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This is a query for secondary teachers. I am currently battling with my local secondary school over course choices for S6. The school had initially offered a Higher Philosophy, but has subsequently withdrawn the course due to a low number of pupils applying (6 pupils). What I would like to know is, is there a minimum number needed to run a course? Can a school refuse to accommodate the educational choice of a pupil?
As the parent of one of the pupils involved I am concerned that the other choices available do not articulate well with the crop of Advanced Highers and Highers my son will be studying in S6; and are in fact highly unsuitable to his choice of future study at University. We are aware of another pupil locally who is facing the same problem although his has been exacerbated by a conflict of subjects. The school use a columnar approach for choosing subjects and it seems this has created difficulties over selection for more than just us.
As a solution to this difficulty, we suggested to the school that our son would undertake independent study of the course if they could supply course materials and supervise the NABs, however they have more or less told us that this course of action is impossible; so we are now in the horns of a dilemma as to how to proceed. Any advice, suggestions or information is most welcome.
This whole situation has left me very confused, as many moons ago, when I sat my CSYS Art I was the ONLY pupil taking the subject in the whole school. Surely in this age of personalisation and choice it can't be the case that, "you can have any colour as long as it's black."
Many thanks in advance.
Thanks to both of you for your replies.
Airy, we are mounting a campaign of attrition to put pressure on the school to accommodate us in some way, either by facilitating independent study or arranging for our son to access the philosophy course through another local school. Distance is something of an issue though due to the rural nature of our part of the LA, despite its being 3rd largest in Scotland, and transport links are pretty dire.
We have also written to our local University with a view to obtaining support, since they are ranked joint first in the UK for Philosophy and we feel it is in their interest to help develop this subject in feeder schools.
I am aware of night classes taking place in one of the local colleges but there is such a paucity of information on this that I am unsure of exactly how many/few of the colleges or High Schools actually offer Higher Philosophy. They also have issues with the numbers of interested parties!
Centres usually have the right of discretion as to what subjects/numbers they present
However if there is a member of staff free and available to take the class, it is often worthwhile taking this up directly with your local authority or with your councillor. Schools may want the teaching time for please takes
I know of schools who have offered AHs with 2 or 3 pupils due to parental pressure, particularly of two or more parents dig their heels in (AH Biology for pupils who wanted to do medicine). If you know of other parents then you can work together.
Also have you tried the YASS scheme of self study to see if there is something similar? Pupils can get bursaries for these.
I always object to the fact a school can't find the resources for bright and able pupils, but find lots of funding for the nutters and wasters - residential trips, days out etc. You'd be as well p*ssing the money against a wall.
I just had a look into YASS and although they offer lots of interesting modules for study they don't seem to do Philosophy or related studies, which is a great shame. We are not alone in our disenchantment with the school over this and know of at least one other parent who is similarly disappointed. We have managed to enlist their support in our campaign and hope to put pressure on the school to review their decision. We have already drafted a letter to the Director of Education in our local authority and await a reply.
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