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AIBU to think this school has the wrong approach?

(48 Posts)
Butchmanda Sat 13-Jan-18 17:13:58

Just had a flaming on my Facebook page as I have so many friends who are teachers. It seems that you just can't ever criticise the teaching profession! Maybe here???
Anyway, my DS is in Year 6 and we're well into SATs mania (I went through this with my other DS two years ago and it was an eye-opener). Teachers lose all fucking reason about everything except the SATs.
SATs talk at and from school is relentless. DS and friends very bored. I know from experience it's going to steadily get worse until May. Luckily not too much SATs related homework so far but I think that's about to change.
I don't mind homework - good preparation / discipline and if it's comprehension/maths problems then that's good too as they're important skills.
However, DS has been sent home with practice books and a homework schedule covering the next 5 months. Each week they are supposed to do their allocated tasks unaided then the parents are supposed to mark the work and write a note to the teacher to say what the child needs extra help with.
WTF? Shouldn't the teacher be identifying weaknesses?!! He's bloody been there over 6 years - they've had plenty of time. I'm incredulous and will be refusing to do this. If that means he won't get the work marked, then no point in doing it.
In reality, he's likely to find it all manageable and I'm not aware of any weak areas (quite the reverse - he's been bloody bored to death for years, as was his brother).
I know schools are under pressure etc etc, but I just think 'fuck off' at the request that I mark his fucking work!
I am, admittedly, very weary (and cynical) about primary school bollocks having been doing this for the past 8 years now. Can't wait to get him out of there.
I will, of course, be (reasonably) polite when I tell the teacher I won't be doing any of this.
Anyone else going through similar at the moment?

Topseyt Sat 13-Jan-18 17:22:45

My youngest is 15. I never did anything like what you have been asked to do when she was in Year 6.

Come to think of it, I did none of it for her two older sisters either (19 and 22 now). I just don't like the pressure that children are put under in schools at such an early age. It is as though we can't just allow them to be children anymore.

All mine were fine, and I don't think you are being unreasonable at all, though the problem is that everything is so totally target driven now.

KeepServingTheDrinks Sat 13-Jan-18 17:23:09

don't the practice books have the answers in the back? They did when my DD did her SATs. Isn't that what they mean by marking the work?

Pengggwn Sat 13-Jan-18 17:26:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cansu Sat 13-Jan-18 17:30:08

I am a Y6 teacher and I think it is utterly ridiculous that you should be marking it. I use the kind of books you are talking about for homework and I mark it. I wouldn't dream of asking the parents to do it. I need to know what they can and can't do and I can really only see this if the work is unaided and marked by me.

cansu Sat 13-Jan-18 17:30:10

I am a Y6 teacher and I think it is utterly ridiculous that you should be marking it. I use the kind of books you are talking about for homework and I mark it. I wouldn't dream of asking the parents to do it. I need to know what they can and can't do and I can really only see this if the work is unaided and marked by me.

fruityb Sat 13-Jan-18 17:30:38

We are told (at secondary school) to encourage independence as much as possible. We are also often asked by parents what they can do to help and support work at home as many do help.

SATs are unfortunately a stick used to beat teachers with and they are under incredible pressure to get good results out of them. This sounds like a good way to keep you in the loop in all honesty. And I doubt this is teachers trying to get out of doing any extra work. I have kids in my classes that I’ve known for five years - it doesn’t mean I can say their weaknesses on their gcse work.

As a teacher I’d be grateful for home support!

minisoksmakehardwork Sat 13-Jan-18 17:31:00

I agree with you, although also with the pp who said it likely isn't the teachers who have directed this approach.

If they are expecting parents to mark to work and highlight areas of weakness then yes, what are the teachers going to do? Instead of marking are they going to be teaching f intervention groups to get pupils up to speed, are they spending the extra time (however minimal) making sure the quality of their lessons is up to scratch to ensure pupils aren't left behind?

Greensleeves Sat 13-Jan-18 17:32:42

It's completely unacceptable and I would be complaining to the Head and the Governors.

I feel bad for the class teachers too. their job is being made increasingly untenable and they are probably copping a lot of the flack for decisions which weren't theirs and they probably hate it as much as you do.

minisoksmakehardwork Sat 13-Jan-18 17:34:29

Oops, posted too soon.

If they (as in the school rather than specific teachers) are so worried that their pupils might struggle with certain things, what have they been doing up to now to highlight those who need additional support to be at their expected standard?

I loved Dd1 and Ds1's teacher when they were in year two (different years, same teacher). She was so laid back about sats. The only time they were mentioned in class was probably when the head teacher mentioned them. Because she didn't show any worry, or stress over them, the children didn't either. I don't think my son even knew he was doing a test, and he did it the year they made the sats pupils sit in the dining hall in exam conditions.

ivykaty44 Sat 13-Jan-18 17:35:49

It’s all about sausage factories and nothing about learning - churn out the same size sausage and turn students into cuckoos as adults always relying on others to spoon feed them

brizzledrizzle Sat 13-Jan-18 17:52:38

It's completely unacceptable and I would be complaining to the Head and the Governors.

^ This. The teachers would probably silently applaud you if they did.

We got sent home SATs books and masses of homework; we put them in large black receptacle that we kept in the garden and never referred to them again.

Butchmanda Sat 13-Jan-18 17:58:30

Thanks for your replies! I'm glad to hear from teachers who think it's ridiculous, as well as parents. Appreciate hearing both sides. I do know it's a very tough job but I really am thoroughly fed up with the pressure they put on the kids.
It's hypothetical for us in a way as my son is very able and I don't think he's likely to have any problems, and so there's no individual stress on him to do better. He'll do fine. But, as a class group, the collective pressure - and boredom - is immense.
To put it in context: they have no gifted and talented or equivalent and both my DSs have been very very bored as no extension tasks were ever set. We live in an 11+ area and I had to coach both boys in maths as, despite being capable, they'd never been taught how to do quick methods of long-multiplication and long-division etc. In general, what they had learned in maths was very random. They both went on to score high marks in 11+ and younger DS will be joining his brother at the local grammar in September. I know it's hard to teach a group of mixed ability but good schools with good teachers surely manage it. I very much feel that this school is fine with the kids in the middle, but the more able ones are bored and the less able ones - I know - are struggling. I don't think now is the time for parents to be picking up any of the slack.

To explain though: the class teacher is the Deputy Head (same teacher taught my older DS). The Head was previously the Deputy (has been there for 20+ years). The previous Head had been there 25 years. There hasn't been any new blood there in the higher roles for decades. The Governors include ancient ex-teachers (who taught there for 25 years, whose children went there and now teach there), a couple of compliant parents, a couple of teachers, a couple of members of the congregation (it's a church school) and the parish priest. They are the least dynamic bunch of people I could imagine.

An anecdote too: this same teacher went into a complete panic when my older son became ill during the night before one of the SATs. He was really poorly and no way could go into school. I phoned early in the morning and left a message to explain. Teacher hounded me and DH by phone to ask if we could bring him in just to take the test.

The school is outstanding rated by Ofsted and is consistently in the top 2 or 3 in the borough in SATs results. But I've become less and less impressed the longer I've been involved there.

Butchmanda Sat 13-Jan-18 18:02:04

I also wish there were some rebellious parents. There's been so much daft crap over the years. People moan about it at the school gates and then roll over and just accept it. I seem to be one of the few that has piped up from time to time. I'm very unpopular as a result.

Pengggwn Sat 13-Jan-18 18:02:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hedgehoghappy Sat 13-Jan-18 18:06:01

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BewareOfDragons Sat 13-Jan-18 18:06:07

I work in a primary school.

You are not being unreasonable.

Your DC is in Year 6. (My 2nd child is currently in Y6 and going through the same SATS prep in my school.) You should not be expected to mark his work and provide a break down for the teacher what he needs work on. They should be figuring that out themselves. Plus, they should already have a damn good idea where each child is in each subject.

Just politely decline to mark his work. Your DC should do the work, of course, check their own work, then turn it in so the teacher can see how they got on.

I do think a lot of schools lose the plot over the Y6 SATs based on a lot of interesting tales... it is a boring, sucky year for the Y6 students. A lot of pressure and repetition, tbh.

Topseyt Sat 13-Jan-18 18:07:05

I would go so far as to say don't mark it. Then when they ask why you tell them that it is unacceptable.

A parent's role is to help and encourage with the homework, where they can. Not to mark it too.

Butchmanda Sat 13-Jan-18 18:12:05

Beg your pardon, Pengggwn

3 of them. Retired a looooonnnng time ago. 1 of them is actually the Chair and has been so for as long as I've been there.

Another of these is also the SEN Governor. She's taught her entire career in this school, all 7 of her children attended, and one of them now works there (and is the other Deputy Head). She basically thinks SEN kids are naughty and need better discipline.

Difficult to have much hope in / respect for a group with such little experience of the world outside this school. Nothing wrong with a bit of tradition / continuity etc, but it's taken too far!

They, sadly, wouldn't have any thoughts about SATs other than those put into their heads by the Head and her senior team.

Pengggwn Sat 13-Jan-18 18:13:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 13-Jan-18 18:18:38

If your dc are so clever why are you even bothered?
If you really cared you could actually do something other than complain.
Join the governors yourself?
Run an afterschool maths club to stretch and challenge the brightest?

Greensleeves Sat 13-Jan-18 18:21:50

Pengggwyn I share your distaste for the ageism against older governors, the wealth of experience they bring shouldn't be underestimated

BUT what OP says about an older SEN-linked governor with outdated ideas and the belief that SEN children are just naughty does ring true for me, I've come across something similar when my ds1 (who has ASD) was in primary school and it is very frustrating. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that SENCos and SEN-linked governors are up to date and well-informed imo.

Pengggwn Sat 13-Jan-18 18:25:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheHungryDonkey Sat 13-Jan-18 18:26:54

I think the AIBU should really be To Think Sats Has The Wrong Approach.

I feel sorry for my son's Y6 teacher. She has inherited my child, who is about three years' behind, from another school and his results will unfairly reflect on her teaching ability when the results are published.

Some of the lengths the pushy schools go to to get top results is a bit barmy though. Luckily, the teacher friends I have on Facebook are ones that left the profession so are sympathetic.

OnlyAbigail Sat 13-Jan-18 18:29:50

I think you've just started this thread to stealthily boast about how incredibly bright your children are, OP....

If they're so bored at school then why not homeschool them??

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