Starting school just before SATs

(19 Posts)
HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Sat 19-Jan-19 17:06:55

My kids have been out of school for nearly 2 years, home educating/world schooling. We have only followed the NC for Maths, & we are a term behind on that - they are in Y6 and Y2 but have just started working on that content.

We are returning to the UK & they should be able to go to school again in April, but I’m aware this is just before the SATs that they haven’t been prepared for at all. I am wondering two things - firstly whether heads would much rather not have them in school messing up their results, and secondly whether particularly for the Y6 child it would be better to keep her out until the SATs are over. They are both very keen to go back to school!

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cantkeepawayforever Sat 19-Jan-19 17:58:44

For the Y2 child, i don't think it will be a big issue for them or for the school. Unless the school is an Infant school or a First school, the Y2 SATs results are not their 'main assessment / accountability' point, and in fact progress is measured from the Y2 SATs, so sightly deflated Y2 measures are no disaster for an all-through primary. Also the whole process is MUCH less formal so not being prepared will be less of an issue for your child.

The Y6 child is more complex. Are they going back into a school they have already been at? Will most of the others be going on to the same secondary? How big is the school? (the reason size will matter is that in a 1 form entry, each child is 3.3% of their results. In a 3 form entry much closer to 1% so less significant in terms of league tables etc). Y6 SATs - especially the Maths and SPaG - are tests it is useful to prepare specifically for, andf they are high stakes for primary schools.

If I were you, and the Y6 child wants to go back to school to meet up with established friends, I would start back at school on Monday 20th May. SATs will be over, but there will be a couple of months of term left - plenty of time to re-establish friendships and make new ones. However, there won't be much academic work going on in many schools: lots of 1 off events, residentials, mock trials, debating, school plays etc etc etc, so if you feel he is 'behind', you may prefer to ciontinue home ed until the end of the year.

The only thing you would need to talk to the school about is writing assessment. Usually, this is based on teacher assessment of writing over the course of the whole year, but the deadline fort this assessment is later than the papers IYSWIM. I don't know whether a child entering the school on 20th May would need to have a writing assessment result.

Does the school have space for both children on the required dates??

cantkeepawayforever Sat 19-Jan-19 18:29:02

The KS2 reporting arrangements here suggest that if your Y6 child has arrived so recently that whether they are working at the standard of the tests cannot be determined, they get a code 'J' and do not take the tests. this would in practice probably mean having arrived in the week or so before the tests, and is unlikely to apply if e.g. they start at the beginning of April. However, pupils with code j are still included in the performance table analysis - I presume they are regarded as 'not achieving expected standard' in terms of percentages.

Definitely worth discussing in detail with the school(s) where you think they are most likely to be placed.

HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Sat 19-Jan-19 18:42:57

Thanks for your helpful response.

We are moving to a new area, so I don’t actually know what size the school will be, but anything from a big 5 form entry to small village schools - mostly undersubscribed so hopefully will find them a place. Feels very tricky lining this up with rentals but I guess should fall into place eventually?!

We should be there at the beginning of April, and the holidays are 8-22nd, so probably it’s most sensible to start them after Easter at the earliest anyway.

I’m not really worried about the Y6 child being behind (although I know she has gaps in the curriculum) & would prefer her to get to know local kids, get into the habit of daily school again etc before transferring to secondary, & if necessary tutor...

I feel much more informed for a discussion with the heads when we go to visit the area now, thanks.

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spanieleyes Sat 19-Jan-19 18:45:29

I had a year 6 pupil arrive in April, was on holiday SATs week and left again in Juneangry. Because I only had 10 yr 6's in my class, he counted as 10% so, as you can imagine, I wasn't best pleased! But it happens and there's not much you can do about it! However, the school would probably prefer if your yr 6 child didn't start until after SATS unless they were guaranteed to score over 100!

HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Sat 19-Jan-19 18:49:50

spanieleyes, maybe they can do a test on her & then decide whether to enter her or not! She says she wants to do the SATs because of course her friends in the UK are talking about it, but I would be quite happy for her to miss them - but equally want her back in school!

As a Y6 teacher, when do you stop teaching new material & focus on revision?

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spanieleyes Sat 19-Jan-19 19:32:49

Different schools have different views! Some schools will have been revising since September, very few will teach anything new from now on! It will be revision, practice papers, and more revision from now on.
It also doesn't matter whether the school enters her or not, if she is "on the books" she counts in the overall figures whether she actually sits the tests or not. so, if she is in a school fromApril, she will be sitting the tests, in the hope that the score she actually achieves is greater than the nominal score she would be given if she doesn't sit them!


Norestformrz Sat 19-Jan-19 20:52:56

If a child isn't entered they still count towards the school data if they are on the school role

HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Sat 19-Jan-19 21:06:19

Yeah I understand that if she’s on the roll she counts towards the SATs. When I said that maybe she could do a test I meant as part of the discussions with the head about when she would start! There needs to be enough certainty that a place would still be open for her after 20 May for me to feel totally comfortable with not taking up a place at the beginning of April when we arrive and are eligible for a school place.

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spanieleyes Sat 19-Jan-19 21:25:12

It might be a good idea to have a trial run BEFORE you speak to the Head grin

HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Mon 04-Mar-19 14:37:04

spanieleyes I've administered SATs papers to my DD and she scores over 100 in all of them - is this good enough do you think?! 106 in SPAG, 114 in English reading, can't actually rememebr the Maths. She is so keen to go back to school & join in with what her peers are doing but I don't want to cause issues for her new teacher.

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spanieleyes Mon 04-Mar-19 19:38:37

If a child joined my school with scores over 100 I would be happy, if over 110 I would be ecstatic!

Please do what is best for you and your daughter, the class teacher will cope! It's just one of those things that happens. Apply for a place as soon as possible, take it up and just mention in passing that you've given the tests a go to see how she might manage and have been happy with the results. Good luck and I hope your daughter enjoys her new school

Rubusfruticosus Mon 04-Mar-19 19:46:23

My dc started before the Easter holidays, so was just sent home with some prep in the holidays, scores were 107 to 109. Secondary school set and has given target grades based on CATs and school assessments.

Mediumred Mon 04-Mar-19 20:04:40

Wow, that’s great, well done her (and you, you’ve obviously taught her well) but also I don’t think it should have mattered if she didn’t do so well, she wants to go back to school, you are supportive and she is entitled to a school place. Just see where has a place, have a look round, bet they are pleased to hear you have got to grips with Sats but they would have to take her anyway if they have space.

Best of luck with it all, let us know how you get on!

modgepodge Mon 04-Mar-19 21:27:31

Honestly, as a y6 teacher I’d be happy to get a new one with scores over 100, less so one with scores under 100, a few weeks before sats. As pp have said, the smaller the school the more it matters.

That what’s best for your child, not the school. The teacher and head will accept it. If you think settling back in to school after Easter is the best thing for her, do that.

The y2 will be fine either way.

HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Wed 10-Jul-19 17:43:23

Thought I would come back & update. DD did start school at Easter, & absolutely loved being back in a school community & socialising with her peers. She took the SATs in her stride and FWIW achieved ‘greater depth’ across the board. My Y2 DD has struggled much more being back at school when she wasn’t the one I worried about at all!

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spanieleyes Wed 10-Jul-19 19:46:06

Well done to DD!

Redinthefacegirl Wed 10-Jul-19 20:38:15

The new school must be thrilled!

Sorry to hear Dd2 is finding it harder. I hope she settles soon.

Mediumred Fri 12-Jul-19 02:55:28

Yay! Go Big DD, really well done, and hope small DD settles in soon and you all have an ace summer!

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