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Throwing everything at Y6?

(39 Posts)
PastSellByDate Thu 05-Dec-13 16:40:49

Hello there:

Gradually it is coming out to us Y6 parents (one class of 30 pupils) that in fact this year there are two teachers (the class is split into at least 2 groups, often in separate rooms) and two TAs. We also understand that the Deputy Head is also coming in and helping with teaching (other teachers still in attendance but dividing class into 3 groups).

Is this normal for Y6? Does your school do this as well?

Those of you who know me will know I've been saying for years our school doesn't do enough - I'm trying very hard not to see this as the school throwing everything at Y6 after their dreadful 62% combined English /Maths at KS2 SATs last year.

If this strikes you as fairly standard, please do let me know. I'll feel much better.

RosemaryandThyme Thu 05-Dec-13 17:00:36

Our school are doing lots more maths with y6 - 90 min morning lesson, plus 2.5hr weekly headmaster lesson plus 30 mins 1:1 child maths each afternoon, it may be a bit late in the day but I think better late than never.

columngollum Thu 05-Dec-13 17:05:28

How is it possible to do a 1:1 30mins with each child each afternoon? I wouldn't have thought there were enough people and not enough time. For 30 pupils that's 15 man hours per day?

spanieleyes Thu 05-Dec-13 17:20:20

Well, it's not standard, but then 62% combined isn't standard either! The school has to do something to raise results and unfortunately they have to start with year 6 because that's the year where the school is most heavily judged. They HAVE to get the results up before next year or all hell will let loose!
Obviously in an ideal world, the school wouldn't have to do this, children would progress in a nice neat line over the years and every year children would make the necessary progress. Unfortunately, life isn't like this and, especially in a school that is coasting/falling behind the onus is on the year 6 teachers to make up any shortfall ( speaks from bitter experience here!)

SatinSandals Thu 05-Dec-13 17:25:16

It is the league tables. They need to improve the SATs results. It is a little late, but at least they are getting the attention now. It can only be good for the year 6 children.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Dec-13 09:52:21

Thanks all who've written in -

I kind of suspected something must be up.

ReallyTired Fri 06-Dec-13 10:10:03

What you describe is very common and sad. The deputy head is often the special needs coordinator and in a healthy school would be doing small group work with SEN children throughout the school.

The school is throwing all the resources at the present year 6 because they want to avoid special measures. (And half the staff losing their jobs!)

Schools often hire teachers for the one to one tutition. At our school its only the kids on free school meals who have the luxury of one to one tutition.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 06-Dec-13 10:14:45

There are incentives for schools to cheat to improve ratings in a league table.

In DS1s school when he did KS2 SATs in year 6, the head put in the room 5 'readers' for a cohort of 16. None of these DC met the criteria and 1 had sat 11+. No LA permission needed as it is done at head's discretion and assumes they will follow guidelines.

During year 6 they had a volunteer secondary maths teacher, the head, the CT and the TA.

This is not in the interests of DC. Year 6 is just about cramming for SATs. Secondaries retest due to the 'insecurity' of KS2 levels.

The 'school' as an entity rather than education has become the priority for heads and BOGs. They 'use' the attainment of privately tutored DC to 'show' what a good school they are.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Dec-13 10:26:55

Thanks KeeponKeepingon1

Actually, a school governor is a secondary maths teacher and is coming in to do extra sessions with about 1/2 of Y5 & Y6 cohort - but it's related to a maths competition called primary maths challenge (www.m-a.org.uk/jsp/index.jsp?lnk=250.

The governor has come in maybe 4-5 times this term and really worked on building skills with word problems (which is a great weakness with DD1 and most of her classmates from what I understand from DD1). DD1 says it's been really good - so on that level I'm grateful.

Yes, I begin to see this as a concerted campaign to ensure this cohort does well on SATs (because previous 2011/2012 result is poor & no info on 2012/2013 cohort yet).

Have to admit I hadn't twigged the school was going 'all out' with Y6 until I heard about the second teacher (surprised to learn from DD1 I needed one more of something when getting things together for making presents for teachers - hadn't realised there were 2 Y6 teachers for the one class).

SatinSandals Fri 06-Dec-13 10:36:43

Most schools do it. They get money specifically to do it! Until they abolish league tables they will continue. Some employ extra teachers, some pay it to existing teachers to do extra classes before or after school. They have been doing it for years. My 24 yr old had extra classes in year 6-after school. (maybe OP's school have low results because they have never done it in the past)

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 06-Dec-13 10:38:29

DfE will have stats for 2012/13.

If the school track progress, they will target DC who don't make expected progress of 2 levels (12 NCP) or not at level 4.

These DC usually have needs that have not been supported in previous years and schools cram in year 6. DS1s complete lack of progress (3c from year 2 end to year 5 end) was only targeted when it was a (visible to ofsted) problem to the school, not DS1.

Totallyunited Fri 06-Dec-13 10:49:50

Happening in our school at the moment. The school has performed particularly badly over the last few years based on the middle class tutored cohort and the LEA are currently on them like a ton of bricks and have all but said that unless results pick up ASAP their next ofsted will take them from good to special measures. Personally, although I suspect that the current year 6 will get good SATS results I feel it's completely at the detriment of any kind of interesting work,there is nothing to enhance their learning experience and makes their final year at school a round of tests and preparation all so that the stats look good. It's a sad state of affairs.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Dec-13 11:13:18

Hi SatinSandals:

Not totally sure what was done in the past - this is my first DC in Y6. I know that they bought in SAT practice books for Y6 two years ago when DD's friend's older sister was in Y6, but unsure about the extra teacher thing.

Thus my feeling that this kind of looks worrying. But maybe our school is late to realise they could do this when faced with a crisis.

Hi KeeponKeepingon1

2012/2013 not published yet by DfE but will be later this month (school performance table data by school). General info is available nationally. School has opted not to communicate last years result to wider school via newsletter (as they have done in the past). Silence started year of 62% (2011/2012) - prior to that they would report. But we went from a school regularly scoring 90%s to somewhere in the 80%s to a 74% and then our 62% so I think they opted to stop publishing results in the newsletter and on the website.

Hi Totallyunited:

Absolutely agree it would have been preferable if they had steadily worked to raise achievement through Y3 - Y5 - rather than this last ditch effort.

Interesting comment on middle class tutored cohort - DD1 is part of a group of 12 pupils who went for it (most of us home tutoring rather than paying for a tutor - maybe 4 will get in, sadly not DD1) but nonetheless I fear we probably fit that ambitious (academically) middle class stereotype. I hadn't realised that OFSTED tracked that in any way - although I've known for years from other old hands at the school, that the feeling was that the school hugely benefited from parents DIY tutoring/ or paying for tutors to prep kids for 11+ (very competitive here - only 1 in 7 get a place). It made them look good.

missinglalaland Fri 06-Dec-13 11:49:51

No, this seems like last minute panic.

I'd feel of two minds about it. Glad that they were finally taking some notice. Fuming that they let things drift for so long. It reminds me of the old saying, "Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute."

I recognise your name from other education threads. Sometimes I think our dc must be at the same school! Good luck with it all!

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Dec-13 12:18:22

Hi missinglalaland:

If your school was once a well respected primary which always got 90% of kids to NC L4 and now under a new HT in the last 5 years is doing worse and worse - then yes, I suspect we are at the same school.

Happy place. Some great kids. But they honestly spend more time on singing hymns & prayer than maths. God bless 'em.

missinglalaland Fri 06-Dec-13 16:45:59

We just came down in then league tables...

Church school...

Everyone pleased as punch, kids self satisfied, parents smug because sunshine blown up their skirts...

I bet there are a lot of schools like ours.

gleegeek Fri 06-Dec-13 18:23:16

I wish our school was doing this tbh. We've had a 'requires improvement' Ofsted recently and the school don't seem to be responding at all to it. I can see massive gaps in dd's learning which we're attempting to fill at home. She is getting spellings home which are suitable for a year 3 and she's in year 6. Very worrying... No sign of more teachers/properly targetted work etc etc, I feel we've been forgotten sad

lljkk Fri 06-Dec-13 20:22:24

I just found the most impossibly detailed report for our county.

It seems our school had a combined result of 56% a few yrs back, and they did not do what OP described. Didn't do anything different that I could tell. 2012 stat is 78%.

PiqueABoo Fri 06-Dec-13 20:40:04

" Didn't do anything different that I could tell"
You can get some significant swings in average class ability from year to year. In the county results rankings, DD's school went directly from a couple of hundred down to the top ten because of that.

spanieleyes Fri 06-Dec-13 20:55:05

I generally have 10-12 year 6 children in my class, so for SATs purposes each child counts as 8-10%. Having 2 statemented children this year will affect my results scores considerably ( although thankfully, not my points progress) and together with 2 other SA+ children who are working below L4 will take us from "above average" to " well below average" without me doing anything different!

MillyMollyMama Fri 06-Dec-13 23:30:14

OP. I think your school is poorly led. Last minute cramming is not the way to go and teaching and learning should be consistent all the way through school. This is typical of a school that is not tackling the issues it has regarding teaching and learning lower down the school, hence the panic now. Ofsted will look at progress being made by the children, not just the sats results.

Many schools do not have the Deputy Head as SENCO but often a deputy will be monitoring progress very closely with the head so it looks like they are having a year 6 frenzy to improve the situation. Have you lost the brightest children as this slide looks pretty bad? I know year groups are different, but your 2012 results were poor. What a shame these children have to be taught in this way.

insanityscatching Sat 07-Dec-13 15:02:17

Dd's school sets for numeracy and literacy throughout the school and employs extra teachers so sets are half class size on average anyway. There are lots of TA's so nothing strange about having three in each class or at least one for each set here.
What is different in y6 are the extra enrichment activities so dd was out of school all day yesterday doing activities at a university and out for half a day earlier in the week to watch a production and there has been something most weeks either in or out of school since September.
There has been no cramming for SATs, in fact I don't think they have entered dd's radar yet anyway.

Snowbility Sat 07-Dec-13 19:17:43

Our school has definitely ramped things up for the Sats and although you'd think I should be pleased I'm not - they are doing piss boring work compared to other years and I feel slightly annoyed that it has all come down to year 6 to make it all better.....rather than inspiring them it's making them feel learning is a dull, repetitive and boring task - hardly a recipe of continued academic success...but it gets the school the Sats results they need and they don't have to deal with the long or hopefully short term consequences.

teacherwith2kids Sat 07-Dec-13 21:15:13

Just for comparison, DD's school - recently made 'Outstanding', L6 percentage in reading, writing and maths way higher than national average, improving results each year - doesn't do any of this and never has.

DD - and DS 2 years ago - did some trial SATs papers at the beginning of the year. Think they may do another set sometime in the Spring term, then the real ones in the summer. A secondary maths teacher does enrichment with some of the more able mathematicians once a fortnight ... and they do the full complement of trips, topic work, art and D&T weeks etc etc. They don't set for any subjects, all teaching is mixed ability, 1 TA between the two Y6 classes, only other teacher is the PPA cover teacher who is a French and Science specialist so takes those subjects for the whole year group.

So no, not normal.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 08-Dec-13 17:07:24

No, not normal.

Ds's old primary had ~36 children in a mixed class of yrs 4,5 and 6.

One teacher, one TA.

No child had a private tutor.

No missing PE, drama, art, trips etc etc at all in yr 6.

Admittedly some packs of practice papers sent home over Easter with the instruction to do some of them.

High percentage of SEN children - lowish percentage FSM.

They achieved 100% L4 and 70-80% L5 for the last three years.

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