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To think that my son's progress in English is pants...

(13 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 16-Jul-15 11:26:21

My son left primary school with a level 5 in his English Sats, level 5 in his SPAG paper and teacher assessment for his writing of 4a. He started secondary school almost two years ago. Christmas report at the end of 2013 assessed his English as being national curriculum 4a and he finished year 7 on 5c. He has now completed year 8 his English level is now 5b.


End of year 6 level 5/4a (SATs exam)
End of Christmas term year 7 level 4a (School assessemnt)
End of year 7 level 5c
End of year 8 level 5b

His effort marks and attendance has been good. He has had most 1 (oustanding effort) but his effort has recently dropped to 2 (good effort).

I realise that strictly speaking national curriuclum levels do not exist anymore. His secondary school have their own version. Apparenlty ds is supposed to make two sublevels of progress a year. I also realise that key stage 2 SAT results are over inflated and cannot be compared. My son is making at least good progress in his other subjects. Why is his progress in English is cr@p even by the schools' standards.

Surely I should expect my son to progress more than two sub levels over 5 terms? I want the school's SEN department to assess him for dyspraxia but I have been refused because his levels are too high.

Hezaire Thu 16-Jul-15 11:30:46

I'm not sure how they assess English at ks2 as i am a secondary science teacher but my first thought was, yes, over inflation.

I know we often have this case in science where you are thinking there is no way that they got a level whatever.

Is he in a reasonable set?

And it is worth bringing it up with the teacher or head of department, but try not to worry

ilovesooty Thu 16-Jul-15 11:40:30

If you know that his level at the end of primary was probably over inflated I'm not sure why you're surprised.

ReallyTired Thu 16-Jul-15 11:52:54

I know that primary school SATs are a joke. However his teacher's assessed level at the end of his first term in year 7 should be an accurate base line. He had 4a at the end of the autumn term in year 7. Surely that is enough time for a teacher to know him and make an accurate assessment.

Surely I should expect better progress by end of year 8 if my son has been doing a reasonable amount of work? How many sub levels of progress would be considered satisfactory for 5 terms work in key stage 3? Would OFSTED be happy with my son's progress and the school doing f@ck all to help him?

ilovesooty Thu 16-Jul-15 11:58:03

Since teacher pay progression depends on pupil progress I doubt they're not working on his English. I'm sure as well the school is well aware of the implications for Ofsted.

It doesn't prevent you from raising a concern of course.

muminhants1 Thu 16-Jul-15 11:58:50

My son had a 5a in English at the end of year 6 and is a 6a now, so I don't think his levels were overinflated.

Yet he was a 5c in Maths (one mark off a 5b) and is a 5b now, which I do find a bit strange. His teacher said he was hoping he'd make it to a 5a (which he may have done in a recent exam but the grade sheet for the term was issued before the exam result was known). I don't really know whether to be concerned or not.

I don't know what secondary schools are going to do instead of levels and am not sure why they are doing away with them, as they are understood and parents are used to them. But this government seems intent on changing things for the sake of it.

ReallyTired Thu 16-Jul-15 12:20:14


Is your son in year 8 or year 7? If your son is in year 7 I would worry less. If he is in year 8 and not a solid level 6 then I would be horrified.

Your son seems to be the opposite to my son. Progress is rarely linear in a school as children progress in fits and spurts. My son scraped a 5c in his key stage 2 maths SATs, he achieved 6B in is year 7 exams and 6A in his year 8 exams for Maths. Having a year of exceptional progress followed by a year of consoldiation is not unusual. I feel its more of a concern when a child has two years in a row of very slow progress.

I am concerned that with the scraping of levels that there is no clear way to hold schools accountable for progress of every child.

I am at a lost of how to help my son. Should I give him a hug or punish him for producing poor quality work. The school has refused to assess him for SEN. Does that mean that English teaching has been poor?

cornishvanillacream Thu 16-Jul-15 12:34:19

To be honest I think levels and especially English levels were always a load of nonsense. I pay no attention to them at all.

Theycallmemellowjello Thu 16-Jul-15 12:38:16

Does your son read for pleasure? Does he write things other than schoolwork? Do you correct his writing in subjects other than English (other teachers often won't bother correcting spelling/grammar)? These things make a big difference.

ReallyTired Thu 16-Jul-15 14:00:41

My son used to be an avid reader, but he is more obcessed with youtube videos. I need to conficate his hudl and get him some kindle books.

"To be honest I think levels and especially English levels were always a load of nonsense. I pay no attention to them at all."

What concerns me most is the quality of his writing in his English book. Frankly its looks like a dog's breakfast and I believe that my six year old could produce better work. My son seems to lack stamina to write any kind of decent length of work. (Or he cannot be arsed.) Is spelling and grammar is not too bad, but his presentation is truely terrible. His school report says that he has great ideas in class, but complete fails to get them down on paper. Getting him to show me his school books is a real challenge, but his books are currently on his desk so I will have a look.

I have an evil idea. Next time he wants to watch some crappy minecraft video I will force him to write a precis of the video. We have software that controls how much time he spends on the internet with time tokens. If he does not comply then there is no internet and he has to read instead.

cornishvanillacream Thu 16-Jul-15 14:06:05

You could do. I wouldn't worry about the handwriting though - my husbands is practically illegible (I'm sure he does it on purpose.) Very clever though. Handwriting doth not make the person. I don't hold a pen correctly and never have; it upset no one other than my primary school teachers.

Theycallmemellowjello Thu 16-Jul-15 14:09:04

Hm yeah it does sound like a tough situation. I think encouraging him to read and write are good ideas (encouraging to write is obviously harder!) but do be careful not to make it into a punishment. I would maybe try to look into some books that he might enjoy -- even page-turner things like Goosebumps are better than nothing -- in fact adventure/mystery stories are good because even if they're not going to win any literary awards they are addictive and so he might get hooked. Something else that springs to mind is the possibility of finding him an email penpal? (Monitored obviously.) He might be intrigued by the idea of having an American or Australian friend and happily write messages.

drivinmecrazy Thu 16-Jul-15 14:23:05

It would be worth your while talking to his english teacher. DD1 always seemed to be 'under achieving' in terms of grades compared to all her other subjects. Upon speaking to her teacher there were very specific things DD was not doing within her writing to push up her grade. One that made me laugh was that she did not use a full enough range of punctuation, upon hearing this her next piece was comically over punctuated and her grade for that assessment soared. DD learnt to listen to what was needed to up her grades, even moderating her views on set texts because she was always 'thinking outside of the box' and while her teacher would acknowledge her opinions were supported by text she quoted, weren't the answers they were looking for confused . She has just finished yr9 at a 7A, in line with all her other subjects. It was demorilising for a while to see her english grade totally out of kilter with her others. Though cynically i wonder if they did keep her levels artificially on the low side to show her going from a 6B in yr8 to 7a yr9!

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