Readers in KS2 SATs tests - unfair advantage?

(80 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 14:33:26

The SENCO told me that DS was to have a reader in the maths test paper. I was not aware of the criteria. Having found out the criteria and recieving standardised tests from the school I found out that there is no significant discrepency between RA and CA on sentence reading tests - on a bad day he is less than a year behind and on a good day can even be a couple of months above his chronological age. He is able to read all the questions himself. He has never recieved help or support with reading in the classroom although he frequently requires a prompt. The school is unwilling to accept that he does not start or complete tasks independently to such an extent that a prompt is necessary.

I told the SENCO that DS did not qualify for a reader and that it was bad for his sense of himself as a learner to insist upon his receiving support that he did not need and did not want - a bit like insisting that he had stabilisers on his bike. I was surprised to learn that DS was not the only member of the class of around 16 (in a small, rural, m/c primary school) earmarked to receive support but that around 8 children would have readers and that a significant number of these did not meet the criteria either (reading age below 9, on action or action+, evidence of requiring reader in class etc) but that readers were able to help them in other ways! Am I being horribly naive but this strikes me as a tad illegal?

What should I do - tell other parents of the 'unfair advantage' (as the mother of 2 children with SEN this may seem rather odd but in my experience enabling DS to do his best in the SATs by having a prompt disguised as a reader who is able to help test results match teacher assessment will actually prevent us from getting his needs met at secondary level for many years to come by making it appear that he can work independently) complain to the BoG, report them to the LEA etc?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 14:40:40

I forgot to say - I encountered extreme resistence to DS not having a reader - in the end the SENCo rather moodily suggested that we ask DS whether or not he wants a reader - I was not aware it was his choice to make! DS insisted that he did not want a reader and this has been passed on the SENCO but they may well have had the thumbscrews out today. I wonder why it is so important to them?

IndigoBell Fri 04-May-12 15:36:34

Oooooh. This makes me so mad.

Like you say, it is absolutely not in your DSs best interests to have a reader.

If it were me,(and it might well be) I would honestly keep him home from school during SATs week unless they guaranteed that he would not have a reader. Then at least he won't get an inflated grade.

Complain in writing to the govs and the LEA - if you're absolutely sure the other children don't meet the criteria.

But I'd be more concerned about my own child not having a reader, then about complaining.

(I don't think complaining, especially to the LEA, ever solves anything)

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 16:19:16

I don't think that complaining will solve anything but the new head who is also the SENCO wants very much to improve last years SATs results (rumoured to have been instrumental in the previous head's leaving) and seems to me to be using rather underhand techniques to demonstrate improvement. As the parent of a child on whom a reader was to be forced at the school's discretion despite not meeting criteria I believe that there is sufficient evidence in this case alone that the access arrangements were being used inappropriately. But ... DH thinks I am an idealist and in the real world no-one really cares about bending the rules in this way - that the BoG and the LEA would share a bureaucratic 'immoral' viewpoint as would most of the parents who want their child's school to improve SATs results. Please tell me that he is a cynic!

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 04-May-12 17:07:57

Gosh, he wouldn't get a reader at my school. I will be reading in maths for the DC with a statement that I support, and 3 other DC who are on SA or SA+ with a reading age under 9 will also have readers. So that's 4 out of a year group of 60. We are not a high league table school, but do get around 80% level 4 or above in maths and English.

For the DC I support, my role is more to keep him focused and on task than because he can't read. He has real trouble working independently but his maths ability is pretty average. Without constant prompting he wouldn't get more than a couple of questions answered. Reading the questions to him and sitting with him keeps him on task. This is similar but perhaps more intense to the role I have in the classroom, where I have to constantly prompt, but try to withdraw between prompts to help his independence.

Feenie Fri 04-May-12 17:21:37

I would report them to the LEA, who will ensure they receive a visit. To qualify for a reader, each child must be used to receiving this kind of reading help on a day to day basis in the classroom. If every question is to be read to the child, they must do the test in a separate room (and a prompter also has to prompt the child in a separate room. I very much doubt that there are 8 separate rooms/readers for all these children! They are breaking the rules.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 18:04:52

I would be happy about DS receiving both reading and prompting to enable him to answer more than a couple of questions if he had been assessed and had a statement. Unfortunatley, SATs with a reader (who doesn't declare the extent of prompting or goes beyond reading) hides his significant problems with working independently and can be interpreted by the LEA as further evidence that he does not require assessment (they have already refused once and I am awaiting the outcome of the second application).

How on earth did the DC with a statement but who has pretty average maths ability get a statement?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 18:09:07

Feenie - would you suggest that I write to the head/senco with a blind copy to the LEA or direct to the LEA?

Can I remain anonymous - I am worried about backlash to DS1 & DS2?

Feenie Fri 04-May-12 18:16:56

You can speak to the LEA and remain anonymous - they will send someone in, and the school will not know if anyone has dobbed them in reported them. They will just assume they are one of the 10% being moderated that year. I would phone them.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 04-May-12 18:18:39

Keepingon, my DS2 is in top set for Maths at secondary. He has 20 hours on his statement. Having SNs doesn't have to mean low ability, you know.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 18:24:08

Ellen sorry if I sounded surprised - DS has fallen foul of the LEA attainment criteria (ie bottom 2%, 5 years behind, lower than level 1b at age 11) - yes I know it is illegal but the bastards tinkers do keep trotting it out.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 18:50:08

Feenie many thanks - I am dusting off my whistle as I type.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 04-May-12 20:49:04

That's OK, Keepon. smile It's bollocks that you need to be in the bottom 2% to get a statement. What's true is that only 2% of DC have statements, but that is supposed to be due to need. Have you managed to have a look at the SEN COP which gives the current guidance to schools and LAs? Anything that says 'must' is law. It is still current despite the Green Paper on SEN provision. It states that one of the reasons to bet a statement is a child making inadequate progress with current provision. Not 5 years behind! How on earth could my 5 yo have got a statement, how can 3 yos get statements?

Sorry, rant over! blush

Some LAs are completely awful, unfortunately.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 21:43:51

Ellen I know, I know - DS has been working at the same level for 4 years but is not yet 'bad enough' to qualify for assessment! Nobody has done the analysis to demonstrate obvious regression from the mean and assessed benchmark ability. Both SENCO and LEA EP asserted that he was not dyslexic as he could read and write (!) a week before an independent EP diagnosed dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia to add to the known auditory processing difficulties, low working memory etc. The EP gazes at me sympathatically as she shows me the little charts that demonstrate that DS does not even qualify for support at Action+ level (which they deliver out of the goodness of their hearts - bless).

CardyMow Sun 06-May-12 09:00:59

KeepOn - with tose criteria, it sounds like you arer under Essex LEA. Unless there's another LEA that uses the same, illegal criteria for assessing statements...

I had the same issues with my DD, but to the point where the primary school were LYING about the levels she was acheiving under the NC. It wasn't until she started (a very well researched, well picked) Secondary school that her needs were addressed.

She started Y7 working BELOW level 1. She is now in Y9 - and is sitting traditional GCSE's, and is expected to acheive C/D grades in most, if not all.

She still doesn't have a statement, mind you - even the Secondary have tried and failed to get her one - but they are giving my DD the level of SEN support that she would be getting if she had a statement regardless.

And the EP is talking bollocks. If your DS has ANY involvement from outside the school - ENT / Physio / OT / Developmental Paed / any other consultant - then the school HAS to put him on SA+ and give him that level of support. They try to wriggle out of it, but that is what SHOULD happen.

(I am currently fighting the primary school again on behalf of my DS2, who DOES have outside involvement from ENT, Audiology, Physiotherapy, OT AND a developmental Paed, but they have dropped him from SA+ to SA despite the outside involvment. Crap school, no option to change as his year is full except for In-year Fair Access Protocol for 30 miles, large birth year, Grrrrr.)

adelaofblois Sun 06-May-12 16:11:03

I don't know all the circumstances but can sort of see the school's point because:

a. It is a maths test. If there is any possibility that your son may be thrown or have difficulty with the reading, then this affects judgments of his maths ability adversely and unfairly. A child unable to read any of the questions, but able to answer them all (and I've met one such EAL child) is a Level 5+ mathematician who would score 0 unaided. Similarly a child who struggles to work independently but can answer many questions needs a push. It is 'inflating', but it is a test of mathematical ability not a test of the ability to do the maths test (if that makes sense)

b. Any reading issues and inabilities to work independently will be flagged by the Reading test and by his teachers' assessments. He cannot have a reader for these.

c. To be honest, secondary schools don't give a stuff about SATs results, nor do EPs. Getting a good score in maths isn't going to hinder assessment of other needs.

Yeah, the school is being self-serving (and all schools would deploy as many readers as possible if they could) BUT it will result in a more honest reflection of your kid's abilities in maths. Like one poster above, I can't really see why you would complain-he is not going to learn dependency because of having a reader for SATs tests and practice tests, unless this is all the school does.

mrz Sun 06-May-12 16:46:59

In my area secondary schools use SAT levels for class placement and EPs ask for NC levels including SAT years

adelaofblois Sun 06-May-12 17:33:56

That's interesting. Round here, transition officers say they use SATs results to place for a couple of weeks, run their own tests, then formalise groups. And talking to parents they don't seem to be talking bollocks, there is a routine secondary group redistribution around October half term.

Likewise EPs want levels, but also more information. I wouldn't report a child as regularly working at Level 5 in maths to an EP if he or she needed a reader. I would report both-they are an able mathematician with a reading problem. If the issue was ability to work independently, surely the EP would ask whether a reader was used?

Not being stuffy here, and perhaps I am naive, but personally, given they have to sit the damn things, I'd rather send my kids into a test knowing it will test what it is supposed to-maths-rather than send them in with a load of other complications.

IndigoBell Sun 06-May-12 17:38:56

adela - I think you're naive.

This child clearly has a lot of problems (no progress in 4 years). The last thing that will help him is him getting an inflated grade in his SATs.

If you child doesn't have problems, then maybe it's no big deal.

But if your child does have SEN, especially if he needs a statement, then it's really not in his favour to get inflated grades.

And these grades could be vastly inflated. We have no idea how much help the TA will actually give him in the test.

You say it should only test his maths ability. But it's not that simple. Say his maths is a level 5 - but only with a TA working with him 1:1, and he doesn't have a TA. Then he won't survive in a level 5 stream will he.......

And it won't help his statement request for his grades to be what he can achieve with a TA, when he doesn't have a TA.

mrz Sun 06-May-12 17:39:55

Here children are placed for the first year based on SAT results.

If a child had inflated test results achieved with a reader indicating they were roughly in line with age expectations I wouldn't even get an EP agreeing to visit.

cece Sun 06-May-12 17:41:52

Any child can ask for questions to be read to them during the SATs tests in Year 6. In fact we positively encourage our children to be read the questions. Obviously this is not the case in the reading test! We aren't allowed to read any of those - LOL!

mrz Sun 06-May-12 17:46:27

Use of a reader
How to apply: No application or notification form is needed.

Who is it for: If a child already has reading support in the classroom.

Readers must be used on a one-to-one basis and must not be another child at the
school, or relative, carer or guardian of the child.

No part of the reading test or the child’s responses to the reading test may be read to a child, other than the general instructions.

adelaofblois Sun 06-May-12 18:00:13

My point is that the rules on who needs a reader are specific-they are for children who normally need reading support in the classroom (mrz has restated them). For some SEN issues they may also need a prompter-a different role. For a some kids the two are legitimately combined.

What readers and prompters can and can't do is rigidly limited. It is illegal to provide too much help (Feenie's point above).

So, if your child qualifies and the help is legal, their is potentially some inflation above what might be expected in a 'normal' classroom, and a lot above what you'd otherwise expect in the test. Not having a reader, on the other hand, results in a deflation against normal classroom experience-because support is not being used.

Now, I can understand why the OP is worried about the school using help illegally to inflate grades, and I can see why she wants her son's maths assessment to be low to secure an assessment, but if the school feels he is entitled to a reader and can justify that then that is his maths level.

adelaofblois Sun 06-May-12 18:01:24

there not their. Bugger.

mrz Sun 06-May-12 18:13:27

Indigo's daughter had a reader for the reading test as well as for the maths test hmm

adelaofblois Sun 06-May-12 18:19:08

And that is illegal.

If the OP thinks her son doesn't qualify, then anonymously report her concerns to the LA. If Indigo thinks her daughter has had a reader for the reading test, likewise (although she'd be in the interesting position of potentially launching a malpractice suit against a school she is a governor of).

But to suggest that a child should be deprived of a reader they are entitled to in order to keep results at a level for assessment? I genuinely really see the point, and don't know what I'd do with my child, but I wouldn't pretend the un-read-for score was any more 'real' than the read-for one.

IndigoBell Sun 06-May-12 21:37:40

My case is different. It wasn't the Y6 SATs, so school can do what they want for optional SATs.

Adela - if you can see my point, then I can see yours smile

I do think that getting a 4 or 5 in SATs implies you can cope with secondary school maths. And if you can't, then it's not in the child's best interest to get a 4.

I think my concern with a reader in the OPs case is an issue with trusting the school. I'm not sure if I would trust them to use the reader legally.

If I trusted the school then I might allow a reader. But if I didn't, then no way.

But of course, parents get no control over whether or not their child has a reader. So the only way you can guarantee your child doesn't have a reader is to keep them home.

It's really, really sad that not everyone can trust their school. But some schools do cheat. And it's naive to pretend it never happens.

Feenie Sun 06-May-12 21:40:36

There are several cases of malpractice every year - and many sackings because of it.

adelaofblois Mon 07-May-12 14:35:20

Thank you Indigo.

Since Christmas I've been working been with Yr6 SA, SA+ and statemented kids, for whom getting a Level 3 was deemed a major achievement. Some are now, because of this level of targeted intervention, on track for Level 4s, especially in Maths.

Like Indigo, I have been very shocked by the level of disguised achievement and learned dependency I've encountered. The groups I've taught have actually had a lower than usual staff ratio for these kids, and they really struggled. Year 6 pupils should expect to read for themselves and to complete a task without being fed. There has clearly been a great deal of poor learning lower down the school. The sorts of subterfuge Indigo has talked about seem all too common, as do the pressures on teachers to advance kids rapidly through the curriculum before they have basic learning skills in place.

In the OP's case, I think the school may be able to make a case: the child is likely to have received routine classroom support (a prompter at least would seem helpful?) and on some tests may meet the reading criteria. Yet I find the levels from the school shocking and do think they are playing the system.

I also think the problems of high performance meaning less help at secondary are exaggerated. I've been involved with secondary school SENCOs and transition officers. We've been filling in forms, having meetings, arranging handovers as well as we can for children who are necessarily going to really struggle in a bigger school without a personal support assistant and with larger organisational demands. Those forms are very clear about support given in SATs, there is room for 'usual classwork' and all kinds of oral feedback. It may all be timewasting crap, but I don't get the sense if these kids do get a L4 they are going to be deemed able to cope on that basis alone. If they were low attainers not on the SA radar I would worry, but for the SA kids I think a lot of extra info is taken and demanded. But I'm new to the Yr6 game and may be wrong.

Even if I'm wrong, I want every one of those kids for whom it is possible to legally make the case to get the help they are legally entitled to. Preparing them for a test where even success will seem like failure (most questions beyond them) is a dispiriting nightmare. Any reassurance that can be offered before they go to secondary school would be great. Send them on their way knowing they are capable of 'average' achievement in some circumstances. Obviously I'm anxious to get the best results for my school, but I hope it runs a little deeper than that.

I can really see the OP's point here, but also the school's. If they are fiddling the criteria, screw them. But if not, why not let the kid have a fair crack at the whip for these tests?

adelaofblois Mon 07-May-12 14:43:57

I would also add there is a specific recognised role of prompter for some children, and that this seems to be what the school are offering. A prompter shouldn't be a reader who prompts, though, they have a different role and what they can do is also circumscribed. What are the school actually offering?

adelaofblois Mon 07-May-12 14:50:33

Rules for prompters are:

1. They can only be used if they are used on a routine classroom basis (they are here)

2. They should primarily draw attention to task by physical stimulus (e.g. banging the table)

3. They can use verbal prompts if these are usual classroom practice

So, I think the OP's child qualifies. But if they are also reading, then that malpractice?

Is the school stupidly trying to explain one role in terms it thinks you find more understandable? Or is it just confused and heading for the courts?

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 07-May-12 15:01:49

This is really interesting. I wonder where my role with the DC I support fits in? confused He can read, but just prompting him to keep going doesn't work. (as per the instructions to prompters.) In lessons I read the question, breaking it down into manageable chunks, sometimes rewriting it, leave him to do one chunk, go back and start him on the next chunk, etc. In the SATs I am/will be reading the question to him, but not changing the language or breaking it down. Once he finishes a question (in his opinion, not mine!) I read the next, etc. This is the only way he will stay focussed. He gets extra time, but still only gets 2/3rds of the way through. I'm not helping him with the Maths at all, not speaking with emphasis to help him get the sense of the questions, or rewording them (obviously) but he can read. Does the advice state that for a child to get a reader they must have a reading age under 9? The SA and SA+ DC do have a reading age under 9 but the child I support, who has a statement, doesn't.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 07-May-12 15:02:31

Crossed with you, Adela.

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 15:03:59

No, the advice states that a reader can be used if a child is used to having one in the classroom.

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 15:05:13

Re prompters - as I said before, a prompter also requires a separate room with the child - are they really going to provide 8 separate rooms? confused

seeker Mon 07-May-12 15:07:16

Well, I suppose it would be an unfair advantage if sATa were in some way competitive. But as they aren't, the worst that could happen is a child going to secondary school on a higher level on paper than they actully are. Which will be found out and corrected pretty quickly.

Can't see a problem apart from that- am I missing something?

Oh, and if the school is found out for having "helpers" rather than just "readers" they will be in BiG trouble.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 07-May-12 15:15:21

Thank goodness for that, feenie. I was beginning to get worried. smile

adelaofblois Mon 07-May-12 15:15:49


What you are doing in the classroom is reading to facilitate learning. You are not reading because the child can't read, but because you are modelling to him how to break a task down, presumably in the hope he will then be able to do so himself. You obviosuly can't do that breaking down in the test. You are routinely using verbal prompts in the classroom to aid focus, so he should be allowed a prompter. He also routinely has a reader in the classroom, which is the key criterion (not reading age), so a reader should be allowed.

I don't therefore see anything wrong with what you've been told. I would hope that what you can do, and how it falls into relevant criteria, could be made clear to you. If not, seek written confirmation of your role asap. You do not want to be sacked for helping a child.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 07-May-12 15:17:54

Also, the DC with readers and extra time are separate from the other 56 DC, but the 4 are in the same room, one in each corner. So they are separate from the other DC, but not from each other.

adelaofblois Mon 07-May-12 15:59:13

I've looked back over the access arrangements

The phrase I find there repeatedly is 'one-to-one' not separate room, although I am willing to believe precedent and realism has linked the two. I can't help beyond that-we have pooled resources across schools and utilised all space on a maximal reading of separate room.

If you are in any way unsure please check and get written reassurances (however PITA-y you look). Having posted on a public site that you are uncertain, if you are in breach you are now unfortunately very culpable...

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 16:04:00

From the KS2 ARA 2012:


Schools may use prompters in all tests to help children with severe attention problems. Prompters should only be used to draw a child’s attention back to the task. They should not advise the child on which questions to do, when to move on to the next question or the order in which to attempt questions.
The prompter should be the child’s own learning support assistant. A prompter must not be a relative, carer or guardian of the child. They must be used on a one-to-one basis and should work with the child *in a separate room from the rest of the cohort.*"

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 16:04:44

Can't be much plainer than that......

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 07-May-12 16:42:25

Well, it is separate from the rest of the cohort, the 56 majority, just in with the other 3, in a separate room. Not many schools will have enough rooms, otherwise.

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 16:54:52

the prompter 'should work with the child in a separate room from the rest of the cohort.

Separate from the rest of them.

I don't think schools need to use that many prompters, tbh - and therefore shouldn't need all those extra rooms......

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 07-May-12 17:32:50

My own DS had a prompter and extra time last year. He did his SATs in the same room as the other DC with extra time. It may be down to interpretation...

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 17:44:34

I don't think so! in a separate room away from the rest of the cohort can in no way be interpreted as in the same room. Your ds's school may not know they are breaking the rules - separate rooms haven't always been required.

littlelegsmum Mon 07-May-12 18:15:19

This is a huge issue with dh and I.

Dd's school are telling us how fantastic dd is, whenever we let them know how concerned we are at her lack of progress. However, in mock sats she was allowed a helper (or what they call a reader)! Now from where I'm standing they are very happy to let dd work in supported in class yet give her help in her sats?!?! This is not right in our opinion but can we insist on her not having a helper?

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 18:28:29

Your post is unclear - do you mean your dd is unsupported in class? That doesn't sound like she qualifies for a reader at all.

IndigoBell Mon 07-May-12 18:58:12

Feenie - littlelegs has an ongoing problem with her school where they refuse to acknowledge her DD has SEN and is doing badly.

Can she stop them getting a reader for her DD? I don't think she can......

Feenie Mon 07-May-12 19:04:09

No, but she could report them to the LEA for malpractice - the school cannot have it both ways! If littlelegs' dd has reading help in the classroom, then she is entitled to a reader. Since she clearly does not, then she shouldn't have one.

goingmadinthecountry Mon 07-May-12 19:40:30

I personally don't think having a reader on non-statutory sats reading papers is a good idea because they won't get them in Y6.

My ds is very dyslexic BUT in Y6 was not below his chronological age in reading. However, his reading speed was and is slow. I think it's fair he had a reader for the sats because he was way below where he should have been for his VR ability (according to 2 Ed Pyschs) - he's apparently in the top 2% verbally. Or was before he discovered girls and friends..... He has 2 older sisters he is intellectually on a par with but on paper it doesn't show.

He passed 11 plus without support and is doing well in Y10 at a grammar school but has a reader and extra time now for exams BECAUSE HE'S CLEVER and he'd only get average marks otherwise. To me that's fair.

I do think some middle class schools push it though, all for results.

littlelegsmum Mon 07-May-12 20:33:41

Sorry I didn't make it clear. Thanks indigo.

I will double check but dd definitely had one for mocks and has said she will be getting one next week. I haven't actually asked the school this question yet but I will be doing tomorrow - I personally don't feel they can or should have it both ways.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 08-May-12 19:04:08

Sorry - missed all this - away visiting in-laws. Things have moved on. The school have been reported. Watch this spot.

shedman Wed 03-Apr-13 11:12:49

In my school we use readers in the maths tests wherever we deem it will help them achieve an accurate reflection of their true mathematical ability. Readers are used only to read the questions and are fully aware that they are not allowed to clarify any terms or assist in the child in any way other than decoding the language involved. Parents are fully informed and almost always very happy that their child receives such assistance.

The tests are testing mathematical ability, not the ability to read a question. It is not a true reflection of a child's mathematical ability if they are unable to fluently decode the questions in a SATs test.

Quite frankly, local authorities are well used to the petty perniciousness demonstrated by people like Feenie, who seems to think that the answer to everything is to grass the school up to the local authority. What exactly he/she hopes to achieve is anybody's guess. Somebody gets sacked and their career ended? And all because the school wants their children to achieve the best they can at the same time as meeting a few often unfair and unrealistic targets. Not sure I could sleep at night if I spent my waking hours engineering such petty malevolence.

I am glad Feenie is not a parent at my school.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 11:29:52

I'm sure they also aware of schools like yours that bend the rules to suit their own agenda shedman.
For your information feenie is very experienced teacher and member of her school's SLT.

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 11:48:58

Wow, shedman- bet your school gets good SATs results !

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 12:10:26

until the moderator pops in and the head gets the sack seeker

ipadquietly Wed 03-Apr-13 12:39:12

'Circumstances where a reader must not be used

Readers must not be used with children who are capable of reading the test materials on their own. STA will monitor whether schools are using readers correctly during the National Curriculum test period. The inappropriate use of readers may lead to the annulment of a child’s results.'

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 12:55:05

If only we had plenty of separate rooms then we could cheat assist children like shedman's school hmm

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 13:59:07

Exactly, mrz. Then the new head will get it in the neck from everyone when the results go down.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 14:56:47

Quite frankly, local authorities are well used to the petty perniciousness demonstrated by people like Feenie, who seems to think that the answer to everything is to grass the school up to the local authority

Two things.

First of all, I am confused as to why you have seen fit to up a year old thread to essentially complain about a) the rules as they stand and b)anyone who points it out or is obliged to enforce it. You are aware that the ARA is a legally binding document, aren't you? And that Heads can and have been prosecuted for malpractice?

Secondly - 'grass the school up'? How old are you? And you work in a school? Jeez. confused

Minky66 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:36

Actually my school has been moderated several times in my time there and has never had any of its procedures called into question.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 17:54:39

Am I missing something, Minky66 - has anyone said that they should be?

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 17:55:05

Or have you forgotten to namechange?

Minky66 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:55:52

We use readers where children have a reading age of below 9 years. In any interpretation of ARA, this is not cheating.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 17:56:52

Has anyone said that you are? confused

shedman Wed 03-Apr-13 18:01:05

The last two Minky66 replies were in fact mine. My sister logged into mumsnet on my computer on her last visit and didn't log out!

Apologies for any confusion.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 18:03:32

Ahhh, thought so. Then your LEA moderators haven't moderated properly - the ARA is very clear.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 18:10:19

We use readers where children have a reading age of below 9 years. In any interpretation of ARA, this is not cheating.

^A child who has difficulty reading and is supported by a
reader in normal classroom practice may be supported
by a reader.^

Do your children who have difficulty reading have a reader in normal classroom practice, shedman?

If they don't, then in the very simplest interpretation of the ARA it is cheating.

If they do, I have difficulty in seeing what you appear to have joined MN/namechanged to shout about.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 18:10:24

Do your pupils with a reading age bellow 9 years normally have a reader in every lesson?

"Schools must ensure that documentation showing that a child is eligible for access arrangements, including readers , prompters and scribes, is available for inspection in the event of a monitoring visit. This must include evidence that resources are routinely committed to providing this support in the classroom.
If schools use access arrangements for a child inappropriately, the child’s results may be annulled."

shedman Wed 03-Apr-13 18:45:45


On your first point, I replied to a year old thread because 1) I read it for the first time this morning and 2) because I feel its content is again relevant as we approach SATs week 2013. Furthermore, I do not believe we breach the requirements of the ARA. Reading questions for the children in lessons is very much common practice in our school where the majority of the children speak a different first language. Having a reader can give them the confidence to understand what the question is actually asking. We make it absolutely clear to readers and translators that they are not allowed to clarify any of the concepts or offer help with the questions. Needless to say, children are never assisted with reading any part of the reading test.

As for your second point on my use of the phrase 'grass up', I believe its childish connotations make it an apt term (which incidentally you will find in any English dictionary) to describe your eagerness to encourage others to create potentially serious trouble for what are probably very hard working and caring staff teams for absolutely no perceivable gain to you other than some kind of childish satisfaction. I note with interest that you criticise my use of this phrase and yet you use the perhaps more childish term 'jeez'.

The thing I find most surprising is that it seems you are a member of the teaching profession. You know nothing of the individual circumstances of the school in question in the original post, you also know nothing of the veracity of the claims therein and yet your first advice is for the poster to inform the local authority, knowing full well that this could create enormous problems for the school. As a teacher, I am sure that you work extremely hard for the benefit of the children and families served by your school. I only hope that your diligence is not threatened by the spiteful one-upmanship that you demonstrate in your responses in this thread.

ClayDavis Wed 03-Apr-13 18:52:46

The only reason this could 'create enormous problems' for the school would be if they were in breach of the ARA. In which case Feenie's advice o report to the LA would have been correct.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 18:56:25

I'm equally surprised that you are a teacher shedman and yet you think it's acceptable to bend the rules

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 18:58:53

Shedman- I am a school governor, and I would be very unhappy if I found out this was happening at our school- we would take it very seriously. You do need to be very careful- you could potentially have our children's results voided. Please take this seriously.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 19:11:59

Shedman, you appear to be back-pedalling at a rate of knots, now. Suddenly you are complying with the ARA, your children have always required readers in lessons, and therefore should in tests also. So what? You are complying with the ARA rules, no one has said you are not, so why bother commenting?

You seem have come out all guns blazing to protect a school which - a year ago - did not follow the rules, and was in breach of the ARA. They did not give the child in question help in the classroom to read (and you not only condone this, but appear on a thread to shout about it? hmm) but wanted to give the child unfair help in the tests.

That kind of thing is a)in breach of the ARA b)does not help the child one iota and c)makes the game we have to play an uneven playing field. Would you be happy if this school was the next one to you locally, but was above you in the league tables simply because they gave children unlawful help in tests, whilst refusing to help the child the rest of the time? How is that fair?

learnandsay Wed 03-Apr-13 20:21:10

I can see why it's so important to them they don't want to run the risk that the sats scores won't be high enough if they allow the children to fill the answers in. I'd just sit in the office and fill the papers in myself if it was my school.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 20:24:12

Some heads have actually done that learnandsay

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 20:26:00
learnandsay Wed 03-Apr-13 20:31:24

America is rife with it too. What did the watchdog think was going to happen?

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 21:20:14

I think they assume that even in the face of extreme provocation that people in the teaching profession have some integrity.

Most of them, anyway.

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