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cross about SATS - AIBU

(18 Posts)
1950sthrowback Fri 05-Oct-12 12:42:50

had parents evening on Monday for yr6 DS - and frankly I shouldn't care about SATS - he has enough "real" problems - but it has made me rly cross - do you think I am being unreasonable and need to get over it?

The BIG news was that he will be in a room on his own with a helper and get extra time to do his SATS.

I am so cross about this, I am probably being completely unreasonable, but my view is: They only help him in class "if help is available" - but they can find someone when it is going to affect their league table results.

I need to get a life I know, but I needed to let off steam. For once I did have the presence of mind to ask "what strategies" the "help (when available)" would be using to help him develop his concentration and reduce his anxiety.

Answer (lol) - they are assessing his needs at the present time.

I do not think you are being unreasonable in the least.

I would actually tell the school that you are now making a statement application to the LEA as they are clearly not able to meet his additional needs whilst he is at school.

What if anything has the SENCO said; is your son on anything like School Action Plus?.

coppertop Fri 05-Oct-12 13:13:12

Are they even allowed to do this?

I only ask because when ds did his last year, the help available for SATS depended on whether he needed similar levels of help in class. So, for example, he was allowed to type his answers because that's how he did his class work.

moosemama Fri 05-Oct-12 14:06:24

Not sure if this might help. It's the 2011 SATs access arrangements, not the most recent, but it will give you an idea of how they are supposed to come to decision regarding extra time and support etc for SATs.

It does say something about the school considering the level of support a pupil normally receives in class. Which is ridiculous imo, considering how hard it is to get schools to recognise need, let alone properly resource it - even with a statement.

Our SENCO told me that access arrangements for the May 2013 SATs won't come in until just after the New Year. Then she has to do certain assessments and tests to decide who gets what help. She was very vague about it all and refused to speculate about what support or considerations my ds will be entitled to. hmm I suspect, based on the school's resistance to giving ds the support he needs (and is set down in his statement) that she will do everything in her power to make sure he doesn't get any help at all. angry

moosemama Fri 05-Oct-12 14:12:57

Ok, I am now livid. I just found the following quote in the document I linked to

"Pupils with a statement of special educational needs are permitted up to 25 per cent additional time for written tests at the school’s discretion. Schools do not need to request permission for additional time for pupils with a statement of special educational needs."

Our SENCO told us that they had to test how fast he could write, do two separate tests and then apply for him to get additional time! My PP representative said she was sure that wasn't true, as it is at the school's discretion for pupils who have a statement and the SENCO told her she was wrong! angry

I think I need to some more research and then request a meeting with the Head as well as the SENCO.

Mind you, at least I now have proof that she is happy to bare faced lie to me. angry

1950sthrowback Fri 05-Oct-12 14:21:32

thank you that is very interesting indeed....you are a mine of VERY useful information - I'm definitely following this up grin

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 05-Oct-12 14:22:04

Actually, moosemama, I expect you'll find that he'll suddenly get lots of help for his SATS because they wouldn't want their stats to look bad. In previous years DC with a statement automatically qualifed for 25% extra time. They need no further testing.

For all DC, use of laptop, a scribe or a 'prompter' must be shown to be 'normal classroom practice.' A prompter can only be used to bring a child's attention back to the task. They are usually used for DC with attention deficit problems or ASD and must be their usual TA or usual class TA. I was a prompter for my charge in May for literacy and a reader for him in maths.

To get a 'reader' for the maths papers last year, it had to be shown that a DC's reading ability was under 9 y. Any child can ask to have a maths question read to them, but an exclusive reader for one child had to be pre arranged. Extra time could also be arranged for DC with proven processing problems. I'll see if I can link last years access arrangements.

1950sthrowback Fri 05-Oct-12 14:22:53

shock @ test how fast he could write - it sounds like one of those examples like "the ice cream van plays a tune when it has run out of ice cream" - only sadly in your ds's case it wasn't a joke....

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 05-Oct-12 14:23:28

Ooh, crossed with you, moose and 1950's! Blimey, your SENCO is cutting off her nose to spite her face, there, moose!

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 05-Oct-12 14:38:44

Interestingly, the link I had to the 2012 access arrangements no longer works. hmm

But, definitely, no permission was needed to give a DC with a statement 25% extra time. I did have to inform my own DS's school of this in 2011 as the SENCO there didn't know.

moosemama Fri 05-Oct-12 14:39:20

You're welcome 1950's - I have a lot of time to Google at the moment thanks to my dodgy foot! grin

Ellen - I honestly don't know what's up with them, they just don't seem to want to give ds the support he needs. They've even set up his support in a completely different way than is set out in his statement, frontloading his day with half an our TA support when he is supposed to get support as a meet and greet in the morning, plus end of day homework and bag-packing organisational support and regular access throughout the day.

They've employed a blooming hopeless TA for an extra half hour a day to work with ds. She appears to be spending the time writing out his timetable for the day in a little book, yet when I asked him about it last night, he was oblivious to what was in the book. She's written messages to him in there, plus a checklist of things to remember when packing his bag, but hasn't bothered to tell him she's done any of it. He said she writes in the book while he tells her about any worries he has about the day, then she closes the book and puts it in his folder! angry

The other day his teacher asked him if he felt he needed help at the end of the day (as set down in his statement). Then when he said he didn't know, said "I don't think so, do you? Because you're doing fine on your own". shock Er ... no he's not, he's lost loads of stuff and not managed to organise one piece of homework effectively so far this term (and he's only attended for two full weeks).

They are denying him access to ICT for longer pieces of written work as well, despite that being a requirement in his statement and now I know why. He would be allowed to use it for his SATs if he does so in the course of normal classwork. Both the PP lady and I forced the issue and the SENCO just kept saying they would consider it! WTF it's in his bloody statement that he 'will' have access to ICT for longer pieces of written work. SENCO waffled on about him becoming over-reliant on it, but he still has to write in Maths and Science and when it's less than a paragraph or a few sentences in Literacy.

If they give him the support he needs he can get high level SAT results, without the support he will fail. They know this, they couldn't level last year's assessments because he simply couldn't produce the work in the time allowed. It's not just to do with writing skills, it's attention, processing speed, ASD zone outs, sensory issues and the common ASD related issues with knowing how to start and structure his work.

I don't understand why they seem to want to set him up to fail, when he could be another student with high level results - which obviously looks better for them.

... and I am so sick of being lied to and manipulated. I'd go to the LA to report them for not putting the provision in place as set down in the statement, but the LA and the SENCO seem to be best friends and have closed ranks.

Apologies for the hijack and rant OP. I am just at my wits end with this after all the fighting to get the statement, then get it tight enough that the school couldn't deliberately misinterpret it to their advantage, only to have them completely ignore what it says and do their own thing anyway. angry

moosemama Fri 05-Oct-12 14:47:45

Ds has a high reading age according to the school, but his advanced 'age' has been dropping in line with the demand for understanding sub-text and inference etc. I suspect they are going to have a shock when he gets his Reading SATs results.

In the 2011 arrangements they consistently refer to under 90 for standardised tests and ds's processing speed is 85 (16th centile). It's not considered extremely low, but compared to his Verbal Skills (95th centile) there is a massive discrepancy, which explains his inability to complete work in the given timeframes.

Can't find anywhere where it refers specifically to processing speed though - only phonological processing, which isn't the same thing.

So frustrating, as I said, it's not just his writing, the reasons he can't complete work in standard timeframes are many and complex. You only have to look in his exercise books to see he rarely writes more than a paragraph in literacy, sometimes he only gets one sentence and in maths he completes approximately 60-70% of the questions on every single test, but rarely gets more than one wrong. Yet they still grade him as having failed because they count the incompleted questions as wrong. Every year they have agreed he needs additional time for tests and every year they fail to give him that extra time.

I have had him in tears this week because his latest test was marked as 7 wrong, despite him completing 16 and only getting one of the questions he completed wrong. They didn't write the number he got right on the bottom, just 7 big red crosses and the number 7 at the bottom in red. He came hold and sobbed and told me he is useless at maths. In two weeks they have managed to undo all the hard work his lovely maths teacher last year put in to convince him he is actually very good at maths, he just needs a little extra time. sad

Oops, another rant - sorry OP. I will shut up now. blush

bochead Fri 05-Oct-12 16:06:47

SATS were conceived to test the effectiveness of schools not pupils. Therefore if your child flunks em all that says officially is that the school failed to teach the child a darn thing in 7 years of Primary education.

Secondary schools know that every year there are a significant minority of pupils whose SATS tests bear no resemblance whatsoever to the functional ability of the pupil sitting in their classroom. One of my Mums key tasks before she retired from teaching was to arrange, adminster and collate the results of the entire Year 7 cohort as her secondary didn't trust the SATS one iota due to primary shenagigans.

Each year a minority of students were moved dramatically up or down the streamed lessons as a result of these secondary adminstered tests, done in the first 4 weeks of term. Each year there was much tutting and head shaking in her Secondary staff room, & a glimpse at the TES forums confirms not much has changed.

Therefore if Primary schools want to be daft over SATS, stress not and instead concentrate your efforts and energies on the secondary SENCO. Make sure that the Year 7 staff have a clear and accurate picture of your child's ability by whatever means necessary.

If the school don't give a stuff how your individual child performs then why should you? Just focus on making sure your child doesn't succumb to all the nonsensical rhetoric and get stressed about it. Let them do the best they can with what they can and not fret over it. Noone asks for your SATS results when you go for your first job after all.

I'm intending to homeschool Year 6, in order to opt out of the whole charade and ensure that DS uses the year gaining a rounded education instead of wasting an entire being "taught to the test"& stressed out over summat that ultimately isn't for his benefit anyway.

You can also ask the LA that they be exempted from the darn things too! DS didn't do the key stage 1 SATS as it would have stressed him out too much. That's also a little known option for statemented pupils.

moosemama Fri 05-Oct-12 16:31:37

I wouldn't fret if I didn't think it will do damage to his self-esteem if he doesn't achieve what he (and we) know he is capable of with the correct access arrangements.

I know how upset he gets over one simple maths test, let alone bigger end of year tests.

I couldn't fault how the school handled the ks1 tests. The children didn't really realise they were being tested and weren't stressed about it in the least. The problems came afterwards with ridiculously competetive parenting leading to lots of comparisons of results and the inevitable consequences. I didn't tell either of my boys what levels they got at KS1, but he's going to find/work it out anyway this time, as it will influence the streams he goes into in secondary initially, at least until the do their own testing.

At least our school doesn't start 'revising' until after the Easter holidays, so they aren't being hot-housed through them and spending the whole year just being taught to pass the tests.

It's not often I have something good to say about our school, but I have to be fair to them when it comes to the way they don't stress their pupils out about SATs.

SallyBear Fri 05-Oct-12 16:35:08

Our twin dc moved to Secondary School at the start of Yr 7. DS has AS and is as yet undx for dyslexia and dyspraxia. He had a scribe for his SATs. He scored 5's across the board. When he was tested in his new school in Sept last year, he didn't do as well. The Sec Sch think that his previous school massaged the figures, I have no idea why they would do this.

Anyway my point is that your DS will be retested when he starts Secondary School so that they can stream him into the relevant classes.

1950sthrowback Fri 05-Oct-12 22:38:31

re "hijack" - don't apologise _ I always find your stories interesting - - sorry I was away for a few hours...so didn't reply
hope the foot is better soon

moosemama Fri 05-Oct-12 23:07:10

Thanks 1950s. smile

NoHaudinMaWheest Sat 06-Oct-12 12:41:46

Sally and others I think having a scribe can make an enormous difference. My Ds is 16 and doing GCSEs. He has AS, dyslexia and hypermobile joints which make writing physically difficult.

He is entitled to a scribe in exams and controlled assessments but last term tried to do without one. His English results were disastrous and he was predicted an E overall. Last week he resat one of the controlled assessments and agreed to use a scribe. He got 100%! His predicted grade is now a still fairly shaky C.

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