Sunday, February 12, 2012

School Report

Rose ... is as good as gold at school, bless her. (Actually she is pretty good at home too!) She is very proud of the fact that she has never, ever misbehaved at school or been told off for anything by her teacher. She likes learning, and her teacher describes her as "a little sponge". Everything just soaks in. Reading is coming along fast, though she tends to need a bit of coaxing when she is ready to move up a reading level as her confidence lags behind her ability. On the whole, though, she is getting steadily more confident. She was actually excited instead of nervous about getting to collect a merit certificate in front of the whole school (at her school the kids get stamps on a merit card for good work, and after 25 stamps they get presented with a certificate). On the other hand, when the school had a professional theatre company in to perform a pantomime, Rose took one look and bolted straight back to the classroom! Fortunately her teacher had more sense than to send her back and she apparently had fun helping to do "jobs" while everyone else watched the show.

Marie ... her new school still seems to be a good fit for her and most of her teachers were complimentary, though a bit more focus and a bit less day-dreaming would be good.  She is now at the stage of choosing GCSE courses. Compulsory subjects are English Language, English Literature, Maths and Science, for which Marie has been put in an advanced group where they take three separate GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry and Biology; she then gets to do four more subjects of her choice. Her options form had to be in by the end of last week and her final choices were Art, French, History and Business Studies. Art she has always enjoyed. Her choice of history surprised me as she has always complained she doesn't like it. Apparently "history is much more interesting at this school". Glad to hear it! Business Studies is her makeweight, as there was nothing else that particularly wanted to do. French has become a favourite since she started at this school in September. I can't say enough positive things about her French teacher, who has somehow managed to enthuse Marie into working hard and using what is turning out to be a latent talent for languages. The UK National Curriculum is graded in Levels, with the average rate of progress being one full Level every two years. At the end of last school year Marie was graded as Level 4b for French (below average for her age). Suddenly she has shot up to Level 6a/7 (well above average) - in theory that is 5 years worth of progress in 6 months! At the parent-teacher consultation I said how impressed I was with how well she was doing given that she had only been at Level 4 last year. Bemused teacher said that simply wasn't possible! Amazing what a bit of effort on Marie's part can achieve.

Helen ... is also still loving the new school but had a disaster with her Product Design course when she lost a folder containing an entire term's coursework. Faced with the near impossibility of catching this up we have come up with a Plan B. She dropped Product Design - a shame in a way as she was good at it, but she did admit that the amount of work was beginning to overwhelm her even before she lost the folder - and is planning to add in Maths and ICT (information technology) next year. Usually young people in the UK who take A level course take three subjects at A2 (advanced) level and one at AS (advanced subsidiary) level. Helen will end up with two A2s (English Language and Media Studies), two ASs (Photography and Maths) and a BTEC (technical / vocational qualification) in ICT. If she decides she wants to go to university she may need to take a second year of Maths to boost that up to an A2, which she could do during a gap year, but currently she thinks she would rather look for an apprenticeship in something media or ICT related, possibly web design.


Karen Edmisten said...

Love your school reports, and I always find it so interesting to hear about the structure of schools and courses there. I think something really lacking in our U.S. system is the option to look at apprenticeships. There's too much emphasis on getting everyone to college, when it's not, in reality, a goal for all.

Missus Wookie said...

Poor Helen - Princess dropped Product Design for the amount of coursework too (that and it clashed with Chemistry). Hope the maths thing works out.

Congrats to Marie on the French improvement - you'll have to go to France so she can try 'em out and yeah for Rose's teacher having so many jobs :)