Talk

Advanced search

Flight paths in secondary are nonsense and demotivating for pupils SAY OFSTED

(334 Posts)
noblegiraffe Wed 20-Mar-19 23:51:27

Ofsted finally saying what I’ve been banging on about for years. Flight paths are bollocks and schools shouldn’t be producing them.

So if your school does, hopefully Ofsted not being keen might make them reconsider!

OP’s posts: |
Hamsternauts Thu 21-Mar-19 07:37:20

Are they ofsted inspectors?

coolcrispsnow Thu 21-Mar-19 07:52:02

Why bother having grades at all, then? Without the flight paths they are meaningless. The grade where your child is at, now, means nothing before the completion of a course. So then why bother even doing progress reports? Tbh if teachers cannot report back to parents how a child is doing how on earth can they expect parental support?

We'll just leave you to it, shall we?

LaserShark Thu 21-Mar-19 07:54:27

Why do parents need to know grades to offer support? Can’t we trust teachers to teach, understand that progress is not linear and support children to work hard and do their best? The flight paths are nonsensical and just create pressure and stress for pupils and teachers alike.

noblegiraffe Thu 21-Mar-19 07:55:59

Sean Harford is Ofsted’s National Director of Education and essentially in charge of school inspection. The other tweet is an example of the sorts of shit that schools come out with.

Why bother having grades? Because they’re where your child is at, now. And only externally validated grades such as KS2 results and GCSE grades are accurate and nationally comparable in any real sense (and even they are a bit dodgy).

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Thu 21-Mar-19 07:56:49

But yes, internal school grades are also bollocks. Ofsted won’t be looking at them in inspections either.

OP’s posts: |
IHeartKingThistle Thu 21-Mar-19 07:56:49

Yay!

Heyha Thu 21-Mar-19 07:57:30

Lol took the words outbid my mouth @noblegiraffe

I'm sure my school will wait to be told off for it before getting rid of their made up system!

coolcrispsnow Thu 21-Mar-19 07:59:49

Because, it allows us to focus, direct and prioritise our input, Laser.

Of course progress may not be linear but grading and putting that grading in context (through trajectories) allows us to know where our child may need extra support and encouragement versus where they are successfully independently learning.

titchy Thu 21-Mar-19 08:01:13

if teachers cannot report back to parents how a child is doing how on earth can they expect parental support?

hmm Who says they can't? 'Amelia seems to be struggling with fractions'. If the teacher had previously said 'Amelia is around a 3c' you're telling that would have got your support more than the first one?

coolcrispsnow Thu 21-Mar-19 08:01:25

Why bother having grades? Because they’re where your child is at, now.

How can we understand new grading systems which report where a child is at, now before completion of a course without any context to place them against?

coolcrispsnow Thu 21-Mar-19 08:04:31

* Who says they can't? 'Amelia seems to be struggling with fractions'. If the teacher had previously said 'Amelia is around a 3c' you're telling that would have got your support more than the first one?*

Standards are needed to put that statement into context. One teachers struggling is another's doing ok. It is meaningless especially regarding the non linear nature of progress. wink

LittleChristmasMouse Thu 21-Mar-19 08:05:55

How can schools monitor where students are at, in relation to where they need to be by the end of yr 11? Students shouldn't be made to slavishly follow the flight path but surely it gives a general idea of amount of progress needed each year in order to achieve a +p8 score?

I'm not sure that they are very useful but I think they are helpful to track progress in a visual way to explain to parents and students where the student roughly sits now in relation to where they want to end up.

I'd also quite like to see how Ofsted want schools to evidence progress and the making of better than satisfactory progress if they don't use these. After all, the actual flight path is just a visual plotting of the data that has been collected. If Ofsted still want the data collected the only thing that they are doing away with is the final step of plotting the graph. How does that benefit anyone?

coolcrispsnow Thu 21-Mar-19 08:06:22

The flight paths are nonsensical and just create pressure and stress for pupils and teachers alike.

My child has found them quite motivating.

Lougle Thu 21-Mar-19 08:06:30

I agree re. Flight paths. At our school they use a formula involving SATs results, number of previous schools attended, deprivation index, etc., to predict a level for GCSEs - all GCSEs, which they don't reveal to parents. Then they step that level back through the span of time at the school, so they derive a 'target level' for each year, which is revealed to parents.

So my DD2 has a "target level" of 0.5 - 2 for all her subjects this year. Using the information we've had, they are expecting her to get GCSEs of level 4-6. Other pupils, who are expected to get 9s in their GCSEs will have much higher target levels.

But it's a nonsense. In her first term, DD2 is getting level 2 or beyond in some subjects, which means she'll well overshoot her targets. In other subjects, she's on 0.5 which means she'll meet target, at least, but I know she's struggling with them.

Learning isn't linear. Children's past shouldn't dictate their future. If a teacher sees she's meeting target in term one, are they going to stop bothering with her? I hope not.

calpop Thu 21-Mar-19 08:07:04

Ive always wondered about this. Everyone I know, myself included, either did much better than expected/predicted at GCSE, with a few much worse due to individual circumstances. So what is the point of them? I dont thibk they take into account the last minute cramming that (most) people do for exams.

coolcrispsnow Thu 21-Mar-19 08:09:34

children's past shouldn't dictate their future.

Of course. But without knowing the direction they are going in how would they know whether they needed to make a serious effort to improve?

LittleChristmasMouse Thu 21-Mar-19 08:17:51

children's past shouldn't dictate their future.

No they shouldn't. But all secondary schools are graded on progress 8 scores. That is progress relative to the scores achieved in ks2 SATS. Unless Ofsted and the government plan to now do away with this style of monitoring then schools will measure current student progress against their prior achievement.

Consistently failing to show better than expected progress is a sure fire way to end up in special measures, an IEB installed and a school's leadership team being removed.

Are they planning to reform entirely the format of Ofsted inspections in light of this?

UnspiritualHome Thu 21-Mar-19 08:35:49

The trouble with flight paths is that they are essentially the death to ambition. I've seen a case recently where an able child with SEN tested badly on admission to secondary school for reasons which were all to do with late recognition of his SEN, totally inadequate support in primary school, and the stresses of moving to the new school. His graph therefore showed a low trajectory which he could achieve in his sleep. The secondary school though he must be absolutely fine because he was achieving in line with his graph and put in no support, whilst he became ever more bored and frustrated. He was taken out and put in a school that didn't operate this system and was interested in supporting him fully, and suddenly everyone realised just how able he was, and how short-changed he had been. The results he obtained showed exactly how stupid the flight path had been.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 21-Mar-19 08:38:21

I agree with noble on most things, but I like flightpaths if sensibly used.

Without some indication of where my child is headed (<4, 4-6, >=7) how the hell would I know:
- what to guide them towards for GCSEs options
- whether I need (if I want) to pay for extra tuition in any subject
- whether progress has massively dropped off
- what I should be discussing for post GCSE options

I totally agree that trying to say someone is heading towards a 6.3 is ridiculous, but parents need some guidance as to where their child is heading. I refuse to believe that reasonably experienced teachers (and there should be some in every department to guide less experienced ones) do not have an idea as to who is likely to do well and who is struggling.

woodcutbirds Thu 21-Mar-19 08:41:03

I've never heard the term 'flight paths' so they can't be popular around here. But I tutor GCSE pupils and have so many land on me in a panic at this time of year - a few weeks before GCSEs because they had a 'predicted grade' and now suddenly they are 'not meeting their target' which is the school's way of saying, we let you think you could get a 6 for 18 months but you've failed us. Now we know you'll get a 4. It's not our fault.'

Michaelbaubles Thu 21-Mar-19 08:54:41

The example above of a student getting a “0.5” is just proof of how ludicrous it is. That is an utterly, utterly meaningless grade created purely to fit into a spreadsheet.

BubblesBuddy Thu 21-Mar-19 09:19:44

Surely a school can do all the monitoring of progress required and not communicate it to the DC unless it’s necessary? I never had predictions for my DC. They didn’t have predictions. They were told what they needed to do to improve and encouraged. No doubt the school did have targets but they were not a burden on my DC. My DCs just did their best!

LittleChristmasMouse Thu 21-Mar-19 09:20:39

The example above of a student getting a “0.5” is just proof of how ludicrous it is. That is an utterly, utterly meaningless grade created purely to fit into a spreadsheet.

I'm reading the 0.5 as a P8 score. That is how they are expressed. Anything above 0 is positive in that expected, or greater than expected progress has been made. A - score means less than expected progress. We have schools around here making -0.1 and such like or +1.2 for example.

Titsywoo Thu 21-Mar-19 09:25:49

I hate the flight paths. My DC predicted gcse grades (A ridiculous thing to give them in year 7) were based upon the SATs. So dd has a target of 6 for all subjects based on English and maths tests she did at age 11. In fact she is much more able and tends to do better but often she'll compare her grades to those targets. I tell her to ignore them but I'm not sure she does all the time.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in