Booster groups in yr6 for Sat - why!

(50 Posts)
BaBaSheep Sun 20-Apr-14 16:31:21

Booster groups seem to common in year 6 for pushing the borderline pupils to reach the next level e.g. from L3 to L4 or L4a to L5. But then many secondary schools and independent schools seem just distrust the sat results anyway so what's the point? I just begin to wonder whether these booster groups really provide long term sustainable education benefit / value in every child involved. Are booster groups focused on short term solutions for sat thus the league table? Or do these groups really provide a solid foundation to prepare the children's future learning or just a false achievement. May be it is a naïve questions?

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Sun 20-Apr-14 16:38:36

What makes you think that the booster classes are for the children's benefit? They are surely for the school's benefit.

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Sun 20-Apr-14 16:41:16

SATs preparation does benefit children slightly; they get some Maths & English practice and some tuition in spelling, grammar and punctuation, as well as a small level of experience in sitting exams. All of these are useful for secondary school. The actual level they are given is less important.

BaBaSheep Sun 20-Apr-14 16:42:23

Silly me! I just think money, time, manpower, should be better spend ....... you know ...... that sort of things

BaBaSheep Sun 20-Apr-14 16:44:04

So why not for everyone then? Why just for those on borderline?

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Sun 20-Apr-14 16:50:27

So why not for everyone then? Why just for those on borderline?

Because of cost to benefit ratio (measurable benefit in terms of levels). There is a similar phenomenon at the C/D grade boundary at GCSE.

BaBaSheep Sun 20-Apr-14 17:03:03

At gcse levels ok as it will affect their individual long term career options but in year 6 I am not sure???? As the dcs will be retested again
anyway.

spanieleyes Sun 20-Apr-14 17:20:26

Schools are judged, by OFSTED and by parents on the results they achieve, teachers are paid on the results they achieve, in some cases children are set in secondary on the results they achieve. The pressure to improve results as much as is possible comes from all sides!

SatansFurryJamHats Sun 20-Apr-14 17:25:59

If booster sessions consolidate learning in areas a child may be unsure of then that will help them with the secondary tests and assessment.

Some DC do benefit from smaller group work focusing on topics or techniques they haven't quite got the hang of.

MrsKCastle Sun 20-Apr-14 20:16:34

Schools do booster sessions because they are judged on the number of level 4s and the progress made from ks1 SATs.

Unfortunately, schools and teachers don't have the freedom to do what they consider best for individual children. Not unless/until they're exceeding government targets.

goingmadinthecountry Sun 20-Apr-14 20:21:13

I'm going in (voluntarily) for the next 3 weeks on my day off to work with individuals - unpaid, obviously. Yes it's for the school but please believe me, it's definitely for the children too. We all have to suffer SATS.

pointythings Sun 20-Apr-14 20:35:28

DD2 has been doing booster groups since autumn half term. They are available for everyone, not just for those on grade boundaries - the aim is to improve confidence for everyone. They're entirely voluntary and DD2 has really enjoyed them - I think if they're well done, they're the sort of thing that should be done in all years, only the resources aren't there and so the focus is on Yr6, SATs and OFSTED.

For the first time in her life, DD2 believes she is good at maths. She has always been good at maths, borderline 5/6, but has never believed it. Now she does. In reading, she's part of a reading group who choose interesting challenging books and discuss them over drinks and biscuits. It would be great if we could take the focus off SATs and league tables and have this kind of tailored teaching all the time.

MilkRunningOutAgain Sun 20-Apr-14 20:47:39

All DSs class are getting extra lessons, maths and reading and grammar practise. I wish it happened at other times, not just before the SATS. DS has enjoyed the classes, they are done well. I don't care what level he is, but I do like him getting extra attention.

spanieleyes Sun 20-Apr-14 21:06:40

When I started teaching in Year 6 we were reasonably happy if the children made 10 points progress between Ks1 and Ks2, with a fair sprinklings of 12 points progress for good measure. This year I have to ensure 100% make 12 points progress, 65% make 14 points progress and 35% make 16 points progress!! There is a feeling of ambivalence. Yes, we want toensure children progress and achieve their potential but we don't want to push children to breaking point ( mine , not theirs!!)

pointythings Sun 20-Apr-14 21:43:54

spanieleyes you make the point so well - the problem isn't with the booster classes, it's with the mistrust in schools and teachers and the constantly moving goalposts.

Is it 1 point = 1 sublevel?

spanieleyes Sun 20-Apr-14 21:52:18

Not quite.Two points per sub level so where two whole levels( ie six sub levels or 12 points) used to be ok children now have to make seven or eight sub levels and in some cases more!

pointythings Sun 20-Apr-14 22:18:11

That's still a big ask though. By that reckoning DD2 has made 16 points since the end of Yr2, but she's definitely slowed down through the end of Yr5 and through Yr6 as the targets have become tougher. It doesn't sound at all like a realistic expectation.

strruglingoldteach Mon 21-Apr-14 00:13:18

Some many of the children I teach have to go from a 3a at the end of Y5 to a 5c by May. I have been told they MUST make that progress, no excuses. Most of them will but bloody hell it's hard work!

SE13Mummy Mon 21-Apr-14 00:30:16

We boost the whole of Y6 by having two teachers in class for most of the week (and have done since the Autumn). This means we can split the class for maths and target the specific skills that individuals need to work on, can move children between groups as soon as we can see that they are ready for a more challenging level/would benefit from input at a lower level etc. In Literacy it means that two of us are able to lead guided groups and, along with our fantastic TA means that 25 children share the attention of three adults.

During a couple of afternoons each week one of us teaches the class and the other teacher holds 'learning surgeries' with individuals, pairs or small groups of children who've struggled with that morning's learning or who have been identified (by us or by them) as children who are ready to be moved on at a faster pace.

At my school, boosting hasn't been about borderline children. It's been about giving children a lot more input and more adult time. They've loved it and so have the Y6 teachers! Children generally work pretty hard at school and I'm a big believer in their time after school being used for other activities whether that's hanging upside down from a climbing frame, playing with friends, drawing, going to an organised club or doing something completely different. It shouldn't be about extending the school day and using it for the learning that didn't happen between 9am and 3:30pm, or making up for slow progress in Y3-Y5.

spanieleyes Mon 21-Apr-14 08:38:50

I had one boy who joined us at the end of year 5 apparently a 2a at KS1, which was strange since he was a 3c when he joined us! I had to make sure he got to at least a 4a and preferably a 5c by the end of year 6. One of the side issues of performance related pay is that experienced teachers will not want to work in Year 6, it's hard enough to get teachers to move there now and once in, it's almost impossible to move out. But if my pay is going to be based on arbitrary government imposed targets which increase year after year, forget it!

BaBaSheep Mon 21-Apr-14 09:03:57

Thanks Pointythings you have got my point. This thread is not aimed to get at teachers tbh it really isn't even you may think it is. I appreciate how hard teachers work and I trust there are many good caring teachers who feel as much pains as many parents caused the Ed system. I believe parents and teachers really are in the same boat but with different priorities.

If booster groups are a good thing and I believe they are so why only for the 3a, 4a and 5a. My summer born dd has always be average and she works hard but her confidence just keep being undermined by school. She is average L4 I don't have a problem with that but she is never in the top set so missed out of the privilege of feeling valued and more challenging work. She is now average yr6 so she is not into any booster groups. Is this one of the side effects of the league table? Is there any place and consideration give to average children?

If it is a good thing so why not for everyone at least or even for every year group if possible. What about the development, confidence and future learning of the average kids? Are they not important because they not showing their school up or down.

Slackgardener Mon 21-Apr-14 09:04:55

Pupils at dcs school get moved off the booster groups when they reach level 5, the whole thing is a numbers game. Resources are carefully targeted to ensure the school has the most effective statistics so it can look like a success. I've listened to non stop Sats chat from the teachers and from my dcs all year, they are supposed to be doing revision over the holidays. I will be so glad when they are over but I'll be interested to see how much numeracy and SPaG will be done till the summer break - none I expect!

moldingsunbeams Mon 21-Apr-14 09:15:24

I have child with sen and spiky results, she is a very solid 4a for reading but is attending booster group for that to get the school a level 5.

Yet she is having no input for the level 3a in literacy or 4c in maths.

moldingsunbeams Mon 21-Apr-14 09:18:16

And some of the solid level 4a/level 5s are doing an extra hour three times a week straight from school bell sad

Driveway Mon 21-Apr-14 09:24:00

This sounds awful. Do people ever home educate just for year six I wonder?

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