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Is ds's school too linient?

(30 Posts)
Jesusgirl Fri 12-Aug-11 18:13:56

My ds age 7, going to year 3 now brought his year 2 books home and I just looked through it and was a bit.... He could be rather scruffy sometimes, his writing is really rough most times, he's always in a hurry and so stops a sentence midway before jumping to the next! But looking through teacher's comments, it's all about how great the information is, how well he tried, welldone etc.

I don't want them to make him feel horrible about it but at least let him know it's not acceptable to do things half heartedly.

He's quite a bright boy and feels he can get away with doing as little as he can and the school seems to reinforce that. His writing is much neater at home because I get him to rewrite whatever he's written if it's not legible. He's probably not going to be the best writer there is but at least it should be legible.

He seems to be able to get away with not handing in homework etc. I have to make sure he does it and hand it in. There's no repercussion from the teacher if he doesn't.

I spoke to year 2 teacher and she just told me " you know X, when he's motivated he does it really well, but when he's not in the mood, he tends not to" !!! I found this very .....

I'm hoping it's just that particular teacher and it's not the school per se.

stopkickingthatmackerel Fri 12-Aug-11 18:24:31

What SAT scores did he get? Do they reflect yours or the teachers views?

Jesusgirl Fri 12-Aug-11 18:31:30

He had all level 3s- even in writing. I can believe the maths and English but the writing- not too sure about that.

I know he can consciously do a good job, but the SATs are not formal so he wouldn't have known he was being assessed.

He knows he had level 3s and the cheek that he is tells me when his teacher thinks he's doing great and I'm not a teacher!

whenIgetto3 Fri 12-Aug-11 19:17:46

think you could find this to be any 7 year old boy, mine is exactly the same and his teacher said sometimes you just have to let him sit there with his feet up on the desk because he is not in the mood that day shock

Well mine will get a shock he starts prep school in September and they will not tolerate any of it, know as they have just put his older brother in his place grin

stillsurvinghols Fri 12-Aug-11 20:55:29

I do feel some teachers can be a little too positive and I mean some not all. My daughter would get away with not working that hard if the teacher let her. Before now I've looked at work and thought she could do way way better for her to only get "great work". It does exactly help. I felt with this years sats that she got better grades than perhaps she was working at but I'm not going to go and say something at the end of the term when she'll have a new teacher after the holidays. They'll make their own judgement and if I'm really concerned then I'd just bring in someone external to give me an idea of where my child is at because I'm not the expert......

IndigoBell Fri 12-Aug-11 21:10:23

In order for him to get a L3 in writing he must have done a lot of very good writing in at least the last school term.

L3s are really hard to get. And you can't get it by just doing well occasionally - you have to do that level frequently and across a range of genre's.

Sounds to me like his teacher is doing everything right to get that quality of writing out of him.

Remember very few marks are awarded for handwriting. Marks are also awarded for spelling, punctuation, grammar, using features of the genre and content.

To have got level 3s for every subject he is easily in the top 10% of kids his age. So, leave him be - he's doing brilliantly.

Jesusgirl Fri 12-Aug-11 21:43:48

Thanks. It makes a bit more sense that writing is not just about the handwriting!

I hope year 3 will mean he'll get the message that much more is expected of him to get all the 'well done' and 'fantastic job' comments!

I just don't want him having a false confidence and think he doesn't need to exert himself.

pointythings Sat 13-Aug-11 21:25:15

My older DD is now 10 and she has always had bad handwriting - legible, but really scrawly. She skipped bits at age 7 too, basically her mind was racing ahead of what her hands could do - but it was obvious from the content what she was aiming for, and there were times when she worked really accurately (but still with awful writing). She got level 3s in everything too and has just finished Yr 5 with a 5C in writing - she will lose marks for handwriting next year, but that's only a very small number of marks. I expect your DS will do the same, as long as the Yr3 teacher keeps him on track.

Elibean Sat 13-Aug-11 22:16:26

Agree with IndigoBell - its not just about handwriting. dd's handwriting and spelling are not great at all, and she still got a 2a in writing, because of her imagination and vocabulary - which are very good.

Have to admit I had similar thoughts to you, though not about the teacher (whose teaching I trust) but about dd's motivation! Reading and comprehension are easy 3s, but writing requires a tad more effort, clearly hmm

Avaria Sun 14-Aug-11 09:07:26

Could you please be so kind to explaine me what L3 or 2a or 3s stand for? We are just starting British school this year (Y5) and I would like to get some more info on that. I guess it's kind of kid's progress evalutaion?

IndigoBell Sun 14-Aug-11 09:49:47

Avaria - kids work their way through the national curriculum levels while they're at school. From L1 - L8. Then they do GCSEs.

At the end of Y2 most children are a level 2, and able children are a level 3.
At the end of Y4 most children are a level 3, and able children are a level 4.
At the end of Y6 most children are a level 4, and able children are a level 5.

In the UK, there isn't a curriculum for each year group, instead they teach you whatever you're up to. So some kids will do L3 work in Y2, and some not until Y6.

Each level has sublevels - ie 2a, 2b and 2c.

hocuspontas Sun 14-Aug-11 10:14:41

The country average for level 5 at the end of KS2 is around 30-35%. This would loosely mean that the same % get level 3 at KS1.

Jesusgirl Sun 14-Aug-11 14:14:13

Speaking of levels, do schools routinely report levels at the end of each year in KS2? In ds's school, levels were only reported at the end of year 2. Is it until the end of year 6 that his level gets reported again?


mrz Sun 14-Aug-11 14:39:30

Legally schools have to report levels at the end of Y2 and Y6. Some may give levels at the end of other years but aren't required to do so.

There are 3 marks allocated for handwriting in the KS1 tests

IndigoBell Sun 14-Aug-11 15:12:26

3 marks out of how many?

spanieleyes Sun 14-Aug-11 15:21:40

In KS2 there are 3 marks for handwriting ( out of a total of 50). If I recall, KS1 is the same!

Jesusgirl Sun 14-Aug-11 15:40:39

Just 3 out of 50??? What a relief!wink

livinonaprayer Wed 17-Aug-11 22:39:31

You will probably find things change when he is in year 3, I certainly did with mine. Too far the other way!!

Big jump from key stage one to two IME.

Jesusgirl Fri 19-Aug-11 16:54:33

Hi livinonaprayer, I hope you mean change for the better.

Is there anyway you encouraged him or did he just pick it up on his own then?

generalhaig Sat 20-Aug-11 23:30:57

ds2 has just done his KS2 SATS and got all 5s - he had no problems with maths, science or reading but has fine motor skills difficulties so getting the ideas in his head down on paper was always a challenge ... Halfway through y6 he was still only getting 4a for writing, but then we finally managed to get the school to implement the use of an alphasmart and touch-typing lessons (something he was supposed to have had from y2 but that's another story ...) In the space of 3 months his level went up from 4a to 5a because he could physically get more down on paper - his teacher explained that he'd lose 3 marks for handwriting, but he'd gain many, many more for the content. If your ds still has problems with writing in the next couple of years it might be worth investigating if there's any physical reason

Feenie Sat 20-Aug-11 23:43:13

Actually, if they use a computer for the writing tests they are awarded a compensatory 2 marks for handwriting, which is 2 more than they would normally get if they were writing in longhand!

Jesusgirl Sun 21-Aug-11 01:02:36

Oh! That's good to know! I think with him, his mind works faster than his fingers so he gets frustrated as he can't put down what he wants to quick enough.

I also notice sometimes, he stops a sentence midway before jumping to the next- perhaps thats the same reason. He types really well though.

I'm hoping his writing will improve with age but if it doesn't, at least I now know there may be options.

livinonaprayer Mon 22-Aug-11 09:31:19

In year 3 the focus shifts to proper work a lot more iykwim. I found that DS teacher encouraged him to improve his writing and also offered a bit more constructive criticism.
However my son does still find it very difficult particularly when he is required to write quite a bit. I think this is partly because his hand can't keep up with his brain, and partly through his wrist getting tired.
Generally(not always of course) boys do find handwriting more difficult than girls and he is by no means alone.
If you are concerned there are things you can do to help him at home.
Much more is expected of them in key stage two generally in terms of work, behaviour and all areas really.

mrz Mon 22-Aug-11 10:05:06

I would be very concerned if children hadn't started proper work before Y3! or that children weren't receiving constructive criticism and being encouraged to improve writing.

Please don't perpetuate the myth that boys find handwriting more difficult (yes boys fine motor skills develop slower than girls and girls gross motor skills are slower than boys - swings and roundabout as both are needed for writing) as all this does is lower expectations and delay improvement.

livinonaprayer Mon 22-Aug-11 18:35:17

Just speaking from my experience but happy to take on board what you are saying. It's nothing to do with expectations at all, and I wasn't saying at all that anyone should have lower expectations of boys. I have three! grin
I have read certain studies which recognise this but as with most things there will be conflicting ones in response.

I am not at all concerned and love the way my DCs are being taught, of course other people want different things from education which is fine too. Perhaps my point didn't come across very well...I am new to this mumsnet lark! Apologies to you to OP if wasn't very helpful to you!

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