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Arty problem

September 18, 2013

I’m prepared for this year to be stressful. Both girls have got big exams coming up. Child One has her A levels approaching faster than a runaway train, and Child Two is staring down the barrel of ten GCSEs. I know I’m lucky in that both girls are motivated and want to do well. But it does sometimes feel as though Child Two’s school is working against me.

The problem is Art GCSE. Parents who’ve gone through this already will know exactly what I’m talking about – thirty pages of beautiful work are due to be handed in by November. Then there’s a mock, lasting hours, then more and more pages of work …. it’s too much. Child Two has gone from a very artistic girl to one muttering about how boring, and never-ending, the work is. Finally, after the class was told to fill a sketchbook with pictures over the summer, I decided that as soon as term started I’d see if Child Two could drop this subject.

So far I have rung the school eight times. I’ve got through, sometimes, and have now spoken to the head of year (a lovely woman) and the deputy head (a nice man). For reasons which I don’t understand at all, they are very resistant to Child Two dropping Art, though she is cruising towards a not-great grade and is fed up to the back teeth with it all. They’ve so far suggested that she drop French (she is virtually bilingual, having been brought up in a French-speaking country) or Science (as I still have the odd daydream about her becoming a doctor, she’s giving that up over my cold dead body).

I still haven’t had a definitive answer from the school. And I do understand that it is problematic for them when pupils want to chop and change. Normally, I would make Child Two stick to what she’s started. In this case, the work she would have to do for Art would detract from her other subjects – and to no good purpose, as she won’t get a great grade for Art either.

It’s exhausting trying to get things like this sorted out. Maybe she should just stop attending the lessons/doing the work, or maybe she should just knuckle down, accept it can’t be changed, and do her best. Or maybe I should go up to the school and shout more. What would you do?

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  • janerowena September 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Insist. It may be a timetabling problem, and of course she will have missed some work in whatever she intends to take up in its place so that will always be a worry. The pressure for teachers to succeed is just as great as it is for pupils. Email, turn up at the school, see the Director of Studies and tutor.

    • Dulwich Divorcee September 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      I completely agree. Keeping up a campaign is the only thing that works. I’ve finally now had an email from the head, saying she can give it up after half term! So I’ve written back saying she’ll drop it now, thanks. What’s the point in her carrying on knowing she’ll drop it in four weeks? I know there are a lot of girls to consider and they can’t all chop and change but in this case it seems a bit of a no-brainer!