to think that if SATS judge teachers not students...........

(52 Posts)
Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 23:18:32

.......then they shouldnt put such pressure on the kids if they are confident in their own ability to teach?

DD is in a right state about her Y6 SATS. She has had it right left and centre from her teachers (3 on a job share, dont get me started on that). I have read here and other places that the biggest issue with SATS is that the teacher gets appraised on the results.

So if they are good teachers and are confident in their teaching abilities then they shouldnt be making such a big deal out of it? DD is gifted (she has been assessed as such) and yet her nerves mean that she may well have terrible results. Surely the teachers dont want that?

AIBU to think that if you are a good teacher you dont need to pressure the children you are teaching to the point of abject fear?

PS. I have six kids, only one is gifted, before I get jumped on!

Schooldidi Sun 12-May-13 23:25:52

I don't understand the pressure year 6 kids are put under either.
It is entirely down to pressure for results and showing that all pupils make the expected progress, and a lot of teachers seem to think that more pupils will respond to the pressure than will burn out from it.

Thankfully my own dd1 was rather oblivious to the pressure when she did them a couple of years ago, but her friend was so stressed that she vomited before each exam! That's really not good. I think the kids who take the pressure to heart are generally the ones who don't really need to because they would do well anyway, or the pupils who know they aren't going to do very well no matter how hard they try. The middlish kids who are quite bright but lazy, they don't seem to care all that much about the pressure and take it all in their stride, even though they are the ones the teachers are trying to motivate.

Goldmandra Sun 12-May-13 23:26:12

The more each school pushes, the more the others have to push to keep up. It's a ridiculous vicious circle.

When DD1 was in Y6 the pressure was so distressing to her that, in the end, I rang and told the deputy head that they could either take it all off with immediate effect or I would withdraw her from school for the next two weeks by which time they would be over. They changed their tune overnight and she had no more problems. Other parents commented that this had helped their DCs too.

They don't seem to realise how destructive this sort of pressure can be. If they are giving the children a good grounding in the subjects they should need no more than just a couple of practise papers. teachers who try to cram more in at this stage are admitting that they have not done their job IMO.

The sooner more schools opt out, the better.

DD2 will be doing Y6 SATs next year. I think her HT is the bees knees but I'll tell her the same thing as I told DD1's school is the pressure starts to ramp up.

mummymeister Sun 12-May-13 23:26:32

I hate sats. everything about them. my son went to bed at the usual time and will get up at the usual time tomorrow. he is a bright lad, passed his 11+ and off to grammar so tbh I couldn't give a damn how he does next week so long as he tries his best. as your dd gets older you need to introduce strategies to help her with her nerves because the one exam principle rather than continuous assessment is coming back and you/she need to be able to cope with this. teachers can only add so much value to their pupils and for me this is the key thing not the end of year results. try to be calm yourself and hopefully it will rub off a bit on your DD.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:35:22

I feel for your daughter and yes, such pressure is wrong.

However, the sad fact is that there are many teachers working in abject fear too. Under the new systems for PRP and assessment, experienced teachers are only a few short steps away from capability procedures and dismissal if they have a poor year results wise. If those teachers are at the top of the pay scale or on the upper pay scale some unscrupulous heads will do their best to get rid of them on financial grounds. In September pay portability will be abolished and it will be much easier for heads and governing bodies to drive down pay for any teacher attempting to move to a different school.

Heads themselves are under pressure from OFSTED and perceived poor performance will cost them their jobs too. All this results in SATs assuming an importance which has nothing to do with the welfare of the pupils sitting them.

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 23:42:04

I was the gifted kid that didnt give a toss. I performed well in everything and didnt listen to the proclamations of doom! DD is far more sensitive than me, and yes I was aware of needing to prepare her for her GCSE etc. But I am appalled that I seem to need to do this now, aged 11.

All this assessment of teachers based on the results of the child is wrong because it means that the good teachers who care more about their students could lose their jobs, but the results focussed ones who upset the children could end up doing really well!

TeamEdward Sun 12-May-13 23:42:28

^ What ilovesooty says ^

Teachers are not to blame. That lies at the door of Messrs Gove & Wilshaw.

TonysHardWorkDay Sun 12-May-13 23:43:33

Schools and teachers are being put under immense pressure for results though. I'm sure most of you would have done anything to avoid your children going to a school that is 'failing.' Best option is to scrap the tests as they're not improving anything.

My best friend teaches secondary maths they ignore SATS and set their own 'quiz' for when the pupils start as children have not learnt but are trained to pass that exam. They then start training the kids to pass the exams they are judged on. He is the only Maths teacher from his PGCE course still teaching and has got a new job abroad as he detests the UK system. His old school is screwed as he is the only Maths teacher who can teach the full range of Maths A Level. Apparently the majority of schools have no teacher with an actual Maths degree. If your school does not offer further maths as an option it is not because of pupil choice but no one qualified to teach.

KansasCityOctopus Sun 12-May-13 23:45:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:48:57

Kansas, the have the end result of pupils being put under pressure though. That's an inevitable side effect of the system.

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 23:49:51

im sorry, the teachers jobs or the underhanded methods of their employers are not the kids problems!

I do sympathise with those in that situation but yes, it isnt the kids problem!

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 23:50:42

sooty just because it is the end result, doesnt make it right.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:51:00

It isn't the kids' problem: I agree, but lay the blame at the door of Gove and Wilshaw, not with the teachers.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:51:29

It isn't right: I agree.

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 23:51:35

It also comes down to the fact that if someone is a good teacher then they wouldnt feel the need to pressurise the students in this way, in some cases leading to worse results than the students would otherwise get.

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 23:53:15

I agre that the system is wrong, but I think that only those with something to worry about will worry. A good teacher wouldnt put that pressure on because a) they dont need to and b) they know it is counter productive.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:55:32

I don't think it's as simple as that. A good teacher can have a poor year group to deal with. A good teacher might well be one of those knowing that they're too old/expensive/at risk. A good teacher might be in the position of their results being pulled down due to pupil absence. But at the end of the day the pupils end up stressed and unhappy for the sake of tests which have nothing to do with their well being or future.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:56:49

Cross post there. The trouble now is that even good teachers may well have reason to worry and fear for their futures.

wonderstuff Mon 13-May-13 00:01:51

SATS are a massive waste of time, so much pressure is put on junior schools cheating is anecdotally believed to be widespread. My secondary re did the SAT tests and our year 7 pupils were up to a level below the published results. It doesn't benefit the kids, it's a stick to beat the teachers with it messes up the year 6 curriculum as the spend up to now training for the test and after half term try to fit in all the non examined stuff. It stuffs up transition to secondary because the kids do much less maths and English after SATS, so there is a gap of several months where little core subject is taufpght and they need to be banned angry

loopydoo Mon 13-May-13 00:03:55

If SATS are to assess teaching levels in schools, lets test the teachers rather than the kids! Exams for the teachers would surely show how much they know and they could have different papers.....class teaching, grammar, maths, pastoral care etc.

The govt. would get a much better picture of good and bad teachers doing that than from a week of pressurised SATS....for which schools just teach the kids how to pass the tests.

juniper9 Mon 13-May-13 00:13:40

One problem we have is that our year 2s are hot housed and perform better than they should do. When they reach year 6, they should have made at least two levels' worth of progress, which for many is not achievable as the year 2 Sats weren't accurate.

Our year 6 teacher have the task of getting some of the children up by 4 sub levels in one year, compared with the expected 1.5.

I'm not a year 6 teacher, but I still have had my fair share of stupid meetings this year. At one point I was in trouble because my class hadnt made enough progress, then later I was in trouble because they had made too much progress hmm When my class did well last year on the qca paper, the results were dismissed as being a fluke (for half the class...) yet when some of the children didn't catch up as much as they'd like then I got my wrist slapped.

The whole thing is ridiculous.

wonderstuff Mon 13-May-13 00:19:46

And in turn the secondaries are judged by the year 6 SAT which again aren't a true reflection.

I read a blog recently calling for a 'teachers spring' get rid of league tables and govt. interference, instead have teachers renewing a licence to teach based on a min amount of CPD and engage a education equivalent to NICE recommending evidence based teaching practices.

Goldmandra Mon 13-May-13 00:20:44

I think juniper's post says it all.

Stupid, pointless system which causes no end of unnecessary stress.

Bogeyface Mon 13-May-13 01:14:59

So...the kids are stressed, the teachers are stressed...who wins?

uniqueatlast Mon 13-May-13 07:22:52

As Mr Wilshaw said, if teacher's morale is low then he must be doing a good job. Morale is at rock bottom ergo he thinks the he and Gove are doing a good job. hmm

The man is a wanker.

marriedinwhiteagain Mon 13-May-13 07:33:43

My children are older - 18 and 15. I don't remember any fuss or streess over SATs although DS switched system in Yr3 but dd stayed util Y6 and because she had her seconadary offer, based on externak tests, before the SATs they were entirely irrelevant anyway. What is there to stress about - all they do is test what a child has learnt over 7 years. Our DCs primary always scored close to 100 across the board and didn't seem to make much. Fuss they just got on with the business of teaching and so the children learnt well.

30ish Mon 13-May-13 07:34:28

uniqueatlast I couldn't agree more.
I'm a Y6 teacher. I have been for many years. I adore my kids and want them to do well for themselves, not for the school or me. My head teacher backs this up 100%. I'm confident in my ability to teach well - previous results, ofsted etc back this up. This year however our results are going to be poor. If I put added pressure on any of my gorgeous lot they would do even worse. Sometimes, cohorts and individuals just can't make the grade no matter what we do. Children come come with baggage, experiences, different levels of maturity and needs and yet they are all expected to reach L4 (if not L5&L6) at the end of Y6. It's bonkers! Anyway, wish us luck! Short of divine intervention we've got little and no chance! They're a happy bunch who enjoy school though!

jamdonut Mon 13-May-13 07:50:47

this is the trouble,isn't it?

Parents want "outstanding" schools. SATs has a lot to do with that rating. To achieve that, of course schools will do everything in their power to make sure pupils get the best score they can. Just don't complain your children are stressed. The teacher's will be just as stressed,because a poor year will show up in the data, even if they are an outstanding rated teacher.
It can't be done both ways...either SATS matter or they don't. Which is it? And what would be a better way to rate schools? Or not rate them at all?

Spinkle Mon 13-May-13 07:53:59

Yes they are pointless.

All because parents want quantifiable data in league tables.

The screw gets turned on teachers, who then turn it on the kids.

You can, of course, thank the Tory government for this.

KitNCaboodle Mon 13-May-13 08:03:33

As someone else said upthread it all starts in Y2. Unrealistic levelling there sets the chn up for a fall when they get to Y6. This in turn puts pressure on the teachers. This doesn't come from the teacher though. It comes from the Head, LA, league tables... The list is endless.

I wholeheartedly disagree with sats as a way of measuring success of schools, teachers, children.

cory Mon 13-May-13 08:26:52

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-13 23:35:22

"However, the sad fact is that there are many teachers working in abject fear too. Under the new systems for PRP and assessment, experienced teachers are only a few short steps away from capability procedures and dismissal if they have a poor year results wise."

I don't get that. As a university lecturer in a small and threatened subject, my job is also under threat- indeed for the first 10 years of my employment I was on yearly contracts and went in on the first week of term every year to hear if I still had a job.

Yet I could never take that out on my students and I don't know a single colleague who could. It's not their responsibility.

Yet my dd's junior school were prepared to continually harrass a sick and disabled 10yo child because they were afraid of their Ofsted inspector. I had teachers saying to me "I know this is wrong but I daren't speak to the head". I just don't get how an adult can have such a weak and irresponsible attitude.

marriedinwhiteagain Mon 13-May-13 08:28:32

But level 4 isn't exactly too high to aim is it; it pretty low from memory and hasn't recent research indicated that children with a strong gri on the three rs do better in adult life? Having said that mine were free reading at six and it had ittle to do with the school where they were dragged through every book on the flipping ORT - bonkers!!

Goldmandra Mon 13-May-13 08:41:07

They're a happy bunch who enjoy school though!

That is 100% more important for their outcomes than some arbritary test at Y6 so I think you are must be a brilliant teacher smile

Shame the numbers won't reflect what it truly important.

Nanny0gg Mon 13-May-13 09:02:53

I loathe the way SATs are now; the pressure, the relentless 'revision', the absence of any actual teaching from January onwards.
When my 27 year-old sat them there was a little 'technique' teaching, but that was it.
I like the idea from another thread that parents take their children out of school for a week!
However, I would also hate to go back to the days when schools weren't accountable at all and you had no basis on which to make decisions about your child's education. I just know that this way isn't the right way.
But - 'Yes they are pointless. All because parents want quantifiable data in league tables. The screw gets turned on teachers, who then turn it on the kids. You can, of course, thank the Tory government for this.' isn't entirely true. Labour didn't abolish them either, and I doubt a future government of any colour would be in a rush to, as parents do use the data -until it's their children sitting them.

Nanny0gg Mon 13-May-13 09:06:58

They're a happy bunch who enjoy school though! That is 100% more important for their outcomes than some arbitrary test at Y6 so I think you are must be a brilliant teacher.Shame the numbers won't reflect what it truly important.

Unfortunately, whilst many parents who use the data to choose a school might pay lip service to that sentiment, they will be looking for better results or they will worry that their own children won't achieve.

There must be a better way, but I don't know what it is.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Mon 13-May-13 09:19:41

Bogeyface I completely 100% agree with your op and have said similar on here before.

SATS are supposed show how a school has performed for the duration of a child's time there; a culmination of all that has gone before. So in theory all that should be required by May of yr 6 is a bit of gentle low key revision covering all that has been done to date.

If of course they have the confidence that all that went before was sufficient. But clearly they dont think that because the reality is a headless chicken routine that begins around Christmas and makes everyone's lives a misery. An intensive cramming exercise to jam as much as possible in to 'do well' in a test. It all seems very last minute to mehmm.

Bogeyface Mon 13-May-13 09:37:53

Jamdonut I was never concerned about whether the school was "outstanding" or not, I have never understood that either. My son went to a school that was rated outstanding before we moved and it was the worst school I have ever experienced. He was utterly miserable and ignored to boot because he had extra needs. I would never take an OFSTED rating as read.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Mon 13-May-13 09:40:41

I don't think good SATS results are indicative of an outstanding school. I think they are a strong indication of miserable year 6.

And bunging in a load of fancy dress days to appear 'what fun we all are here' does not detract from that fact.

Cory I read before about your poor dd being harrassedsad. Words fail me angry. Did you take it further?

MiaowTheCat Mon 13-May-13 09:52:50

Starts long before Y2... I was bollocked by a head long ago for assessing on-entry Reception baseline honestly as to what the kids could do - because it was going to hammer their Y6 SATs expectations for the cohort.

Thus I was sent away to change all the assessment so that a child who'd come in knowing numbers to 20, basic addition to 10 and could write her own name became one who recognised numbers to 5 and a couple of letters. Yes it was an exceptionally strong cohort coming in - but boy was I pissed, especially when she laid into me for NOT playing the whole fucking SATs game.

kim147 Mon 13-May-13 10:00:15

It's endless pressure and a real focus on "outstanding".

Most job adverts for teachers now seem to specify "outstanding" teachers with evidence of outstanding teaching. So everyone's going to be outstanding which of course means no one stands out confused

MiaowTheCat Mon 13-May-13 10:01:30

...But then they get to raise the definition of outstanding again!

Sooner or later we're going to reach a point where no more juice can be extracted from teachers and no more knowledge can be crammed into the brain of the average child and the universe will implode.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Mon 13-May-13 10:05:21

I just think it's ridiculous that the teachers have to take accountability for the kids not being that bright!

You can be an excellent teacher, but you can't polish a turd (as my grandfather used to say!). You can however roll it in glitter wink

CloudsAndTrees Mon 13-May-13 10:27:39

Our school has pissed me off today re SATs. They are a 'healthy school' and as such, children are only allowed to take in fresh fruit for a snack. My ds is a bit fussy and doesn't eat much of the sort of fruit that is easy to take to school. There are only so many bananas and apples you can eat on a daily basis, and apparently no self respecting Y6 boy is going to stand there at breaktime either peeling a satsuma or with a little tupperware pot of pineapple/mango/strawberries etc.

Yet this week, the year 6's are allowed to take in whatever they want to eat at break time. So, the school acknowledge that it might help children's performance and concentration if they are allowed a snack mid morning, but apparently that only matters on SATs week when the teachers are under scrutiny.

Every other day of the term, cheese and a cracker, malt loaf or whatever is a terrible thing that should be avoided. hmm angry

ChewingOnLifesGristle Mon 13-May-13 10:36:28

Ours sent home a SATS leaflet advising parents of the benefits of a good nights sleep and (I can hardly wait to share this astonishing piece of advice regarding child care, so stand by...) breakfast.

Well I never! All these years of looking after 3 dc and none of this occurred to me beforeshock. How have I managed all this time?confused

I also get fed up with 'healthy food' being promoted in school as fruit or vegetables only Clouds. It's misleading and totally the the wrong message to send. I even went in and had a lively discussion argument about it. Got nowherehmm

loopydoo Mon 13-May-13 11:58:13

I response to a post further up, I think SATS should be scrapped altogether. If their purpose is to rate a school, then surely that's what the Ofsted inspections are for.

Surely inspections with no warning would ensure that when they come to look at any school, the staff are teaching the normally planned lessons in the way they normally do. Schools have action plans in place in case they get a two day warning.......that is not realistic and doesn't then show a true representation of the school.

Inspectors are then looking at how the teachers teach and there is no pressure on the children to learn how to pass ingles exams aged 11.

loopydoo Mon 13-May-13 12:00:43

cloud completely agree with you there.....the fruit thing is daft. A good old piece of flapjack is going to sustain any child til lunch time way better than a piece of fruit they don't eat!!!

They forget how much fruit acid the children's teeth are being exposed to. Promoting low GI foods and fibrous veggies would be more sensible.

zukiecat Mon 13-May-13 12:44:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bogeyface Mon 13-May-13 23:48:07

Dont get me started on the fruit and veg thing.

2 of my DC's are hypoglycemic and fruit just doesnt cut it. Fruit gives them the same sugar high and then crash that they would get from a Mars Bar, but you try telling the school that. Fruit is good for a quick fix if they have already crashed but something like crackers or a pot of dry cereal (I couldnt bear to eat raw shreddies but they love them!) mid morning and mid afternoon prevents them crashing in the first place. I had to get a note from the doctor in the end!

Arisbottle Tue 14-May-13 00:02:03

SATS were around before Gove and Wilshaw although the grammar test fiasco has only served to make things worse.

I think it is disingenuous to just blame politicians and OFSTED. Teachers and head teachers need to realise that they are putting young children under immense pressure and passing along their own stress. They are intelligent people and must realise that they are part of a farce which starts with the over inflated levels they give in Year 2 and then keeps rolling.

TeamEdward Tue 14-May-13 08:31:56

Butg if teachers don't do it, they lose their jobs Arisbottle.
It's not fair on the children, and teachers are torn. They don't enter the profession to stress small children, they want to nurture and extend.

loopydoo Tue 14-May-13 09:26:20

I agree teamedward....surely parents can make a stand and do something to get SATS wiped out. My dd is psychologically shattered!

Arisbottle Tue 14-May-13 20:04:32

I am a teacher,I know all about having to play the performance management game , but as professionals we should not make children pay for the pressure we are put under. If I think I am being asked to something meaningless which also harms children, I don't do it and tbh if I am going to be sacked for putting children first, so be it.

I have to justify every single student that does not make the necessary progress or meet their target, but that does not make me out unnecessary pressure on my students.

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