The year 10 exams

My eldest’s last school report made depressing reading. There were far too many predictions of Cs and even Ds at GCSE.

My son is not a grade C kind of boy. He is a bright boy, with a huge general knowledge and a real interest in current affairs and the world around him.

But he has terrible handwriting and isn’t very good at getting his homework done. He does the bare minimum at school. He hides his light under a bushel.

In a huge comprehensive school, the teachers are too busy to go looking for that light under the bushel.

But recently my son decided he wants to go to grammar school for 6th Form. This is a huge turnaround and one I’ve very happy about. To get to grammar school will take some work. It shouldn’t be beyond him, but he really needs to get rid of those predictions of C and D or a grammar school won’t give him a second glance.

In his recent exams, something strange happened. My son revised.

Not a lot. Not as much as I would have liked. But he did it.

He’s never revised for an exam before in his life. I’m ashamed to say that, thanks to a combination of poor communication from school and poor communication from my son, I never even knew when his year 7, 8 or 9 exams were.

I’m pretty sure my son has dysgraphia, which would explain the terrible handwriting and his inability to write a coherent sentence. He is clearly a lot brighter than his written work would lead anyone to believe.

So I was very pleased when the school contacted us a couple of months ago to say that my son has dispensation to use a laptop in exams for all of his subjects, apart from maths. This was a real lifeline for him. His chance to be able to express his ideas legibly and really prove his clever he actually is.

I never got to the bottom of why exactly he’d been given this. He must have been assessed for something, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters, is that he can use it.

And then the year 10 exams came along. And he didn’t use it. Fundamentally, I don’t think he could be bothered to be in a different room from everyone else. I felt frustrated and disappointed by him.

But the results spoke for themselves – As and Bs. I was so pleased. Exactly what I know he’s capable of and a million miles away from the depressing predictions. Yes, there were still one or two lower grades, in music and French, but as long as he can come out of his GCSEs with mainly As, he should be able to fulfil his dream of going to grammar school.

Last week I got a phone call from the school. I don’t think I’ve ever had a phone call from the school before (seriously, this is how hands-off a comprehensive can be). They were phoning to check that I was happy for my son to just use the laptop for English and history GCSEs and mocks, as he had done very well in all of his exams. I’m  happy with that. If he can get those results without a laptop, that is fine by me. And he still has the option to use it for any subject if he chooses to, right until the end of year 11.

The teacher on the phone said that the school was very pleased with his results. By her tone of voice, I took that to mean ‘surprised’.

But I’ll take pleased or surprised. I’m just happy to have a son who is finally showing what he is really capable of. Long may it continue.

Exam, Results, Son, 365, 366

Bubbablue and me school days linky

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I know exactly what you mean about a large comprehensive – they just get kind of lost in the system and no one really knows what they are capable of. I don’t know when my daughter’s year 9 exams are either! Well done to your boy, sounds like he’s made a good decision and is driving this himself – the best way 🙂

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    • Thanks very much! I would never have managed to nag him into it. I just hope he can keep the momentum up now! I’m so glad it’s not just me who doesn’t really know what’s going on at their child’s comprehensive.

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  2. Well done! That’s fantastic. It is wonderful that they have allowed him to use the laptop. It does make a whole lot of difference when people can actually read his handwriting. It’s good that the school has picked that up.

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    • Thanks very much! I’m really pleased the school has picked up on it. It has been a real worry for me for a while now.

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  3. Well done your boy…That is fantastic!
    My eldest girls school sounds the same….They have only rang once and that was when she was in trouble. lol

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    • Thanks very much! Glad it’s not just my boy’s school which fails to communicate!

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    • Thanks very much. I’m so pleased!

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  4. So good they let him use the laptop and it sounds like hes doing so well. I hope he gets the marks he wants and needs for the grammar sixth form. He definitely sounds like he can x

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    • Thanks very much. His attitude is so much better now, so I really hope he can keep the momentum up and make it to grammar school. Knowing he can use the laptop is a big weight off my mind.

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  5. Sounds like he’s a typical boy, previously doing what he needed to but that was it, and not bothering about the laptop. Something obviously clicked in the right direction though so great results and a big change.

    I hope N’s secondary school will be a bit more communicative than your school, although I do miss the nursery updates vs even reception class!

    Thanks for linking up with #schooldays

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    • Thanks very much. I guess he is a typical boy, although he’s the opposite to his brother, so I never know which is typical! It’s so good to see he’s finally focusing and getting the results.
      I think a lot of secondary schools are uncommunicative, although not all of them!

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    • Thanks very much! I really hope so too 🙂 x

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  6. That’s brilliant news, you must be so proud! I never really learnt how to revise until my a levels, so he’s one up on me. I used to know someone who assessed people to find their learning style, and then taught them their own best way to learn. I’m going to take my girls to see someone like this when they’re doing gcses, learning to learn is so crucial and not really taught in schools.

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    • Thanks very much! I’m really proud 🙂 All I ever did to revise was write notes and endlessly read them – exactly the opposite of what is recommended these days, but it worked for me!
      What a good idea to help find a child’s learning style! I’ve never heard of that before. x

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  7. Glad he’s starting to show his true potential. I hope the trend continues. It certainly sounds like that Grammar School place is within reach if he keeps this up.

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    • Thanks very much, it’s such a relief! The teachers are starting to say he has the potential for As if he works at it, so I really hope he keeps it up!

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  8. Thats great about your son Sarah – I got the shivers when i read he did so well and with his own handwriting too! Good luck to him with a laptop – he’ll be flying. They have to want to do it for themselves don’t they? My son listens to his friends and teachers more than us. My SGG has similar probs to your son and DH is tutoring outside school twice a week as his handwriting illegible. Really hope his assessment enables him to get a laptop. It will make all the difference – those poor kids born before they were invented! Jo x

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    • Thanks very much. I’m so proud of him.
      Sorry to hear you have the same struggles too. Thank goodness for laptops!

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  9. Good for him in proving the school wrong! the lack of communication from the school is astounding though.. I really hope he gets his place at Grammar School.

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    • Thanks very much! I hope so too! It’s incredible how little communication you get from some secondary schools.

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  10. What fantastic results, I’m sure he will get the grades he needs to pursue his next step. I do sometimes wonder if the predicated grades are lower to push you. I remember mine being C’s and I came out with B’s. I do also feel boys need to be on the right page for wanting to learn, my brother was so bright and let it all slip by. I’m so glad your son has realised this at the right time, I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

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    • Thanks very much. I can’t wait to see how he gets on!
      My brother never tried hard at school and my husband was the same too, so I guess it’s in his genes not to try.

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  11. ahh brilliant! well done to your son! I was predicted awful grades in maths because i just wouldnt go to lessons – a boy was sick in year 9 and that was it! i revised hard though and got a b instead of the d i was predicted. so much pressure tho isnt there. not fair on the kids #SSAmazingAchievements

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    • Thanks very much. What a nightmare about the boy in maths! I would have struggled with that too! You did well to get a B.

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  12. That is brilliant news! I have friends who have had such frustrating experiences in comps and it is easy for kids to get overlooked when teachers are dealing with such big classes. I think that is amazing that he has made the decision about sixth form, I always say to parents who are struggling to motivate their teens to try and find a focus and it can help. I hope that it keeps up, it would be such an achievement.

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    • Thanks very much! I really hope he keeps it up too. He still seems quite motivated by the idea of grammar school, so I hope that carries him through. I think he will feel he has let himself down a bit if he doesn’t get there, because he certainly has the ability!

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  13. Well done him that’s marvellous Sarah. A shame the school rated his marks lower than he was capable of, but in the end good on him – he’s risen to the challenge and has something to aim for. x

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