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DSD ousted from class for brighter pickychoosies - education boffins advise, please

(20 Posts)
jaynehater Thu 16-Aug-07 21:18:30

DSD (15) phoned this afternoon in a state of abject misery.

She's aiming to be a midwife, her teachers know this, and she needs Biology. She chose it as one of her Fifth year subjects back in May, and started the class before hols, continuing this week.

Today, she was summoned from class and told that other children had received higher marks than expected in Biology, and wished to switch subjects.

She and six others, with the lowest passes at Standard Grade, were told they had been removed from the class, and had to choose an alternative subject by the end of school. There was no parental consultation on this matter whatsoever.

Previously, she was a disinterested student, but her results in tests in Jan 06 rattled her. Net result - she busted her backside this past year, improved dramatically, and passed 7 subjects, failing with a 5 in Maths. She's tried to be more responsible, and was accepted as a prefect. She's not a natural student, but she's put her all into it lately, seeking out extra tuition for herself from teachers, where neccessary.

Can they make this decision on the stated grounds,in the sure knowledge that it prevents or at the least hinders, her path to her chosen career?

I'm sorry this is so long, I'm so upset for her, education wasn't her thing for so long, and she's feeling very low and rejected right now. I'm composing an email to the Education Department, but what are the legalities?

BellaBear Thu 16-Aug-07 21:20:02

I'm afraid I know nothing of the legalities, but as a teacher this sounds absolutely outrageous.

BellaBear Thu 16-Aug-07 21:22:31

Presumably all seven lots of parents will be ringing the school tomorrow? Hope it works out for her

Lostmykeys Thu 16-Aug-07 21:23:19

Arrange to meet her teacher asap and go through everything you have stated in your email. This is absolutely outrageous as a policy and a case where parental pressure is required.

jaynehater Thu 16-Aug-07 21:24:00

Outrage was our first reaction. She sought the advice of her guidance teacher, who told her that it was hard to get teachers in science subjects, and maybe she should consider college if she had her heart set on Biology. The staffing levels haven't changed, the timetabling was completed in May - why do this now, and in this manner?

Bella, as a teacher, have you ever heard of this happening? If we kick off royally, is this going to help or harm?

Lostmykeys Thu 16-Aug-07 21:25:20

Are you in the UK?

Blandmum Thu 16-Aug-07 21:25:31

Not totaly sure about this, but might this be because there is an upper limit on the size of science classes in Scotland? (teach in englan myself but mil used to teach in schotlansd and I think they have an upper limit of 20 in a class)

This might put pressure on the schoo since they may not have the number of staff rewuited to have another class IYSWIN. I realise that this must be very tough for you and dsd

has she got the rewuited grade at standard level to be accepted onto the Higher course? We don't allow people to do AS level unless they have at least a C grad at GCSE, for example, since experience shows us that unless they get a grade C they have next to no chance of gaining a passing grad at AS level.

Have a word with the school and find out what grad she got, also ask if they have minumum grades required for Hiher study.

Could she resit her standard year to get the grades that she needs and/or move school to a place that is more flexible?

jaynehater Thu 16-Aug-07 21:25:50

We fall under the auspices of Angus District Council.

Scotia Thu 16-Aug-07 21:26:17

Sorry, don't know the legal ins and outs, but can she do Intemediate 2 this year and Higher in 6th year? Did she get a Credit pass in Biology this year? Often the school insists on a grade 1 or 2 before presenting a student for Higher. If she got a 3 or 4, she might be better doing it over 2 years.

Tell her not to get too despondent, there must be a way to work this out.

Good luck to her.

Blandmum Thu 16-Aug-07 21:26:39

grade sorry!

BellaBear Thu 16-Aug-07 21:29:21

I've never heard of students who have been told they are on a course being taken off for other students, ever. In particular after the course has started! Students have been encouraged to not take subjects, but can't be stopped if they have the correct entry requirements - at maths AS we require a B at GCSE. But this sudden removal is outrageous. I think you should contact the other parents as well and find out what they think and also make sure you find out what the school's policy is on this sort of thing.

jaynehater Thu 16-Aug-07 21:31:03

Martian, she has a grade 3 at Standard Grade. She's studying at Intermediate 2 - this will allow her to take Higher next year.

Apparently, they've bounced some pupils down from Intermediate 1 to her class, to accomodate the pupils that have changed their mind about their subject choices, hence the lack of room.

I just had no idea that academic achievement was the sole marker for inclusion in a class. They have literally accepted the brighter pupils from other subjects, and scored a line through the bottom 7. She's no intellectual giant, but she's making her best effort. Surely that counts?


(Sorry about the emotiveness, dds guinea pig chose this evening to die, I'm up to my ears in operatic tension here)

Scotia Thu 16-Aug-07 21:39:13

Has she been bumped to Int 1 then?

Try contacting the school tomorrow - a letter will take time and she does not want to lose out on the lessons in the meantime. Do the letter too though. Make sure the school is aware that she needs this subject at Higher - maybe they have forgotten this. It is worth trying.

If no joy from that, is there another school nearby where she could do her Highers?

jaynehater Thu 16-Aug-07 21:45:29

Sorry, Scotia, confusion due to lack of info in my post.


She has passed Standard Grade, and has begun Int2, with a view to further study next year.

She isn't being bounced down, she's being put off the course altogether, and has to chose a different subject - problem being, for midwifery, she needs biology.

Scotia Thu 16-Aug-07 22:04:34

Really, contact the school tomorrow. This needs to be sorted for her. There will be people doing the course who do not need this subject for further/higher education. In your dsd's case, she needs Biology for her future career. Keep stressing that it is not oprional for her. If she did not fail her Standard Grade, and she was doing Int 2 with a pass at grade 3, I'd be very surprised if they will not try to work round this with you.

Don't let it lie like this. Contact your local Education Officer - by telephone first if possible. All the time you are sending letters back and forth (although it is the official way to do things - do this too) she is missing out on valuable lessons. She can't afford for this to happen or she will slip behind schedule on the course.

jaynehater Thu 16-Aug-07 22:08:22

Thank you so much for your input. You're right, Scotia, she has a lesson tomorrow, and every one she misses undermines her case for continuing. Will take your advice and phone - thank you again, everyone.

wheresthehamster Thu 16-Aug-07 22:10:06

I would be absolutely furious! She is being bumped from the course because others changed their minds after it had begun!! There must have been a deadline - it's outrageous

elkiedee Fri 17-Aug-07 10:59:28

Why should the needs of the mind changers be put before your daughter and the others in her position? (And I say that as someone who regularly changed her mind about subjects for study throughout her education).

It seems totally unfair. And especially when she's a rare 15 year old who has a good idea what she wants to do and is trying to prepare for that career.

Pester the school, but also find out about the appeals/complaints process. Maybe also complain to your school governors/elected politicians. And find out whether they have to continue teaching your daughter Biology while they deal with appeals.

slayerette Fri 17-Aug-07 11:07:59

Years and years ago, when I was choosing my GCSEs I was told that I either had to do two sciences or dual award. Hated Chemistry and Physics, only wanted to do Biology (and not dual award), and parents pushed so hard that school let me do it. Parental insistence can work!

Scotia Fri 07-Sep-07 22:11:24

Jaynehater, is there any update on your step-daughter? I was wondering about her today

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