To be worried about the new Reception baseline tests

(27 Posts)
Piratepete1 Mon 15-Feb-16 21:36:21

My DD has just turned 4 and starts Reception in September 2016. She attends Nursery for 4 mornings a week and appears to be doing well.

My issue is that my DD has a very severe speech disorder. Long story short, she was 2 years behind 8 months ago with her speech and had her latest assessment last week. It was a wonderful day when we were told that her speech was now classed as average.

Obviously, it has taken some doing to get her speech up so much in such a short period of time and I am worried that we have neglected the other areas of learning.

A friend of mine has said that if they don't do well on the new baseline assessments on entry to Reception then they are marked down as 'failing to reach appropriate milestones on entry'. She swears this is what was written on her sons report.

Embarrassingly, I was a teacher but mainly Key Stage 1 and it was quite a while ago. I have no idea if my child is working at an average level or could do with some more support in different areas. One mother has hired a tutor for her 4 year old which seems barmy to me!

We like playing outside in the forest and the mudkitchen, and going on trips to museums and places of interest. Maybe we do too much of this and should do a bit more 'formal learning'. We read at least 3-4 books with DD every day. She knows all her letters but can't grasp rhyme or blend any letters together to form 3 letter words. She can only sight read names of the family. She can write her name and has a go at writing herself which is just a mix of the letters from her name.

She can count to 100 with a little help at each changeover e.g. 39 to 40 rather than 30-10, can recognise written numbers to 20 but can't really write any numbers.

I think what is concerning me is that we agreed to send her to a private school as they have an SEN teacher who would have given her 30mins 1 to 1 speech support every day, something which she wasn't going to get in the local state school. But now I think she (and me) would be happier with her in a less academic, pushy school.

AIBU to suggest to DH that I want her to go to the local primary?

edwinbear Mon 15-Feb-16 21:44:27

Ds, now in Y2, had glue ear which only cleared last October. He also had significant speech delay and couldn't grasp phonics/blending because he couldn't hear. He is at an independent school and sees their SEN teacher twice a week who has decided he is a child for whom phonics will never work so she moved him off, to sight reading which had suited him much better. He now reads a Horrid Henry book in a couple of nights with no trouble at all. As an independent school they choose not to partake in the phonic testing I have heard the local primaries do, nor do they do any reception baseline testing. In my experience, independent has been fantastic for him because they have the flexibility to work to an agenda that suits him best, rather than one that suits OFSTED or whoever it is that's sets these tests.

Piratepete1 Mon 15-Feb-16 21:46:56

That's reassuring to know, thank you. I think I have been a bit put off by a couple of mums who proudly announce their 4 year olds latest achievements at the gate, none of which my DD can do, and worry that she will struggle.

TeaT1me Mon 15-Feb-16 21:50:29

I think thats one of the things about being in independent or surrounded by pushy parents. Your child sounds fine, and as a teacher you surely know the last thing they need is to push formal learning so young!

Certainly getting a tutor that young is a little sad.

TeaT1me Mon 15-Feb-16 21:51:57

I disagree with a lot of the sats tests but I think the phonics teaching is fantastic. It's one of the downfalls of the independent sector that they're not always up to date with the phonics teaching. Find mrz as she's the one who is the expert on here.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 15-Feb-16 21:53:10

Sorry but your post is so wrong to me. She's 4. Far far too young to be even thinking about whether she's behind academically or not.

Kanga59 Mon 15-Feb-16 22:01:30

yanbu but I don't think it's a state/private thing, you just need to double check you're happy with your school choice and stop bothering to take note of what the other parents are boasting about.

WonderingAspie Mon 15-Feb-16 22:01:40

Agree with arethereany, sounds more like some sort of stealth boast saying she can count to 100 etc. Many reception age children cannot do the things you listed. DD is in Reception and some of them can only recognise their names. DD is considered very bright by her teacher and has just been up to Year 2 to do a bit of work and she cannot count to 100 and is just blending sounds.

Way too much pressure for such a young child!

YouTheCat Mon 15-Feb-16 22:09:31

If she knows all she does now, she'll be absolutely fine in primary.

I don't think any child not achieving a target would be marked as 'failing'. In our school they'd be marked as 'emerging', as in in the process of acquiring whatever skill is being looked at.

BeStrongAndCourageous Mon 15-Feb-16 22:17:03

Except for the speech issues she sounds exactly like my 4 year old DD in terms of her abilities and I'm always being told how bright she is! I don't think you've got anything to worry about.

Cuttheraisins Mon 15-Feb-16 23:02:15

The point I would like to make is that the test will make absolutely no difference to your daughter. She might get extra support in some areas, and be supported in her speech development. It will be a benchmark to assess her progress. All classes have children with speech delays, ds2 has a speech disorder and is doing really well academically And socially now in year 4. I am a childminder and also a school governor, my Dh is a primary school teacher and I can tell you that no single person I have spoken to likes the new assessment, sees the point in them, or how it will benefit the children. And nobody understands how the new 'assessing without levels' will really work in the years to come. Please don't worry about what others are boasting about. Ds2didnt speak before he was 4 and missed every single milestone!

Piratepete1 Mon 15-Feb-16 23:15:15

Thank you for your replies. I can assure you that I do have genuine concerns, it is not a stealth boast as DD doesn't seem to be at the level of a lot of other children in her class.

TeaT1me Mon 15-Feb-16 23:37:15

The children on my daughters preschool are playing. I see them playing when I drop off and pick up. I have absolutely no idea which ones can count and recognise letters and which can't. Why do you?

Most of it will be due to exposure rather than intelligence at that age too surely.

TeaT1me Mon 15-Feb-16 23:38:43

It sounds like a less pushy school would be ideal for (all?) most children. Is it a preschool attached to the private school? Certainly I strongly believe I learning through play in yr r and yr1 and not sure this should even be a worry for a 4 year old.

pudcat Tue 16-Feb-16 06:50:33

Surely all teachers are continually assessing their children in Nursery and Reception, mainly by observation at first. I know I have not taught Nursery for a few years now but we were always making observations and assessments and the children would not have known. These would then be transferred to a child's individual profile and progress made throughout the terms and the year could be seen. Any formal assessment of numbers. letters, phonics, shapes IT capability can easily be done through play and games. A child needs to have some sort of assessment when they enter Nursery so that the teachers know the next step forward for each child.

PathOfLeastResitance Tue 16-Feb-16 08:03:56

Speaking as an early years teacher, please just enjoy your 4 year old. Walks in the woods sound delightful and will stand her imagination and speaking skills in good stead. The school will be used to teaching reading and writing and all of the formal stuff. Schools will be doing this all through play. School will come and usually all will be well.

BarbarianMum Tue 16-Feb-16 08:15:11

Any reception worth its salt will assess new starters to see what they can and can't do within a few weeks of starting school. Children are hugely variable at that age and it helps them tailor their teaching to each child's needs.

Relax and stop worrying. It's education not (at 4 at least) a competition.

ZebraLovesKnitting Tue 16-Feb-16 08:17:03

My DS turned 5 last Oct, so he started reception last Sept. He is at about the same stage as your DC with reading and writing and counting, he seems about average and his "Outstanding" school are very happy with him. Weirdly he can do arithmetic really well, but I think that's just a genetic quirk. I've never really taught him much at home though, his nursery told us that his school would rather we didn't. So we just do lots of playing at home, especially creative playing, and just spend a few minutes a day going over his keywords.

ChalkHearts Tue 16-Feb-16 08:19:44

If she is behind in some areas the reception baseline test should pick up on that, like you said.

I don't understand what your concerns are. If she's behind don't you want her teacher to know? Same as you'd like her to know if she's ahead?

DrSausagedog Tue 16-Feb-16 08:23:39

It sounded like a genuine concern until reading to the end when you said that she knows all of her letters and can count to 100.

Sorry but as a former KS1 teacher you should know that's pretty advanced for a just turned 4 year old so your post does end up seeming a bit of a stealth boast.

MsMermaid Tue 16-Feb-16 08:34:39

My DD was so shy she wouldn't talk to the teacher to do the baseline test. Her baseline test made it look as if she was working at least 2 years younger than she was. It has made absolutely no difference to her whatsoever, her teachers teach the child in front of them and help her from that point. She is now in y1 and is absolutely thriving.

If you were sending your DD to the local primary you'd probably find she was at least average with what she can do. Choosing a private school specifically for the extra speech sounds like a great idea to me, but you may have to accept that means your fairly bright child won't be at the same stage as others in her class. Reception is supposed to be relaxed, school should be happy to help her with whatever she needs help with.

hazeyjane Tue 16-Feb-16 08:39:31

Children are assessed throughout early years, otherwise how would you know whether a child needs e,tea support in any given area (and not just academic areas, but socially,personal care, mark making, physical development, knowledge of the world - all the areas of the EYFS, which you must know)

If your child knows her alphabet, numbers to 100 and can recognise some names then she is doing well.

If there are still speech and language concerns (although it sounds like maybe not) then these should be adressed at any school.

Gunpowder Tue 16-Feb-16 08:49:10

Gosh she sounds super bright. I think the pushy mums are worrying you unnecessarily. I've just been looking around schools and some of the parents questions and summations of what their kids could do were very full on; the teachers seemed to take it with a pinch of salt. Maybe ask for a meeting with the reception teacher to discuss your worries, then you can judge whether it is a crazy hothouse for five year olds. I bet the teacher will be reassuring.

Questionsmorequestions Tue 16-Feb-16 08:50:40

There is a clause in the baseline which says that you don't do it with a child until they are ready and settled. There are a number of emotional elements that have to be satisfied first. This seems a good way to ensure that they aren't being tested too early in the year.
Even if a child did do 'badly' it would only mean that they were given additional support the following year.

hazeyjane Tue 16-Feb-16 09:01:24

Also the assessments, IME, are part of a fuller discussion - ds is still emerging in most areas (not even emerging in some!) and he is in year 1. I know why he can't be assessed as any different, even though I and the teachers can see what huge progress he is making. It isn't as though they take a rubber stamp to their foreheads with FAILING that remains throughout school!

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