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    I'm applying to university to study anthropology after having taken a gap year. Last year when I applied our school was really bad with target grades and actually a lot of people didn't get offers (or the offers they wanted) because teachers were pulling down target grades so it would heighten the chances of students 'exceeding' their targets (or just look that way). Our school was basically failing so teachers were doing whatever they could to make it seem as though they were improving it even though we weren't. As if this wasn't bad enough (I was left without any offers) my Spanish teacher basically disappeared- I'm not joking me and my friend have no idea where he went and the school didn't really seem to either. There was only two of us in the class and my friend, having lived in Spain for over ten years, actually spoke Spanish and we'd both achieved A*'s at GCSE. We didn't need loads and loads of support but nonetheless it was less than 8 weeks to our actual A level exams and learning a language at that level is very complex. Our school gave us a good supply teacher who was fluent in three languages and we were so glad to get her because, as was so often the case with our school, they usually got young, under qualified teachers to come in and they would keep replacing them every few weeks meaning students were always having to get the new supplies up to speed. Knowing time was crucial and wanting to avoid this me and my friend spoke to the head teacher and told her how helpful we were finding our new supply and asked that she not be replaced before our exams. The head agreed and thanked us for letting her know. However, not two weeks later and she was told to leave bc they had found someone 'better suited'. Me and my friend were shocked and unhappy, but gave this new, better teacher a chance. After less than an hour with him it became clear that he was not better qualified. He informed me that he had not taught an A level AQA class before and after my friend spoke to him in Spanish we both realised that he could barely give a complete answer to a basic question. His Spanish was not fit for teaching GCSE level. We asked our head of languages what we should do and she was incredibly rude and unhelpful and seemed to think we were just being difficult. Two weeks later another Spanish teacher took the old new supplies place. Baring in mind that we now had less than three weeks to go before our first Spanish exam we discovered that our new teacher had never taught an A level languages class before. He also couldn't speak Spanish and was left googling every second word to try and figure out what he was meant to be teaching us. It's worth mentioning that despite our best efforts to fit it around revision for Spanish and our other A level subjects, we had not even finished all the topics! The stress and anxiety brought on by the entire fiasco was made worse by the fact that our first exam was our A Spanish oral. The two of us went in having done all preparation without any help or support from a teacher- despite asking the school for help they just waited us out and with time scarce we had to do everything ourselves. Revision is one thing but you need qualified teaching staff there to help you. Spanish was my best GCSE subject and was meant to be the subject I got my best grade in at A level. However having to try and teach myself the remaining units, revise for the exams and fit in revision for my other two subjects on top of all the upset, stress and anxiety I was feeling, completely destroyed my A levels. Before all this happened and our teacher hadn't yet disappeared I'd made a revision timetable that worked perfectly. The majority of the time was designated to AQA business studies revision which I found to be my hardest subject with the most course content. Spanish and RE had pretty much the same time needed to revise (Spanish even a little less given that I was on track back then and felt confident about the exams). However after the Spanish disaster I naturally had to give over loads more time to what had once been my best subject. Consequently my business grade suffered as did my RE grade which I was hoping to get an A in (I got a C as my final grade). In the end I got 2 D's and a C. I know these aren't horrendous grades (maybe for some they are idk) but for me they didn't reflect anything like I would have gotten had I not been thrown a curveball at the 11th hour. I feel let down by my school who avoided me and my friend and told us to just get on with it basically. There can be difficulties but no student should be expected to teach themselves the last two and a half units of an A level especially a language and still do well in all their other subjects. Since I was applying for anthropology (and not many uni's offer just anthropology) my grades don't come close to what the entry requirements are. Now I'm reapplying I'm looking to take a foundation year in anthropology or maybe social sciences. I'm writing this rather long winded post to see if anyone can help me with applying with extenuating circumstances. Is it still relevant now I've taken a year out? Do I need to tell them about extenuating circumstances if I'm applying for a foundation year? Will I need my school to back me up etc. Any help at all would be much appreciated. I'm not dwelling on my last year at school but it's effected getting a place at university once and I don't feel it's fair that it should. So I'm just wondering what I should do. Thank you!
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    (Original post by anousha_f)
    I'm applying to university to study anthropology after having taken a gap year. Last year when I applied our school was really bad with target grades and actually a lot of people didn't get offers (or the offers they wanted) because teachers were pulling down target grades so it would heighten the chances of students 'exceeding' their targets (or just look that way). Our school was basically failing so teachers were doing whatever they could to make it seem as though they were improving it even though we weren't. As if this wasn't bad enough (I was left without any offers) my Spanish teacher basically disappeared- I'm not joking me and my friend have no idea where he went and the school didn't really seem to either. There was only two of us in the class and my friend, having lived in Spain for over ten years, actually spoke Spanish and we'd both achieved A*'s at GCSE. We didn't need loads and loads of support but nonetheless it was less than 8 weeks to our actual A level exams and learning a language at that level is very complex. Our school gave us a good supply teacher who was fluent in three languages and we were so glad to get her because, as was so often the case with our school, they usually got young, under qualified teachers to come in and they would keep replacing them every few weeks meaning students were always having to get the new supplies up to speed. Knowing time was crucial and wanting to avoid this me and my friend spoke to the head teacher and told her how helpful we were finding our new supply and asked that she not be replaced before our exams. The head agreed and thanked us for letting her know. However, not two weeks later and she was told to leave bc they had found someone 'better suited'. Me and my friend were shocked and unhappy, but gave this new, better teacher a chance. After less than an hour with him it became clear that he was not better qualified. He informed me that he had not taught an A level AQA class before and after my friend spoke to him in Spanish we both realised that he could barely give a complete answer to a basic question. His Spanish was not fit for teaching GCSE level. We asked our head of languages what we should do and she was incredibly rude and unhelpful and seemed to think we were just being difficult. Two weeks later another Spanish teacher took the old new supplies place. Baring in mind that we now had less than three weeks to go before our first Spanish exam we discovered that our new teacher had never taught an A level languages class before. He also couldn't speak Spanish and was left googling every second word to try and figure out what he was meant to be teaching us. It's worth mentioning that despite our best efforts to fit it around revision for Spanish and our other A level subjects, we had not even finished all the topics! The stress and anxiety brought on by the entire fiasco was made worse by the fact that our first exam was our A Spanish oral. The two of us went in having done all preparation without any help or support from a teacher- despite asking the school for help they just waited us out and with time scarce we had to do everything ourselves. Revision is one thing but you need qualified teaching staff there to help you. Spanish was my best GCSE subject and was meant to be the subject I got my best grade in at A level. However having to try and teach myself the remaining units, revise for the exams and fit in revision for my other two subjects on top of all the upset, stress and anxiety I was feeling, completely destroyed my A levels. Before all this happened and our teacher hadn't yet disappeared I'd made a revision timetable that worked perfectly. The majority of the time was designated to AQA business studies revision which I found to be my hardest subject with the most course content. Spanish and RE had pretty much the same time needed to revise (Spanish even a little less given that I was on track back then and felt confident about the exams). However after the Spanish disaster I naturally had to give over loads more time to what had once been my best subject. Consequently my business grade suffered as did my RE grade which I was hoping to get an A in (I got a C as my final grade). In the end I got 2 D's and a C. I know these aren't horrendous grades (maybe for some they are idk) but for me they didn't reflect anything like I would have gotten had I not been thrown a curveball at the 11th hour. I feel let down by my school who avoided me and my friend and told us to just get on with it basically. There can be difficulties but no student should be expected to teach themselves the last two and a half units of an A level especially a language and still do well in all their other subjects. Since I was applying for anthropology (and not many uni's offer just anthropology) my grades don't come close to what the entry requirements are. Now I'm reapplying I'm looking to take a foundation year in anthropology or maybe social sciences. I'm writing this rather long winded post to see if anyone can help me with applying with extenuating circumstances. Is it still relevant now I've taken a year out? Do I need to tell them about extenuating circumstances if I'm applying for a foundation year? Will I need my school to back me up etc. Any help at all would be much appreciated. I'm not dwelling on my last year at school but it's effected getting a place at university once and I don't feel it's fair that it should. So I'm just wondering what I should do. Thank you!
    You need to contact EACH of the universities you're applying to to ask them their process for extenuating circumstances.

    Most will ask for either a form to be completed or a formal letter from your school explaining the situation. eg http://www.bristol.ac.uk/applicants/...circumstances/

    It's also useful to have your reference mention that your teaching was disrupted.
 
 
 
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