in A levels because they’re too hard rather than choosing a BTEC where you might get top marks. Ours said if you’re a 5/6 student consider if A levels are the right route for you to take

professorpecked Thu 16-May-19 22:48:26

5 and 6 at GCSE is low for A level.

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