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Can any primary teachers tell me why this wouldn't work?

(17 Posts)
Pooka Sun 23-Sep-12 14:52:57

Was wondering if any primary teachers had any input on an idea i have had?

Dd is now in year 5. Ds1 in year 2. So they've been at the school some time, andtheres a niggle that I've had re: the issue of the first couple (at least) weeks of term being wasted in part because the new teacher seems to not know the levels the kids are on, about table dynamics and new strategies and schemes the SLT have and how they'll be implemented. It seems like every September the wheel is reinvented and I'm not sure why, given that presumably the previous teacher kept copious paperwork/ was in staff room and could give ideas re the new class.

I've been told on Friday that "it's early days, we're only in the third week of term"about something ds1 is supposed to be doing as part of his IEP. When the IEP is not something new, I had meeting with the incoming teacher before end of term and the SENCO is around to be liaised with. It took until Monday for dd's class to be seated other than in alphabetical order and for the differentiated work to start being provided.

My idea was that for the last week of term (or maybe the penultimate week) , the year R teachers have the year 6 kids, in order that the year 6 teacher freed up to spend week teaching yr 5, and so on, down the school ending with the year 1 teachers teaching the year R kids. This would mean that the teachers would go into the summer holidays knowing the new class, abilities, issues and dynamics. Tables and seating could be planned before the new term. The children would go into the holidays knowing their new teachers, and so the September start would be less of an unknown.

I like the school and like the teachers (in general) but it all seems so lame and ineffectual at the moment. And it's just such a waste of teaching time.

I'm pondering having a discussion with the head teacher about it, but was wondering whether any primary teachers would say that I'm insane or expecting too much - in which case I'll try and take it on the chin (^try^).

mrz Sun 23-Sep-12 14:57:42

My idea was that for the last week of term (or maybe the penultimate week) , the year R teachers have the year 6 kids, in order that the year 6 teacher freed up to spend week teaching yr 5, and so on, down the school ending with the year 1 teachers teaching the year R kids.

Lots of schools already do this or variations of it. Our Y6 children spend a week at their new comp so all classes can move up.

NickNacks Sun 23-Sep-12 15:05:19

Yes we do this in our school already. Every Friday in July they spend in their new class. Tricky if the new teacher is new to the school (and therefore in a different job that term) but they do their best.

juniper904 Sun 23-Sep-12 15:05:23

In the last week of term, the children and teacher are all knackered. You couldn't set demanding work that would show levels etc. there would be tears from all parties.

I have inherited all of last year's groups although they are out of date and assessments etc, but I still prefer to group them myself. I've had tables set since day 3, but they are quite fluid and the children know this.

In my eyes, the biggest waste of time is December. The whole month is dedicated to Christmas in my school. Seems like a big waste of 3 weeks.

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Sep-12 15:14:10

We doi 'moving up days' pretty much as you suggest.

I also have masses of paperwork about the class.

However, lots of things change in the 6 weeks of the summer and in the transition from class to class:

- Different teacher (Children may react very, very differently - you'd be surprised! Also, the children have to get used to a new teacher and new style and while some strive to impress from day 1, others are reluctant to step out of their comfort zone for a while.)

- Different expectations (I teach Year 3 and my expectations in terms of independence etc are a step up from the end of KS1 and some children need a few weeks to show their trie colours in the new system)

- Different experiences over the summer (have spent every day being read with by a parent, going to places of interest / have run wild without adult supervision at any time.

- Different groupings (for practical reasons due to larger furniture but a smaller classroom, I have a different physical grouping of tables in my classroom compared with year 2. I cannot just carry on with the same groupings.]

- New children arriving.

I am on my 3rd or 4th set of groupings, even though my first set was based on end of year levels from last year and a great handover from the previous teacher, due to all the above.

Pooka Sun 23-Sep-12 15:26:15

Thanks so much for the responses - food for thought there.

Yes, I did think about the situation if you have new teachers starting. But that's not that often, though there have been 4 new teachers this September (new head last year, always seems to mean a bit of movement).

Agree completely re: christmas. It's just so frustrating that there seems to be a wasted fortnight (at least) at the beginning of the year. Coming clean, am a parent governor, and getting hijacked by parents raising this issue. They start to lose confidence that the school actually knows the kids when their child drops 3 reading levels or whatever at the beginning of the year.

I don't disagree with the mixing up of the tables to see what works with a particular teacher.

Obviously as parent gov, this is none of my business (day to day running as opposed to strategy) but it niggles me and if convos of last week at school anything to go by, is a source of irritation for other parents.

Thanks for responses - I did suspect that other schools would have this set up. I am a bit sad we don't!

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Sep-12 15:43:31

The reading levels thing happens all the time. It can happen for two main reasons IME:

- Child has not read at all during the holidays, and particularly if gains towards the end of the previous year weren't totally secure, the child does go backwards for a while. A couple of my children have gone back a long way, but we also plan lots of interventions for those children to get them back to where they should be ASAP.

- Child is a competent decoder (ie can read words well) but isn't secure with other aspects of reading e.g. features of that type of text, use of punctuatuon to guide expression, comprehension, understanding of plot and character and setting etc. As a child progresses up the school, the balance of importance given to these two aspects of reading changes, so while a previous teacher may have put a child on a level based on decoding, the next one is focused on e.g. comprehension, and so may put a child onto a book that they can decode very easily BUT which is at the right level and complexity to work on the areas of reading that they find more difficult.

For this reason, I am currently doing guided reading with a group book which is two levels below the children's indicidual readers, because we are focusing on something other than pure decoding, which they are finding really tricky. So I have taken away the 'decoing' challenge in order to focus on the skill we are working on

bowerbird Sun 23-Sep-12 19:38:41

I for one am delighted that her Y3 teacher is reassessing my DD. The idea that one teacher's assessment should be handed on as gospel is awful. Also the idea that abilities are static and unchanging at this age is simply wrong. Kids have huge leaps in reading and understanding - it isn't all a steady upward curve.

And this is a personal thing: DD's teacher just didn't click with her, didn't "get" her at all. It was a difficult year for her and for me. This happens. It's nice to be able to start with a more or less clean slate with a new teacher and be seen with fresh eyes.

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 19:46:38

I'm not a primary teacher but my 2penece worth:

They would spend a week idling at the end of the year - the problem is just shifted.

Kids lose some ground and motivation over the summer and I doubt this is predictable. They SHOULD be reassessed in sept imo.

Not all reception teachers will be trained to teach yr6 (i think they are usually trained in 2 consecutive keyatages so eyfs+ks1 or ks1 + 2) although that doesn't mean they can't do it.

IwanttoflyonA380 Sun 23-Sep-12 20:19:47

Our school in key stage 1 the new class teachers takes small groups of children for story time and small activities in the last 2 terms of the school year. This is before the children know what class they will be in September. The teacher use this to work out which class they will be in as we have 45 in each year which is 2 classes in reception and 1.5 in each other year.

purplehouse Sun 23-Sep-12 20:25:08

Our school does a good handover. As well as a moving up day (which all the schools round here do, where you spend the day in the class you will be in next yr) they also get the 2 teachers to chat about each child. They do also start by grouping the children as they were grouped the prev year but then move them about a bit where necessary. Your school should implement something like this.

purplehouse Sun 23-Sep-12 20:25:32

Our school does a good handover. As well as a moving up day (which all the schools round here do, where you spend the day in the class you will be in next yr) they also get the 2 teachers to chat about each child. They do also start by grouping the children as they were grouped the prev year but then move them about a bit where necessary. Your school should implement something like this.

purplehouse Sun 23-Sep-12 20:25:47

Oops!

clam Sun 23-Sep-12 20:56:06

Our school do a moving up session, but I'm not sure how effective a whole week would be at the end of July. The kids are knackered and a fair few have buggered off on holiday early and so are the teachers. At the end of July I'm focussing on finishing up with the kids I've built a relationship with all year and doing nice things and tying up any loose ends - I really don't think I'd want to be dealing with a whole new class at that point. Much better to come to them refreshed in September.
We had a complicated INSET day on the last day of term, having to take on board a new initiative for September with a visiting speaker and so on. It was seriously hard work to concentrate and imagine working it 2 months (or so) ahead. And of course, once the new term started we've mostly forgotten what we were told anyway and have had to go through it all again.

Or maybe we're all just past it!

bowerbird Mon 24-Sep-12 16:40:17

Purple that's interesting about the handover. However, don't you think each child should start the year with a "clean slate"? Kids change. And teachers have their own perceptions and opinions about individual children.

clam Mon 24-Sep-12 17:27:10

They do start with a clean slate. Few teachers are stupid enough to let someone else's perception cloud their own judgement. And it's more important to hand over vital information - SEN issues, medical information, personal snippets about any personalities that need to be kept apart/together. To stop doing this would just add to the problem the OP talks about, in that there is some time lost in September.

purplehouse Mon 24-Sep-12 19:13:05

bower - the teacher will make his/her own assessment/opinion of children. But it is useful to start with a "rough" idea, which is what the previous teacher can provide. It is only a rough idea because like you say, children change. In my DS's case he hasn't changed at all - his Y1 teacher made a very accurate assessment of him and passed it to his Y2 teacher who has been very good with him, partly due to the knowledge passed on from Y1 and partly due to the fact that she is a very good teacher herself. That said, I do think he should move up a spelling group grin

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