Sunday, 14 February 2016

How the School System Works - Part Two

Different scores need to be looked at. One, that shows the number of students achieving 5 or more GCSE's are grade C or above. Another which shows those 5 GCSE's, but to include Mathematics and English. Others that show GCSE results from A to G. GCSE's are graded from between A* to U. U being unclassified. (So G does not stand for great!)

Usually A*, to C are classed as passes, D and below fails. Yes, I know me saying that may make me unpopular, but its true!  Some Further Education Colleges will accept D's, and E's. Schools will do anything up to exam time to help move those children predicted D's to move to C's, and will make some effort to help those genius A* students. So make sure your beloved takes makes every effort to go to every opportunity offered!  And it is also exam style which is important not just subject knowledge. It is really important you keep your child focused, let them go and socialize, but this time is so, so important. Oh and by the way, keep praising them. It does work! Negativity and you are a time waster type conversations only help to lower self-esteem. (Look I am a teacher, I know these things!)

So in general, your tinker gets 5 or more GCSE's, between A* to C, including English and Mathematics. That opens all doors. Some schools have played with qualifications that gives children say four GCSE's for one qualification. ICT – oops sorry, that's Information Communication Technology, working with computers – mostly using software! - has a qualification that gives students if they pass all the 'parts' more than one GCSE. Which does help those five GCSE targets that schools are desperate to reach. However now throwing in needing to have Mathematics and English within that five has stopped a few schools in their tracks!! So what happened? Some schools have found courses that are easily taken, and marked online – that means doing it on the computer, and the computer marks the work....who needs teachers? Huh? - In Literacy and Numeracy. That's another name for Math’s and English! And guess what? It helps boost the GCSE count.

So while statistics are really important, if you wish to be a naughty parent, ask the school what qualifications are used to report statistics? Could be interesting!

But don't get me started on SATS exams, in Primary Schools and Secondary Schools...that would take another book! (And yes, your child will be coached within the schools to produce the best results!)

So. Make sure your offspring behave. Tell them to be nice to the teachers. Even if they get on their wick, they are the ones that will help them pass. If you as a parent are not happy, go to the school. Insist. Insist that your child has the best opportunity to pass. Oh and I hope you read the earlier chapter first. Now remember that bit where I said go to the Form Tutor first? That is your way in! Use it!

And I must add about choices. No doubt you will be in a situation when your little rug rat is moving from Primary School to Secondary School. Now for me it was an easy choice, I only put one choice on the form! But that was my situation, and as a teacher I do know the different schools in the catchment area and which ones I would home teach them rather than let them go anywhere near those schools! So how do you find out? Apart from making friends with any staff member in the school, the key is to make sure that you attend the open evening, remembering that of course they will tell you lies too! Another idea is too hang around the school when the gates open and on an afternoon when the children leave. (Be careful not to look too suspicious!)

Do the children run out screaming? Is there teachers near the gates? Do the children come out of the school smartly dressed? Are the children hanging around outside the school smoking? (A decent school would not allow that!) Are the teachers smiling? Look for clues, apart from the obvious ones, like school results. Ask parents that you see waiting. Think of it like a project, your detection will gain results, promise!

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