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Don't understand the school

(13 Posts)
LisaMed Mon 03-Mar-14 11:14:47

I don't know where to start googling or what for, but DS (yr2) came home and said he had done some tests.

Apparently there are some tests that are done in May but about a third of the class did them last week. I did ask at drop off but didn't understand the explanation. I am waiting for parents evening now, but I usually don't understand what is being said there either. We are usually last in the class of 30 for various reasons, so I don't blame the teacher for being exhausted.

I have had a quick look over the topics here and I don't understand the abbreviations. I am completely stuffed. Can anyone kind point me in the direction of a site that explains the abbreviations and what happens during primary school. Really grateful!

MirandaWest Mon 03-Mar-14 11:20:45

In year 2 children will be assessed and the results given to parents. This is teacher assessment (as happens in every year at school) but also in year 2 there will be standard tests carried out as well to help teachers inform their own assessment. These can happen at any time of year. Often the SATS papers will happen in May but they may happen at any other time. Sounds like your DS did these tests last week. It doesn't change anything with his teaching. His year end levels will be based on the level he is attaining at the end of the year.

LisaMed Mon 03-Mar-14 11:26:10

Thank you for replying.

What are SATS? I understand that they are tests but I thought these happened at senior school. Is there a website that explains things like the order in which things happen in primary school?

I am really sorry, I didn't realise how clueless I was until I started trying to work out what was happening.

What are year end levels and are they used for anything?

redskyatnight Mon 03-Mar-14 11:40:06

SATS are the series of assessments in maths, English and Science that your child's teacher will be using to evaluate them.

At the end of the year you will be given a level in each of reading, writing, speaking and listening, maths and science. This identifies where you child compared to national standards. It is used by the school to determine how your child should progress (though as children tend not to progress in a linear fashion, this is only a guideline). Levels will cease to exist at the end of this year, so not actually sure this is true any more!

SATS is also used to refer to specific written tests that your child will sit in reading and maths. These are often sat in May (to give the child maximum time to progress) but may be done at any time during Year 2.
The results of the written tests are combined with teacher assessments to give your child's end of year level.

The next SATS occur in May of Y6 - these happen in a set week and are reported nationally.
The only other primary testing (at the moment) is the phonics test in Y1.

LisaMed Mon 03-Mar-14 12:18:07

redskyatnight Thank you, that is really helpful.

It's really depressing because I have no idea about what is going on in school and don't really understand the KS stuff. I have no idea what I should be doing. We do homework etc and ds has access to all the books he wants. He asked for maths books for Christmas and I got them. I am an epic fail with maths anyway but getting up the courage to read 'Maths for Mums and Dads'.

I'll have a look around the local council's website and see what's there.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Mon 03-Mar-14 12:50:42


I am with you! I feel your pain, I am totally lost, I find the whole thing so confusing, am trying to get my head round it all! sats, key stages, levels...

I too am an epic fail at Maths but I never ever say that in front of DD or let her know that...( she will find me out soon enough).

I think supporting him at home with work books as he enjoys them is a good idea.

NynaevesSister Mon 03-Mar-14 12:53:00

You don't need to do anything really for SATs in year 2. They should be low key and nothing that stresses the child.

KS1 is key stage 1 and this is years 1 and 2.

At the end of KS 1 and KS2 the children sit SATs. These are used to measure how well the school is doing.

The expected level in year 2 is around a Level 2. By the end of year 6 all children should be at level 4.

If your child is at a lower level than a 2 for maths and literacy you would expect the teacher and the school to address this and look at strategies that will support your child's learning.

My son was below 2 in literacy. Through reading recovery and assessments revealing dyslexia and dyspraxia the school has been able to offer targeted support that has hugely improved his reading. He is in year 4 now and back on target.

columngollum Mon 03-Mar-14 12:59:18

Primary school numerical work has more to do with mental arithmetic than maths in the sense of equations, algebra and all that stuff. As long as you can add, multiply, divide and subtract you're on the right lines. There is some fiddly stuff where the wording of the questions or the number of hoops you have to jump through makes the problem seem (a lot) more difficult than it actually is. That has nothing to do with maths and everything to do with seeing if the pupil (or parent!) can follow instructions.

If you're impatient, then it might be worth discussing what to do about that. Because some primary maths seems to be deliberately written to be a pain in the butt.

LisaMed Mon 03-Mar-14 14:20:05

Thanks for all the explanations. It is a help. I don't want to let ds down

columngollum I have actually asked the teacher to explain the homework in the past. I don't think of myself as thick (who does?) but it was really odd wording.

As far as I can tell ds is doing okay in school and the teacher says that he is keeping up fine. At home he is reading Doctor Who books aimed at adults (in fits and starts - he isn't that good!) so I just do my best to encourage him to read and ask questions.

ds wasn't stressed about the tests. He enjoyed them. Long may that continue!

Thank you for all the replies, it has reassured me.

Ferguson Mon 03-Mar-14 18:39:54

Hi LisaM -

If you have specific questions, don't be afraid to ask on MN as many of us have worked in schools in various roles. As in so many things, it's easy for those 'in the know' but confusing to 'outsiders'.

This may help a bit with Numeracy:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths work, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other

etc, etc

then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

I am sorry it seems complicated trying to explain these concepts, but using Lego or counters should make understanding easier.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


PS: make 'number cards' with a large numeral on one side, equal number of dots/pics on the other. Give him the random numerals: can he place the correct number of bricks/beads on it? Make a 'washing line' and using the same number cards in random order, give him clothes pegs to peg up the numbers in the correct order. (Change 'gender' as appropriate; this was written for someone else originally)

Year 2 will probably be starting 'data handling'. You can tackle that by counting and 'tallying' things that interest you: traffic (cars, trucks, bikes etc); animals, pets, plants, birds seen on a walk; types of shop in a street, colours of front doors. Then draw bar charts or pictorial representations.

If you have specific concerns, come back sometime if you wish.

LisaMed Mon 03-Mar-14 22:10:27

Ferguson Thank you so much for that post, it is really helpful. I shall spend some time studying it.

I already do stuff like working out weights for cooking with him, or do the 'how many more?' game. I've done the increasing and decreasing with coins from the coin jar.

Ds has decided he wants to learn the tables. Officially in school they have done twos, tens and fives. He is a bit slow but okay on threes, fours, nines and elevens. I just let him lead me at the moment. As far as I can tell he is doing well, but there are some really bright kids in his class and the teachers seem very encouraging.

I really appreciate all the info in the post and I will be checking on the links. Thank you again.

Nerfmother Mon 03-Mar-14 22:16:59

Cant convert links but this page on the dept for education website might help answer some of your questions?

LisaMed Tue 04-Mar-14 13:30:09

Nerfmother that is really, really useful, thank you.

I shall spend some time researching the links provided by the kind people on this thread. Hopefully I will be able to ask the right questions at parents evening.

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