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Secondary School levels

(18 Posts)
DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sat 01-Oct-11 11:09:22

Please bear with me on this one, it might sound a bit odd but I am not quite sure where ds is at academically.

Background. DS in state primary from reception to year 4. I always new something wasn't quite right for him, and he was on school action from nursery with SLT and other issues. It was put down to early hearing loss and extreme shyness. Handwriting also an issue. Year four he collapsed emotionally, his teacher disliked him intensely (called him zombie in a meeting with OT and sensco). I made the decision to move him to another school. No places in local schools, so found a little lentil weaving private school which had a good rep for nurturing the kids and giving them confidence.

One sold flat later, and three years, private neuorphysiotherapist consult and private salt, turns out ds is severely dyspraxic. School rubbish at supporting it, but he was very happy there.

He has just started secondary (thank god, as totally broke now) and has been banded as band b in the CAT test (school didn't do SATS).

he still struggles with writing (homework takes 2 hours rather than one) but always keen to finish it.

The question I have is about levels. His maths homework is pegged at level 5/6. His level in English is 5a and i think he is in the top set for science. This could go down obviously, as I guess they are still assessing them.

My question is, can I stop worrying all the time about ds not being able to be the best he can because of his disability?

Are those levels good?

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sat 01-Oct-11 11:21:54

bumping because I have been so worried for so long, I need to wisdom of MN to help me let of of the fear.

Pagwatch Sat 01-Oct-11 11:37:04

Lord, I am a bit shit on levels.

But I think that his difficulties are unlikely to be across all subjects and that a problem in one area may have no effect on another.

I have to go out this second but will reply later as soon as I can x

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sat 01-Oct-11 11:51:34

Thanks Pag. His problems are generally practical, one getting what he wants to say out verbally (word finding issues) and very very slow writing. (on 2nd centile for handwriting). So it affects his ability to finish work in class etc. We were advised that he should really start working on a pc, but I am taking the watch and see approach. If it is still impeding his progress, then I will have to insist they drop the handwriting.

Hullygully Sat 01-Oct-11 13:54:31

Mimi, my ds has the word finding thing, it does slow him up, but he works round it. He used to be really slow at writing, he's a lot better now, but they use pcs a lot and it helps. I'd go for pcs. All ds' teachers have always said he'll be better off once in the world where he can use pcs, spell check etc. He does his homework on a pc where possible too.

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sat 01-Oct-11 14:07:52

Thanks Hully. The school is a brand new academy (he is only the third year of intake) so its very sparkly and up on ICT (also sponsored by a City of London Corporation and KMPG). We've agreed to leave it till half term to see how he manages. He is keen to improve his handwriting, but I think its going to become clear his ability far outstrips his handwriting skills.

He is so happy there. I just don't want him to slide backwards. But they are being very responsive. He got an extra piece of homework from his ICT teacher for not sticking in a work sheet, which took him 2 hours. I emailed the head of learning and she agreed it was not appropriate for him, and that it would not happen again. So good communication so far.

JohnHemmingsPussy Sat 01-Oct-11 14:16:38

Levels are shit. Subjective and largely guesswork. Ignore them

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sat 01-Oct-11 14:19:01

well perhaps, JHP, but I am trying to work out if ds is okay, so they do have some bearing. I have been fretting for 8 years, and fighting.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 01-Oct-11 14:38:23

Those levels are fine for the start of year 7. Above average nationally. I do agree that this early, in the absence of SATs, they will be largely a gut feel professional judgement measure, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

IndigoBell Sat 01-Oct-11 14:41:53

A level 5 at the start of Y7 is a very good level, and puts him in the top 20 - 30%

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sat 01-Oct-11 18:12:04

Thank you all. So I can relax a bit and see where school takes him from now on.

Pagwatch Sun 02-Oct-11 08:32:20

I am sorry I didn't get back until late last night but was pleased to see that you got lots of support.
Fwiw I agree with much of what others have said.
His handwriting is a bugger and will slow his speed of work but he sounds like a determined bugger that he is taking extra time to get through. But I would let him use any props he can and get used to them as the quantity of work will increase and it will be harder for him to spend extra time.

Ds1 developed tricks like dictating details of his homework onto his phone (no idea how he did that) so that he could remember everything about the task without missing bits and forgetting.

Is he having on going ot? Is that helping?

mummytime Sun 02-Oct-11 22:24:09

I would suggest, you start to keep a diary of your communication with the school, and anything they say/promise. If it's the school I think it is, I know its sponsors are very concerned that it does well, and will be interested that all students do their best. However it is early days (even for a non-new school) and it can take a good SENCo a little while to educate/re-educate all staff. Also if it is anything like my DCs school there will be a number of non-UK teachers, who may not realise how much some terms can throw some pupils (eg. evaluate).
Find out how long he is supposed to spend on each homework, and then find out how they want you to deal with homework that takes too long (I sign where they have got to after the set time, and that is it).
Do get to know his heads of year/pastoral heads and the SENCo, and do always be willing to contact teachers, they will usually get back to you ASAP. Pro-active parents can sometimes get things that others don't eg. 1 of my children got extra maths tuition they wouldn't have go if I hadn't expressed my concerns, another moved sets in MFL after I wrote in with concerns.

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sun 02-Oct-11 22:33:44

thanks pags and mummyt. Yes, I am keeping a record of communication. I've spoken at length with the head of learning, and chatted with his head of house They will also have a personal adviser assigned some time soon.

The head of learning has communicated with his teachers, but I guess they don't always remember each child needs until they know them for longer.

Great idea about the homework timings...Might be a real help assessing how far he can get within the expected times. And be used as an argument for moving onto pc if that helps.

He is already getting little comments in his classwork book about finishing off his work. I flagged this with the head of learning also, emphasising I didn't want him to feel he wasn't trying hard enough.

Maybe we need to formulate a plan for him finishing his class work in another way. But then that makes it more homework.

The head of learning (who does the senco function) is also his English teacher, so she is getting a good sense of what he can do.

Pag, they are not allowed phones in class, but he does seem to manage to get down his homework ok. It goes into the planner at the end of every lesson, which is their little bible that they carry with them at all times.

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sun 02-Oct-11 22:35:11

And I think he is the only privately educated child to come up from primary. Given he has good levels now, they would idiots not to try and maintain the standard he has, as the added value would be great for them too.

DonDiegoYDoritoYTinto Sun 02-Oct-11 22:50:50

I don't mean that in a snotty way. But I did make a lot of sacrifices to get him in good shape for secondary.

mumeeee Mon 03-Oct-11 10:10:52

Those levels are fine for year 7. DD3 (19) has Dyspraxia and another learning difficulty. She had good support at primary but not at Secondary until we pushed for a meeting. Anyway she was on School action plus. She had the same trouble as your son with her handwriting and not getting things on paper quickly. In most of her classes wherever possible it was agreed she could have a work sheet of the lesson and not have to write everything down and she was also alias to write on every other line in her exercise books. She also got an hours of one to one support fir hand writing. She had extra time and a scribe in exams. She is still a few years behind her peers but is gradually getting there. She did BTECH first Diploma in IT at college last year and passed with a merit ( this is a GCSE level course and a merit is equal to a B. It actually is supposed to be the same as 4 B's. She has now started the BTECH national Diploma which is an A level equal course. She is also doing level 3 Maths and level 2 communication. These are key skill courses. There is a LSA available in classes if she needs any support but at the moment she is managing ok. Sorry this is ling but I just wanted to show you that even if your son doesn't do as well at school ad you want him to there is always more opportunities. But I would request a meeting with the SENCO and his teachers at his school.

mumeeee Mon 03-Oct-11 10:13:33

Sorry I missed your post about having already spoken to the school. Ask about the work sheets that way he only has to write small amount.

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