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All levelled out.

(127 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Thu 18-Jul-13 22:40:35

Ok, levels don't mean a thing to me. I have no idea what level my dd is currently working at, in any subject.

With so many posts and threads on here, I wondered why so many parents are bothered. I'm not being judgemental as I used to like to know what level my dc were, but I don't know why.

PoppyWearer Thu 18-Jul-13 22:46:01

I feel the same and wonder if you are like me - a former high-achieving child yourself? I've been the high-achieving child and I know it doesn't matter a damn.

Having a well-rounded, happy and confident child is what matters. Levels/grades don't matter.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 18-Jul-13 22:55:56

I just look back at the former me, having 2 older dc who went all the way through school and thought what was I doing?
I used to be very knowledgable about the levels, I had printed out descriptors and was clued up. I wasn't pushy though and only wanted to help if dc wanted/needed it.
Over the last year I have changed my philosophy completely and dd left school at the end of y3 and the school wouldn't give me her levels. At first I thought, how will i cope, what will I do? Now, a year later I realise they aren't important and I don't want or need to know.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 18-Jul-13 22:58:15


No, the complete opposite grin

Severely dyslexic but very old school and never thought of back then. I left with nothing, but found education in my thirties and had a ball.

PoppyWearer Thu 18-Jul-13 23:01:15

So you realise that life works out regardless?

I refuse to get worked up about this sort of stuff.

Katie172 Fri 19-Jul-13 06:36:05

My year 6 dc is not my eldest and I have never worried about sats until this term. Dc has had a diifficult year with many supply teachers and not much work going on. She has dyslexia and dyscalculia ...last year she was on target to be a 4b or above in every subject. Her sats have just come out and she is in the 3's for everything and the secondary school we expected to send her to have sent us a letter to say that due to her sats they will place her in their development group which only offers a watered down curriculum to those dc's unable to access the full curriculum. It is a decision made purely down to these results and nothing else and binding for at least a year....that is why I have become worked up about sats for the first time ever

CaptainSweatPants Fri 19-Jul-13 06:39:36

I don't understand why you don't know what level your child is working at

I'm not obsessed at all but I do read my children's reports & go to parents evening which is when they tell me
Don't you bother with all that then?

curlew Fri 19-Jul-13 06:47:25

I think not knowing roughly what level your child is working at is bonkers, frankly. Yes, you may have a child who will make his or her own way in the world with no qualifications. But it's a bloody sight easier to do it with a few bits of paper. And coming back to education in your 30s is fantastic. But it's not much use to you if you want to be a surgeon or a barrister, or frankly anything above minimum wage work these days. Even many minimum wage jobs are asking for GCSEs.

There is a happy medium between not having a clue and obsessing about reactions of sub levels.

littlemiss06 Fri 19-Jul-13 07:55:44

Ive never been overly worried about my older childrens levels as none of them have struggled although I do like knowing roughly were they are and if theyre doing ok however my little one struggles a lot so her levels give me an idea of how behind she is and where we need to work on, I have worried more and took much more notice with her levels.

musicalfamily Fri 19-Jul-13 08:34:08

The only reason I check levels is because I want to know they are making progress at school, which is important to me because I am considering sending them to go to selective school at secondary and they need a certain level of progress to have a good chance of getting in.

On the other hand, I don't obsess over school work and I do think that at primary age learning to play an instrument and mastering a sport as well as socialising and having fun are more important than sitting down doing worksheets.

I do know a small number of parents who sit their DC down every night after school to do a couple of hours work and I am certainly not that kind of parent!!

Acinonyx Fri 19-Jul-13 08:51:23

I take exactly the same view as curlew and musicalfamily (minus the selective school option). Life doesn't just work itself out hmm I don't like the increasing emphasis on paper qualifications to do just about anything over minimum wage - but that's the game we are playing.

PassTheTwiglets Fri 19-Jul-13 09:24:05

I don't understand why you wouldn't want to know! Becoming obsessed over it is weird but not wanting to know how they're doing is equally weird.

telsa Fri 19-Jul-13 11:33:19

I refuse to worry about whether my 8 year old is getting the right grades to be a surgeon or barrister later on down the line. Does that make me a bad person?

curlew Fri 19-Jul-13 11:38:22

It doesn't make you a bad person. Obviously. But if keeping half an eye can help to make sure that doors she might want to go through later are open to her, then why not? As I said, there's a big difference between not paying any attention at all and micromanaging fractions of sub levels!

Acinonyx Fri 19-Jul-13 11:39:22

Isn't there a sensible ground between worrying about pushing grades and taking an interest in their progress? Are you seriously saying that you don't care whether your dc makes any (as appropriate for that individual) progress at school or not? confused

morethanpotatoprints Fri 19-Jul-13 11:41:34


I don't see any importance of levels at all.
To me they really are just a number and letter and not representative of what they can do.

curlew Fri 19-Jul-13 11:43:04

"To me they really are just a number and letter and not representative of what they can do."

Say more?

lljkk Fri 19-Jul-13 11:48:44

DD worked very hard in her SATs which she did well at, I need to be tuned into that to realise she's ambitious and to support her properly.

DS2 has behaviour problems but the school can't offer much help since he's "bright" (even though his NC levels are mostly average confused). I guess I need to be tuned into that to understand what little help is on offer, so I concentrate my energies productively.

Otherwise I'm with you, MNers go silly over 'em.

Acinonyx Fri 19-Jul-13 11:56:06

I agree the levels are very limited in what they can tell you - but they are one way of having some idea about dc progress in school subjects - which can be otherwise very hard to judge.

When someone applies for a job, they expect to see the equivalent of levels as qualifications. Many times, that will also be only a very rough picture of an applicants aptitudes and says next to nothing about their temperament, working style etc. Telling the interviewer about all they can do without any qualifications to go alongside that will not get them very far in most areas (with a few exceptions).

We are very lucky to have the education we have in this country (speaking as someone who worked in an educational field in Africa) and I'd like to see dc make the most of that. Sometimes they need encouragement and guidance to do that - hard to supply if you don't know whether their progress is on track. Education is taken for granted and underused, it seems, rather like the right to vote.

curlew Fri 19-Jul-13 11:59:18

Basically, I think of NC levels as one of many ways of knowing that my children are on upward trajectories. The pace varies, but up is good, straight might be OK but down is bad.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 19-Jul-13 12:04:09


Why do you need to have a level to know if your dc are improving?
This is part of what I don't find important.
I think dd wants to try for a music specialist school at secondary, they aren't bothered about grades, nor levels for the academic side. They are judged on ability, which surely every profession is.

To others suggesting GCSE's and pieces of paper being important, most of the time they are. But that to me is no reason to know what level your dc are in primary, why does it matter?

Acinonyx Fri 19-Jul-13 12:11:00

'To others suggesting GCSE's and pieces of paper being important, most of the time they are. But that to me is no reason to know what level your dc are in primary, why does it matter?'

Because the habits of doing school work willingly and efficiently are best established by end primary IMO. A dc who makes very little progress in primary is unlikely to burst into an academic flower at secondary. Dc can acquire some very disadvantageous study/work habits by end primary (I speak from experience).

I playing a quite shameless devil's advocate's position here - I'm unashamedly interested in levels - whatever system happens to be on the go. They're not everything - but they're not nothing either.

Most professions that I deal with are very, very interested in papers,unfortunately. They days when you could go in and train on the job are fading fast. I wouldn't have got into my own former profession now without extra papers. Personally, I think that's a tragedy - but also possibly a different thread.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 19-Jul-13 12:12:01


There are so many things that children can learn about that aren't included in the nc. Giving a level just says whether or not they can do xyz. It doesn't have any bearing on their knowledge in other areas and is prescriptive.
I don't need a level to know my dds abilities, her strengths and weaknesses. I know she is H.ed now but was the same when she was at school.
You know how well your child can read when you listen to them, why do you need a level?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 19-Jul-13 12:15:09


I totally agree with most of your post. But that doesn't tell me why we need levels? Unless these primary and secondary levels are to be included on job/uni applications.

anklebitersmum Fri 19-Jul-13 12:16:34

We move regularly. I need to know levels and what they actually mean in order to make sure that all the biters are set running from the right starting point in a new school.

Knowing the levels also helped with DSS as we were able to help him with some substantial gaps in his education with some authority, as opposed to saying "well, we think he's a bit behind" and getting fobbed off.

It's not the be all and end all by any means not least as this weeks 2b may well be a 2a in a weeks time but it is an imortant 'tool' in our house.

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