Sunday, 15 February 2015

Mocks - now get ready for the real thing

Mock exams are over for my eldest daughter, J.  Despite high predicted grades, the mock results were a bit of a shock to her.  She did so well in all her sciences - A* for every one - but the biggest shock came with her English and Maths.  She is doing highers for each of these and her maths was a D and English a C.  She was disappointed to say the least. I had to try and say "hey, don't worry, they are just mocks and you've got plenty of time to study hard ready for the real thing" but deep down I was a bit worried too.
I'm not totally surprised by the maths result.  Her school went through massive changes at the end of summer term 2014.  The superb maths teacher left and a new teacher joined for the September. Unfortunately, she just couldn't control the class or command the respect the former maths teacher did and therefore standards slipped. In fact, standards in the school have been so bad that the whole school was under 'special measures' and turned to new staff, including the head, and academy status (ummm) in order to try and turn the dreadful results around.  The new maths teacher was a major problem.  J came home to her dad and I and was saying how badly the lessons were going; how pupils were walking out - not to miss the lesson, but to sit in the corridor and work alone so that they could LEARN!  Shocking to say the least. I phoned the school and ended up in correspondence with the new head of maths and finally, after some weeks, it turned around.  A new teacher was put in place and the work started properly again.  The problem with this period of disruption is that it has affected the pupils' mocks.  J tells me most people failed maths in the same areas - those areas taught by the teacher that could not control the class.  She now has additional maths lessons after school and when the disruption started, I got her a private tutor at my uni to help (whom J says is amazing).
Apparently her English mock feedback was that she 'didn't read the question' well enough and 'waffled on', said her teacher.  Fair enough. Lesson learned.  

She is determined to change those results. She's applied for 6th Form and been accepted at one already for all the subjects she wants (the sciences, English Lit and Maths) so I'm delighted for her.  She's putting her head down and focusing on her studies. 
I did give her a bit of a lecture though. You see, she's 16 and her phone runs her life.  Therefore, when she should be sleeping, she's often on her phone texting her friends. I have grumbled more than once about seeing a Facebook update at 2am!  For heavens sake!  She got the "stop texting at ridiculous hours, get some sleep, spend the time you were awake enough to be texting to bloody well study!"  Harsh?  Maybe. She said to me "yeah, thanks for the motivational speech mum", but as I also said, she has less than 4 months left of school to hit the grades she wants.  Surely 4 months out of your entire life is worth sacrificing a few blasted texts for?  She agreed.  
She wants to be a zoologist or a veterinary surgeon so she's going to try for one of the MOST competitive fields out there.  It put it in focus for her.  
She's a bright, clever girl...when she applies herself.  As her school parents' evening said, she really focuses in class but doesn't seem to do anything outside of it.  I don't think she could argue with that.
I'm very proud of her.  She knows what she wants and has done since she was a little girl just starting school.  She's never changed that.  I'm sure she will get her wish as she's so determined.  More importantly, she knows where it went wrong.  She has a plan.  That's more than many of her peers have so go girl!  You can do it! 

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