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Science - year 9

(10 Posts)
woodlands01 Sat 04-Jul-15 22:51:11

My DD has had a bad year in Science. Started OK - getting C grades and then fell off getting D and F grades in topic tests through the year. I had concerns over the teaching and behaviour in the class from what my daughter and her friends told me. I had a meeting with Head of Department who said the teacher had agreed the class was chatty (including DD) but that it was a working chat. I did not quite agree with this but wanted to keep a positive relationship with the school. Outcome was that HOD would check on class (still unsure that happened) and I would ensure my DD did some structured revision for all assessments and not be involved in distractions.

We have done this. One topic test showed some improvement to a B grade, 2 topic tests were postponed and then cancelled. Three end of year tests resulted in E grades.

I then had a further email correspondence with HOD where I detailed my concerns - can't hear teacher, mobile phones out, revision guides being used in assessments, students standing on desks etc etc. I explained the revision program we had in place, the frustration at tests being postponed and delayed and asked for some re-assurance that my DD would not have the same teacher next year. I got SOME re-assurance and ONE very snidy remark, but I am generally happy that thing will be better next year (Head of Dept involved in teaching one strand) and I will continue to support (nag) my daughter to focus on Science.

Now comes the report - she is recorded as having C grades for Science, one grade below end of year target. I know, DD knows and Head of Dept knows that she got E grades. This is a working at grade NOT a predicted grade.

I would appreciate your advice on what to do (I am a teacher too and I have no idea). On one hand I am happy next year will be better and that DD can get to C grade at GCSE. On the other hand I am really cross that this report is basically a lie, I am concerned that it has been sent with what the HOD knows and that the teacher is covering up an issue - reporting a student one grade below target rather than 3! I should say this is not specific to my daughter, she tells me everyone got D,E and F's and I have no reason to doubt what she is saying. Should I raise it with the Head of Department? I feel I will actually be fobbed off with some politically correct language and I don't want to get myself in a situation where I just get more cross and have to accuse some-one of lying! Should I take it higher than HOD? - I don't want to ruin the relationship, particularly as he will be her teacher next year. Or do I just leave it and hope for better next year?, which I was convinced would be the case.

Thank you for reading, I know my post is long and detailed but the issue is constantly flying around my head - I suppose I have a conflict as a parent and secondary school teacher and can't see the way forward. This is also an OFSTED outstanding school in ALL categories....................

Thanks again

BrilliantDayForTheRace Sat 04-Jul-15 22:57:17

This is exactly what happens when your child does not do well. They lie and said they did fine.

I have had this for years and years.

There is nothing you can do besides extra support at home.

School will never admit they've lied.

mrsnewfie Sun 05-Jul-15 13:53:27

Without excusing whatever is going on in the classroom, I reckon the staff will have been told to report like that. SMT will be desperate to keep their outstanding status and a drop in progress data will not be favourable for Ofsted status.

I was in a school where we were told by those on high to show progress at all times. It's an absolute disgrace but it stems from the Ofsted fear factor.

I don't think you're going to get anywhere with the matter. I would probably sit tight, support your child at home and hope for a better teaching experience next year. Would you be in a position to employ a tutor to get your daughter up to speed?

woodlands01 Sun 05-Jul-15 15:45:15

Thank you for the replies - you have confirmed what I have thought, I'm not really going to get anywhere with it. I am lucky - I can support at home, one of my closest friends is a Science Teacher (I'm Maths so we can swap extra help!) and I can afford a tutor if necessary. DD going to love me ...........................

CamelHump Sun 05-Jul-15 15:48:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HettyD Sun 05-Jul-15 16:31:23

I have to say I WOULD go higher, there will be a SLT link to the Science dept. I would email (or write) to the head of faculty outlining your concerning, referencing the results she has had, tests missed and previous conversations. I would make sure I CC in the SLT link and make it clear you 'look forward to hearing from them in the next 48 hours'. If you do t I would go straight to the SLT link. School management need to hear this is happening,the staff member is clearly out of their depth, they need help and such a discrepancy between report and grades needs to be highlighted. You could also reiterate the fact you expect your child to have support next year to achieve their predicted grade. Good luck!!

Hezaire Tue 07-Jul-15 18:45:52

Science teacher here.

Do all you can at home, revision guides, encourage her to do questions not just blindly read the text. Ask teacher to email you extra work. Teacher is probably paranoid now as you are possibly correct in your concerns about the class.
Revision before tests. Work through "skills" such as the meanings of the words : precision, accuracy, reliability, independent variable, dependent variable....

Find out what gcse she will be taking and download the spec

Will she have a new teacher next year?

thehumanjam Tue 07-Jul-15 18:51:36

I would go higher. It's not acceptable. Drop the head of Science an email asking them to provide a rationale for the C grade. It sounds a pretty rubbish school if that's how they carry on. If the pupils at my sons school under perform everybody wants to know why.

PenelopePitstops Tue 07-Jul-15 20:27:45

Working at grades can differ from assessment grades. It's not that unusual. A working at grade gives a more holistic view of the child, including all evidence, not just assessment. As a maths teacher this can include mini tests through the year, classwork and verbal response.

woodlands01 Thu 16-Jul-15 21:46:05

Thank you everyone for your useful replies.
I have taken this up AGAIN with Head of Science. The rationale for the C grade is that in over 10 assessments, on average, DD was 0.3 off a C grade. While I sort of get this my concern is that her recent results have dropped and she has become increasingly dis-interested in Science. I also understand that results can be given based on a holistic view of the student. However, surely end of year assessments give the true picture - why else are they done and in year 11 GCSEs are generally based on end of year tests (I know ISAs are included).
There is no way my daughter would get a C grade in Science now. So why give her that working at grade on a report when latest assessments are at E. I understand she may be 'working at' C grade in class but she needs to replicate this is exams and if she isn't then I (and her teachers) need to know so we can support her. The cynic in me says they want to shut me up (given I've already complained about deteriorating grades) and the teacher is covering themselves as DD is a B grade target student.
Anyhow - I will continue to support as Hezaire suggests (I can feel the love coming from DD smile). Thank you for that - past papers & mark schemes purchased and ready to work on.
Also her teachers next year are strong in all three science subjects and the head of science is teaching her. So I am grateful to the head of science for listening and thinking carefully about where his staff should be allocated. Current teacher also seems to have been strategically placed.

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