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 Post subject: Early GCSEs and English
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:31 pm
Posts: 132
Hi all!

Sasha, I was sorry to hear about your DD and English. As a general point, we are coming to the end of Year 8 and, no, it never ends - there is always something which agitates or disturbs our child or us at any one time. And, no, after 9 years of primary and seconday schools so far, we have not found a way of ever getting to the bottom of anything or of properly resolving most things. I think this is how modern parenthood is meant to be! .... We are OK with English, at least for now, but remain frustrated with Maths and, especially, Physics: good to very good grades so far but Physics, in particular, might need addressing soon. No joy with the teacher this academic year, but her point that the penny will eventually drop may well be the case. .... For English, I guess wider reading and a bit more reading is always recommended by all the English teachers I have worked with. Are you able to try a little chat about any subject or topic of interest to your DD? Might you utilise and demonstrate some linguistic devices this way? ... I'm afraid I do a bit of this for other subjects and it can work. Good luck, anyway!

Guest55, I have read somewhere recently that more and more University Admissions Tutors are now asking for GCSEs taken together. They want to see evidence that the candidate can do their GCSEs at the same time, as well as living a full and normal life. This suggests to the Tutors that the candidate is a good bet to develop well and quickly as an independent, self motivated, hard working, well balanced and academically successful undergraduate.

WH


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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I have only just spotted this thread. I work 1-1 with students who are missing target grades in English. Firstly, for the life of me I cannot see why she is taking this a year early- whatever for? As daveg and others correctly say, there is no allowance for that and a D is a D is a D. I agree with the consensus on here that this has little to recommend it.

English is a very hard subject to put right in short time spans. Maths is easier...you can spot what a child doesn't understand and work on it. English doesn't really lend itself to 'firefighting' and I have a real job separating out children's problems with it. They usually fall into 2 categories: not understanding what they are reading and writing about; and understanding it but not being able to express it in any useful way on paper. The answer to the first is to read loads - AQA is media-heavy* so that means things like newspapers, persuasive texts, information texts etc, and then ask 'what is the author trying to say?', 'how do I know?' etc. Look at whether devices like exaggeration, simile etc work in the context.

That is the easy bit in many ways. Problems with being unable to express what one wants to say are more common and more difficult to sort out. Think how many otherwise intelligent people can't write or even talk articulately. I work long and hard on this kind of thing and can't offer you many tips really. Perhaps she just finds it harder to express herself than she or you would expect. The school ought to help - and in my opinion the first way they can do this is by withdrawing her from early entry English, which actually I have never heard of any school doing. There are good reasons why they don't.

Will mount my soapbox only briefly to say to any parent who is considering a school with this early specialisation / taking options early....think very carefully. It might be marketed one way to you, but there are many pitfalls and sasha's DD has hit just one of them. If enough parents were to express informed objections, this kind of thing, which in my view does a disservice to just about everyone except possibly the school in its league tables, would surely stop.

* I am probably not supposed to express an opinion, but yes, the course is dreadful for those of us who don't necessarily want our kids commenting on adverts for romantic breaks for the long-married ('put the spice back in your relationship' accompanied by a picture of a couple in bed; p16 of the 'targeting A/A* text book).
But so are most of the others. You could maybe seek solace in iGCSE magwich. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 8:30 am
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Amber wrote:
Will mount my soapbox only briefly to say to any parent who is considering a school with this early specialisation / taking options early....think very carefully. It might be marketed one way to you, but there are many pitfalls and sasha's DD has hit just one of them.


Even if you ignore the obvious pitfalls, no-one appears able to articulate any advantage to taking exams early. Probably because there aren't any.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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daveg wrote:
Even if you ignore the obvious pitfalls, no-one appears able to articulate any advantage to taking exams early. Probably because there aren't any.
Unless you count being able to say 'of course, he took it 2 years early and still got the highest mark ever recorded' to (soon to be ex-) friends. :lol:


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