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KS1 SATS booster classes

(26 Posts)
bettycat81 Tue 31-Jan-17 19:24:54

My Son has received an "invitation" to join a SATS booster class after school. I've heard of such classes for ks2 but never for this age.... I thought kids his age weren't really supposed to be aware they were taking the tests.

Just wondering what other people's experience is? Benefit or pressure?

PoppyStellar Tue 31-Jan-17 21:15:36

Honestly? I would say pressure for your child and benefit for the school.

If it was me I would say no thanks. The KS1 SATs are a way of beating schools with a stick measuring how well a school has taught its pupils. It shouldn't be about which kids are 'up to scratch' and which aren't. They are infants still. There is lots of difference in how fast children learn at this age, linked closely to their development. In KS1 particularly, the old mantra about a test result only showing how well a child could perform on a certain day is particularly apt.

Bear in mind the tests are only in reading and Maths. Writing is teacher assessed. I'd be very politely asking the school why they think booster sessions, which in my experience are usually just about prepping them for the test, are of any benefit whatsoever to a KS1 child.

If they were offering supportive interventions in an area a child found difficult then that's a whole different thing and something to be welcomed and engaged with. I have a feeling that won't be what a SATs booster session is though.

Autumnsky Wed 01-Feb-17 14:25:50

I am always surprised that people just think negatively about the SATs booster class. School offer it must mean that you DC is going to be benefit from it. And this happens after school, which means teacher has to work extra time. If OP is confident that your DC is doing fine or even he is not doing fine, but you can help yourself, then just ignore it, otherwise, I think you should take it.

Sirzy Wed 01-Feb-17 14:28:38

Because they are about getting the marks for the school. If children need extra support then school should be planning lessons and targeting support not expecting young children to stay after school just to try to make the school look better.

user1484226561 Wed 01-Feb-17 17:27:11

I'd say no, but that does mean the school would likely get a lower ofsted rating, but then, I would ignore that too.

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Feb-17 18:00:53

It was before new NC, but my ds' school did have booster for ks1.
They had invitation only ones for either less able who needed some boosting, or able ones who would get lv3.
My ds was invited to writing booster(his weak point), and he enjoyed it.

I think it's great teachers are putting effort in those lessons. I would take it, unless there's somewhere you need to be, or other reasons to prevent attending. Extra lesson is extra lesson.Some think it's too much after long day, some think it's great. It's all up to you really. But unless you are totally against your child getting extra help from school/teacher, I don't see any reason to turn it down.

MrsKCastle Wed 01-Feb-17 18:59:04

I would turn it down. They are far too young for this kind of after school session, they should be relaxing or doing fun extra-curricular sessions that te children have chosen themselves. If the school are worried about progress or attainment, they should be addressing that during the school day.

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Feb-17 19:13:27

Really MrsK?
I think they do it so they can concentrate on fewer number of similar ability children, which is normally impossible with class of 30 varied leveled children.
I didn't really think it as a booster for sats. I just thought it was extra, more detailed lesson for my ds. And I was grateful for teachers who used their time to do this.

Ollycat Wed 01-Feb-17 19:21:37

I work in secondary education with SEN children.

I think any SATS booster classes are horrible things. SATS are a measure of the schools performance and effectiveness of their teaching. If they are needing to run booster classes for 7 and 11 year olds then I would think their teaching can't be very effective!

The teacher should be differentiating their class work so that every child is being taught effectively and stretched as appropriate.

Classss like this are not about learning but more about drilling children to jump through the various hoops our government have randomly decided they should.

Don't go - I would also ask the school the real reason why they're running them.

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Feb-17 19:31:16

I am not 100% certain where I read it, but I thought ks1 sats results are used to measure progress at end of ks2, and ks2 sats are used to predict GCSE.

So, getting better score for sats would benefit children as well, not just school, since the school need to show progress according to those results?
If the school wanted show better progress at ks2, they would try to keep ks1 score lower, since it's easier to show progress then? Am I totally mistaken?

Feenie Wed 01-Feb-17 19:43:22

Schools are account over the number of children achieving 'expected' and 'greater depth' even at KS1 and any school suppressing attainment would be shooting themselves in the foot.

That said, as an experienced Y2 teacher, I am horrified at the idea of booster classes and agree with MrsKCastle (also an experienced Y2 teacher). Ideally, Y2 children shouldn't know too much about SATs (even the dfe seem to agree on this, although quite how they expect me to manage that when I'm supposed to frisk them for phones, cover displays and escort them to the toilet, I have no idea). Booster classes go totally against this ethos.

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Feb-17 20:02:04

I only know about my ds' experience, but it was actually very good experience from what I heard from my ds.
Writing class was given different topics every week(lasted for 4 weeks), and they had an hour session including biscuit breaks.
Other classes looked very happy and fun as well.
And sats itself was actually kept very low key at school.

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 01-Feb-17 22:52:41

irvineoneohone but what about the kids who weren't invited, simply because they weren't close to the boundary. If they invite all the kids likely to get 99 in the hope of boosting the test score to a 100. Is it actually fair on those who might have got 90 or 110 and could've similarly gained a 1 mark boost from that extra tutoring - only the school really gains from that extra mark.

I also don't personally believe that more teaching by the same teacher even in a smaller group will really change much, by the SATs that teaching team has been working with the kid for over two terms, what can genuinely be achieved that they've not done already?

And of course, they may mask the genuine attainment level - they might ace the test due to the extra attention, and recent coverage, when their actual attainment is lower - leading to gaps and support being missed in subsequent teaching.

As always though for me, schooling is a very long run, and only a minority of the things a child needs to learn are covered. Stealing time for more school works isn't completely without a cost of lost opportunity.

I don't doubt though that for the kid it might well be better than what they would otherwise have done. But I think it suggests odd attitudes in the school.

irvineoneohone Thu 02-Feb-17 06:25:08

Sir,I agree it's not fair on some children. And it was before new curriculum, so I don't know if they still do it or not.
As for taught by same teacher, no it wasn't. Teacher took over the lesson according to their strength, so he was taught by different teacher, not a class teacher.

Autumnsky Thu 02-Feb-17 12:05:55

Lots of people talk about that SATs score is only for school benefit. But, for a child, if he/she has low score, it does mean he/she doesn't master all the skills he need. I wouldn't want my child to have low scores , not matter how it is for school measurement. And if the child doesn't master all the skills needed, there is a good chance this will affect his further learning along the way.

I agree Infant school is a bit earlier to learn seriously, in my country , we start at 6 or 7. However, this country , children start school at 4, it is unlikely to be changed overnight. If they don't master the skills taught in these infant school years, Junior teacher won't go back to teach them basics stuff learnt in Infant school. If parent don't do anything either, the children will stay in lower group.

As for some people think it doesn't make difference in a 30 children group or in a smaller group, that's why some people send their children to private school, isn't it. It's a simple fact, children get more attention in a smaller group.

I would suggest OP let DC go to this booster class, if DC really doesn't like it, then maybe give up, but do find out why he need this booster, is he behind? Maybe you can do some at home if he doesn't want to go.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 02-Feb-17 13:56:35

Yes AutumnSky a child failing a SAT would be a concern, but that's because of the level of attainment, and cramming for the SAT to get a particular level wouldn't be a good response to the level of attainment.

There's strong evidence that cramming is a poor learning strategy, and you should continually learn and revisit (see e.g. [url=]spacing effect[/url]) So whilst the cramming might help the test - it doesn't solve the problem.

It also of course masks the problem in that the actual low attainment won't be recognised and real continual support given.

It's a simple fact, children get more attention in a smaller group.

Actually that is not a fact (it depends how the attention is distributed) but even if you accept that, you also need to show that attainment improves - as it's not attention that we're interested in.

irvineoneohone Thu 02-Feb-17 14:07:53

Sir, why do you assume all the boosters are just cramming?
They maybe going over the basics to strengthen children's knowledge or what ever the aim is. And time spent learning or going over/revise something can be good for children, rather than doing nothing?

One of my ds' friends mum said her son's handwriting improved so much after 4 intensive sessions with handwriting specialist teacher. That's great asset for later years, not just cramming for sats, isn't it?

Autumnsky Thu 02-Feb-17 14:16:45

Well, I don't know much about these learning technology terms. OP received an invitation for the booster class for her DC, I would get the signal based on this, that OP's DC need a bit extra imput. The booster session is a good chance.I think OP should investigate how the booster session is going to be running if she has concern about it, if in doubt, she can do something herself. But it is not wise just ignore it.

And in a small group, children will benefit more than in a big group. That is a fact. I do not care about attention or attainment.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 02-Feb-17 14:18:38

One of my ds' friends mum said her son's handwriting improved so much after 4 intensive sessions with handwriting specialist teacher

Which is a good thing, it's not a SATs booster though, it's some extra intervention in a weak area. Exactly the sort of thing you would expect of a school.

If the OP had asked "My son is weak in handwriting, the teachers have suggested they can provide some extra support with a dedicated hand writing support lessons" - the answers would've been quite different.

I don't simply regard more revision as an unquestionably positive thing btw, and "nothing" is not the other choice. Doing nothing is rarely the alternative.

irvineoneohone Thu 02-Feb-17 15:09:05

It was , before new NC, writing was part of ks1 sats, sir.

Lexeductae Thu 02-Feb-17 15:25:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

bettycat81 Thu 02-Feb-17 15:49:17

Thank you for all your responses. I spoke to his teacher and asked what specifically he needed help with and why he had been selected. He had a tough year in year one and fell behind in some areas but due to several teacher changes it wasn't picked up quickly. The main cause of his decline has improved and this year he has made vast improvements, to the pount where he is almost back to the ecpected level. She said he has all the skills but needs a bit more help in understanding what is being asked of him. Also, he doesnt have great confidence in his work and will frequently ask for assurance that what he's doing is right (it usually is) and she wants to work on this with him so he doesn't panic in the test.

While i'm still a little dubiousI've agreed to give the sessions a try to see how he feels. I showed him some practise papers last night and he seemed quite enthusiastic.

irvineoneohone Thu 02-Feb-17 16:20:30

Great, OP.
I think it's worth trying it. If he find it too stressful, you can always stop.
You never know, he might enjoy it like my ds did.

Feenie Thu 02-Feb-17 18:32:08

Lexeductae, two things - you can't spam here and decent phonics teaching does not need words on flashcards.

mrz Thu 02-Feb-17 19:42:23


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