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Does this sound right - SATS/G&T/Pupil Premium related?

(63 Posts)
TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 19:26:26

DS is 10 and in Y6 of a very small primary (only about 10 children in each year group). He is G&T and is also in reciept of free school meals due to family circumstances. Therefore the school gets pupil premium funding for him.

A new head started in September and in the newletter sent out at the start of this term she announced that the PP funding was being spent on 1-2-1 sessions to challenge and extend eligible children to make sure they reach their full potential. DS would be taken out of normal lessons for 1 hour once a week for this. All fine, I thought.

Anyway DS has been complaining that all he does is SATS revision in these sessions - seems that the school want to sit him for L6 papers and so he is having to go through past papers with a TA every week instead of doing whatever his class are doing (usually something fairly 'fun' on the new tablets the school has bought). DS comes home moaning about a) the injustice of missing 'fun' time and b) the boredom of SATs revision every week after the 1-2-1 session. This is on top of 1 English and 1 Maths past SATs paper being set as homework every single week since Christmas!

Is this acceptable use of PP funding? DS is very good at both English and Maths (hence the school wanting him to sit the L6 papers) with a reading age of 14 and getting high L5s for all written work, but for example he is weaker in science and IT skills - yet they are not being worked on. I feel like the school is using the PP funding to pile pressure on DS and boost their position in league tables etc confused but then again maybe this is just what happens and I need to be less pfb. Any opinions before I decide whether to speak to the school about it?

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 19:28:17

PS I am not one for caring about levels etc. Onbviously I want my DC to do well at school to the best of their ability. But was just setting background by mentioning what level he is working at - please no accusations of stealth boasting, it was relevant honest guv!

NigellasDealer Mon 17-Mar-14 19:29:17

they probably spent the pp on the new tablets that he doesn't get to use

columngollum Mon 17-Mar-14 19:34:38

He'll be out of there soon, I think it's probably a bit late to complain about it now. Why not let him pass his level 6s and get a bit of credit for all the hard work he's put in? Maybe you can find a way to compensate him for the boredom he's suffering on account of being so bright. Maybe you can talk the school/head into compensating him for all that boredom on account of how he, a free-mealer and all, is going to do so well in his exams (on her behalf.) They say Disneyland is good at this time of year.

spanieleyes Mon 17-Mar-14 19:34:39

If he is in danger of missing his progress targets from KS1 then they will need to make sure he doesn't! So it depends what levels he achieved because if he was a level 3 in ks1 he may well need to be a level 6 to show at least good progress. If the other FSM children are ( for whatever reason) not going to make as much progress, they may be hoping your child balances the books so to speak!!

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 19:38:02

DS only joined the school in Y4. Previously HEd and spent some time at school abroad, so they have no idea where he was in KS1...

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 19:40:47

And no, tbh, I can't 'compensate him' with a trip to Disneyland or anything close. Did you miss the bit where I said he is on FSM, thus making us about as poor as it gets in this country? Sorry but that really narked me. I am not going to not 'let' him pass his SATs (not that you do 'pass' or 'fail' SATs anyway) but am simply querying if this is appropriate use of PP funding.

NigellasDealer Mon 17-Mar-14 19:42:52

the problem is twistedmelon is that as you are FSM certain people in the school will have made assumptions about you your child and level of education.
sorry but this is true, it happened to us too;

spanieleyes Mon 17-Mar-14 19:43:47

Well, as the school views it, achieving level 6 would help him to "reach his full potential" so yes, pupil premium could certainly be used for "enrichment activities" Quite whether your son feels he is being enriched is a different matter!

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 19:47:10

Indeed. But myself and my DH are well educated, unfortunately no amount of education could have prevented the circumstances in which we now find ourselves sad We value education and so do our DC who are all encouraged and helped at home to the best of our ability.

But I don't want my child being used to 'balance the books' because they are an easy target whilst others who might not being doing so well are left to languish because they are seen as harder work to bring up to a high level! DS is getting fed up, he sees that he's missing out and doing little but bloody SATs revision both in and out of school!

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 19:48:50

So what's the 'enrichment value' in getting a L6 in KS2 SATs then? I thought children weren't even meant to be told what level they got because its basically irrelevant to anyone but the school? The high school he has a place at don't stream until Y8 anyway so its not even relevant for the purpose.

sittingatmydesk Mon 17-Mar-14 19:49:44

I think the problem you face is that the school have to show that they are using PP to increase progress levels. And they only care about literacy and maths.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 17-Mar-14 19:51:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Mon 17-Mar-14 20:01:44

I know he is finding it boring, but at least they are trying to help him reach his potential. To be honest I think some schools overlook the brighter children and concentrate on helping the lower ones.
If it's just an hour a week, I would probably tell him to just put up with it - its only a few more weeks. If it is putting him off school, I would talk to the teacher and say he is not doing the extra session anymore.
I would be complaining more about the sats papers being set for homework since Christmas.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 17-Mar-14 20:06:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 20:10:04

They have also paid for DS residential trip (£150 for 2 nights, daylight bloody robbery imo!) and his coach contribution of £2 a week for swimming lessons from the PP money So that all adds up I suppose.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 17-Mar-14 20:13:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 20:18:47

That ^^ is spot on BeerTricks. I feel like they want to use him to bolster their results and so pressuring and hothousing him is an 'easy' way to do that. But these are his strongest subjects anyway and he is getting fed up beyond words of the endless revision and past papers - 3 a week at least since Christmas! Plus he has been told that he can only read books on some educational app at school that they can track the pupils reading progress on - but it only has books suitable for children up to 11 and he has a reading age of 14! So he's sat in reading time rereading stuff he read 3/4 yrs ago - but no matter because what matters is that it can be logged electronically angry

mythbustinggov Mon 17-Mar-14 20:19:03

There is a big focus on 'closing the gap' for PP students by OFSTED (in many cases quite rightly). Spanieleyes is quite right, the school can demonstrate it is concentrating on improving your DS's attainment by assisting him to reach a higher level on the only measure they have available - the SATS. It will also do the schools ranking no harm at all.

However, BeerTricksPotter is right, too - it's a very lazy use of the PP. Unfortunately many Primary Governing Bodies have little clue about appropriate measures for PP - they should, for instance, have access to a detailed breakdown of how and where PP is spent and the expected outcomes. They should also have a handle on G&T programmes and the expected outcomes for the high achievers.

Ask the Chair - they should be able to help, if the Head is not being helpful

TwistedMelon Mon 17-Mar-14 20:22:51

I've read the PP report and it talks the talk really well tbh. But on the ground it translates into this which I think is crap but... it looks good on paper hmm

pencilsharpener Mon 17-Mar-14 20:22:55

If I remember right, SATs are at the beginning of May so your DS probably only has another 5 or so weekly sessions to put up with (given 2 weeks off for Easter.)

What about having a friendly chat with the HT, saying that you understand the PP is currently being spent on doing Level 6 English/Maths work, but after SATs would it be possible for it to be spent on the areas you feel he is weaker at (IT, science etc)?

Don't worry - Y6 is often a pretty boring year for all children, with endless rounds of SATs practices. Once he's at secondary, it'll get more interesting and the school will get PP for him there too.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 17-Mar-14 20:23:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 17-Mar-14 20:25:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

funnyfarms Mon 17-Mar-14 20:27:39

Appalled by the reading ap! What a way to kill a love of learning.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 17-Mar-14 20:29:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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