I'm not alone am I? How can I help my stressed, overtested Y6 dd to cope with the relentless pressure that comes from the school. Grrrrrr

(142 Posts)
northender Thu 05-Nov-15 17:59:00

Apologies in advance for the long post.
Just that really. I'm not alone am I? Ds did Y6 3 years ago at the same school and it just bears no resemblance to what is going on this year as a result of the new testing system.
She is bright and in the top set for most things but that, apparently, is not enough. Already this school year they have been tested several times in each subject, in the hall, under exam conditions. Today they got results of an arithmetic test. Dd got 80% which she was pleased with but was then told she had to resit it today and if she didn't achieve 88% then she would have to do another test type exercise for homework. She missed history this afternoon as a result, to do the resit. Last half term she missed 2 sessions of history/geography to try to improve her reading comprehension skills.
Dd takes everything to heart and has taken a couple of hours to calm down tonight. She was upset and angry.This is not an isolated incident and although I recognise that dd's temperament does not help her, I can't see how this level of pressure is helpful in the long run. She seems like such a tortured soul at times and I feel pretty helpless. We have discussed with school how much to heart she takes things but I'm not sure they really get it as her teacher said to her today "Don't go home worrying about it"
We do lots of hopefully distracting stuff with her at home which she loves. She helps me with cooking & baking, is helping dh research my family history and does sewing & all sorts of crafty things with my mum. These things aren't forced on her but things she loves to do. In terms of formal extra curricular stuff she does drama and music both of which she loves.
I genuinely don't feel that going into school again will help, but as much as we say to her that it's not all about results, the school say the complete opposite.

If you've got to the end of my post then thank you smile

DaphneGaffney Thu 05-Nov-15 18:00:37

Is this a state school or private?

sleepwhenidie Thu 05-Nov-15 18:02:05

Why are they testing her so intensely, will she be doing entrance exams soon?

Wirralmumof2 Thu 05-Nov-15 18:02:41

Bloody hell.
I would go bat shit crazy if my year 6 daughter was put under the pressure.

School hall exams? Multiple times in what, 7 weeks since the start of term

No way.

And yet. What the hell do you do? You probably can't move her for 2.5 terms either

Is this a state school?

llhj Thu 05-Nov-15 18:03:33

It's beyond me that our system has come to this. Parents unite against this crap being shovelled down our children's throats. Where will it end? 80% deemed poor and missing other subjects to resit? I'd be writing a letter to the governors.

Suffolkgirl1 Thu 05-Nov-15 18:37:56

Change school. My year 6 hasn't been tested yet this year in anything as far as I know. It is not the fault of the " new testing system" but how an individual school decides to get their children to practice. Yours sounds totally OTT.

HeyMacWey Thu 05-Nov-15 18:41:54

Agree with pp. Completely ott.
My y6 has had some baseline testing and then just ongoing spellings etc.
Fully expect them to ramp the testing up after Xmas however.

motherwithheadache Thu 05-Nov-15 18:46:23

i would't eve mid the testing that much (dd2 loves tests...) but that should not come at the expense of missing other lessons (geography/history)

northender Thu 05-Nov-15 18:56:33

Wow, thanks for all your replies, it's a state school, clearly obsessed with results now. We did consider a move at the end of y5 but decided against it. In the week before half term holiday they had tests in the hall on 4 out of the 5 days I think.

The problem is, I have no faith in the Head teacher and from previous experience, know that the governors seem to support him almost unconditionally.

Pantone363 Thu 05-Nov-15 18:57:14

Sounds like our school.

DD has repeatedly been tested in reading, spelling, grammar, maths. Results come back and then tested again.

She got 75/100 for her spelling. Not good enough, she's now been given until the end of this term to get 100/100. 3 past SATS papers came home at half term.

Lowdoorinthewall Thu 05-Nov-15 19:01:33

This is the 'rigour' the Government want.

PoshPenny Thu 05-Nov-15 19:05:39

Maybe I am being thick here, but why can't you go into the school and tell them to stop pushing YOUR child to the extent they are? 80% sounds good enough to me, the school making her feel like she's failed and forcing her to re sit to get 88% so that their results look better sounds downright unreasonable, if not cruel, in my opinion. That kind of pressure at such a young age has the potential to cause all sorts of problems later and if you don't like it, then say so?

VikingVolva Thu 05-Nov-15 19:06:33

I don't think it is 'rigour'. Most schools don't do this, and the Governments intention is that the education is high quality throughout, so the tests should be no biggie.

But they don't (can't?) micromanage what heads/governors lay down in each and every school. And just as there are excellent schools, there are still ones which do things strangely, and clearly lack the confidence they should have in their normal standard. Teaching to the test is usually a sign of weakness.

Ricardian Thu 05-Nov-15 19:12:31

it's a state school, clearly obsessed with results now

SATs results make very little difference to most children. Yes, pushy parents will tell you that their whole secondary fate is set by them, but it's rarely true: secondaries know how dubious the whole thing is so re-test (with CATs) and there is plenty of movement between sets right from the off. Children who don't have SATs results are not cast into some outer darkness, quite the contrary (as any parent who has home-schooled or used a non-SATs private school and then sent their child into state secondaries will attest).

So if your child is a strong performer who will net raise the school's averages, just tell the school that you will if necessary withdrawn them from the school for the SATs. Just keep them at home or, if it comes to it, deregister them. The school can choose: treat your child decently and get the result as part of their figures, or simply get nothing.

If you can get other parents to join you in this, so much the better.

TeenAndTween Thu 05-Nov-15 19:17:08

DD's in y6. No tests yet that I have been aware of.
About 30mins maths and 30mins English homework per week.

It's the school you have an issue with, not the SATs.

averythinline Thu 05-Nov-15 19:18:23

nothing like this at ds school....no tests at all apart from their usual bit if maths to check understanding of each topic... that would completely freak him out ... I think thats really harsh.. she's years away from gcse so its hardly exam practice.....not sure what its for ???

sounds like she's doing really nice stuff at home though hope it doesnt put her off school

glintwithpersperation Thu 05-Nov-15 19:21:51

This is appalling. I would completely loose the plot - what the fuck are they doing?
Totally agree Ricdian threaten to refuse SATs

eleven59 Thu 05-Nov-15 19:23:47

Government puts pressure on schools to achieve, head and governors puts pressure on teachers and teachers put pressure on kids. Parents need to speak out.

eleven59 Thu 05-Nov-15 19:25:48

*So if your child is a strong performer who will net raise the school's averages, just tell the school that you will if necessary withdrawn them from the school for the SATs. Just keep them at home or, if it comes to it, deregister them. The school can choose: treat your child decently and get the result as part of their figures, or simply get nothing.

If you can get other parents to join you in this, so much the better*

I agree with this

eleven59 Thu 05-Nov-15 19:26:57

Oops that should've been a quote

Titsywoo Thu 05-Nov-15 19:30:48

Dd has been doing some tests in school but they are not given the results they are just for the teachers to see where they need to have a bit of help. They are only every 2 weeks or something. Yours sounds way ott.

FrChewieLouie Thu 05-Nov-15 19:33:02

I would do as Ricardian suggests and withdraw her from the SATs if this continues. Awful. I have a y6 dd who has not been put under any noticeable pressure at all - SATs practice is taken very gently, just a few booster classes in March/April for children on the level borderlines.

TeddTess Thu 05-Nov-15 19:33:27

This is pretty ridiculous, i thought our school was bad but this seems shocking. The pressure at our school definitely comes from individual teachers who seem to handle it badly. One teacher last year told the yr6 class "i know your parents have told you not to worry about the SATS and that they don't matter. They do matter. If you get bad SATS you will go to a bad secondary school, or put in a bottom set. then you will get bad GCSE results and no job or university for you!" shock shock shock angry

luckily dd had an independent school place by Easter so i could reassure her THEY REALLY DID NOT MATTER.

as it happens she did well but has one person ever asked what she got? NO.

northender Thu 05-Nov-15 20:02:17

Again, I'm so grateful for your replies. So this approach is not as widespread as I'd assumed. I'm not sure whether we can team up with other parents. Others are definitely unhappy about things but I know we feel more upset at the moment as dd is so susceptible to the pressure. Others must be feeling it too, we'll put some feelers out. One issue is that the chair of governors is a Y6 parent who can see no wrong in the school at all. She went there, now her 2 children and she has very rose coloured glasses about it.

With hindsight we wish we had moved schools a while ago but we didn't & can't change that now so will do what we can to change things. I hadn't thought of the threat of withdrawal from SATs as an option, will talk to dh about it

I can't tell you how much better it has made me feel to "talk" about it on here

TeddTess Thu 05-Nov-15 20:22:46

you just have to reassure your dd that the teachers are stressed as it affects how well they are seen to do their job.
the school is stressed because of league tables
the head teacher wants to do better than the last head teacher / last year / neighbouring school

but she can just do her best as it actually doesn't make any difference to her.

fwiw it does mean that dd is now fairly unfazed by tests! test overload last year = nothing to fear now in secondary.

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