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What do you think?

(16 Posts)
thegreylady Thu 09-Jul-15 22:53:58

It is the end of Year3 reports have been sent out.
In a small village primary school,( 4 classes 90 dgc) are two pupils one boy and one girl born towards the start of the academic year so among the oldest in the year in a class of mixed Yr3&4 pupils. These two have been consistently exceeding expected standard since Reception. At the end of Year2 both had level 3b and A1 in every area of the curriculum. Now though both have C1/2 in almost everything and their achievements are below what they were a year ago. One is 'beginning to' do things which he was doing with ease and confidence a year ago, the other is attempting areas where she was proficient. Both have gone from loving school to saying they are bored. One has stopped reading at home the other no longer knows times tables. Spelling and creative writing have declined or not progressed.
I don't know about the rest of the year but these two are friends, their mums are friends and are both worried. What is the next step?

catkind Thu 09-Jul-15 23:48:01

Next step seems pretty clear - parents make appointments to discuss the report with the teacher.

This sort of thing shouldn't come as a surprise at report time. Has this been discussed with the teacher before? Do the parents agree the children have gone backwards? Or is it just the report assessment that seems off? (Any possibility the office have mixed up report covers?)

thegreylady Fri 10-Jul-15 08:17:33

The children are both quiet and well behaved and the teacher has always said that they are doing well. The report actually said that 'satisfactory progress' had been made.
The parents are making an appointment today hoping to see the teacher with the deputy head (who taught both dc in Reception). The girl's mother is talking about changing schools as they have the same teacher in Y4. It is so sad to see these two being slowly 'switched off' and all that joy and enthusiasm diminishing. If it had just been the boy I'd have been less surprised in a way as he is playing so many sports.
The families have been friends since dc were born and the homes are filled with books etc. they go camping, biking climbing and each child has a younger sibling currently in Y1.

xxxnikkixxx Fri 10-Jul-15 09:31:44

"One has stopped reading at home the other no longer knows times tables. Spelling and creative writing have declined or not progressed." - Surely parents have some responsibility over this or is it just the school fault? Or perhaps they were not a 3b at the end of year 2!

thegreylady Fri 10-Jul-15 10:28:00

Nope not home at fault both dc are read to and with every day it's just that one now says he doesnt like reading. The tables were all demonstrably learned by end of Year 2 but now never tested or practiced in school. One mum is a teacher the other a gp both very aware of importance of home support.
No spellings at school all year, homework set weekly rarely marked teacher is extremely sweet, relatively new (2years) and struggles a bit with the older Yr4 boys. Discipline is to make rowdy boys sit with 'good' quiet children for a day.
A good school cannot compensate for a bad home, the reverse is not true but this school is excellent in Early Years and in Y5/6. My feeling is that they should highlight the problem with the school, put a catch up programme in place over the holidays and keep a very careful eye next year.

catkind Sat 11-Jul-15 10:18:25

It's not about assigning fault I don't think - but I do think what we do at home has much more influence on their enjoying reading at home than anything school could do. How about the parents taking the kids to join a summer reading challenge and finding something at the library they do actually want to read. Doesn't have to be novels - fact books, joke books, cartoons, whatever takes their fancy.

It sounds like the parents have concerns about teaching quality. That's a natural concern if a child hasn't made good progress. I'd just say be careful going in all guns blazing. I'd use the initial meeting as a fact finding meeting. In what ways does the teacher think they've made good progress? What has the child's attitude been like? (Do the pair of them sit together and muck about...) Why does the teacher think they've forgotten tables? What have they done in year 3 to reinforce tables? What are they going to do in year 4? Do they do spelling tests, and if not why not? (There is some evidence they don't do any good, so it may be a deliberate choice not to.) Have a look at the kids' books - is there marked work there? Homework generally not that important in the scheme of things at primary so that wouldn't worry me much if there was a good quantity of class work and it was being marked well. Yes talk about the plan for next year; maybe ask for a meeting early in next term too to vet how things are going if there isn't already a parents' evening then.

Thinking about this a lot as DS also has a backwards-going report (in real terms, not just relative to new levels). My first thought is that it is down to him and his attitude not to blame the teachers though. Going to talk to them too.

GraceGrape Sat 11-Jul-15 10:25:02

Have the parents clarified with the school the reporting arrangements for this year? As levels are no longer being used and children are being assessed on a new curriculum for the first time, things might not be as bad as they appear. For example, some children who were performing better than age-related expectations under the old curriculum may only be meeting expected levels under the new, harder curriculum. I agree that a meeting with the teacher should be the next step.

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Sat 11-Jul-15 10:33:26

Dd has a high target. If this is met she is satisfactory. If she exceeded her target (and she cant as its the top one) she would excel .. so she will never excel at school only be satisfactory or good .,, hmm

WankerDeAsalWipe Sat 11-Jul-15 10:40:33

I've had similar. It made me question whether the previous reports and assessment was genuine or whether there was a bit of a halo effect going on with the previous teacher liking the good behaviour and assessing them as better as a result. Turns out the new teacher was just shite. In my case it was a bad year and things got back on track the following year. Much more difficult to deal with when it's a small school and they will probably have the teacher for more than one year.

thegreylady Sat 11-Jul-15 21:11:37

Yes the mother of the boy has been in to school. She saw the class teacher and the deputy head.
The main problem seems to have come from the new way of assessing and recording. She was told,"He is in top sets for everything and for some lessons he is working with Year4 children."
Apparently the Yr3 assessment criteria are completely different this year. It was agreed that this should have been clarified with the parents before the reports were sent home. The deputy head confirmed that other parents had either phoned or made appointments to come in.
The plus side is that the boy's mum came away with confidence in the teacher and feeling somewhat reassured about her son.
I cannot emphasise enough the extent to which this is a book oriented household. Mum and Grandma English teachers, two grandfathers university English lecturers etc throughout the extended family. Reading stories, playing word games, going to the theatre have been a part of his life since birth.
The girl's mum is going to school on Tuesday. You have probably guessed my relationship to the boy.

thegreylady Sat 11-Jul-15 21:12:53

GraceGrape that is exactly right in a nutshell thank you.

catkind Sun 12-Jul-15 21:46:41

I'm not casting aspersions on the families' literary credentials. Just saying I don't see how school can put a child off reading at home. That would be like school dinners putting a child off eating at home! Perhaps it's just a blip until he finds a new series that catches his interest.

But perhaps you're less worried about him not reading if his levels are actually okay. That's good news smile

thegreylady Mon 13-Jul-15 13:32:42

It's my grandson and talking to him over the weekend has clarified things a little. He tells me he only really enjoys non fiction because in stories he is always worried in case something horrible happens! He read me a chapter of the first Harry Potter book then explained that he didn't want to read any more because he knew Voldemort was going to do horrible things.
When he was younger he wouldn't listen to Babar because Babar's mother was killed by the hunter. He is who he is and a lovely, very happy and bright boy.

Cloud2 Mon 13-Jul-15 13:43:40

I always think Harry potter is for older children, I only bought it for DS1 at year 6. I guess maybe their house are full of books, so he may have chosen some unsuitable books? Would it help if you help him to chose some fun stories that suitable to his age?

catkind Mon 13-Jul-15 20:07:55

Aw bless him. My little one is like that, he doesn't like any jeopardy in his reading. Year 3, good reader? How about something old fashioned like Swallows and Amazons, Jennings and Darbishire? We used to love things like asterix and tintin at that sort of age too. That might be less threatening? DS likes funny things like Jeremy Strong too - I don't know how threatening or otherwise the more grown up Jeremy Strong books are? Series are good because they get to know they can rely on the format not to produce any nasty surprises. Not that there's anything wrong with reading lots of non-fiction, DS does that too, but it's nice to have a variety.

I do think a summer reading challenge would be a great idea, get a librarian to suggest some things that won't be scary for him.

thegreylady Tue 14-Jul-15 12:39:07

We are going on a 'book treasure hunt' next week (invented by me). I will take him and his brother to town where we will start off in 4 charity shops trying to find a book in each (me too) then to The Works to choose an activity book and finishing at Waterstones to choose a brand new book.
We'll finish up with tea at a cafe they both love (it has an electric aka 'magic' piano). I gather it was a page in an adult book, not sure which, which has petrified him. Apparently Daddy had it by the bed. Dsil thinks it may have been one of the Game of Thrones books but apparently it was a while ago.
We have moved on from the school report now. As far as he is concerned the new 'smiggle' pencil case was a "well done" gift which indeed it was.

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