Y6 DD feels she is not achieving enough(13 Posts)
My DD in Y6 is on track for level 5 in her SATs this year yet in her eyes she is not good enough as some in her class are working at level 6. No matter how much I praise her achievements and reassure her that she is doing great she just compares herself to those in her class that are doing better.
She is very aware that the schools focus is on the level 6 kids as they are having extra lessons (with treats) to give them a boost for SATs and a big fuss is made of their achievements. I am sad that she feels sidelined and not good enough at age 10 despite doing really well. Is this normal in Y6? I would welcome any advice on how to deal with this and help her to stop defining herself as 'just a level 5'.
Can you tell her that at this age levels will change a lot? They might still be on level 6 in Y9, she might overtake them, achievement levels tend to be quite fluid and unpredictable.
I was on the level 3/4 borderline in maths in Y6 and ended up with a 6a at the end of Y7. Just takes time for some kids.
Focusing on what other people are doing is always a problem and I think what needs to be worked on here is that your DD has achieved NC L5 (roughly 50% of pupils achieve this or higher in England in English/ Maths - www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/sep/19/sats-results-key-stage-two - data tables bottom of article).
It's a good result and the higher up that scale she gets the better.
First off ensure your DD understands that the government target for end of KS3 (so end Y9) is NC L5 or NC L6 - so she's already working 3 years ahead of herself - that's quite an achievement.
So rather than worry about X is working at what ever sub-level of 'NC L6' - why not encourage her to focus on improving to the next sub-level of NC Level 5 or if she's working at 5a - making that transition (and transitions between NC Levels are always harder than within I suspect).
So set herself her own personal target and work toward it - don't worry about the other guys.
At home you can help by:
improving the quality of the fiction your DD is reading and maybe discussing things like plot/ author's style/ literary devices (foreshadowing/ onomotopeia/ alliteration/ simile/ metaphor/ etc...)
Work on vocabulary - have your DC read to you and pick them up on words you suspect they're reading but don't know the meaning of. Talk about multiple meanings of words.
If spelling and grammar is her thing - work on this in prep for the SPAG component of the English KS2 SATs.
Maths - well it depends. If the school has regular homework and it's challenging that may be sufficient. But consider playing video games (many free games on Woodlands Junior School Maths Zone: resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/maths/index.html) to firm up skills and improve speed of calculation/ speed of multiplication fact recall.
USE BBC Bitesize KS2 games to revise for SATs/ improve skills: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/ - use the games in areas of particular weakness to improve ability
If there's a weak spot - really work on that. Maybe it's division or spelling - but if that's the thing holding your DC back - maybe put in a bit of effort (10 - 15 minutes each week on it - trying to improve).
There are all sorts of fantastic resources on Woodlands Junior School: resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/ - especially the maths and literacy zones.
Finally - if your child isn't getting SATs materials from the school which reach into NC L6 (the next step) - then consider borrowing or purchasing workbooks that include NC L6 questions/ concepts. I suspect behind the scenes the children working at NC L6 are doing more at home (have been tutored for 11+ either by tutors or DIY by parents) so perhaps for a few months - because it's important to your DC - why not support her in trying to reach whatever goal she sets herself. (Just ensure it's a reasonable goal - i.e. if she's assessed as working Nc L5c in maths right now getting to NC L6 (improving by 3 sub-levels in one year) is a big ask but working to a strong NC L5b (which should ensure NC L5 on KS2 SATs) is worth it).
I think some children are more sensitive than others with regards this. My dd has quite an over developed fear of failure despite the fact that she is doing well in year 6.like pp have said come year 7/8 they may all be similar levels or your dd may be higher who knows. Despite (apparently) that it is the wrong thing to say I tell my dd as long as she does her best that is all we can ask for and I also say for most things I am not interested in other dc I am only interested in you
Thank you all for your comments and advice.
Past - I agree that focusing on what others are doing is a problem, even more so for DD as her friends are in this L6 group and so she feels inferior by not being part of this elite group. I have overheard conversations where her friends have boasted about their status and commented on DD having easy work so I can understand why she might feel that she is not good enough.
Muskey- I say the same thing to my DD, I didn't know that this was a parenting sin.
I have parents evening in a few weeks so I am going to ask the teacher to give DD some focus points so we can work on weak areas at home. My main aim is that DD leaves primary with a solid foundation for secondary school regardless of what level she achieves.
I think it was in the daily mail ( I know I will get drummed out of mumsnet for mentioning it) but it implied that by saying do your best was limiting your child's potential. I think they want you to have the whole aim for the stars and you might get to the treetops aim for the trees and you will never get off the ground conversation.
Something you said about the children bragging about what level they are on is probably the cause of the problem. In dd school no one knows what level people are working to or if they are gifted and talented etc which I think does make it a bit easier. As pp have said if she is working towards level 5 that really is fantastic
Your DD is doing very well, actually. It sounds like some of her friends are feeling like big fish in a little pond. That will all change come next September. They will eventually bump into this situation themselves. No matter how clever you are, there is always somebody out there who can out-compte you. Learning to keep trying and working to be your own personal best despite devastating competition is a HUGE life lesson, and one that your DD is learning before them. If she rises to the challenge with your support it will stand her in good stead throughout secondary school and beyond.
The wise part of me knows it's part of growing up. The mummy side of me just thinks, poor baby, they really are only little!
Toomany - I agree this is a huge life lesson and I hope that at some point DD can find the self belief to be content with who she is.
Muskey - I have always been a bit on the fence about kids knowing about levels. I know children are well aware who is top or bottom of the class without knowing levels. However I am not sure that labelling or ranking kids among their peers so formally at such a young age is actually beneficial for anyone except those at the top but that's another discussion.
There is actually a lot of evidence that it is those labelled the "best" who are most harmed. They don't learn resilience. They avoid risks because they are afraid of being knocked off their perches.
This is true. What I have tried to explain to DD is that things are not always what the seem on the outside. Even those that appear to be achieving the top marks still have worries and insecurities. She can't quite see it at the moment as far as she is concerned they are perfect. It's tough this growing up business
Does she have any hobbies or activities outside of school where she can shine? This has helped my eldest DD immensely over the years. Just something to validate her and giver confidence a bit of a boost.
It is all about effort and improvement . I tell my class that going from a 3 to a 5 is far more of an achievement than a 5 to a 6. Obvious I know but they need to see that effort and having a growth mind set is what counts ( see Carol Dwork's work) Unless you are at the extremes at this age it's still highly developmental; I've lost count of the ch who get 5s and then poor GCSE results and vice versa. Wanting to learn is the key! Sounds like she is doing great and how lovely that she cares and wants to do well.
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