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Year 6 SATs - how much pressure from your school?

(49 Posts)
freddiefrog Wed 13-Feb-13 09:50:29

I currently have a very stressed and worried 11 year old due to the pressure being put on her over SATs and I am seriously not amused.

They have been told that the local secondary school uses the SATs to stream them and to predict their GCSE results - I rang the secondary and they state that this is absolutely not the case - they reassess them when they start as they find the SATs results aren't a good indicator of ability (I.e, they've just been taught to test)

I've told her time and time again that SATs are a way of testing the school, not her, to relax and just do what she can and they're nothing to get stressed over but she's not listening to a word I say, she's being given so much pressure at school, school keep telling her that if she doesn't get high marks she'll get put in the wrong set at secondary school and that will affect her GCSE results

DD did a test last week and got a 5a, her teacher wrote on the paper ' ok result, but don't worry, you've got plenty of time to pull it up to a 6'

They bring home 4 A4 sheets of old SATs papers every night, double that at weekends, there was a massive booklet over Christmas, and they've been told they're getting the same for half term - we're going away so she's having a massive panic over this as well. If it's not done at home, they're kept in at lunchtimes.

She's worried and stressed and last night was in floods of tears at the table so I put the lot through the shredder and refused to let her do it. Her relief was obvious.

I've been in today to see the teacher about it as I simply cannot allow this continue, it's not fair.

I just don't know how to help her, I've now told school that she won't be doing these papers every night any more, and I wasn't happy with the pressure they were putting on her

They don't sit the blooming things until May!

KingscoteStaff Thu 21-Feb-13 18:07:19

lljkk, but Year 2 teachers have to show progression from baseline in Reception! Poor them - they are stuck in the middle!

Progression recorded on your child's record on Raiseonline is measured in sublevels - but you are right that only 'whole' levels - 3, 4 or 5 - are reported to parents.

lljkk Thu 21-Feb-13 16:36:46

Here, KS2 sublevels are not meaningful, says Feenie.

lljkk Thu 21-Feb-13 10:43:55

But I thought someone said elsewhere that there were no sublevels in y6 reporting. confused

Kingscote does that mean that y2 teachers are incentivised to under-report levels? So that the school progress looks better in y6? Assuming y2 is part of a R-y6 school, I mean.

I seem to be the only MNer to ever report a child who had a boost in levels from end of y2 to start of y3 instead of the oft-reported dip. I often wonder why that is. DS y2 teacher was an NQT & I tend to think she was just conservative in her assessment (fine by me, it doesn't matter, just a slight puzzle).

snice Thu 21-Feb-13 10:21:16

no homework for yr6 here over half term other than reading

KingscoteStaff Thu 21-Feb-13 10:08:26

If a child gets a level 3 in Year 2, then expected progress is that they will get a 5B in year 6. This, however, demonstrates that the teaching and learning in the school is merely satisfactory. As a Year 6 teacher, I must demonstrate 'better than expected' progress which, in the case of a Year 2 Level 3 result, means that they must achieve 5A or Level 6.

Now last year, in order to get that 5A in the normal Year 6 Maths Sats paper (which tests levels 3-5), the children had to score 96 - 100%. That is hard to achieve - for example: 39/40 in paper A, 38/40 in paper B and 19/20 in the mental maths test.

6 children in my last year's class missed level 5A by just one point. Because they had all achieved level 3 in year 2, that meant that our school had only achieved expected progress for them, which, in the eyes of Mr Gove and OFSTED, is not good enough.

This year, all the children who came up into Year 6 with a 5C have been taught separately for 3 maths lessons a week in order to prepare them for the Level 6 paper. If we can get them a 6C on that paper, then they have reached the holy grail of 'better than expected' progress from their L3 in Yr 2.

The pressure on Year 6 teachers is intense. To quote one of our Year 3 teachers "If you guys don't get over 60% Level 5s, you'll bring Ofsted down on all of our heads".

And now I am going to drive my own children over to their grandparents' house while I go into school to re-differentiate the next 4 weeks' maths.

TomArchersSausage Wed 20-Feb-13 12:22:20

Seems a lot to me toosad

Children at this age should be being prepared for a confident seemless move to secondary school.

Badgering them about SATS levels, esp when they are already achieving very respectable grades as it is, could be very demotivating. And sadly just at the point when they'll need all the resources they've got to move on and up into year 7 where things move up a gear.

freddiefrog Wed 20-Feb-13 12:12:03

To be honest, I don't understand it all either.

I know she was at 5c in the Autumn term as that was on her report letter when we had parents evening. I knew nothing about the level 6 thing until I saw the note about an OK result and having plenty of time to pull it up to a 6 on a test paper she bought home.

She clearly doesn't understand the whys and wherefores of the work she's doing so I don't think she's genuinely at level 6. She may pass a level 6 test with coaching, but she's not really understanding it if you see what I mean.

TomArchersSausage Wed 20-Feb-13 11:59:36

Ah yes very true. In reaching one goalpost the Govt will not leave it at that and will push ever harder for the next onehmm.

I can see it's not an easy task..sad

Level 6 seems very ambitious for the age group. I confess I don't know much about levels/key stages but I'm sure dd1(age14) in yr9 brings home targets re levels 6/7. Probably I'm getting myself confused there though. I do get v mixed up with it allgrin

freddiefrog Wed 20-Feb-13 11:57:00

I agree with Tom.

I understand SATs are important for the school, but surely if the school has been doing its job properly for the last 6 1/2 years, all that's required now is some gentle revision.

We are getting pages and pages of SATs papers home, half of which DD doesn't seem to understand. It's a long time since I had to worry about a lot of this stuff and I simply don't remember it, so we resort to Google.

I know the new grammar paper has been a bit of an issue this year, but the pressure on them is relentless and DD is completely freaking out

I don't think DD should be pressurised into aiming for level 6, if she achieves it, fantastic, but I don't think she's genuinely at that level - she was working at 5c in September. Given the help she needs to complete her homework, I don't think she understands it properly and she's just being taught to pass the test

All year 6 parents have been in to complain about it, so hopefully some of the issues will be addressed at the meeting when we go back

MM5 Wed 20-Feb-13 11:35:51

Tom, you are right to a point. Part of the problem I think is the ever changing goal post. In my school it is the pressure for Level 5 and 6. The Level 6 has only just come about in the last year. The staff are very confident about the level 4s. Now is the pressure for accererating them to Level 5 and 6. You see, it is never good enough.

We are lucky at our school with our headteacher. There is an expectation that in every year there is at least expected progress and targets are set for accelerated progress in every year.

But, as I said before, good enogh is never good enough.

lljkk Wed 20-Feb-13 11:34:12

Can I ask how much half term homework your yr 6 dc have (if any)?


TomArchersSausage Wed 20-Feb-13 11:13:12

I can see what you mean MM but I think as long as they have been educating them properly in the years leading up to yr6 then a school should have confidence in what they have already invested in their children up to that point and trust that the children are able to demonstrate that they can do a small (unobstrusive) test at the end, if that is what is required.

All this cramming now in yr6 concerns me. I does rather look like they do not have confidence that they have taught them enough and suddenly have to change tack at the last minute in the final year.

MM5 Wed 20-Feb-13 10:19:54

The problem with SATs is that the school is judged on these final results. If the school doesn't hit floor targets, everyone's head is on the chopping blocks with Ofsted giving a bad grading that then sets off a chain of events that include an even heavier burden of pupil progress and attainment, more Osted visits and the possibility of forced academisation. Even high attaining schools are not exempt as they must show they are improving and that they are achieving adequate Level 5 and, now, Level 6. Accelerated progress is being pushed and pushed by the government which pushes on the headteachers which push on the teachers that then push on the children.

Somewhere I was reading about the morale of teachers and the blames. sad. Somehow, the governement and its ever changing targets never seemed to be blamed.

It is not right to have somuch pressure on children. However, those end results can mean the difference between allowing the school tohave a creative curriculum a majority of the time or forcing schools to only concentrate on the reading, writing and maths with no time for developing a well rounded child.

NameChanger4 Tue 19-Feb-13 22:04:44

My son has SEN but is high functioning. I managed to get him a statement for extra support for social skills etc in October of Yr 6 and school were very slow to get things under way. When questioned the Senco said that they wouldn't take him out of class for his support sessions until the SAT's were finished the following May shock. Obviously in some schools these tests are more important than the needs of the child.

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:37:18

It will be quite a relief to get to yr7 and secondary school tbh. A least the work gets more interesting rather than dull and repetetive.

I'm quite disenchanted with yr6.

cece Tue 19-Feb-13 21:32:00


DD is in Year 7. Last year she was predicted level 5 for English and in the end got a level 4. However, she did some CATS tests at the beginning of Y7 and is now in top sets for all of the core subjects. So it really has not made a difference to how she was streamed at secondary!

I am also a Y6 teacher. All this cramming really is poor practice. We tell our Y6 that our main job this year is to prepare them for secondary school. smile

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:23:04

'provide a negative result.'

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:22:19

I have a feeling that if SATS are so vitally important all this pushing will only result a negative result.

I wonder what they'd do if everyone pulled their dc out.

freddiefrog Tue 19-Feb-13 21:19:07

We had a huge booklet of maths and literacy SATs papers, and some of the new grammar pages to learn as well

I'm not sure how many pages. We're away visiting my parents until Sunday and I refused to bring it with us as I wasn't spending the whole week worrying about.

She did about 10 pages when we were at home on Saturday and wasn't even half way through it.

Proper homework, she used to get a small project, given out on a Weds and returned the following Weds, which she really enjoyed doing. Since Christmas all we've had are these blasted revision papers

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 21:13:55

Ds has a 17pg maths paper. He's been told to do 10 pages (but finish it if he wants toconfused) An A4 double sided English SATS paper, 10 spellings and sentences, reading is always expected and notes on what he's read. Also research for the next topic.

Some of it he seems quite unsure of, so I guess that'll be us (again) teaching him something from scratch.

In previous weeks its been test conditions practise papers at school. I was hoping there would have been some kind of break over half term. Some hopehmm I'm def annoyed.

mankyscotslass Tue 19-Feb-13 20:59:29

DS1 had 3 pages of a Maths practice book, and 2 pages of a literacy workbook to complete - other than that he has been given nothing to do at all over half term.

They do expect them to read over the holidays, but the amount is entirely up to him, and as he is a bookworm and can read whatever he likes as part of the reading challenge, he does not see this as homework.

TomArchersSausage Tue 19-Feb-13 20:53:00

Can I ask how much half term homework your yr 6 dc have (if any)?

I'm most hmmangry at the relentless pile mine are getting - and have had all through yr6 - with no let up for half term. I'm sure dd1's yr6 some yrs back wasn't this pressured.

I usually support the school, despite being less than convinced that too much primary HW is actually much use, but I really feel like saying more about this at forthcoming parents eve.

Snowsquonk Sat 16-Feb-13 19:37:22

I've kicked up a stink at my DD's primary.....the children were told there is a science SAT - there isn't, parents were told the school "might be a pilot school for science SATS" so I send the head the link to the DOE website which states there will be no pilot science SATS this year....

They told parents at a meeting that from half term, no topic work, just SATS revision and tried to flog us revision books - I refused to buy them and have told the teacher that I won't getting DD to do any papers at home, and asked at the meeting how the SATS benefit the children and the deputy head just shrugged.

DD got 100% in a maths paper and her teacher tried to tell me that was a level 6 - er, no, a level 3 - 5 paper can only test up to level 5. 100% is obviously brilliant, but it's not a level 6 because you've not actually tested her level 6 ability. She crossed the L6 out.....

I am fortunate that my DD is very laid back about tests but she's also bored - we're going to do lots of stuff this holiday which isn't related at all to SATS but might spark her interest in things!

AScorpionPitForMimes Sat 16-Feb-13 18:40:36

Well, DD2 (yr5) had her school disco last night, I got talking to some other parents of Yr6 children and they are being pressure sold these SATs revision books at £13 a pop. One mum was being practically lynched for admitting she wasn't going to waste her money on them, until I stepped in and backed her up. Bloody hell, what is the world coming to?

I will certainly not be spending a penny on this crap next year. angry

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 15-Feb-13 21:34:09

No pressure here, but quite a lot of practice papers being done in school. And very dull grammar worksheets for literacy homework, thanks to being guinea pigs for the SPAG test.

I'm aware that there are a number of children being pulled out of their regular timetable for some small group and one-to-one work. I'm assuming they are the ones that are on the level 3/4 borderline. There are other groups being taken out for "booster" groups, to assess whether they should have a go at level 6. DD1 is one of those and is not being put under any pressure to get a level 6 for the glory of the school - it's been very much "would you like to have a go, just to give you something to aim for".

No practice papers sent home whatsoever. I'm shock at the notion of daily SATs homework - how amazingly stressful and counter-productive.

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