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What should I expect from infant education (Y2 specifically)? sorry, a long one!

(20 Posts)
griffaloschild Tue 15-Dec-15 10:36:14

My son is in Y2 at a very large infant school which is highly regarded and over-subscribed. Reception seemed to go ok, he was happy and at the end of the year his report showed he had achieved the expected levels. All seemed to be going well during Y1, nothing significant said at parents evening. The only homework we got was spelling (other than reading which we did every evening). This was marked each week during the first half term of the year then the marking seemed to stop. At the end of the year we were sent a massive pile of work he'd done throughout the year, I would say only about half of this had been marked by someone (mostly the TA), and lots of incorrect spellings / maths not corrected. At the end of the year (on a new school specific assessment of ability) he was only achieving expected levels on reading and according to the teacher below the national average on all other domains. (Although I don't think this can be correct as it was school specific). Now in Y2 the teaching seems disorganised to me, the only consistent homework we get is 10 words to learn to spell each week, there are incorrect instructions on the sheet (which have been pointed out to the teacher who said this would be corrected but never have) this is confusing for my son as he keeps reading them! It is unclear whether he is getting this right when tested. At parents evening a few weeks ago they didn't really have anything to say, apart from he is very well behaved etc. I asked about maths and they said they couldn't tell this early in the term. I also asked about the testing at the end of the year they seem very cagey about it and would not be drawn on whether this has any implications for junior school (ie streaming?). We have just received some work they have done this term and again only some of it has been marked and corrected. Talking to friends who are primary teachers it seems to be the general consensus that this isn't really acceptable. I've asked for the marking scheme/criteria. He is happy at the school which is the most important thing to me, am I expecting too much?

namechangedtoday15 Tue 15-Dec-15 11:10:48

I think asking for the marking scheme is a tad OTT (unless you mean how the teacher determines whether they are exceeding / achieving / not meeting targets), but I would be asking for another meeting with the teacher.

I'd want to see his work books at that meeting, go through them with the teacher and see what has been marked. If it hasn't been marked, why not? I'd want the teacher to show me where he was making mistakes, areas where he struggled and what plans were in place to address that. I'd be pleasant asking what you can do at home to support his learning. Perhaps before October half term the teacher was still getting to know the children / their approaches, but now, almost 1/3 of the school year has gone and they should have the children pegged.

FWIW, my DD is Year 2. They have 15 words to learn each week and they are tested on a Monday. She knows by the time she comes home what "score" she got - they are either marked by swapping and children marking one anothers or the teacher / TA do it before the end of the day. She also gets a piece of maths and a piece of literacy to do each week - when the next week's homework is received (all in a homework folder), the teacher will have marked last weeks. She has 3 reading books to do each week - we have to write in it each week and the TA updates it with progress reports / words she found tricky etc.

I do think however they are still infants - and a love of learning and a love of school is still the absolute priority. If he is happy and well behaved then that is key. I'd just make it clear that you want to support his learning.

mouldycheesefan Tue 15-Dec-15 11:16:10

I would read their marking policy, should be on website. Marking is one of the things ofsted look at, the marking has to tell the child what they need to do to improve. At our school the marking is very detailed and the children can comment on the marking e.g 'I remembered full stops this time' etc

Go and see the head and take the work in to show her. Why do parents pussy foot around when they are unhappy about something I don't understand it! Marking is crucial.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 15-Dec-15 11:32:45

Mouldy really? I've never heard of a school's marking policy being on a website.

griffaloschild Tue 15-Dec-15 11:37:21

Thank you, it sounds like you get very much more feedback than we are used to. It is good to know what other schools are doing.

TBH asking for the marking scheme was my first step (I asked in the school office for the school policy not the teacher specifically). I thought I should find out if they were actually supposed to mark everything, to what extent, what feedback they are supposed to give etc, before I ask for a meeting with the teacher. I didn't think it was OTT at all. I just haven't a clue what the teachers are expected to do in this respect. The last thing I want to do is to create a negative relationship with the staff.

Part of the problem is that my son is not very good at relaying information between home and school and we are encouraged not to go into school with them. This is to foster independence but I guess some children are better at that than others at 6 years old. We also only see marked work at the end of term, when it gets sent home. Books are only seen at parents evening and at the end of the year.

I will ask for a meeting in the new year, I think they've got enough on this week!

Thanks again for your help.

mouldycheesefan Tue 15-Dec-15 11:37:43

All Our Schools policies Including marking are on the school website.
Our school was criticised for its marking at last ofsted three years ago so it has been given massive focus. My children only started at the school this year, year three, the marking is really really good although God knows how the teachers find the time. It's nice reading the kids comments on the marking too! Ofsted were back this term I would be surprised if the marking was not now hitting the required standard.

mouldycheesefan Tue 15-Dec-15 11:40:20

Just had Another look at it, it's called the marking And formatiVe feedback policy it is five pages long and includes aims, types of marking, who should mar, marking scale etc etc

mouldycheesefan Tue 15-Dec-15 11:41:49

Op it is fine to ask for the marking policy, it's certainly not pushy parent , it should be available to all parents anyway.

mrz Tue 15-Dec-15 11:47:58

This is Ofsted's expectations for marking

Ofsted recognises that marking and feedback to pupils, both written and oral, are important aspects of assessment. However, Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy. Marking and feedback should be consistent with that policy, which may cater for different subjects and different age groups of pupils in different ways, in order to be effective and efficient in promoting learning.
While inspectors will consider how written and oral feedback are used to promote learning, Ofsted does not expect to see any written record of oral feedback provided to pupils by teachers.
If it is necessary for inspectors to identify marking as an area for improvement for a school, they will pay careful attention to the way recommendations are written to ensure that these do not drive unnecessary workload for teachers.
As you can see there is no expectation for every piece of work to be marked

griffaloschild Tue 15-Dec-15 11:52:42

Thanks Mouldy. I think they are going to get me a copy of the policy, if it emerges. As I said I asked in the office - I was trying to get some info. without it seeming like a personal issue with the teacher, but they said they would put it in my sons bag, so presumably the teacher will wonder why I want this info. etc. so that back-fired.

In terms of pussy footing around. I really didn't know what to expect, and it was only really at the end of Y1 when the report came through I had any concerns, because everyone is ultra positive about everything all the time (head, teachers, other parents), which is nice when everything is going well!

It spurs me on to get to the bottom of it if you think I'm pussy footing around as everyone else I've consulted has told me I'm over analysing things!!

mouldycheesefan Tue 15-Dec-15 11:59:55

Your child only has one education! Asking for information from school is not unreasonable. Your child cannot repeat this year if they don't get the most from it. It's done with!

griffaloschild Tue 15-Dec-15 12:07:30

Thanks mrz, yes, so its crucial I get hold of their own policy, and compare it to what is happening.

Ellle Tue 15-Dec-15 13:29:46

DS1 is also in Y2.
He gets 10 words each week to learn for a spelling test the following week. He knows the result the same day and I can also see it as the tests are done in the last pages of the spelling book that comes back home every week.

He gets weekly homework which is usually a piece on English and one on Maths. He gets his homework marked with feedback from the teacher the following week together with his next piece of homework.

When we go to parents evening we can see all his books (English, Maths, Science, RE, etc). All the work is marked and has comments like whether it was done independently, with a bit of help, etc. Spelling is always corrected, and maths as well.

At the October's parents evening the Y2 teacher was able to tell me about DS1's progress in all subjects. All her comments where spot on compared to what I know DS1 can do at home. It was the same in Y1. So I find it very odd that your son's teacher couldn't tell how your son is doing in maths this early in the term. It does sound disorganised. I hope that when you have your next meeting with the teacher in the new year you get better feedback, as there should not be an excuse that it's to early to tell you anything by then.

bojorojo Tue 15-Dec-15 18:11:45

The main aspect of marking is that there is sufficient for teachers to make judgements on the progress the pupils are making and that the pupils learn from the feedback they are given. If a child streaks ahead in maths, the teacher knows this from marking work and can then move on to another concept or extend the current topic. It is a similar position in writing. Ofsted want to know that high quality marking supports high quality teaching and assessment. I would ask how the school assesses progress if little marking is done. How do they know whether your child has achieved his target or not? How is it used to inform lesson planning? Do ask. It is not unreasonable.

mrz Tue 15-Dec-15 19:19:23

A local "outstanding" school only assesses once a term and children only do three pieces of extended writing per year (which are quality marked) all other work is in workbooks.
Children complete a termly maths and reading test ...that's it! hmm outstanding

bojorojo Wed 16-Dec-15 15:07:46

mrs - Those must be the formal assessments that get plumbed into their system to monitor progress. At my school we, formally, do twice a term. A huge amount of assessment is done at other times to inform what is taught. Three times a year sounds very light and makes me think PP and SEND children are virtually absent from the school. We monitor PP children very closely to see if we need to change our tactics. Maybe Ofsted did a very light touch!

mrz Wed 16-Dec-15 17:23:26

Yes they are the formal(and only assessments) carried out each term. Children don't do any extended writing at any other time. They don't have English/Literacy/ Writing books or folders. But they are an "outstanding" school 😱

mrz Wed 16-Dec-15 17:27:24

Oh and they were last inspected in September 2006!

bojorojo Wed 16-Dec-15 17:38:50

Goodness me - mrz! Not light touch - a previous era! So maybe Ofsted will turn up on the 10th anniversary of their last visit?

Galena Wed 16-Dec-15 18:52:06

DD is in Y2. We do not get spelling words sent home to learn as this has been shown to be ineffective. We do, however, get 1 piece of English (SPAG work - Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) and 1 piece of maths (linked to their individual maths target) home weekly. This is always marked when the folder comes home the following week.

I was fascinated by the comment 'I asked about maths and they said they couldn't tell this early in the term.' relating to parents' evening a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago isn't early in the term! He'd been in the class a couple of months at least. Before half term, DD's teacher knew exactly where her strengths and area to improve were in both maths and literacy...

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