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Pupil premium, maths, secondary age

(17 Posts)
Internetminion Tue 09-May-17 14:36:28

DD is not a natural mathematician at all. Very middle of the road. At primary she was one of a only a few free school meals kids so her money was targeted at pulling her maths grade up. She had extra tuition, booster classes and 1on1 all through year 6 and did well in her sats.

When she got to secondary she was streamed into the top set and she is struggling massively now. We've just had parents evening and her teacher said she is bottom of the top set. I asked why they don't move her to middle set and they said they can't as it's based on her sats.

Is there anything I can do here? She is miserable and feels like she doesn't know what is going on in class. She's still FSM but isn't getting targeted help anymore

DriftingDreamer Tue 09-May-17 15:51:12

This seems silly.
Who is 'they?'
Maybe arrange meeting at the school?
Good luck.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-May-17 16:13:22

When they say they can't move her set, what they actually mean that they won't move her set. This is totally stupid, because of course they can, and indeed they should because there is no point in destroying a pupil's confidence with work that they are finding too difficult. What the school are doing is looking at data on a spreadsheet instead of the pupil in front of them.

I suggest you phone the school and ask to speak to the head of maths who might have more power over setting decisions than the class teacher. Make sure that you point out that the SATs results were the result of intensive intervention and support in primary school and if they insist on keeping her in top set then you would expect PP money to be used to provide similar intervention in secondary.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 09-May-17 16:34:04

Maybe they set each year based on end of year exams and thus for year 7 she is set based on her SATS results (which were possibly artificially inflated as they gave her 1 to 1 to purely get her SATS results up rather than to teach her maths (as such).

When are her end of year exams? If children at the top of set 2 outperform her then there is every likelihood that she'll be moved for the start of year 8. However, if she is actually struggling on a day to day basis in keeping up with the class there seems little point in them not moving her now.

Could you speak to the Head of Department?

Mumteadumpty Tue 09-May-17 16:42:36

Definitely pursue this. My DD's Sats result was inflated above her natural ability by the booster interventions she had in Year 6, and she had a miserable time in Year 7 in top set with all the maths whizz kids, and lesson content going completely over her head.

Internetminion Tue 09-May-17 18:49:44

They said her sats decides which "track" she's on. Presumably if they drop her down then they have to explain why a FSM kid is getting expected progress?

We did see the head of maths, she was very much of the opinion that someone has to be bottom of the class hmm. The tests they did when they first joined yr7 was all the stuff she'd just covered so she did ok. The new content they are now doing is going right over her head

Astro55 Tue 09-May-17 18:51:48

SATS have a lot to answer for!

Can she have additional help at home?

noblegiraffe Tue 09-May-17 18:59:43

They said her sats decides which "track" she's on

Oh dear, the head of maths is an idiot. Pupils don't learn according to neat little tracks and progress is not linear.

In addition, given that this is the first year that kids have sat these SATs, how can anyone say with any confidence what the SATs tell them? Also, if she's talking about tracks, I suspect she's talking about eventual GCSE results so again she's an idiot because no one has sat the new GCSEs yet. Also, GCSE predictions from SATs results are, and have always been average predictions for a large cohort, they should never be applied to individual pupils.

irvineoneohone Wed 10-May-17 06:45:56

I get really confused reading thread like this.
People on primary ed keep saying SATs doesn't matter for kids, but it does seem to matter.

noblegiraffe Wed 10-May-17 07:45:07

They didn't used to, not nearly so much. The amount of data tracking in schools has shot up exponentially over the last few years. The government's new Progress 8 measure is only going to make things worse in this regard.

A spreadsheet is now more important than the child.

JustRichmal Wed 10-May-17 08:36:46

I cannot follow this logic. With more education, your dd is able to reach a higher level, which was clearly not beyond her ability to learn, however, her natural ability is not to learn at this level. Without any education, most people's ability would be to learn nothing. Most people learn maths by being taught it. It is clearly not your dd ability which is lacking, but the education she is getting. I bet some of the others in her set are getting help from home or have well educated parents who are able to support their learning. Your dd is doing fantastic. If anything, it is she who has the natural aptitude for maths.

Is she willing or able to do extra work at home? The Letts or CGP revision guides are good for going over topics. Kahn Academy is free and online. I have a dd who is really good at maths, mainly because I taught her maths. She does not get new things straight away. She lets them sink in then comes back to them.

The idea of "I'm not good at maths", is a major factor of people not being good at maths. The school clearly thinks she should be in that group, so why not ask them how you can work together to support her learning so she is not bottom next time?

Middleoftheroad Wed 10-May-17 08:46:53

That's the issue witj SATs - a test dictates your sets and then it's hard to move.

I remember being placed in top set for maths based on my older brother's ability!. I was at the bottom and miserable. That's no way for your DD to feel and I hope you can get it changed for yr 8. This will not be good for her wellbeing - can't they see that? Take it further as it is a pastoral.issue now and not just academic.

noblegiraffe Wed 10-May-17 09:14:21

The school clearly thinks she should be in that group

Only because her SATs say so. The teacher could have said 'yes she's in the right group, working hard, making good progress' but she didn't.

Confidence is very important in maths, and knocking that in Y7 is not a good start to secondary school.

JustRichmal Wed 10-May-17 10:16:00

The child is not being taught to her potential by the school system. The options are to leave her education entirely to the school or work with her at home.

Could you not ask what your child's educational allowance is being spent on and ask if it could instead be diverted to 121 tuition in maths?

Mumteadumpty Wed 10-May-17 10:33:06

Just some children will do much better at the top of the middle set than at the bottom of a top set. The pace of work will suit them better, and long term will lead to more effective learning and less damage to their self belief.

TeenAndTween Wed 10-May-17 11:27:37

By being in too high a set a child can end up learning nothing.

If the pace is too fast, they can't take it in properly. In a subject like maths where everything builds it can then mean their foundations are shaky for the next steps.

Plus, confidence pays a big part in maths. If the DC is having her confidence shaken by being in too high a set it will put her off 'having a go' at questions.

Some children thrive on being towards the bottom of a higher set if they can keep up the pace as it gives them something to aim for. Other children (like my two DDs) do better being higher up a lower set.

iseenodust Wed 10-May-17 13:13:06

Hoping the majority of teachers fall into the Noble Giraffe school og thought.

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