GCSE’s and Beyond

Posted on March 20th, 2014

I feel at a crossroads with the eldest teen. Nick and I have come back from an important meeting with school where they have sung the praises of Alistair, told us how proud we should be and how he is obviously going to do so well in his GCSE’s.

Ally, a cheerful happy go lucky lad

Nick and I were a little taken aback by this. He has just had a school report home as the basis of this meeting, his last before his exams this summer detailing his mock results and predicted grades. His predictions are mostly A’s with a few B’s, of course we are delighted about this, however his Mock results were, mainly D’s with a few B’s and one A.

 School Report

I now sit back at home reflecting on this and wondering why they choose to praise my all too laid back son who clearly has spent far too much time enjoying family life on the farm and not enough time revising for his mocks. Surely they should have taken this opportunity to give him a verbal kick up the ass in front of us and tell him to pull his finger out and do some revision over the next few weeks so he realises his predictive grades. I am cross with myself for being taken in by their lovely comments and not pointing this out. I love him dearly and am delighted he is quite bright and keeps up with his homework and assignments with some excellent results, but praise for doing precious little by way of revision is not what he needs.

School  Mock Exam Results

We tried to understand which subjects he should focus on for ‘A’ levels, but none of us are any clearer as a result of the meeting. I’m sure the teachers talked themselves in circles. Alistair is a capable all rounder showing no preference between subject areas. Trying to understand for university if an ‘A’ level in Maths is worth more than one in Geography, or if carrying on four subjects and risking lower grades than pursuing just three subjects is still far from clear. Tomorrow is the deadline for handing in the form to stay on for 6th form and he is still in a dither. He has no idea what he wants to do for a career which doesn’t help us either.

At the moment I think he is going to put down for Maths, Physics, Business Studies and Geography but with a possible swap to English and or French. Thankfully the teachers have confirmed that right up to the first few weeks of the new term he can still change his mind. For this I am very grateful as Ally is quite likely to swap depending on his final exam grades.

Selling 6th Form at Parents Evening

We were also told that the AS levels were being dropped at the end of the 1st year of A levels, yet my friend came out of her meeting saying she was told they would definitely be taking them. Is this central Government being indecisive or just local schools unable to work out what is going on? Either way it is not filling me with confidence in the UK education system right now or the school despite the sales pitch they try to give in their bid to keep pupils on into their sixth form.

In some ways having teens is great; they are more responsible, capable and independent and for us really help out with the family business. Socially both Alistair (age 15) and Felix (age 13) are maturing into a new level of sibling friendship and enjoy a good discussion with us as parents.


Teen teamwork & friendship on the farm


However the worry of guiding them in making the best choices for their future life is every bit as onerous as selecting their first preschool. If anyone has been through this stage recently and knows what the Universities are looking for or how to motivate a too laid back teen to revise, I’d be delighted to hear as I think the teachers are far from clear and so in turn are we. 

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