Withdrawing ds from English SATs

(19 Posts)
tryingtodotherightthing89 Thu 10-May-18 00:43:27

I’m a long time lurker who could do with some other opinions on this, I will try to keep it brief.

My DS is in yr6 and about to do his SATs. In the first few years of primary he had a severe speech disorder to the point that his school tried to push us for him to attend a school with a speech and language unit. For various reasons we decided against this and with speech and language therapy outside of school his speech was at a ‘normal’ level by the age of 7. This however put him majorly behind in both reading and writing and despite his behaviour and attendance being excellent at school he has never seemed to catch up. Over the years my concerns have been dismissed by his teachers who focus on his good behaviour and dowplay how much he is behind. Because he is quiet and often doesn’t ask for help but struggles on no one seems to notice that anything is wrong.

For the first few years once his speech issue was sorted I just assumed that it had left him behind his peers and that he would naturally catch up however in the last few years it has become apparent that he still has not despite the schools ‘intervention’ and I now believe that he is possibly dyslexic. He could not consistently spell his own last name till 10 despite constantly practicing, can’t copy from the board (no sight issues) struggles to spell words longer than 3 letters, still does not know the months of the year, has no concept of time and many other things.

The school he attends have constantly changed SENCOs in the last few years. I was led to believe after he was assessed by an educational psychologist last year using the wechsler individual achievement test (he scored several scores below 2% normal being 50%) that he would have help with both reading and writing for the SATS. She diagnosed him with specific literacy difficulty. He is verbally bright and very good at maths but his understanding of what he has read is extremely low and his writing/spelling is extremely poor.

The school have a new SENCO and it has come to light last week that nothing has been put in place for any kind of help despite this being promised. I want to allow him to sit his maths papers but withdraw him from his English ones as he is finding the whole thing incredibly stressful and I really do not see who him sitting the test will benefit. My plan is to let him attend school like normal on the days and just put his name on the English papers but to tell him that unless he really wants to there is no need to answer the questions. Has anyone been in this position or done anything similar? Any advice would be appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
sobeyondthehills Thu 10-May-18 01:00:09

There is a group on facebook which might be able to help you I think its called growth mindset 4 parents, if they can't help they might be able to point you in the right direction. I know a few parents are withdrawing their children from Sats at all levels. An MP recently has come out and said it is not a legal requirement for a child to do SATs, however you might need to prepare to keep him at home

soapboxqueen Thu 10-May-18 07:32:42

There is no mechanism for withdrawing children from Sats unless they are working below the level of the test. Support during the test is usually based on what happens in class so does he normally have extra support?

Obviously he could just not write anything but I think that would be quite a stressful thing for a child to do. Far less stressful would be to attempt as best he could and not worry about it. It isn't going to have any long term impact on him.

You could also keep him off but he can sit tests up to 5 days later so time off would need to be up to a week after the test date. Then there may also be a fine depending on your LEA.

Mistigri Thu 10-May-18 07:45:44

he scored several scores below 2% normal being 50%

Below 2% is clear evidence of a learning disability, especially in the context of your son's specific difficulties. And the school is doing nothing?!

I'd ask this question on the SEN boards as they will know what help children with a disability are entitled to.

HSMMaCM Thu 10-May-18 07:50:12

I wouldn't tell him to just write his name, I'd just tell him not to worry about it. School sounds shocking. Extra support for tests / exams should reflect their normal working arrangements, so he should have extra help in all his lessons too.

GuestWW Thu 10-May-18 11:47:13

If the SATS are truly a reflection of teaching then his results may well highlight the lack of it. This may then give you ammunition for secondary school to get help.

brilliotic Thu 10-May-18 13:01:55

It sounds as if his results won't be different if he does attempt any questions or does not, as he wouldn't make it into 80.

So I would absolutely do whatever will be least stressful for him, with no regard whatsoever for the school - they have massively let him down, he owes them nothing, not even his best effort.

If you think he will find it stressful to just sit there while the children around him are working, you could suggest that he attempts to answer any questions he feels like. But I am not sure actually that this is a good idea. It could be better for him to endure the pressure of just waiting the exam out, than attempt questions and find none of them to be accessible to him.

If past experiences are anything to go by, even averagely able children have found the SATS reading papers hugely stressful, because many parts have been inaccessible to them, making them feel inadequate. Now imagine being faced with an exam and giving your best shot and realising that not a single question (or only one out of lots) makes sense to you. How utterly demoralising that must be.

I can thus well imagine that it would be better for him to not even attempt any questions. Thinking "I'll just do the easy ones" and then finding that there are no easy ones (maybe because the questions don't start easy and get harder, but are mixed, I believe) must be terrible for your self-confidence.


titchy Thu 10-May-18 13:24:30

To be honest the teachers should be suggesting withdrawing him. he will make their results look very poor, and as he presumably is working significantly below the test level they can legitimately withdraw him.

As an aside have you flagged his issues with his secondary school?

lorisparkle Thu 10-May-18 13:45:26

My ds1 had a speech disorder and now has a diagnosis of dyslexia amongst other issues. We paid for a very in depth dyslexia assessment as the school compared his spoken language against his reading and writing which of course was not very representative of his difficulties. He is also excellent at maths.

The school was keen to get him the most help possible (so his poor English SATs results did not look too bad on the school) but this help had to be in place throughout year 6 so was considered normal practice. He did all his papers with a ta in a separate room. He had a reader for his maths, a scribe for his reading paper and a reader and scribe for his writing paper. The ta had helped him in at least 50% of his Lessons before the SATs and there are particular rules as how they can help.

It sounds like your ds has been rather let down although I do worry that my ds had a rather inflated English SATs result which means that he is finding the set he is in at secondary school quite tricky. The secondary school has been excellent though and are very geared up to support his literacy and other difficulties.

soapboxqueen Thu 10-May-18 13:48:06

Have the school actually said he is sitting the test? Have they set he is working at a level that means he should sit the test?

We used to put some disapplied children in the tests just so they didn't feel left out.

lorisparkle Thu 10-May-18 13:48:08

I did have to be very proactive with secondary to begin with and organised meetings with the SENCo and the literacy support TA. I wanted to make sure it was the best place for him.

fleshmarketclose Thu 10-May-18 13:50:27

Have you applied for an EHCP? Your son needs an assessment of need and proper support and applying for an EHCP gives you the right to make demands and get them met.

Feenie Thu 10-May-18 17:18:21

To be honest the teachers should be suggesting withdrawing him. he will make their results look very poor, and as he presumably is working significantly below the test level they can legitimately withdraw him.

Just to be clear, it wouldn't make any difference to the results even if they did withdraw him - he would still count as a child not attaining ARE.

user789653241 Thu 10-May-18 17:32:53

I think just make him write his name is a bad idea. What does he think of sats? If he wants to do that, it's an option, but otherwise, I would just let him do his best. Obviously school has failed your ds badly. They should take consequences, and like pp said, you would have a ammunition for secondary school to do better for him.

BubblesBuddy Thu 10-May-18 19:25:43

I too think he should do what he can. Either no Sats at all, or he sits them. Telling him to write his name only is going to make him try to please you but it would probably worry him at the same time. Most children like to please their teachers too.

I cannot see why you have not sat down with the school and looked at his actual progress. Has he made any and what are his achievement levels? It won’t help much at secondary if he’s not been assessed at primary. I would ask the primary school what info they are giving to the secondary.

Falling out with them over Sats will not help in my view. Your opinion won’t carry much weight with the secondary either, so you need to work with the sendco and start the ball rolling for Send assessment. They have had enough time to do school support and if his progress is limited, it hasn’t worked, so that’s a position of strength. How will he cope with the secondary curriculum that demands a certain level of literacy? It’s an urgent discussion re transition that you need.

tryingtodotherightthing89 Thu 10-May-18 23:33:50

sobeyondthehills do you have a link, I am struggling to find the group.

DS sits on a table with a teaching assistant and a few other children who struggle in all literacy lessons and does different spellings to the rest of the class. He also does extra work in a small group 2x per week but only for about 20 minutes. The problem is that the school use the work that he has done with assistance to show improvement for his IEP meetings and when I question what help he has had with the work they show me they never give me a straight answer. When I point out that he could not reproduce the standard of work at home they try to make out that it is due to him being a bit lazy after school when I know he is not putting it on for me. Due to them then being able to show progress they will not apply for an EHCP despite numerous requests.

lorisparkle where did you get your ds assessed or how did you go about finding somewhere? The school used their own educational psychologist who was acting SENCO at the time only to recently claim that he has been assessed again although I have never been given the new assessment nor did I give permission for it to take place. I am glad that the school was able to help your son, I just hope that secondary school proves to be more supportive, they are aware of the situation.

The school have never suggested him not sitting the test, he scored very highly in the maths mock exams so he is keen to do those as he loves maths. He doesn’t want to do the English papers and is angry that the help he was promised has not been put in place but I know he will try his best, it just breaks my heart to know that he will probably spend the evenings after stressed and feeling like he is stupid as he won’t have even understood the majority of what is being asked of him, I try my best to reassure him but essentially the school have put us in a no win situation.

OP’s posts: |
lorisparkle Fri 11-May-18 06:35:49

There is an organisation called PATOSS who maintain a register of teachers with specialist qualifications in dyslexia. They will give you a list in your area and I then emailed the local teacher.

The SENCO at secondary did take on board everything I said and I literally wrote his ‘SEN passport’ which every teacher has access to.

lorisparkle Fri 11-May-18 06:40:08

You could also google the dyslexia association. In our area they do a Saturday workshop but we had a tutor instead who I found through PATOSS.

We did look at a private educational psychologist but I was happy with the report the school EP wrote.

It sometimes feels like a full time job and certainly he found year 6 very hard. He is loving year 7 though and doing well.

MaisyPops Fri 11-May-18 06:44:22

I don't think you can pull him from SATS. It does show the school hace messed up though.

There's funding for secondaries to target students who come in below a certain level (small portion of students who got Working Towards) and it's used to fund support and intervention. If he scores as low as you think he will then secondary will notice abd put things in place.

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