Withdrawing child from SATS

(147 Posts)
Satsquash Thu 10-Jan-13 09:34:51

Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the following:

1) Is it possible to withdraw your child from Yr6 Sats?

2) Would there be any impact on your child going to their chosen school if you did this i.e. offer withdrawn or child being in the wrong sets when they got there.

Satsquash Fri 11-Jan-13 16:58:54

Yes, I can see that's a good idea, seeker, don't want to leave anything to chance at all.

I'm going to leave this thread now, as I've had some really fantastic advice. Not all of that good advice has supported me in withdrawing DS from Sats either but it's still been very valuable and I appreciate people taking the time to say why they think it's not a great plan.

I'm going to think about it very carefully indeed, believe me. I have the strong conviction that I'm right to be pissed off, but as has been pointed out, maybe I should have done something sooner. Still time to make my views clear to the school and perhaps I will change my mind about what even I can see could come across as a spiteful and meaningless gesture.

I expected much more of a flaming tbh, so thanks

Best of luck to those on this thread dealing with their own Sats dilemmas and problems x

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 16:49:40

Particularly if he's likely to get 665. Because secondary schools regard primary school internal assessments with great suspicion, and they may not set appropriate targets without actual evidence.

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 16:47:03

Ask somebody who knows at the school you hope he's going to and any school he might have to go to if he doesn't get in to your first choice specifically what use they make of SATs scores, and if possible get the answer in writing before you make any decision. It probably won't make a difference in most schools, but is sure as hell did in ds's.

Satsquash Fri 11-Jan-13 14:32:51

Ilove, DS's education is all about him, yes. Any hint that missing Sats in Yr6 would be to his detriment education-wise and I will not consider it.
There is nowhere to move him to.
He doesn't define himself by what levels he gets, so showing what he can do isn't an issue. He is reluctant to tell anyone his levels tbh, as he gets teased for it and no one likes a show off anyway.
I'm not positive about them in front of him. Why would I be? They measure nothing about him personally and are worthless.

itsallscone - I wouldn't go down the fake illness route as I'd feel hypocritical telling him to pretend to be ill and if I do withdraw him it will be with a letter explaining why to the SMT and Governors.

itsallscone Fri 11-Jan-13 14:05:37

Can't see a school allowing you to withdraw IME, but there may be a freak tummy bug around the time it is done? wink but then the only info we had about the time of the SATS was that it was in May.
I never really knew until recently what SATS were actually for, But I presumed it was something really important which would really impact my Dc's lives. I remember attending an induction meeting held for parents before Dc started at the school, the head spent more time boasting about where the school was on the area table which to be truthful I just thought oh that must be very good then confused not quite sure what its all about but hey-ho...the head was really excited about it! Then fast forward to the year my Ds's SATS were due, OMG the pressure he was put under, the threats, the countless amounts of times I was pulled in and heard the phrase 'Lilscone has his SATS this year' on repeat even I felt under pressure blush and I honestly believed it was something really HUGE until I sat down and found out what they were!
SATs help teachers – and you - learn more about your child's strengths and weaknesses (fair enough but wouldn't a school report tell us parents about this anyway???). Teachers can compare how well each child is doing with their peers, both in their school and across the country. They can also measure how much each child improves from one Key Stage to another.
In addition, headteachers, local authorities and the DCSF (formerly DfES) use the results to help identify schools that are struggling (need better staff) and, if a school is doing really well, it can share what it's doing right with other schools.
So in a nut shell it does not affect your Dc at all in any way, it just means that if Dc do well the next time the SATS are revised it will be even more pressure on the next Dc who sit them. angry OK rant over blush

Ilovesunflowers Fri 11-Jan-13 13:40:36

So this is about you and your feelings about the SMT? Surely your son's education is about him and not you?

If you are so unhappy with the school? Why not move him? There are better ways to make your point.

Perhaps your son would like to show what he can do like all his friends and peers.

FWIW I dislike the SATs and especially the 'boosting' ethos in y6. It limits the curriculum. However the SATs do still exist so I think children should do them and parents should be as positive as possible about them in their childs presence.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Jan-13 13:28:06

"Absolutely. But it's also not a good idea to say that SATs don't matter at all unless you are sure."

seeker

Surely there is a middle ground between saying that SATs don't matter and that these are life changing exams. All we can ask of our children is their best.

A good quality comprehensive is not like the vile grammar/ secondary modern schools in kent where there is movement between sets. Good comprehensives use a range of measures to make sure that a child is in the right set. The school that my son will hopefully go to retests the children with old SAT papers, uses CAT tests, teacher references as well as primary school scores. They also look at the age of the child.

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 13:19:42

"It is not a healthy attitude to believe that one set of exams affects you for life. Even if someone fails their university finals their life is not totally ruined. Learning to cope with failure or the possiblity of failure is an important life lesson. Most of us experience failure at some point in life."

Absolutely. But it's also not a good idea to say that SATs don't matter at all unless you are sure. My ds is in a school where you really don't want to be in th lower sets if you can help it, and there is no movement until after Christmas in year 7. And they are set according to SATs.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Jan-13 12:58:12

Its attitude to failure. Yes, SATS may influence what set a child is placed in initally at secondary, however so will CATs tests, teachers reports and school tests taken in September. However its the child's attitude that affects what set they stay in. An over hothoused child who is lazy at secondary school is likely to be moved down to their true level. Conversely a child who did badly in SATs for personal reasons or illness may well be moved up a set after the first half term.

It is not a healthy attitude to believe that one set of exams affects you for life. Even if someone fails their university finals their life is not totally ruined. Learning to cope with failure or the possiblity of failure is an important life lesson. Most of us experience failure at some point in life.

bruffin Fri 11-Jan-13 12:37:29

Dcs school set from day one as well, they use Cats (taken on transfer day) and Sats.

It does happen, not all schools use SATs to set at the beginning but some do.

Vicky13 Fri 11-Jan-13 12:16:52

I've been thinking about this more today and it's making me quite angry that at primary age the system is making my daughter think that either her mum or her teacher are lying to her.

Teacher is saying SATs will ruin their lives, I'm saying it's a load of rubbish designed to test teachers not children. I don't want to be at odds with the teachers like this. I'm usually very supportive of school. And I don't want my daughter to think that authority figures like teachers are to be ignored and dismissed, but equally I'm not prepared to reinforce the message that failing these tests means she's going to ruin her future.

Sorry - ranting now. I have sympathy for the OP who is angry enough to punish the school. I'm not going to do that, but I am going to do what I can to protect my daughter from anxiety, sleeplessness and tears over a test that I couldn't care less about.

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 12:08:11

"If you have a stupid school telling them that SATs determine their future its well worth getting someone from your first choice of secondary to tell your child that it isn't true."

First making sure it isn't to some extent true- ds's school set from day 1 according to SATs scores. So it does happen.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Jan-13 10:59:20

Vicky13, my son is at 4a for writing so has been under pressure because there is a realistic chance of him getting 5c. However he has never been shouted at.

rather than thinking about SATs , I think its helps to think how a child can improve generally. My son has improved his writing dramatically with BBC bitesize. If a child is aiming for a level 5 then it helps to do the games on both the keystage 2 and key stage 3 website.

Things like punctuation, using interesting connectives, paragraghs, sentence structure are easier ways of improving writing quickly than improving vocabulary. The grammar test is new to everyone and prehaps learning about different types of pronouns blah! blah! are easier marks to get than being creative or spelling.

The problem with improving writing is that there are no quick fixes. So much is down the child's maturity and development of their thinking.

Vicky13 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:32:20

I am intending to go into school on Monday and speak to the teacher about this. She's not in on Fridays or I'd do it today. I realise it's not a blanket target for the whole top table. It's just that the other girls on the table are all at L5. I think my daughter has been targeted badly. Not sure why. She's very good at reading and maths, but not at writing so maybe they've falsely inflated her ability.

I don't think I'd keep her off during SATs week though. I don't like the message that would give her, that you can avoid anything you don't like. I also do appreciate that the school have to work to targets. It's the pressure they put on them that I object to.

I have to work to targets in my job (sales) so I understand the pressures. But I also understand that high pressure doesn't always get you to your target. If I just phoned up all my customers and shouted at them to give me money I'm pretty sure that I'd be less likely to reach my target than if I was polite, helpful and positive. The same goes for this teacher. I realise she wants my daughter to get a L5. I'm happy with that. I just don't think that shouting, scaring and pressuring her is going to get her there. Quite the opposite in fact.

tiggytape Fri 11-Jan-13 09:46:31

ReallyTired is right - it isn't a question of the school setting Level 5 targets for the whole of top table and potentially getting into trouble if pupils fail to reach this.
Each child is expected to make individual progress throughout KS2 in line with their attainement in KS1. So in that sense there is a target to aim for but, for the SATS, the school needs to really get all pupils a Level 4 at least.
The fact the child with a level 4 was expected to get a 5 or had a teacher who wanted them to get a 5 is not part of that overall headline figure (although of course it would be looked at in terms of individual progress)
It all seems very stressful though so I would go into the school and talk to them about that.

This year schools are allowed to test children who are ill (or kept off school) on SATS days at a later date. In previous years this was much less flexible. It is therefore going to be difficult to withdraw a pupil from the tests like this unless you are going to keep them off for a long time.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Jan-13 09:33:08

"Any teachers still up - Can i go in and ask for her targets to be reassessed? I thought back in September that giving her a L5 target was unrealistic. She got 4c at the end of last year, and she did well to get that. "

I am not a teacher, however I was told that a child was expected to make two sub levels of progress. It would be quite a feat for your daughter to make an entire level of progress in a year in writing, although not impossible. Ds' target is 5c for writing and he started the year on 4b for writing and 5c for reading.

BBC bitesize is very good.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Jan-13 09:29:43

I realise from this thread that my son's school is not such a SATs factory as some people's school. Thankfully my son has only had timed SATs papers twice a term.

ds is bored by the excessive revision. He is under pressure to get his writing up to a 5c, but no one is really stressing out. The children who are under the most pressure are those on the 3a/4c boundary.

If you have a stupid school telling them that SATs determine their future its well worth getting someone from your first choice of secondary to tell your child that it isn't true.

Bunbaker Fri 11-Jan-13 08:47:28

"Its not just about doing test papers. Its the schools whole attitude to the sats and the pressure they put on children and how lots if their work.is purely sats focused."

I would blame the system rather than the school. I agree with AThing. All children are taught to pass exams, whether they are SATS tests, GCSEs, A levels etc. They aren't taught the subjects in depth any more.

I did the 11+ when it was still compulsory and I don't remember feeling the kind of pressure that children get for the KS2 SATS these days.

DD's old primary school is a top performing school (in top 50 in England) - outstanding in every way. It has become a victim of its own success. Their last few years KS2 SATS performance has recorded 100% of year 6 attaining level 4 and above and 65%+ attaining level 5 in English and maths. I can't see them deciding not to bother pushing the children any more with a track record like that.

It's not just the practice papers, seeker is right, it's a short test, reviewing things they already know, maths, literacy etc.

It's the pressure. Ds1 school made them feel if they didn't do well on these tests, their entire future was ruined.
They told them it determined which set they would be in, which job they would have, the reputation of the school was in their hands.
It was quite amazing.
Also for 5 weeks before the test the only homework they had was practice papers. The whole world revolved around this test.

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 07:40:59

SATs ARE compulsory at Free Schools (read this) and there are lots of SATs published for Academies so I think they must be compulsory there, too.

Vicky13 Thu 10-Jan-13 23:57:48

Just read through this thread and it's really interesting as I have been having the same thought myself this week.

My daughter is in Y6 and I hadn't realised until the start of this school year just how much of a SATs factory her school is. She's good at maths and is already achieving her target so as far as that goes no stress. She enjoys tests and she loves maths so doing controlled papers a couple of times a week doesn't bother her.

Problem is in literacy. She's a consistent level 4 but she's been predicted a level 5 and she doesn't seem to be getting there. This week every day she's come home in tears and said the teacher has been shouting at her. (she means telling her off, but the same result) She complained tonight that whenever she's last to finish she gets kept in and shouted at but if anyone else finishes after her, they don't. I can believe this is true because the other girls on her table are all already at L5. The other tables probably aren't but I guess they're only predicted a L4 so less of an issue. It's quite a low / average achieving state primary and DD is on the top table.

I don't really care what she gets, and I don't mind her sitting the papers, but I don't know how to get the teacher to back off?

I know my daughter and she's very introverted and self critical. She will not respond well to being criticised, punished and told off. Half the problem with her writing is she's convinced she's rubbish already.

Any teachers still up - Can i go in and ask for her targets to be reassessed? I thought back in September that giving her a L5 target was unrealistic. She got 4c at the end of last year, and she did well to get that.

AThingInYourLife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:37:36

I would argue that all education is deformed by testing, but few tests come close to the banal pointlessness of SATs.

They are no use to anyone involved in education.

Their purpose is to make education into something that can be counted and have little sums done on it.

A levels have uses to students and universities. Their malign consequences are unintended.

SATs exist to put teachers under the control of bureaucrats. The intent is malign.

mumchat Thu 10-Jan-13 23:03:40

Out of interest what would be the situation if a child was kept off from
SATs at an academy then? Are they not compulsory in academies?

mrz Thu 10-Jan-13 22:31:05

Any test including GCSE A Levels and Degree level are a shadow of the subject because it is impossible to include everything in a single exam. So you could argue that all learning is deformed

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