Before the Easter holiday, Year 12 were pulled into an assembly with the Head of Sixth Form and told that if they were on the list they had compiled, they would be dropping a subject that day. This was five weeks before the start of exam season.
They went on to read out the list of people dropping subjects in front of the rest of the year, and were then told to stay behind whilst the others could leave. They said that those students picked out would have to drop a subject, without any prior choice or parental consultation, and, if like some, you were on the list and were only taking three A-Levels already, you would have to reconsider your options (i.e 'you can kiss goodbye to going to university').
There are quite a few issues that we have with how the school has handled this situation. Whilst these students that were listed were failing at least one subject, and this needed to be addressed before they failed their actual exams, the school firstly shouldn't have done this so close to exams (when in a lot of subjects a great deal of coursework had already been completed), and secondly shouldn't have done it so publicly. Naming and shaming underachievers in a time of stress and anxiety doesn't do well, especially amongst teenagers.
There is also the suddenness of it all. It seems very unfair to make a student choose on something that will affect the rest of their lives in a day, without prior warning, all without the consultation of the parents who, as this is Year 12, are still responsible for their child. Also, it is not the school's place to demand a student drop a subject, especially before exam time.
There is also a moral point to be made. It seems morally repugnant that, rather than taking the time to work with students in a difficult position and find a way to work around the problem in a more constructive and less forceful manner, the school would adopt this blanket cut-throat and frankly knee-jerk reaction (sound familiar?) to the prospect of another year of bad grades on their record, especially with an inspection on the horizon. Rather than safeguarding students' futures, it sounds like the school once again protecting their own arses.