Year 6 SATs - how much pressure from your school?

(49 Posts)
freddiefrog Wed 13-Feb-13 09:50:29

I currently have a very stressed and worried 11 year old due to the pressure being put on her over SATs and I am seriously not amused.

They have been told that the local secondary school uses the SATs to stream them and to predict their GCSE results - I rang the secondary and they state that this is absolutely not the case - they reassess them when they start as they find the SATs results aren't a good indicator of ability (I.e, they've just been taught to test)

I've told her time and time again that SATs are a way of testing the school, not her, to relax and just do what she can and they're nothing to get stressed over but she's not listening to a word I say, she's being given so much pressure at school, school keep telling her that if she doesn't get high marks she'll get put in the wrong set at secondary school and that will affect her GCSE results

DD did a test last week and got a 5a, her teacher wrote on the paper ' ok result, but don't worry, you've got plenty of time to pull it up to a 6'

They bring home 4 A4 sheets of old SATs papers every night, double that at weekends, there was a massive booklet over Christmas, and they've been told they're getting the same for half term - we're going away so she's having a massive panic over this as well. If it's not done at home, they're kept in at lunchtimes.

She's worried and stressed and last night was in floods of tears at the table so I put the lot through the shredder and refused to let her do it. Her relief was obvious.

I've been in today to see the teacher about it as I simply cannot allow this continue, it's not fair.

I just don't know how to help her, I've now told school that she won't be doing these papers every night any more, and I wasn't happy with the pressure they were putting on her

They don't sit the blooming things until May!

TheBuskersDog Wed 13-Feb-13 20:10:42

I'd complain to the head,never mind the teacher. Unfortunately some schools do do this, it's all to make their results look good, not for the benefit of the children. Children should do a few practice papers in the run up so that they are familiar with the format, not spend from Christmas doing nothing else.
Secondary schools know that some schools do this and therefore some children's SATs results are as a result of extensive teaching to the test, rather than a true reflection of their ability and will usually do some testing e.g CATs themselves.

TheBuskersDog Wed 13-Feb-13 20:13:34

Just to add the school that I work in refuses to play this game just to boost our results a little, as a result our year 6s have a great last year in primary (I know as my son attended this school and loved his last year here).

freddiefrog Wed 13-Feb-13 20:25:18


I saw the head this afternoon (I volunteer with reading up there) and the class teacher had obviously spoken to her as the head called me into her office

Not very productive, she kept trying to tell me I was wrong and the secondary did use the results to stream, I explained several times that I knew full well this wasn't the case, but she wouldn't accept it, I left it that if the pressure continued, I would withdraw DD from school for the week and wouldn't be sitting them at all

KingscoteStaff Wed 13-Feb-13 21:11:31

My year 6 class spent this morning building an Anderson shelter in the garden and this afternoon dragging their shoes around the playground / hall / astroturf / headteacher's carpet with force meters. Not a SATs paper in sight!

No SATs pressure in Y6 here. They have just started a huge art project that won't be finished till May.

Magdalenebaby Wed 13-Feb-13 21:15:38

My Y6 DD has had no SATs pressure. Last week was arts week in the school and they spent the whole week doing fab creative things. No SATs papers will ever come home (she is DD3 so I know this from her older sisters' experience). Whatever your head claims it is not normal or necessary to put children under this amount of pressure.

Clayhead Wed 13-Feb-13 21:26:08

Nothing like that here - dd has been sewing today.

When DS1 was in Y6 (two years ago) the school didn't send home any papers as homework. Most of his homework was weekly spellings and reading.

Our school has in the past been a Sats factory - even last year the Year 6's were loaded up with homework from the start of January on.

So I have been pleasantly surprised this year with DS1 in Year 6. He has had no additional homework yet, though will have from the end of this month, and he has had one trip out, a Shakespeare Company performance to take part in, and they have been heavily involved in redesigning and decorating the corridor outside their classes with a Battle of Britain mural. They also have a day trip to some local air raid shelters.

I've just asked him and they haven't done more tests than usual, and he doesn't seem bothered at all - normakly he is a stress head! I'll wait and see what the work he brings home at the end of the month is like though.

Lynned Thu 14-Feb-13 07:46:55

Mine got tested again in yr7, but oddly their sats results are still shown at the top of their school reports, so who knows how it works!

I would say that some pressure won't hurt, my dd in yr9 is already struggling with work pressures, she's sitting maths and science gcses this year.

lljkk Thu 14-Feb-13 07:54:22

That sounds pants, OP. I'd complain, too.

No SATs pressure here. My sense is they know the tests are coming & a bit nervous about it, but DD is always talking about other lessons. Music, art, history, PE (including several afternoons out for competitive events), science. Tomorrow is a special maths event across the whole school (kind of a maths party with lots of silly math games).

I think DD has somewhat more homework than last year.

lljkk Thu 14-Feb-13 07:57:01

Tell your DD that Even if secondary did use the SATs as primary tool for streaming/setting (which they rarely do, but never mind), the sets aren't fixed. Kids get moved around from set to set, how else would they be encouraged to improve? No one gets stuck in the wrong set for ages & ages.

freddiefrog Thu 14-Feb-13 09:51:50


I have been trying to reassure my DD, but the stress from school is daily so she's just in a panic now and nothing I say, or her friends who are already in the high school, say is going in

They've called a class meeting for parents the Monday evening they go back to school so we can discuss it, I'm the latest in a long line of parents going in to complain apparently!

racingheart Thu 14-Feb-13 16:09:43

No Sats pressure at all in our school. Didn't even know they were in May until you said so. Staff and pupils seem far more fixated on putting on a mammoth musical this term and having and end of year party. Today they watched a video of a musical.

newgirl Thu 14-Feb-13 16:45:28

No pressure in our y6 - but past parents have told me the local secondaries DO use results to set in maths.

But I think the key is that Sats test the school and the figs are used to place them in ranking tables. To give the teacher some credit she-he must think your child capable of doing well and wants her to do well. We hear on here that plenty of schools don't challenge the more able kids.

ReallyTired Fri 15-Feb-13 13:06:31

You have my sympathies. My son has had full blown panic attacks, insomina and being crying over SATs. Luckily for us our school has started having local authority intervention and we are noticing a great improvement. I think that teachers sometimes forget that the children are only ten or eleven.

SATs are about the schools. Many secondaries consider SATs to be an absolute joke and reassess in September.

yellowvan Fri 15-Feb-13 13:20:07

School ds goes to: last week was spent doing creative projects across yeargroup so mixing with other classes, then 3 days of this week being creative in colour teams so across the school. Only the usual spellings and project work for homework, top maths group occasionally get a bit extra I think. They're doing a full blown mock week after half term however, to decide, among other things, who to put in for the L6 papers.
School i work at: lots of booster groups and support from TAs, deputy and other cover teachers, so intensive input at school but no major increase in homework . However, y6 team have been through their data with a microscope to really target specific needs of specific kids, and support offered is made to be fun and a bit of special time in small group or 1-1.
No pressure on kids in either place as far as i can tell, but can't say the same of the staff as both schools are under major pressure to get/maintain good results.

YippeeTeenager Fri 15-Feb-13 13:21:18

My daughter got really stressed about SATS, she was capable of Level 5 or literacy but didn't always quite make it in the practice papers and the school told her that it just wasn't good enough and that when she went to secondary school she'd get detention every day! It's awful that they put children through this.

We just refused to buy the extra practice books that they leaned on us to buy, didn't do any of the practice papers that they sent home for holidays and I told her I didn't mind if she got Level 1 when it came to the real thing. They gave them all a piece of chocolate each morning of SATs week as a special 'aren't you wonderful' sweetener which she refused to take!

All they did in maths was the same handful of past papers from Jan till May so that she knew all the answers off by heart without working any of them out and then got seriously told off for not showing her working out!

I'm usually always very supportive of school and had always had a great home/school relationship, but this was horrendous. But taking the pressure off completely at home and letting my daughter know that we thought the school was completely wrong and insane really helped her cope with it all and laugh at their lunacy!

Good luck with your class meeting - threaten not to send her in for SATs week unless they get more sensible!

flakjacket Fri 15-Feb-13 13:30:16

My daughter had to do a full set of practice Y6 SATS a few weeks ago (all through that snowy week we had). She is in Y5!!!!

TheBuskersDog Fri 15-Feb-13 16:16:41

The SATs results are actually used to predict a childs GCSE target grades, so pushing children to overachieve in Year 6 can make it really difficult for them to meet their targets.
My son did very well in SATs (without being pushed) so is supposedly not meeting his target in some of his GCSEs because he is only on track for A not A*. He happened to be very good at the comprehension etc. that was assessed in Year 6, slightly different to analysing poetry or Shakespeare not to mention history or spanish, but they use the SATs result to predict grades for every subject.

AScorpionPitForMimes Fri 15-Feb-13 18:55:58

Our high school does CATs in the second week of Yr7 precisely because they don't believe the SATs levels. They don't do predictions for GCSE grades until the end of Yr8.

DD1's school wasn't as bad as the OP's school, but they were bad enough - a pile of SATs booklets over the Easter holidays and we were told to do an hour a day. We chose to do some recycling instead.

If after almost 7 years at school they don't know their stuff, then there has been a collective failure of parents, school and children.

DD did very well in her SATs without the drill, and what is more important, she has not had to deal with a dip in achievement because her level reflected what she could really do. She has continued to progress - it can't be good for children who scrape L5 because of lots of drilling to start Yr7 struggling to keep up and being told that they aren't really a L5 at all - very demoralising.

We need to scrap all this league table nonsense.

bruffin Fri 15-Feb-13 19:00:19

Dcs school use cats and Sats to set from day1. The cats are taken on transfer day. My dcs are year 10 and 12 and their year 6 Sats results are still on the school website as part of their record.

freddiefrog Fri 15-Feb-13 19:57:50

Our high school does CATs in the second week of Yr7 precisely because they don't believe the SATs levels. They don't do predictions for GCSE grades until the end of Yr8.

Exactly what our high school says

Huge booklet of old SATs papers home tonight, DD is already stressing about it. We're away from Sunday - Sunday and I refuse to take it on holiday with us.

I feel like putting the bloody thing through the shredder tonight so she can't do it

By year 6 they should already know this stuff, school shouldn't be cramming and stressing them like this

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 15-Feb-13 21:34:09

No pressure here, but quite a lot of practice papers being done in school. And very dull grammar worksheets for literacy homework, thanks to being guinea pigs for the SPAG test.

I'm aware that there are a number of children being pulled out of their regular timetable for some small group and one-to-one work. I'm assuming they are the ones that are on the level 3/4 borderline. There are other groups being taken out for "booster" groups, to assess whether they should have a go at level 6. DD1 is one of those and is not being put under any pressure to get a level 6 for the glory of the school - it's been very much "would you like to have a go, just to give you something to aim for".

No practice papers sent home whatsoever. I'm shock at the notion of daily SATs homework - how amazingly stressful and counter-productive.

AScorpionPitForMimes Sat 16-Feb-13 18:40:36

Well, DD2 (yr5) had her school disco last night, I got talking to some other parents of Yr6 children and they are being pressure sold these SATs revision books at £13 a pop. One mum was being practically lynched for admitting she wasn't going to waste her money on them, until I stepped in and backed her up. Bloody hell, what is the world coming to?

I will certainly not be spending a penny on this crap next year. angry

Snowsquonk Sat 16-Feb-13 19:37:22

I've kicked up a stink at my DD's primary.....the children were told there is a science SAT - there isn't, parents were told the school "might be a pilot school for science SATS" so I send the head the link to the DOE website which states there will be no pilot science SATS this year....

They told parents at a meeting that from half term, no topic work, just SATS revision and tried to flog us revision books - I refused to buy them and have told the teacher that I won't getting DD to do any papers at home, and asked at the meeting how the SATS benefit the children and the deputy head just shrugged.

DD got 100% in a maths paper and her teacher tried to tell me that was a level 6 - er, no, a level 3 - 5 paper can only test up to level 5. 100% is obviously brilliant, but it's not a level 6 because you've not actually tested her level 6 ability. She crossed the L6 out.....

I am fortunate that my DD is very laid back about tests but she's also bored - we're going to do lots of stuff this holiday which isn't related at all to SATS but might spark her interest in things!

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 20:53:00

Can I ask how much half term homework your yr 6 dc have (if any)?

I'm most hmmangry at the relentless pile mine are getting - and have had all through yr6 - with no let up for half term. I'm sure dd1's yr6 some yrs back wasn't this pressured.

I usually support the school, despite being less than convinced that too much primary HW is actually much use, but I really feel like saying more about this at forthcoming parents eve.

DS1 had 3 pages of a Maths practice book, and 2 pages of a literacy workbook to complete - other than that he has been given nothing to do at all over half term.

They do expect them to read over the holidays, but the amount is entirely up to him, and as he is a bookworm and can read whatever he likes as part of the reading challenge, he does not see this as homework.

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:13:55

Ds has a 17pg maths paper. He's been told to do 10 pages (but finish it if he wants toconfused) An A4 double sided English SATS paper, 10 spellings and sentences, reading is always expected and notes on what he's read. Also research for the next topic.

Some of it he seems quite unsure of, so I guess that'll be us (again) teaching him something from scratch.

In previous weeks its been test conditions practise papers at school. I was hoping there would have been some kind of break over half term. Some hopehmm I'm def annoyed.

freddiefrog Tue 19-Feb-13 21:19:07

We had a huge booklet of maths and literacy SATs papers, and some of the new grammar pages to learn as well

I'm not sure how many pages. We're away visiting my parents until Sunday and I refused to bring it with us as I wasn't spending the whole week worrying about.

She did about 10 pages when we were at home on Saturday and wasn't even half way through it.

Proper homework, she used to get a small project, given out on a Weds and returned the following Weds, which she really enjoyed doing. Since Christmas all we've had are these blasted revision papers

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:22:19

I have a feeling that if SATS are so vitally important all this pushing will only result a negative result.

I wonder what they'd do if everyone pulled their dc out.

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:23:04

'provide a negative result.'

cece Tue 19-Feb-13 21:32:00


DD is in Year 7. Last year she was predicted level 5 for English and in the end got a level 4. However, she did some CATS tests at the beginning of Y7 and is now in top sets for all of the core subjects. So it really has not made a difference to how she was streamed at secondary!

I am also a Y6 teacher. All this cramming really is poor practice. We tell our Y6 that our main job this year is to prepare them for secondary school. smile

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:37:18

It will be quite a relief to get to yr7 and secondary school tbh. A least the work gets more interesting rather than dull and repetetive.

I'm quite disenchanted with yr6.

NameChanger4 Tue 19-Feb-13 22:04:44

My son has SEN but is high functioning. I managed to get him a statement for extra support for social skills etc in October of Yr 6 and school were very slow to get things under way. When questioned the Senco said that they wouldn't take him out of class for his support sessions until the SAT's were finished the following May shock. Obviously in some schools these tests are more important than the needs of the child.

MM5 Wed 20-Feb-13 10:19:54

The problem with SATs is that the school is judged on these final results. If the school doesn't hit floor targets, everyone's head is on the chopping blocks with Ofsted giving a bad grading that then sets off a chain of events that include an even heavier burden of pupil progress and attainment, more Osted visits and the possibility of forced academisation. Even high attaining schools are not exempt as they must show they are improving and that they are achieving adequate Level 5 and, now, Level 6. Accelerated progress is being pushed and pushed by the government which pushes on the headteachers which push on the teachers that then push on the children.

Somewhere I was reading about the morale of teachers and the blames. sad. Somehow, the governement and its ever changing targets never seemed to be blamed.

It is not right to have somuch pressure on children. However, those end results can mean the difference between allowing the school tohave a creative curriculum a majority of the time or forcing schools to only concentrate on the reading, writing and maths with no time for developing a well rounded child.

TomArchersSausage Wed 20-Feb-13 11:13:12

I can see what you mean MM but I think as long as they have been educating them properly in the years leading up to yr6 then a school should have confidence in what they have already invested in their children up to that point and trust that the children are able to demonstrate that they can do a small (unobstrusive) test at the end, if that is what is required.

All this cramming now in yr6 concerns me. I does rather look like they do not have confidence that they have taught them enough and suddenly have to change tack at the last minute in the final year.

lljkk Wed 20-Feb-13 11:34:12

Can I ask how much half term homework your yr 6 dc have (if any)?


MM5 Wed 20-Feb-13 11:35:51

Tom, you are right to a point. Part of the problem I think is the ever changing goal post. In my school it is the pressure for Level 5 and 6. The Level 6 has only just come about in the last year. The staff are very confident about the level 4s. Now is the pressure for accererating them to Level 5 and 6. You see, it is never good enough.

We are lucky at our school with our headteacher. There is an expectation that in every year there is at least expected progress and targets are set for accelerated progress in every year.

But, as I said before, good enogh is never good enough.

freddiefrog Wed 20-Feb-13 11:57:00

I agree with Tom.

I understand SATs are important for the school, but surely if the school has been doing its job properly for the last 6 1/2 years, all that's required now is some gentle revision.

We are getting pages and pages of SATs papers home, half of which DD doesn't seem to understand. It's a long time since I had to worry about a lot of this stuff and I simply don't remember it, so we resort to Google.

I know the new grammar paper has been a bit of an issue this year, but the pressure on them is relentless and DD is completely freaking out

I don't think DD should be pressurised into aiming for level 6, if she achieves it, fantastic, but I don't think she's genuinely at that level - she was working at 5c in September. Given the help she needs to complete her homework, I don't think she understands it properly and she's just being taught to pass the test

All year 6 parents have been in to complain about it, so hopefully some of the issues will be addressed at the meeting when we go back

TomArchersSausage Wed 20-Feb-13 11:59:36

Ah yes very true. In reaching one goalpost the Govt will not leave it at that and will push ever harder for the next onehmm.

I can see it's not an easy task..sad

Level 6 seems very ambitious for the age group. I confess I don't know much about levels/key stages but I'm sure dd1(age14) in yr9 brings home targets re levels 6/7. Probably I'm getting myself confused there though. I do get v mixed up with it allgrin

freddiefrog Wed 20-Feb-13 12:12:03

To be honest, I don't understand it all either.

I know she was at 5c in the Autumn term as that was on her report letter when we had parents evening. I knew nothing about the level 6 thing until I saw the note about an OK result and having plenty of time to pull it up to a 6 on a test paper she bought home.

She clearly doesn't understand the whys and wherefores of the work she's doing so I don't think she's genuinely at level 6. She may pass a level 6 test with coaching, but she's not really understanding it if you see what I mean.

TomArchersSausage Wed 20-Feb-13 12:22:20

Seems a lot to me toosad

Children at this age should be being prepared for a confident seemless move to secondary school.

Badgering them about SATS levels, esp when they are already achieving very respectable grades as it is, could be very demotivating. And sadly just at the point when they'll need all the resources they've got to move on and up into year 7 where things move up a gear.

KingscoteStaff Thu 21-Feb-13 10:08:26

If a child gets a level 3 in Year 2, then expected progress is that they will get a 5B in year 6. This, however, demonstrates that the teaching and learning in the school is merely satisfactory. As a Year 6 teacher, I must demonstrate 'better than expected' progress which, in the case of a Year 2 Level 3 result, means that they must achieve 5A or Level 6.

Now last year, in order to get that 5A in the normal Year 6 Maths Sats paper (which tests levels 3-5), the children had to score 96 - 100%. That is hard to achieve - for example: 39/40 in paper A, 38/40 in paper B and 19/20 in the mental maths test.

6 children in my last year's class missed level 5A by just one point. Because they had all achieved level 3 in year 2, that meant that our school had only achieved expected progress for them, which, in the eyes of Mr Gove and OFSTED, is not good enough.

This year, all the children who came up into Year 6 with a 5C have been taught separately for 3 maths lessons a week in order to prepare them for the Level 6 paper. If we can get them a 6C on that paper, then they have reached the holy grail of 'better than expected' progress from their L3 in Yr 2.

The pressure on Year 6 teachers is intense. To quote one of our Year 3 teachers "If you guys don't get over 60% Level 5s, you'll bring Ofsted down on all of our heads".

And now I am going to drive my own children over to their grandparents' house while I go into school to re-differentiate the next 4 weeks' maths.

snice Thu 21-Feb-13 10:21:16

no homework for yr6 here over half term other than reading

lljkk Thu 21-Feb-13 10:43:55

But I thought someone said elsewhere that there were no sublevels in y6 reporting. confused

Kingscote does that mean that y2 teachers are incentivised to under-report levels? So that the school progress looks better in y6? Assuming y2 is part of a R-y6 school, I mean.

I seem to be the only MNer to ever report a child who had a boost in levels from end of y2 to start of y3 instead of the oft-reported dip. I often wonder why that is. DS y2 teacher was an NQT & I tend to think she was just conservative in her assessment (fine by me, it doesn't matter, just a slight puzzle).

lljkk Thu 21-Feb-13 16:36:46

Here, KS2 sublevels are not meaningful, says Feenie.

KingscoteStaff Thu 21-Feb-13 18:07:19

lljkk, but Year 2 teachers have to show progression from baseline in Reception! Poor them - they are stuck in the middle!

Progression recorded on your child's record on Raiseonline is measured in sublevels - but you are right that only 'whole' levels - 3, 4 or 5 - are reported to parents.

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