Y2 achieving teacher’s low expectations

(39 Posts)
Hotcrosscakes Mon 15-Jan-18 10:58:32

In Y1, my DS was very good at writing - content, structure, punctuation, exciting language... the lot (except poor handwriting).

At Nov parents evening in Y2, I was not overly impressed with the work I saw in his English book. Instead of mentioning directly (my bad!), I asked the teacher if he was on track to get ‘exceeding expectations’ again this year. She confirmed he was, but I felt she was slightly wrong-footed by the question and almost guessed the answer.

His report card in Dec had his year end target at ‘achieving expectations’ and when I queried, she said he was downgraded at moderation and needed to concentrate on handwriting (and when pushed also mentioned punctuation). For what it’s worth, I’d be very surprised / concerned if she took it to moderation as EE, as his current work is clearly not of that standard - and is worse than he was doing this time last year!!!

He recently did some writing for me at home and it was poor (compared with his work last year) - minimal punctuation, no wow words etc.

So - my concern is that the teacher thinks this is what he is capable of - and is probably praising him for this level of work rather than pushing him to what he is capable of.


Should I raise it again with the teacher now or leave to Feb parent teacher conference?

Should I show her his books from last year to explain - or would a teacher find that annoying and patronising?

What can I do with him at home to help get him back on track?

Any thoughts please????

OP’s posts: |
Steeley113 Mon 15-Jan-18 11:02:46

Maybe he is working to his ability? He’s not under achieving, he’s meeting expectations. He’s in year 2 🙄

Hotcrosscakes Mon 15-Jan-18 11:10:20

I know he’s not working to his ability as 12 months ago, he was going BETTER work - that’s why I’m concerned.

He’s not just stood still since leaving Y1 - but gone backwards quite significantly. I can see that.

My worry is the teacher didn’t know him last year - so can only base her assessment of achievement and capability on what she sees. It then becomes a low performing cycle- she sees poor work, she expects (and praises) poor work ... and he thinks he’s done enough.

OP’s posts: |
user789653241 Mon 15-Jan-18 16:37:46

The thing is, it's quite easy to achieve higher standard in writing when younger. My ds was a good writer, nothing was mentioned and achieving well in reception and in yr1. Yr2 is the time he was still doing good, but it wasn't as well as he used to be. All the other children start to get writing and started to catch up. I didn't really notice until yr3 that his writing started to decline, not the content, but actual physical work. He was a enthusiastic writer at home, but he done it all on computer, while other enthusiastic children started to do lots of writing as well.
He had difficulty with gross motor skills and found writing physically hard. We have done fun things to strengthen his motor skills, and also he started doing writing on the paper rather than on computer.
2 years later, at parent eve, teacher never thought he had difficulty writing in last 2 years.

Scroobius Mon 15-Jan-18 16:54:32

Do you know how the two teachers work? It’s much easier for a child to have evidence of exceeding expectations in a class where they are spoon fed their writing ie. Wow words displayed and emphasised before they wrote anything etc, than it is in a class where a teacher wants the child’s work to actually be the child’s work.

YellowMakesMeSmile Mon 15-Jan-18 19:50:10

In year 1 they are likely using word mats, wow words, more help etc so when independent in following years there will be a marked difference.

He's in year 2 and is still an infant finding his own way as they get more independent. Complaining or taking in books at this stage is way OTT.

cloudyweewee Mon 15-Jan-18 20:05:37

I imagine in Y1 he had a lot more adult input and is now showing his true ability.


Norestformrz Tue 16-Jan-18 05:55:25

In Y1 there are no national guidelines for what expected or exceeding looks like so each school is free to make up their own. In Y2 there are clear standards and exemplification for all schools and these are moderated by the LA.

Norestformrz Tue 16-Jan-18 06:16:06


Norestformrz Tue 16-Jan-18 06:16:44


Cauliflowersqueeze Tue 16-Jan-18 06:39:05

Why are you surprised his work has been moderated? That happens all the time. Top 2, middle 2, bottom 2. Or a random 5. Or the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th in the register.

It does sound like you’re helicoptering a bit. Put in some extra practice at home if necessary.

FabulouslyGlamorousFerret Tue 16-Jan-18 06:51:36

I wouldn't worry too much, if he's not making progress the SLT will be asking serious questions of the teacher.

Could the Y1 work you are comparing to be modelled? Copied? Supported by a TA?

sallythesheep73 Tue 16-Jan-18 08:47:28

I can see where OP is coming from. We had this in yr2 with maths. Teacher said DS would be exceeding at the end of year but in the end he missed it. DS did not know but I was disappointed as I knew he could do it. Teacher had very wide ability class and I expect spent more time on trying to get the bottom end to the minimum standard. 1/3rd class didn't make KS1 maths standard.
This year the new teacher is stretching DS much more. He is really enjoying the greater challenge and doing yr4 maths already.
I think you are right to question why he has appeared to have slipped. It could be that he has to write more independently now but I don't see there is any harm in asking.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 16-Jan-18 09:04:37

The point about level of support being different with different teachers is a good one. But you aren’t going to find out whether that’s the case unless you raise the issue about the drop in standard of his work.

In year 2, if you have his work from last year and a sample from this year, then there’s nothing stopping you from showing him a couple of pieces and asking him if he can see the difference between them.

Ginmummy1 Tue 16-Jan-18 09:18:54

I can also understand Hotcross's concerns. If my DD’s work had clearly got worse (evidenced by school books and home writing) I would be concerned! Additionally, Hotcross has just found out that her DS’s work, which was previously assessed as GD at the end of Y1, has been moderated and he has been downgraded to expected level.

Of course Norestformrz is right that there are no official levels in Y1, but at my DD’s school there are regular meetings between year group teachers at several schools, in which they share ideas and compare work. I would assume that Hotcross’s DS’s work may have been downgraded as a result of a similar process. If he was previously graded as working at greater depth, he was probably not far off that, and therefore Hotcross’s concerns that his Y2 teacher sees him simply as ‘average’ and therefore doesn’t expect better than that are understandable.

Other children may indeed have made greater improvement than Hotcross’s DS so far in Y2, but the fact that his work has gone backwards is a concern. Maybe Hotcross is right and her DS is not being encouraged/valued, or maybe her DS is not trying.

Hotcross, what does your DS say about it? Is he enjoying school? Does he like his teacher? Does he find it hard, easy, boring?

I would be inclined to do a little bit of work with him at home if he is amenable, but wait until the next parent consultation in February to bring it up with the teacher again.

BubblesBuddy Tue 16-Jan-18 11:01:27

No teacher should just accept "average" progress though. A good school will scrutinise the progress of every child and want to see very good progress where possible. The lower achievers are more difficult to progress quickly but a child who is nearly Exceeding, should be capable of making very good progress. If they do not do this, they are seriously coasting. Teachers should get info on every child from the previous teacher and should have sampled work. Lots of "grades" are moderated and opinions can vary. So just off exceeding is not really a problem.

If there is a problem, it is low expectations of the teacher and this is what should be addressed. I would make an appointment to see the teacher just after half term, when they will have done an assessment for this current half term, and see what progress looks like then. She will have his books and be able to talk to you about progress on the topics covered.

Ginmummy1 Tue 16-Jan-18 11:32:17

Totally agree, Bubbles. Just to clarify, I said that Hotcross’s concerns about the teacher apparently accepting him as ‘average’ are understandable, not that the teacher’s approach is ok!

Hotcrosscakes Tue 16-Jan-18 12:31:00

Thanks for all the comments.

Just to be clear, it was Y2 work which was allegedly marked down at moderation. I don’t believe it was even close enough to the EE standard for the teacher to take to moderation or if she did then I’ve serious concerns about her judgement.

I get the point about more support in Y1, but comparing work he’s done outside of school in both years mean that whilst that might be a factor, it’s definitely more than that.

Showing him the examples of what he used to do it a good one and I think he will respond well to that.

He was really enthused about school last year, and very keen to please his teacher. This year there’s been a lot of too-ing and fro-ing of teachers which has ended in a job share. He’s still keen on school but not as much as last year.

I will do work with him at home as I just get the feeling the teacher(s) will be content that he will achieve his ‘AE’ and understandably focus her limited resource on those who are in danger of missing their year end targets.

Any other thoughts on what I can get him to do - other than just giving him a topic to write about? Other teachers have previously given loads of ideas on what to do at home - whereas this teacher dismissed it and said they would work on his issues at school.

OP’s posts: |
Hotcrosscakes Tue 16-Jan-18 12:37:50

Mrz - thanks for the links. Last year, the teacher shared their criteria and examples and his work this year wouldn’t have achieved EE on the school Y1 standards!

How do those targets fit in with SATs - or is that just totally separate?


OP’s posts: |
user789653241 Tue 16-Jan-18 12:51:06

My ds do these regularly.

Creative writing : www.pobble365.com/

General knowledge and vocabulary: about.readworks.org/how-to-do-article-a-day.html

Also introduced by mrz, we do "free writing" which you just concentrate on putting thought on to the paper about a topic for limited time( we do 3 minutes), without stopping, and without thinking about neatness, grammar etc.

Ginmummy1 Tue 16-Jan-18 13:44:38

I’m not a teacher, just a keen parent of a Y2 child.

To get DD thinking about using wider vocab we sometimes ‘critique’ books while reading together. For example, we might discuss alternative ways to describe something in a book, and discuss how they are slightly different and which is most suitable. DD also likes to spot grammar ‘errors’ in modern style books where the ‘rules’ are occasionally broken.

One useful thing DD’s teacher recently got them doing at home was writing a sentence using a current word on their spelling list, and then think of a way to improve it, such as adding an adjective or two, and writing that down. Then improve it again, perhaps adding a second part containing a conjunction, or adding an adverb. Another thing to do is to write a sentence and then think of a different way to start it.

You mentioned upthread that he wasn’t using appropriate punctuation. Maybe type out some sentences from books (or think of your own), and then remove the punctuation or move it to inapprorpriate places, including capital letters, then ask him to ‘correct’ them?

You could go down the workbooks route, if he is amenable. DD is happy to do this occasionally, and there are workbooks geared towards Y2 which are pretty good. Loads of choice. There are probably online versions too, although I prefer pencil and paper for this type of thing.

If you’ve not been doing this sort of thing up to now, I’d go gently – just a few minutes, now and again. You don’t want him feeling under pressure or worrying that he’s struggling.

BubblesBuddy Tue 16-Jan-18 15:10:02

The school I know about does get other teachers to moderate judgements about progress. Work is sampled in each class and the teachers check they are assessing on the same criteria and making accurate and justifiable assessments across all years and classes. In my experience as a Governor, the new system has made teachers fairly cautious about giving high progress levels until the children are secure at the level. Not that parents usually know about alteration of progress judgements because the final judgement is given to parents, not the debate about what judgement to give.

The curriculum builds up and becomes more advanced as you progress through the years and is eventually linked to Sats. It’s like building blocks. No school would want to be surprised by Sats results: either too many above or below assessed attainment. This would be a failure of SLT, teaching and assessment and would demonstrate to Ofsted they didn’t know how good (or not so good) the children were.

It is good practice for schools to have offered parents an “assessment without levels” session so parents understand how their system works. Some schools have adopted assessment procedures from computer based systems and others from their LA. You need to have some idea what your school is doing regarding assessment and in particular what is expected this year and why there is a discrepancy between y2 and Y1. You should also be given an overview of the curriculum so you know what is covered and what is expected.

Norestformrz Tue 16-Jan-18 17:22:12

The link I posted to are the criteria for SATs writing assessment which may be externally moderated by LA advisers (between 20% and 50% of schools each year). Most schools will also cross moderate with other schools to ensure judgements are secure especially in Y2 and Y6

Norestformrz Tue 16-Jan-18 17:26:28

The moderators look at all levels of work (working towards, expected and greater depth - there is no category of exceeding)

BubblesBuddy Wed 17-Jan-18 10:09:56

So what does EE mean then? Schools appear to be using this term.

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