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Year 6 stressful?

(50 Posts)
sunsout Tue 25-Mar-14 12:45:31

DD was crying last night and this morning saying there has been too many tests since beginning of y6 especially since January. Of course they have the usual weekly spelling and maths tests. But in the last few months they seem to have reading, writing, maths paper tests nearly every couple of weeks constantly checking their nc levels preparing for sat. Of course if she doesn't do well she may have to move down table or whatever. I keep telling her not to worry about sat levels too much whether she is level 5, 4,3or 2. It doesn't matter anymore as it will be over by another month just do her best. I did ask her if she would rather be at home to avoid the test today. What would you do?

Shimmyshimmy Tue 25-Mar-14 13:00:51

We have the same situation at our school, it's been really full on since January, but really it started in Sept and has got progressively more intense, the stress is coming out as anxiety, nervous tick, short temper, feeling under pressure to perform.

I have spoken to his teacher, who suggested His teacher letting him out of the homework requirement but I'm not comfortable with the message that sends to him, we are going to try meditation and quiet time for a while.
I hate these exams with a passion, I have tried telling him that the Sats results don't matter, that I expect him as always, to work hard and do his best all the time, that I'm not interested in the grading but he is and so I have had to stop fighting it, as much as I want to pull him out of the Sats...exams will be a big feature of his education and he needs to develop coping strategies to deal with the stress, that way he'll hopefully be better equipped for next year...turning a negative around to something positive.

PastSellByDate Tue 25-Mar-14 13:10:56

Hi sunsout:

Our school has been much the same. Single form entry and so concerned about Y6 they've split the class in half - and those securely NC L4 + have been taught by substitutes and now a Year 2 teacher and the remainder of the class is with the Y6 teacher. Curriculum is just English/ Maths/ Science - with breaks for learning journey (Geography topics mainly), PE and Art which give the teacher prep time and the kids a bit of a change.

I don't know for sure - but my feeling is that if a school is testing all the time they're not confident about that cohort. They're trying to determine what they can do in these next few weeks (tests are Mid-May) to get their students over that NC L4 threshold.

If your DD is a secure NC L4 (and hopefully you have an idea by now) - then tell her to relax. If not - tell her that the testing is about the teachers determining very precisely where she needs to do more work. The school are trying to ensure that they get her to NC L4 - possibly would have been preferable to have intervened earlier in school than Y6 - but hopefully it isn't too little too late.

It's a shame that Y6 can become solely about these KS2 SATs - but the system is such that schools feel enormous pressure to 'produce the goods'. Schools that fail to get a significant proportion of children to NC L4 face special measures and a tendency for parents to choose schools which perform better on SATs/ school league tables. At the end of the day as a parent choosing a school (as I did) you look at KS2 SATs results and tend to go for the school near you with the best results.

What the solution is I don't know. But it seems to me better schools are better quite simply because they're aiming for higher than NC L4 from the get go - they keep better track of how pupils are doing, differentiate homework to help them with weaknesses and communicate better with parents when there are problems. Oh, and the obvious thing, don't wait until Y6 to take children's educational attainment seriously.

eggsandwich Tue 25-Mar-14 13:12:33

Same here, dd was getting so stressed we've had tears tantrums, I don't remember this high level of expectation for us to do so well. I've sat dd down and said as long as you try your best no one can ask anymore of you, and no matter how you do we'll always be proud of you, thankfully she seems to of calmed down a lot and taking things more in her stride.

moldingsunbeams Tue 25-Mar-14 13:15:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moldingsunbeams Tue 25-Mar-14 13:17:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moldingsunbeams Tue 25-Mar-14 13:20:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shimmyshimmy Tue 25-Mar-14 13:22:47

I choose our school because it didn't have great Sats result - we'd made that mistake already in infant school...however before long the leadership couldn't resist the pressure to put the dcs through intense Sats drilling - it gets results, some parents think it makes the school look like they are great at teaching that's for sure but at what cost?

pointythings Tue 25-Mar-14 14:21:13

Yr6 is hugely stressful, DD2's primary had bad SATs results last year (first SATs after going 2-tier) and only just got above floor target. Then they got RI for their OFSTED. So the pressure has really been on from the start and upped since January - weekly revision packs (though these actually constitute less homework than before so that's OK - booster, support and extension classes after school (with biscuits and drinks provided) and a revision club running for 3 days during the Easter holidays (voluntary, but heavily promoted). That last constitutes revision in the morning, then sports and craft in the afternoon, all free and lunch provided. DD2 is going because she wants to, but I've told her she will not be doing any other revision during the holiday beyond reading for pleasure because she needs a break.

She did well in her mock SATs - run under full exam conditions to get them used to it, which I actually thought was a good idea - and all the comment we got was to practice regularly to maintain her skills. She's a secure L5, doing L6 but that is not being pushed as a 'must have' but as a challenge to relish and is voluntary. She's actually more confident post mock SATs because she was worried about maths and reading comprehension in terms of managing time and format so I'm hoping her stress levels will reduce a bit now.

RaisinBoys Tue 25-Mar-14 14:53:25

Son says of y6 "it's boring"! How sad for your last year of primary phase.

He's a secure L5 to L6 depending on subject. Test, after test. Revision booklets sent home. Whole week of tests next week!

L3 are having booster classes to get to L4.

Borderline 4/5 are having booster classes to secure a 5.

Borderline 5/6 are booster to secure a L6. And so it goes on.

We've told him to just do his best as always. It's a test of the school.

I don't blame his teacher - she has been ace - it's the education machine that's at fault and successive government's desire to promote competition between schools instead of cooperation

strruglingoldteach Tue 25-Mar-14 15:05:51

Blame the government. And remember that us teachers hate the bloody things as much as you do. Probably more because we see on a daily basis how much pressure all the children are under. But of course we can never say that to you or your kids- that would be unprofessional.

And, much as we'd like to, we can't ignore them. Because our pay progression, our jobs, the future of our school may depend on getting x number of children to score y points in z test.

So, yeah, we get the children to sit a lot of tests. Not (just) because we need to know how many points they can score, but also because we need the children to know the format of the text, work at speed, be able to prioritize questions to maximize their score.

It's crap. But apparently, this is hugely beneficial to our children and our education system.

RaisinBoys Tue 25-Mar-14 15:18:06

Well said strrugling

Bramshott Tue 25-Mar-14 15:25:03

I am really starting to hate it. As well as normal homework every week DD1 seems to have a practice Maths paper which seems to take her up to 4 hrs to complete and usually reduces her to tears hmm.

I know the school are stressed - the teacher is new to this key stage, and they are a small year-group so each child represents 10% of the school's mark but still - ARGH! Will be so glad when it's over.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Mar-14 15:29:38

Were not there yet but I've wondered about homeschooling for the year and back in for yr 7. Would it be a problem not having sats?

pointythings Tue 25-Mar-14 15:53:29

Bravo, strrugling. When DD1 did her SATs (only 2 years ago) there wasn't nearly this much pressure. I'm just glad the school takes a bite size approach to home revision which involves less homework - she gets a folder with 10 minutes maths, 10 minutes grammar, 10 minutes reading comprehension and they are told not to spend more time than that. Very sensible IMO.

Looking back, I didn't start homework or timed exams until I was in yr7 and somehow we all turned out alright. This stupid focus on data over actual learning crossed the boundary of 'going too far' about 10 years ago.

HolidayCriminal Tue 25-Mar-14 18:51:04

The tests are typically 45 minutes long. 45 minutes every 2 weeks doesn't sound overly onerous. So I guess I would do nothing. If it's more than 45 minutes, then I'm kind of surprised they haven't run out of tests by now.

DD's y6 experience wasn't at all a stream of tests, she did a huge amount of other stuff in y6.

sunsout Tue 25-Mar-14 19:56:49

Pointy, yes but my dd comes home with all that homework as well.

Pooka Tue 25-Mar-14 20:00:35

Our school has been very good actually. Think every few weeks they've been doing practice papers at school. None have come home with them. Dd goes to a booster class after school once a week. This week they're away on school journey, so doing no work at all!

There are a couple of mornings of sats based clubs in the Easter hols. But optional.

The school is improving in terms of its results. But seems to be striking a balance between the quest to improve scores while not loading the pressure on. It was one of the things I liked about the school early on.

Pooka Tue 25-Mar-14 20:03:57

And no doubt it's something we'll be hammered for by ofsted. sad

Goldendandelion Tue 25-Mar-14 20:09:39

All this pressure is awful. I have had 4 children go through the yr6 SATs but none of them had this much pressure on them and there was no stress at all.

teacherwith2kids Tue 25-Mar-14 20:20:30

Virtually none for DD. Think they've done a couple of practice papers in each subject over the course of the year.

They have divided Maths classes 2 days a week, with half the year doing Level 6 curriculum, and she does get a tiny bit extra homework linked to that - but then she also gets a secondary maths teacher coming in once a fiortnight and doing fun advanced maths with them (logic puzzles, algebra, problem solving, strategy games) that has absoklutely NOTHING to do with sats and everything to do with learning more maths and having fun.

Homework probably takes 30 minuts per week, if that, and is as often inoput into e.g. an art projhect as it is maths or english.

Ofsted outstanding last year, very high performing school, many times expected levels of L6, one of the highest value adderd in the county, but they do it through continuing to teach new curriculum material that keeps them all motivated about learning and on their toes, not endlessly prodding the pupils and testing them.

pointythings Tue 25-Mar-14 20:53:21

And that's how it should be done, teacher. I'm glad to say that a lot of the extension work DD2 is doing is fun and interesting and not just SATs drill, but it's still there.

If any more than a 10-minute pack comes home over Easter, I will tactfully contrive to 'lose' it - probably by dropping it over the side of the ferry.

Shimmyshimmy Tue 25-Mar-14 21:08:26

I'm a bit shocked by the Easter holiday Sats clubs - it's made me feel that maybe our school isn't so pushy after all. I've told our school that I don't wish my dc to attend booster classes outside class time. IMO dcs need a break.

Pooka Tue 25-Mar-14 21:14:41

Actually dd is quite keen to go. Is 9-12 on three days, but you don't have to go to all or any if you choose. They've got a sports coach in for each session and she's looking forward to spending time with school friends that she doesn't always have the chance to see during holidays.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Mar-14 21:36:42

Gosh sats clubs and boostet clubs make me want to weep for this countries education. They're not sitting gcses. It's supposed to measure school achievement.

constant testing and teaching to pass tests surely doesnt raise achievement. We could never afford private but this isnt the education I want for mychild.

I taught secondary so am not primary trained. It didn't make a jot of diffeeence which school kids had come from or what tjeir sats score was in my day.

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