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Can school kick out my son for poor exam results?

(26 Posts)
stellarossa Fri 22-Aug-14 14:19:56

My son is a good student with no behavioural or attendance issues. He quite good grades in his mock AS levels however something went wrong in the exams and his actual grades are dreadful. Within hours of us getting the results he asked the Head of Sixth Form at his State secondary if he could retake the year. The Head sent an email saying he cannot continue to A2 level and they won't give him a place in year 12 to retake the year. All we've had is an email, no process or anything formal. This just does't feel right, and there has been no attention to his emotions or wellbeing (he was so distraught I had to stay off work as I was worried to leave him alone). Does anyone know whether a school can do this or if there should be some kind of procedure that goes through. His teachers are all lobbying for him to come back as they know his results don't reflect his ability and are 'astonished' that he did so badly. We're also thinking about asking for remarks etc, but the main thing right now is can he just be kicked out like that in a 3 line email?

titchy Fri 22-Aug-14 14:30:45

6th forms can and do set their own requirements for progression from year 12 to year 13, so yes, they can refuse to let him return if he doesn't meet those requirements. The requirements (normally Cs or Ds at AS) should be clear and known to all though.

Haffdonga Fri 22-Aug-14 14:31:27

That sounds awful Stella. sad
I'm afraid, AFAIK, a school can do this as education is not compulsory after 17. My ds's school is no longer allowing any retaking of year 12 due to a change in funding, I think. I guess this may be the same in other schools. I would urgently request a meeting to discuss his options (retakes? dropping to all but one or two subjects? At least getting his papers back to see what went wrong.)

How they are treating your ds is shocking.

Fullpleatherjacket Fri 22-Aug-14 14:37:28

Sadly, I believe they can and do. It was certainly threatened in dd's case a few years back but we and the teachers who knew her ability managed to talk the head of sixth form round although she didn't repeat the year, just went on to A2. She got in to uni the following year and has just graduated with a 2:1 so it was definitely the right decision.

If his teachers are in favour of him staying it's a massive plus point. Can you get them to meet the head with you to present your case?

It's a horrible time and I really think schools should show some flexibility.

I hope you and he manage to talk them round.

AuntieStella Fri 22-Aug-14 14:37:59

Yes, they can do this, if there are clear requirements to progress and they have not been met.

Whether they should have done it like this is a totally separate question. The terse emailing sounds dreadful and, although I have every sympathy with the need to have objective criteria, I'd also hope for some sort of appeal process if there are anomalous poor results (they would have to apply to new applicants to years 12 and 13 as well as continuers, and perhaps could be modelled on 'near miss anomalous' 11+ procedures). But schools aren't obliged to have such procedures, so you mint be stuck with the current decision.

Are there colleges nearby which he could attend instead?

Bakeoffcakes Fri 22-Aug-14 14:43:19

Yes they can, but considering the fact he said well in his mock AS levels, it's rather mean of them to ask him ot leave. Something must have gone very wrong for him during the exam period so you would, think they would let him stay.

DS1 didn't get the grades to do his chosen A'Levels at his own school, so this morning we were at another local school hoping to enrol there (slightly lower minimum requirement) We'd actually hijacked the Yr13 enrolment (by invitation!) and there was a group of pissed off students there who I assume had been told there were issues with their Yr13 enrolment. What the teachers there were saying is that being allowed to continue at that particular school was not just down to AS grades, but also down to meeting requirements in punctuality, attendance and handing in work. Given that level of strictness, I guess a school can have whatever criteria it wants. It's a bit scary imo.

ArgyMargy Fri 22-Aug-14 14:55:49

Yes, of course they can and every year they do.

stellarossa Fri 22-Aug-14 17:01:26

Thanks everyone. It looks like he has a place at a nearby Sixth Form to repeat the year. I think the school mishandled it and should have been more careful - after all teenagers can take these things incredibly seriously with disastrous consequences in the worst cases - at least telling them by telephone or in person would be the minimum I would expect, and also looping parents in, so they can help manage the emotional consequences. His AS mocks were graded A,B,B,C so getting such poor results was really a shock to everyone, and his attendance, behaviour, punctuality etc was all very good. He did say he got very nervous in the exams, though, so I guess we'll have to address that for next time round. Now we have to take a deep breath and tell his dad who threatened to disown him if he didn't get all As (ex-husband!)…

DownByTheRiverside Fri 22-Aug-14 17:05:49

With an officious arse as his head teacher and a father who is also an arse, it's a good thing he has you.
Mine both preferred 6th form college to school, and the staff were fantastic.

stellarossa Fri 22-Aug-14 17:14:00

Thanks! :-)

In fact I'm rather proud by how he has pulled himself together, and sorted it out by himself. He's taken the lead on dealing with this, out on his bike cycling round schools, emailing teachers and heads. So I'm going to take that positive away from this situation. I've also looked at some of the other posts about teenagers in really terrible and dangerous situations, so I guess I should calm down a bit and count my blessings.

Haffdonga Fri 22-Aug-14 17:15:06

Glad the sixth form college sounds like it will work out.

I hope you send the school a strongly-worded complaint about how they delivered the news to your ds. Not even informing a parent or phoning to discuss is inexcusable.

Good luck too with your ex. He sounds like a dick.

saintlyjimjams Fri 22-Aug-14 17:18:43

Well done him for sorting it out. Hopefully he'll learn the world doesn't stop if you don't get the grades & that will help his nerves the next time.

Georgethesecond Fri 22-Aug-14 17:20:57

They say the mark of a man is how he deals with setbacks. Good on your son.

smileyforest Fri 22-Aug-14 18:33:18

Oh so glad to hear your son has found another place to study, so disappointing for them when they were expecting better results. My son didnt do as well as expected with his GCSE's and dont know as yet if he can do his chosen A levels, his Dad (exH) also has the attitude that unless all 'A's' are achieved then you're a failure. My poor son was very down, I'm very proud of him and the rest of my family support him ..he managed 8 x A-C...teenagers don't need to be made to feel their 'no good' if anticipated grades are not much pressure on our young people....x

areyoubeingserviced Fri 22-Aug-14 18:40:29

I love your son 's attitude.
He will do well . That never give up attitude will serve him well in the future.
Sometimes, 'failure' can be a good thing.
BTW ignore your ex husband

stellarossa Fri 22-Aug-14 19:34:24

Thanks everyone - these lovely comments have really lifted my mood - that ball of stress in my chest is starting to go. Many of my friends have children getting 3 As so I have been avoiding them, hence this forum being a really valuable sounding board.

smileyforest, so sorry to hear your son didn't get the grades he wanted for his A levels, and that you have an ex with a similar attitude. I haven't told my ex about my son's results and actually he hasn't called to ask which says a lot about how connected he is with what's going on in his sons' lives (I have a younger one who had GCSE results too - although they were pretty good). 8 A-Cs is very good, well done to him.

So maybe we should both take areyoubeingserviced's advice and 'ignore' the exes! (although haffdonga's 'he sounds like a dick' made me smile - thanks for that, I'm going to remember it when he's next shouting at me down the phone)

Hatetidyingthehouse Wed 27-Aug-14 21:07:14

I'm assuming they have filled a lot of their y12 classes with new year 12s. They cannot now turn away new year 12s because of y13s that have failed. Unless he could resit without attending classes

twentyten Wed 27-Aug-14 21:46:52

Stella your ds has shown huge guts by sorting this out- well done for him. It shows great promise. Be proud. I am sure he will learn from this and do you proud. Celebrate a great young man.winewine

thelmachicken Wed 27-Aug-14 21:52:57

He's better off out of there TBH - they sound awful. Your ds however sounds wonderful. smile

I remember someone telling me that exactly the same thing had happened with her dd, and she ended up attending the local F.E. college to redo the year (and did brilliantly) and went on to attend an excellent university.

stellarossa Sun 15-Feb-15 14:34:18

6 months on - and to give hope to anyone who faces a similar situation - things are going very well for my son. His grades are good and the new school has been wonderfully supportive and really helped build his confidence as well as helping him deal with exam nerves.

We don't know what will happen this summer with his results, but it hasn't been the complete disaster we thought it would be.

Mumteadumpty Sun 15-Feb-15 23:22:59

That's great news, well done to your son.

Seriouslyffs Sun 15-Feb-15 23:28:27

That's great news. DD1 retook year 12 at a different school after a very unhappy year at a new school. She's now in year 13 a year late but much happier and doing slightly different subjects. It's been the making of her.

Coyoacan Sun 15-Feb-15 23:58:48

Just read this, great news, OP. And another person who thinks your son will go far in life. Unfortunately too many people give up at the first set-back.

hijk Mon 16-Feb-15 08:46:06

I am glad your son is doing well.

What I am not sure comes across in this thread is that schools are banned from allowing students to remain if they are not progressing.

The old idea of "retaking a year" is almost gone - it can be done, but schools do it at a financial loss, so may limit it every year, for example someone who has been has been off with cancer, or similar, or may ban it altogether.

Sixthforms can take on 17 year olds though, so although a teen may have to leave their school if they don't get the grades to progress, they can restart somewhere else.

This is very common, at the start of year 13 we typically lose up to a third of our sixthform, and take in dozens from others, to retake year 12. Our school does have very low entry requirements, we give students a chance when others wouldn't, but they all know from day one if they don't get the grades in year 12, they leave.

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