How to convey to parents that level fours are FINE?

(87 Posts)

Obviously can't be specific although I'd like to. I'm just so frustrated by the parents of lovely kids with level four targets who are unhappy with progress and don't see why their children aren't getting fives.

Why do they not get that not all children can score level five on these bloody tests? Why do they not see that their children are thoughtful, honest, motivated, happy, hard working young people?? Why do they assume we are failing their children if they do not leave school with sodding level fives?? One child is on track for a four but came to juniors on a one. Still not happy!!!

Sorry for the rant, just dreading a meeting tomorrow where I'm going to have to either bite my tongue or be very blunt.

ggirl Mon 27-Jan-14 19:02:03

prob all fuelled by competitive parents at the school gates
sats suck

Oh definitely, ggirl. Bloody infuriating as we do so much to instil a culture of "being in competition only with yourself."

GW297 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:30:26

In lots of cases level 5 is no longer good enough and they are disappointed by anything less than a 6!

Ugh don't!
Oddly enough, the L6 children and their parents are most relaxed and see it as a nice way to challenge their children with no negative consequences if they don't get it. It's the parents whose kids will never be academic high flyers, but who work their arses off, who are most awful.

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 27-Jan-14 20:48:32

Could you say that their current level, doesn't restrict or limit their future potential?

Its a true and fair reflection of where they are and a good grounding for secondary to build on.

It doesn't prevent them from getting A*'s in the future.

Over egging a child's current level can leave them floundering and turned off when they find themselves out of their depth settling in a no doubt bigger environment of big school.

It is rumoured that some schools just issue 5's. Maybe consider that its better for the child to be accurately assessed at this stage so their good foundation of knowledge can be stretched to aim for good grades in the upper years of secondary school.

Gunznroses Mon 27-Jan-14 21:06:22

OP, of course the parents of the L6 kids are relaxed! They are confident in the knowledge that their children are very bright and capable, in top sets, the best schools (if looking for selective) are within realistic reach.

The parents of the children on lower grades are naturally worried, more agitated and panic about their children's progress and perhaps what their options will be in the next yr depending on what their local options are.

Its all well and good saying their kids are 'kind' 'thoughtful'and 'honest', but lets be honest here pardon the pun that's not the primary purpose for sending kids to school is it? The kids are there to learn academics and in today's fiercely competitive world its all about quaifications, you're not going to get decent job by just being kind and honest and tnoughtful hmm.

That is why the parents are all over the place. I don't think they expect you to wave a magic wand to fix their kids but you're being rather disingenuous.

Badvoc Mon 27-Jan-14 21:16:04

Hmmm.
My ds1 is a very average level 4 smile
But that's ok.
I am under no illusions he will end year 6 at level 6!!
He is very bright, but is not particularly academic.
He loves history, geography and maths. He hates French smile
I suppose I am just happy he is happy and not falling behind or struggling.
My ds2 in comparison is in YR and already a 1b for reading.
I encourage both of them as much as I can and will continue to do so.

Well, Gunznroses - I'd love to know what strategies you'd like teachers to use to push average and below average children towards the highest levels, which they have no chance of reaching, at this stage.
Level 4 is not a "lower grade," it's perfectly average.

Its all well and good saying their kids are 'kind' 'thoughtful'and 'honest', but lets be honest here pardon the pun that's not the primary purpose for sending kids to school is it? The kids are there to learn academics and in today's fiercely competitive world its all about quaifications, you're not going to get decent job by just being kind and honest and tnoughtful

Well there we disagree. I sleep easy knowing I give my class the best possible chance of success. I'm also proud that they have these qualities, even if they can't put them down on a CV.

MisFor Not sure what you mean - schools can't just issue fives as children are externally assessed.

I don't think they expect you to wave a magic wand to fix their kids
No, I expect wand waving wouldn't please them, but sometimes you think "What Do You Want Me To DO? What, physically, can I do beyond what I'm already doing?"

Badvoc Mon 27-Jan-14 21:29:57

I find it very odd that parents get het up over this.
Level 4b is the nationally expected level at end of year 6, yes?
So, if my ds1 is a 4a he is actually Above expected level, surely?
He got 70% on his maths mock sats and is thrilled.

Good for him, Badvoc
Yes, 4b is national expectation...in terms of actual attainment. However, the levels they finish KS1 on set their target for the end of Y6 - so if they got a 3c in Year 2, they need to get a 5c (at least) in year six. Bleurrrrg, sorry, I probably haven't phrased all this well....I just needed a rant. It really upsets me to see parents not being proud of their hard working, lovely kids. And it frustrates me when the odd one thinks you're obviously not doing your job if their child does not achieve the elusive "level 5"

noblegiraffe Mon 27-Jan-14 21:50:08

Do they know that level 4s should be headed for Cs at GCSE? Or at least they would have been were we keeping GCSEs.

Pooka Mon 27-Jan-14 21:55:09

YY to 5 not being enough any more!

The way I see it, the pressure and stress doesn't originate with the parents all the time. It's the rottenness of the basic system of SATS and league tables. So the schools are desperate to get better and better results. When they get a very high proportion of 4s, but so have the 10 schools nearby, they're differentiated by the number of 5s, and then the number of 6s.

I understand that increasingly ofsted are looking for stats relating to 'good' level 4s and at attainment/achievement increasingly in comparison to progress. So the old 2 levels progress from KS1 to KS2 not such a focus.

The school's anxiety filters to the children and parents. The children are hyperaware of their targets and learning objectives and are much more reflective with regards to their own relative progress than we ever were at age 10/11. It's just a big pressure cooker.

Badvoc Mon 27-Jan-14 21:59:34

My ds has really struggled since the start of formal learning in year 1.
In year 3 he was level 1s across the board sad
After a dx of severe dyslexia and lots of help from my dh and I He has made incredible progress (and may continue to do so.)
I think that the issue is that - these days - the term "average" is one of derision/abuse.

The school's anxiety filters to the children and parents.
See, in ours it's the other way around. We are very happy with our children's progress and are on track for about 90% with at least 2 levels progress (small cohorts are sometimes good!) The kids are happy with their learning and proud of themselves. It's the odd few parents who make things very difficult. And I really do stress "odd few." Most of them are brilliant and supportive.

ivykaty44 Mon 27-Jan-14 22:00:59

Is level four OK at age 14 Then?

Badvoc Mon 27-Jan-14 22:02:19

We are very proud of him smile
I think my ds2 will be more academically able, but who knows?
My ds1 is kind, funny and honest.
All his teachers say he is a pleasure to teach.
And that means more to me than him achieving level 5s.

*My ds1 is kind, funny and honest.
All his teachers say he is a pleasure to teach.
And that means more to me than him achieving level 5s.*
I am so glad to hear you say that. I completely agree.

Pooka Mon 27-Jan-14 22:05:55

The staff are excellent at being reassuring and low-key and calm about it all. I love our year 6 teachers. smile

Badvoc Mon 27-Jan-14 22:11:41

Our first meeting with his tutor was hilarious!
We walked in, sat down and he asked us if ds was ok.
We said yes.
He asked us if we were happy.
We said yes.
Then we asked him if he was happy.
He said yes.
Then we left!!
About 1.5 mins in total!
We had a parents evening next month with all his teachers - am assuming that will be a longer one! smile

Dromedary Mon 27-Jan-14 22:11:48

If level 4 at Y6 indicates GCSE grade Cs then no wonder parents are worried. If a child wants to go on to A'levels and university, grade Cs are very unhelpful.

Badvoc Mon 27-Jan-14 22:14:26

...but not every child does want to, do they?
I think it's far more to do with parental expectations tbh.
Living vicariously through your kids and all that?
God, I know so many graduates doing nothing with their degree.
All that time and money, and for what?
Unless you have a professions like law, medicine etc in mind then An apprenticeship would make much more sense IMO.
(my dh did his degree though work after his apprenticeship)

snowmummy Mon 27-Jan-14 22:23:09

Its ridiculous. Be blunt. These people need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Dromedary Mon 27-Jan-14 23:23:54

I'm a bit surprised that you think it's ok for the majority of children to be aiming for C grades at GCSE. I think parents do worry about a culture of low expectations.

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