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New school year - balance between catching up and making progress

(31 Posts)
Secretroses Wed 07-Oct-20 09:01:56

My son has just gone into year 2. I know it's been a funny year but I just wondered what other people's experiences had been with combining catch up from missed school time last year and pressing ahead with the current year's curriculum?

Everything so far this term seems to be recapping not just year 1 but reception level work with a whole class approach... My son is finding it very unchallenging! I know it's difficult but I guess I had hoped that those who had engaged well with home-learning and weren't significantly behind would be learning the new stuff so they didn't fall behind with this year's curriculum?!

OP’s posts: |
ineedaholidaynow Wed 07-Oct-20 09:10:53

Has he been assessed yet? Many schools maybe easing them in.

Also as Y2s missed the Phonics screening test last year they will be sitting it this term, so this may explain some of the work they are doing

Secretroses Wed 07-Oct-20 09:17:12

From what I can gather, no... There has been no individual reading with an adult and no homework marked. If I knew an assessment was due to take place, that would be reassuring.

Yes, that's true about the phonics screening though.

OP’s posts: |
HandfulofDust Wed 07-Oct-20 09:44:23

We were lucky in that we had excellent home learning but the kids (Y4 and Y2) started the year with assessments in maths and English so I guess that would have caught specific gaps. I know in maths they've always done differentiated work. I think for English they all do the same work but some kids get extra help, they only get homework once a week but what they've brought home looks like it's from the appropriate year group for each child.

Secretroses Wed 07-Oct-20 10:26:24

That sounds good and I had expected something similar to be honest with assessments at the start of the year.

Are you submitting homework online? Our teachers are avoiding handling books that have been at home with the consequence no work is being marked...

OP’s posts: |
Guymere Wed 07-Oct-20 11:41:44

Is this a state school? I’m surprised at homework in y2 on a regular basis. Does the school not publish the curriculum for y2? What about newsletters home stating policy about catching up? What about their assessment policy? When are they intending to assess on the y2 curriculum? Why are they doing whole class revision and not assessing who needs it first? I would ask a few more questions.

onemouseplace Wed 07-Oct-20 11:53:04

Year 1 DD here and we're finding exactly the same. Very gentle introduction and they are still doing Reception based learning. Reviewing phonics from the very start. Getting reading books levelled at the level was 8 months ago when her reading came on phenomenally during lockdown. Everything seems to be whole class learning - no differentiation.

I understand they need to identify gaps, but it does make me wonder why we bothered to keep up with work over the lockdown period when they appear to be moving at the slowest common denominator right now. And yes, I have queried the reading level and got a load of guff back.

Secretroses Wed 07-Oct-20 13:12:18

Guymere

Is this a state school? I’m surprised at homework in y2 on a regular basis. Does the school not publish the curriculum for y2? What about newsletters home stating policy about catching up? What about their assessment policy? When are they intending to assess on the y2 curriculum? Why are they doing whole class revision and not assessing who needs it first? I would ask a few more questions.

Yes, it is a state school and children have had one piece of homework per week since reception.
The school does publish the curriculum for the year and they seem to be doing the new information topics but not the new phonics or reading. Not sure on the maths!
I think you are right, I do need to ask more questions!

OP’s posts: |
Secretroses Wed 07-Oct-20 13:17:24

onemouseplace

Year 1 DD here and we're finding exactly the same. Very gentle introduction and they are still doing Reception based learning. Reviewing phonics from the very start. Getting reading books levelled at the level was 8 months ago when her reading came on phenomenally during lockdown. Everything seems to be whole class learning - no differentiation.

I understand they need to identify gaps, but it does make me wonder why we bothered to keep up with work over the lockdown period when they appear to be moving at the slowest common denominator right now. And yes, I have queried the reading level and got a load of guff back.

100% this! It was a real struggle to fit in the home learning but we did it anyway and he made lots of progress so I felt pleased. But now, it feels like the assumption is that all children must be really behind without assessing if this is really the case... confused

OP’s posts: |
Guymere Wed 07-Oct-20 19:35:11

I thought from what you said, there was more homework. One bit a week plus reading is ok! Do ask about assessment. Most schools will do their first one before half term. They really then would have no excuse for not setting appropriate work.

Duckchick Wed 07-Oct-20 22:26:33

Our school is doing the same with DS now in year 1. From what I can tell, they are currently doing the phonics and maths they did in term 1 on reception - he did the letter 'f' today. They have at least assessed reading levels and are sending home 2 books a fortnight (a separate issue). However, they aren't differentiating the in class reading at all - the whole class does it at once, at the lowest common denominator. We have had no curriculum information.

I've almost reached the point of emailing in, I just can't work out how to phrase it as I think they'll take it the wrong way.

cabbageking Wed 07-Oct-20 22:42:16

Each school has assessed the children and is filling those gaps. Hence it varies widely. You have children who have done lots of work, other work and some who have done absolutely nothing.

Hence you may have different interventions, smaller group work and while class work to patch those gaps to enable the children to move forward.
We expect the gap filling to continue for the first term.

ineedaholidaynow Wed 07-Oct-20 23:57:54

Local schools to me have done the assessments, now working on the catch up plan, so taking slightly more time to work out the gaps and who needs what.

Secretroses Thu 08-Oct-20 06:51:15

Duckchick

Our school is doing the same with DS now in year 1. From what I can tell, they are currently doing the phonics and maths they did in term 1 on reception - he did the letter 'f' today. They have at least assessed reading levels and are sending home 2 books a fortnight (a separate issue). However, they aren't differentiating the in class reading at all - the whole class does it at once, at the lowest common denominator. We have had no curriculum information.

I've almost reached the point of emailing in, I just can't work out how to phrase it as I think they'll take it the wrong way.

Oh gosh, I really feel for you. My son is currently bringing home reception level reading books and saying he is finding lessons mostly too easy... I think if we had some communication about the strategy/plan, we might feel more reassured...

OP’s posts: |
Duckchick Thu 08-Oct-20 13:38:54

@Secretroses that's it's exactly - with no communication I'm not convinced there is a plan. We would normally have had a meet the teacher session at the start of the year and a parents evening about now, but there's been communication about either. I'm obviously not expecting face to face, but there's no reason we couldn't do something online / by phone!

Guymere Thu 08-Oct-20 14:17:49

I love the phrase “lowest common denominator”. My mum used that all the time about education when me and my siblings were at primary school! Takes me back......

However, by half term there’s no excuse not to know where dc are after assessment. Schools must do this or they won’t have a clue who needs what input. I bet they could take an educated guess though.

LetItGoToRuin Fri 09-Oct-20 12:43:04

I'm getting much the same impression about my DD's experience in Y5. She made good progress during lockdown, but tells me that the whole class is recapping last year's work. They haven't assessed the children yet, or certainly not in any obvious way.

There's a teacher consultation scheduled for a fortnight's time, but I can't help feeling that half a term has been largely wasted in terms of academic progress.

She is having a lovely time though, for which I'm very grateful!

OP, how confident is your DS? Would he be able to ask the teacher for some more challenging books? That's quite an easy thing to address, and it might at least prompt the teacher to assess his reading.

Thinking about it, it's pretty shocking that there has been no 1:1 reading with an adult for a whole month for a Y2 child - are you sure this is the case? Has there been any group guided reading in class? Does he have a reading record? Have you tried adding a note to describe what he's reading at home, and request that his reading level be assessed?

I know reading is not the only concern, but it's an easy starting point for a dialogue with the teacher.

Noodledoodledoo Sat 10-Oct-20 19:50:51

I've come on to see if there was anything about this as my DD is in the same situation in Yr 1. I have luckily spent a fortune on reading books during lockdown but we are getting 1 home a week.

My little girl who adored school is now meh about it, was doing 4+1 on Friday - last year in reception she was adding two digit numbers before lockdown!

I am getting very frustrated with it all.

Guymere Sun 11-Oct-20 00:47:22

I don’t really understand why schools haven’t attest assumed children would be where they left off. There seem to be blanket assumptions that children have gone backwards. They might have made no progress but some will have done. We used to have a reading record for books brought home. We had around 4-6 a week. I would write in the reading record if the books were spot on, too easy or too challenging etc. The teacher definitely read what I put because there was a tick! Sometimes a comment back. Even if the teacher hasn’t heard them read, you should have communication with the school over reading. One book a week is useless.

I always went with dc to the library to get more books too! Probably frowned upon now but I liked to encourage reading and this was before the straight-jacket of only phonics being allowed.

The school also allowed dc to choose a library book in YR. DD brought home The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Ladybird). I queried that choice but teacher said to read it to her. Talk about the contents of the book. So I would increase the books your child is exposed to yourself if the school won’t do it. Keen readers should be encouraged. No child should be held back.

purplewaterfall Sun 11-Oct-20 19:28:59

They haven't assessed the children yet, or certainly not in any obvious way.

Teacher's assess children by looking at their work and listening to them talk. It won't be obvious to the children or parents that it's happening.

Assessments are taking longer than usual. There are many areas of the curriculum to check and information/data that is usually passed up by the previous teacher now doesn't exist at all. If there was only one child in the class it would be a quick process but there are 30.

It's also difficult because children may have been taught well by their parents during lockdown but there are still gaps. For example a Year 1 child at our school has been taught to do column addition yet can't place a 2-digit number on a number line so they're having to go over place value again. I imagine the parent thinks their teacher is recapping things unnecessarily.

I'm maths lead and it's really interesting to see the different gaps that the children have. They will all need to recap parts!

purplewaterfall Sun 11-Oct-20 19:33:01

@Guymere

Lots of children have gone backwards though. Even if the parents were doing a great job they're not trained teachers and things always need recapping each year and within the year because children do forget if they haven't done something for a while. It's why spiral curriculums exist.

AldiAisleofCrap Sun 11-Oct-20 19:36:56

@purplewaterfall Even if the parents were doing a great job they're not trained teachers do you really think a teacher who has done a PGCE in 9 months will teach a child better in a class of 30 than the average parent can one to one?

NailsNeedDoing Sun 11-Oct-20 19:42:53

OP it sounds like you’re basing some of your opinion on what you’ve seen of 1-1 reading and homework marking, understandably because as a parent that’s the part you see the most evidence of, but it really is only a small part of what goes on in school. Parents often think books given are too easy for their children but there are many reasons why they often aren’t. Wait and see what happens after half term and the phonics screening, and hopefully you’ll have been able to have some contact with the school by then too.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sun 11-Oct-20 19:52:34

Both mine have had a very gentle reintroduction with a lot of emphasis on emotional well-being and getting used to the school routine.
Homework starts after half term. Online. (Ugh!)
As it's Gaelic medium education there's also a lot of work on re-establishing fluency.
I have found it a little too gentle for mine, although I totally understand why it needs to be this way.
They were allowing DS to take the piss and wander around the classroom at will. I phoned them up about it and now he has a reward chart to work on his concentration (he has ADD).
I'm also suplimenting with Reading Eggs.

purplewaterfall Sun 11-Oct-20 19:56:28

@AldiAisleofCrap

Done a PGCE and had years of experience working with hundreds of children...

Judging by the things that we are now having to unteach and the communication that we had with them, yes lots of parents struggled to know how to teach their child. That's not a judgement, it's just how it is. People did their best in a difficult situation.

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