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Achievement for All

(10 Posts)
gandalf456 Thu 10-Sep-15 14:53:23

Has anyone heard of this? afaeducation.org/

Apparently, it is a charity for helping disadvantaged pupils reach their potential. My eleven year old has just started secondary school and has been selected.

She was put on School Action in Year 5 and School Action Plus briefly in Year 2. It has come as a bit of a bolt from the blue as her Year 6 teacher impressed on me that she was doing OK and had managed to put her up a group in Maths. However, in her SATS, she only achieved a level 3 in one of her English tests. The rest was level 4, including Maths and Science, which I hear is OK, although not fantastic.

Apparently, this has been recommended by her primary school yet, since she was put on School Action, I only had one IEP, which I had to chase in Year 5 and had no communication apart from the standard parents' evenings. Even when she was on School Action Plus and they took her off it, there was no communication about that either. I did have her assessed at her teacher's agreement in Year 5 but the psychologist didn't have any major concerns so it was not taken further and I did feel as if I were making a bit of a fuss. For the record, her main problems are concentration. She reads really well out loud, spells OK-ish but has problems understanding what she has read and putting it into words. She also goes off at all kinds of tangents in her work and doesn't really know how to structure it without a lot of help.

However, if she is being offered this plan, she must be quite behind, right? It is only being offered to 15 girls out of about 200 in her year group. Also, from what I have read is that it is offered to low income families and looked-after children so I am a bit worried about what they have on their notes. I don't really care if they think we have any money or not but am wondering if this is a reflection on what sort of parents we might be and to whom exactly this is being offered. I know this sounds really negative. If she is getting support this early on, this is good, isn't it? However, from my experiences of School Action, I am hoping this is something more than a tick-box exercise that I felt it was in the last school. I do want to actually see results from it, too.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Sep-15 22:29:48

Low income families (free school meals) and looked after children would qualify for Pupil Premium money which may be spent on interventions like this.

Is your DD pupil premium? If yes, that might explain the selection. Forces children and any child who had free school meals in the last 6 years also count.

steppemum Thu 10-Sep-15 22:47:23

if she got level 3 in SATS, that may have put her in the band for selection.

Children who are worse are already in the system getting support etc, but for kids who are just below where they should be (level 4 is expected attainment in year 6) so for kids who just miss the mark, but don't need full on intervention, they can sometimes fall in the gap. Programs like this try and catch those kid, give them some help.

gandalf456 Thu 10-Sep-15 23:19:21

We were on a low income two years ago when dh was out of work but we didn't claim free school meals. We did, however, claim Working Tax Credit as I was working part time. I am wondering if it's to do with the SATS. I am going to a meeting next week so I guess things will be clearer then

steppemum Thu 10-Sep-15 23:32:55

the numbers would fit for Sats too, typically 90% ish get level 4 (I don't have the actual figures, but it is something like that) so out of 200, 15 sounds about right, given that some of those who don't get level 4 will be statemented kids who are getting other support and so wouldn't come on to this program necessarily.

gandalf456 Thu 10-Sep-15 23:45:04

Thanks for yor reply. In our area, a lot get level five, too, so way below the school's standards

Fairiesarereal Fri 11-Sep-15 11:00:04

Also, from what I have read is that it is offered to low income families and looked-after children so I am a bit worried about what they have on their notes

My son was put on this last year, and I was a bit confused because he is not 'disadvantaged' but the teacher told me it was because he is on the SEN register for his dyslexia.

gandalf456 Wed 16-Sep-15 14:55:53

We went to the meeting. The reason why she's on the programme is due to underachievement. We were given a few pointers as to how we can help at home, some website logins and we will be assigned a coach who will see us three times a year and he will set some goals. So it's a bit like an IEP

gandalf456 Thu 12-Nov-15 14:36:15

An update.

The coach has just emailed back with answers to some questions my daughter and I had. I thought hard about just thanking him and leaving it as I've never really liked being one of those parents always up at the school. However, this time, I decided to be more honest and give my opinion and that of my daughter.

She has been given Maths and English sessions after school, which is great as it saves me paying for a tutor myself, which is something we had considered. However, I've found this has been counterproductive. She hates being different and having to have this extra support and people knowing about it. She also said (her words) that the work is too easy and the children in the groups are 'all dumb' - I did correct her on this one.

She says that, if she moves down in Maths, she will stop trying, which is what happened with her English when her primary school left her in the bottom set even though, at the start of year 3, she was top of the group and described as very creative. From years 3-6, she barely progressed and slunk down to near the bottom but they managed to pull her up a bit by her SATS but not enough.

So this brings me back to the counterproductive point. She has a thing about being bottom which affects her confidence and therefore her work. When they moved her up in Maths at her last school, she realised she could do it and she flew. She is very comfortable in that group. She has also got a very surprising result in a recent science test and now she is interested and working hard.

Anyway, I've told the teacher all of this and asked him for ideas for a strategy to keep her interested. I think if she realises she can do English (and also the teachers), it will fall into place and she will properly progress. The biggest barrier to her learning is her concentration and her confidence.

So, my point is, is this all beyond the remit of the programme (if anyone knows)? Was I right to wade in with my opinion? Normally, I just smile sweetly and let the school sort it out but this approach has probably not served either of us that well so far.

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