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  • Any Teachers on Here?

    Do we have any high school teachers on here please?

    I have tried googling this but am coming up with nothing but timetables.

    Basic gist, Victoria is in Year 9, and has come home today with a letter for me to sign about exams in Summer 2009,

    AQA FCSE/B French
    EDEXL/GCSE GCSE/FC Mathematics 1

    There are also two prices, French being £15 and Maths £5.20

    Underneath this it says, 'I agree to the above entries and understand that if my son/daughter fails to attend any component of the examination, including failing to complete coursework requirements, the Goveners can recover the full examination fees as listed above (1988 Education Act)

    Now I haven't a clue what all this is, it does point towards her being entered in these exams in Summer this year, but she has stated that they haven't been doing any coursework for the courses. She is on the able and gifted student program, so I wondered if she was being fast tracked, but she said everyone got a letter. Obviously I am going to phone the school tomorrow to see what all this is about, but just wondered if anyone could tell me anything before then.

  • #2
    I used to work in secondary schools and I know it was pretty standard practice there to get the parents/guardians to agree to cough up for the examination fees if their child failed to take the exam....however not completely sure why she's got that in Y9 if she hasn't done any coursework - unless they're getting in nice and early and now get you to agree before starting the coursework even
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    • #3
      Well I have just been looking around the exam board sites and it seems that the French one is for pupils that are dropping French at the end of year 9, it gives them something to show for the 3 years they have had to learn it.

      The maths one seems to be a foundation level entry, which implies that if she passes this, then for years 10 and 11 she could well be doing the higher level GCSE... which is nice


      • #4

        I am a maths teacher, although I currently teach in the 8 -13 year old age range, I have previously taught both GCSE and A level maths. However, it is about 4 years since I taught in a secondary school so things may have changed!

        As you say, ask the school directly about these exams. I'm a little suspicious: previously the exams normally done at the end of y9 were the Key Stage 3 exams (also known as 'Sats') in Maths, Science and English. These exams were free. However, these exams have now been scrapped for y9 pupils (they are still going to take place for pupils at the end of y6 - Key Stage 2 'Sats') so perhaps the school has introduced these exams in place of the KS3 exams?

        However, with my cynical hat on, one wonders whether these exams have been designed by the exam boards (of which AQA and EdExcel are two - both big business) as a cash genearting scheme. Once Victoria has a clutch of good GCSEs (and then possibly A levels, NVQs, degrees etc.) will anyone really be interested in an exam she did as a 13 year old? One of the reasons the KS3 exams were dropped is because our children are becoming over examined and 'taught to the test' instead of educated. I'm not saying don't do these exams - and peer presure is very powerful in school, if everyone else is doing them, then it may be best for Victoria to do them to - but do make sure you find out from the school why they are doing them.

        If she does do these exams this summer, the bear in mind there are probably now only about 10 teaching weeks until them!

        Sorry - the above hasn't, perhaps been as much help as you might have liked, and I may have left you with more questions than answers! I would very much like to hear what the school says.

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        • #5
          Our youngest, Adam, is in year 9 and I understand that some of them are doing the Science one in June. If we'd stayed in Dorset he'd have been doing a couple of others this year too, I think one of them would have been Maths, fast tracking like you say. If I remember our middle son Tom, did a few 'parts' of his gcse's the year before too...I can't remember but I Think it was to split up the workload and take the pressure off for the next year? I may be wrong though. We went along to the options evening last week and I couldn't believe it when we worked out that most of them could end up with something like 14 GSCE's, ICT counts for up to 3, Science is 3, then the other core subjects, PE can result in a diploma/certificate in leadership or coaching, and he can also stay on for 1 hour a week and try for Geology GCSE! Good luck for your daughter, I hope she does well
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          • #6
            Nettie, it's amazing how many GCSEs they are doing when you add it up isn't it! We went to her option evening and I didn't take into account the ones they have to do as core subjects.

            She wants to do something with food, so was thinking of a chef, we suggested the Human Health and Psyciology (sp) as that included nutrition and dietry stuff. Then she picked the sciences, which as you say is 3 grades, and then for the third one she picked the food one that is done in 1 year, to be followed by Modern History for a year in year 11. So that's 6 without taking into account the core subjects.

            I actually fancy the one year History course, it's all about Jack the Ripper, police techniques and forensics


            • #7
              Your school sounds like the one I taught maths at last year where the more able pupils were put in for examinations early. I agree with Delta about the probability of the French one being a conclusion of 3 years work. The maths paper looks like it is the foundation paper which means she can get up to a grade C. Possibly the school is entering them for this to give them some motivation for their GCSE and as a confirmation for those that can do well in the higher paper in year 10 with an idea to giving them statistics or AS in year 11


              • #8
                Hiya - I'm a maths teacher. The maths exam will probably be a module. If it is module 1 then it is just the part on statistics and probability. Studnets normally get a chance to resit it if needs be. As there is no coursework there are just three module exams. Two of them are normally sat before the final GCSE entry then the final one in the summer of year 11.

                Hope that makes sense - let me know if you have any other questions!


                • #9
                  Delta, sounds like your daughter is going to have a great selection of qualifications and interests. I really wish her the best. I'm just thankful that all 3 of our boys are pretty bright, the standards, course work, homework etc that they do seems so much more than I can remember doing. That modern history one sounds interesting (did you watch 'Whitechapel' on the telly?). Adam had to complete his options form by this Friday, when does your daughter have to return hers by?
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                  • #10
                    I saw the first Whitechapel, but forgot about the others

                    I am not sure when the options have to be in for, but she knew what she wanted, we just needed some clarification on a couple of points, and she handed her completed sheet in that night.

                    I spoke to the school this morning and apparently the French one is something that will give them a certificate for the three years they have done, and the Maths one is a module that they would normally have done in the November of year 10. If they pass then they just carry on, if they fail it this time, then they get to work towards it again. Has something to do with them not doing SATS anymore, but will help her along.

                    And as to food, well she is currently in the kitchen making a stew!


                    • #11
                      Hi! Don't know about the Maths but the French is a Foundation Certificate in Secondary Education and lots of schools are doing it for Year 9 this year. It's a proper qualification and worth points, not as many as a GCSE, and is certified at the equivalent of National Curriculum levels 4 (pass), level 5 (merit) and 6 (distinction). I guess lots of people are dropping languages after Year 9 which may be why many schools are doing it, but is also a very good basis for GCSE.
                      It doesn't include coursework, but they do have to do tests in at least 3 units in listening, speaking, reading and writing. They have to have 2 of the speaking tests recorded.
                      If that's not enough detail... to get a Level 4, they need to know one tense (present tense), level 5, 2 tenses, and level 6, 3 tenses (past and future)
                      How do I know so much?? I'm a languages teacher and we're doing it at my school!

                      The system of exams is so complicated these days. I'm only guessing, but the Maths could be to do with the fact that SATs have been abandoned and the school may wish to give some kind of certification for all the hard work they've put in up to now, and get an 'official' judgement of how they are doing??? Only a wild guess!

                      Helena xx