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What would Y6 teachers like to tell Secondary Schools

(30 Posts)
SheerWill Tue 20-Jan-15 15:03:39

Hi Everyone, I'm putting together a presentation for a Teachmeet in March about the transition from KS2 to KS3. I used to work in primary as a Y5 teacher and now teach SEN English and Maths at secondary. But obviously haven't taught KS2 since the new curriculum has been introduced. I know this is a bit cheeky but want to give KS3/4 teachers as accurate a picture as possible of what Y6 is like, so they know where the students have come from.

I've found it quite interesting the difference between Primary and Secondary and want to do my bit to bridge the gap. My plan atm is to describe what a typical day for a Y6 student/ teacher involves, typical week and year. I will give examples of the Y6 SPAG test, a list of English and Math objectives and describe roughly what the higher/lower ability students will be able to do when they arrive at secondary school in september.

As a Y6 teacher, what would you like the secondary school teachers to know? If anyone has any ideas I would be grateful.

Thanks in advance x

toomuchicecream Tue 20-Jan-15 17:47:34

It's several years since I taught year 6, but the main thing I've come across is how much work seems to be repeated in year 7. Do KS3 teachers really know what is taught in KS2?

Might it be useful to talk about the methods taught for the 4 number operations too? I once had a visit from a Maths teacher at a local secondary school who was amazed at the way we taught division on a number line - she went back and taught her colleagues.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 20-Jan-15 19:17:37

Honestly, and not to put the cat among the pigeons but Secondary teachers want to know just one thing;

"How can they come in with a L5 from June and then scrape L4s in September if they have already learnt this? "

You might find it useful to look at why there is such a massive disparity - perhaps ask them to compare the KS2 Sats papers at a level 5 to the KS3 papers at a level 5.

Lazymummy2014 Tue 20-Jan-15 19:25:56

Yes yes yes to the above! At the secondary end of things I want to know what a yr 6 teacher would grade at level 3 - 6, and how much support/scaffolding went in to preparing for the assessment.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 20-Jan-15 19:42:11

what a yr 6 teacher would grade at level 3 - 6, and how much support/scaffolding went in to preparing for the assessment

This would be really helpful too. And how much TIME is devoted to it. I teach in a secondary but work in a primary two afternoons a week (languages) and I am always amazed how much time they can devote to literacy/numeracy. I often show up before lunch to set up and they are working on literacy and have been on and off all morning. In secondary they would have had to cram maybe four different subjects in to that time. I know that the primary syllabus has just as much stuff to fit in but the ability to adapt the days learning to really get in to something must be helpful.

Thatssofunny Tue 20-Jan-15 20:42:17

I'd like them to take information and advice about children seriously (and in some cases actually make it available to subject teachers). One year, we moved an incredibly difficult year group up into KS3. They had been difficult since we took this cohort on in Year 5, but the secondary colleagues - at the same school, I might add - actually told us that this was simply because we were "just a bit soft on them". (Well, thanks!) Despite us asking several times for a meeting, they ignored our concerns. Needless to say, three weeks into the academic year and they came back to us, unable to cope with the barrage of challenging behaviour. hmm
Two years ago, I had a pupil, who had entered my class after being excluded from his previous school. The secondary school he moved to seemed completely disinterested in this and what we had put in place to support him, possible triggers, ways to calm him, etc.. The shit hit the fan less than a week into Y7. shock sad

When I taught KS3, I found the level of expectation in Y7 surprisingly low. (Considering that it was a middle school, I would have expected there to be some communication. I can understand that it's difficult for secondary schools with an intake from lots of different schools.) I was even told by one teacher that I shouldn't expect Y7 to be able to understand active and passive sentences...(mostly because she didn't). I'm at a different school now and my pupils will move up to various secondary schools. I'd love for them not to be underestimated when they enter Year 7.

The dip in Year 7 is one of the reasons why I go on with normal lessons after SATs. I can't see the point of just dumping English and Maths lessons to do nothing but "fun" stuff for weeks. At the same time, though, we are mostly just going on with "normal" lessons in preparation for the tests. We don't run extra booster classes before or after school or at lunchtimes. I don't take into account scaffolded or supported work when assessing. We have special books for that, which only contain independent and "cold" writing tasks,...nothing they've been prepared for. They can either do it,...or they can't. There's no point pushing their levels up before they are ready. It's just setting them up to fail. (Besides, I've been on the receiving end of inflated levels and it's not in the least bit funny.) I'd like for their future English teachers to actually have the opportunity to see these books, particularly since ours show development and progress from Year 1 to Year 6.

We have secondary trainees visit our school and teach our classes for a little while, before they finish their training. They tend to be quite surprised at what our kids are actually capable of. In addition, we also have moderation meetings with our main secondary school and our partner primary schools (the Y6 teachers meet more regularly and moderate). I'd be happy to have their secondary teachers come in and observe for a bit. We are actually trying to work together, but a lot of the time, things just don't happen because everyone's got so much to do...on both ends. sad
I've moderated across KS2/3 at a previous school and a L4 at KS2 was a L4 at KS3. There shouldn't be much of a discrepancy, although content and level of maturity will obviously vary.

PenelopePitstops Tue 20-Jan-15 20:53:25

Yesyesyes to four corners!

Why every year do I get kids on a '5c' who barely scrape a 4 when assessed by us? Maths btw.

This year I have a child who cannot halve 50 who has been teacher assessed at a 3a shock

Thatssofunny Tue 20-Jan-15 20:58:52

This year I have a child who cannot halve 50 who has been teacher assessed at a 3a
I've got one, who can't halve 60. She can, however, multiply and divide decimals by 10 and 100. She can also use long multiplication and short division. She can't tell me how many minutes there are in a quarter of an hour. hmm All over the place...She's been mostly fine picking up stuff we've covered, but is seriously lacking absolute basics. Years of interventions have not helped to fill the gaps. confused

dogtanianandthe3muskehounds Tue 20-Jan-15 23:48:42

Maths and SPAG assessments remain externally-marked at KS2, so the level the child comes to KS3 at has not just been made up by the KS2 teacher. I suspect that the dip comes partly because many Year 6 classes save all the "fun" stuff that they have missed out of the curriculum due to SATs pressure until the last couple of months of the year and massively ease off on the literacy and numeracy teaching. Followed by 6 weeks of summer holiday, this is a long time for children to forget some of what they have learned. I don't believe this is the right thing to do, but it happens.

Also, children moving to Year 7 are overwhelmed by the magnitude of secondary school/the new social situations etc and might not apply themselves very well to assessments at the beginning of the year.

dogtanianandthe3muskehounds Tue 20-Jan-15 23:52:27

Sorry, I didn't really answer the previous question what a yr 6 teacher would grade at level 3 - 6, and how much support/scaffolding went in to preparing for the assessment

A lot of time is devoted to training on how to level children accurately. Year 6 teachers tend to be among the more experienced staff members so will have had a lot of practice. As I said above, SATS papers are externally-marked, so any anomalies with the teacher assessment will be obvious. As well as this, schools will have their end of KS1 and end of KS2 results externally moderated, usually every 3-4 years I believe.

BackforGood Tue 20-Jan-15 23:59:39

That parents often find it very difficult to cope with not knowing what the staff that teach their dc even look like, what their names are etc., and that they don't know who they should contact or how they can contact the school if worried, and, at what level of "being worried" is it OK to contact the school without making your dc look like a "mummy's boy/girl".
The lack of communication means that small things can easily become big things.

FATEdestiny Wed 21-Jan-15 00:01:59

May I give a fluffy response, rather than an academic one?

As a secondary teacher I had no idea what primary was actually like until I had children of my own and became a primary parent governor. Now I understand both.

I don't think secondary's get how 'fluffy' primaries are. Babying, soft, gentle, caring and nurturing. Much less harsh, functional and matter-of-fact than secondary (or certainly my secondary school).

Year 6 children are the "Big Fish" and they get lots of extra responsibilities. Suddenly they are very much the smallest in the huge Ocean of secondary. I know secondarys know this in theory, but the realities have an effect on self esteem that I for one underestimated.

Lazymummy2014 Wed 21-Jan-15 17:49:47

Ooh also exactly what the format and criteria are for leveling in assessments -especially SATS. For example, does the reading levelling include comprehension testing? We don't assess any comprehension work at ks3 because it's pointless in terms of building skills for gcse - all of our reading assessments are analysis, in extended essay format, no short q&a at all. For eg, one of my year seven reading assessments last year was an essay analysing the presentation of Oscar Pistorius in a newspaper editorial. And in writing - is spelling only assessed in the separate spag test now or is it also assessed in an extended piece?

phlebasconsidered Wed 21-Jan-15 21:26:50

Bear in mind that this years Year 6 will be the last Secondaries get assessed with the "old" papers / SATs. This years Year 5 will be Spag'd and Numbered to wothin an inch of their lives. Spelling and grammar will be being assessed very differently and be much more a part and parcel of the English SATs.

I have taught Secondary and am now primary. I saw a tranche through from Year 7 to 13 as a form group, and I still didn't spend even a tenth of the time or know a fiftieth about them as I do my current Year 5 group. Form tutors are in no way similar to the teacher role at primary in terms of pastoral care. Very many children, who have been used to having a close realtionship with their teacher, will be thrown completely by the relative anonymity of teachers at secondary school. I was always very committed as a form tutor, but I did not know what each child was like in every lesson, unless the subject teacher or the child flagged it up to me. The child has to take responsibility for their learning very much more in secondary. It's something I try very hard to instil in my KS2 students now, to prepare them.

Having been at both sides of the levels (the secondary "What the hell?" and the primary SAT's pushing and moderation), i can honestly say that most levels are correct at the time of the SATs. But a long Summer break, a sea change in hormones and life and a huge new school, with all the changes that brings at only 11, account for slippage. I think you don't truly appreciate how young they are, in year 7, if you've not done any time in primary. I know I didn't.

phlebasconsidered Wed 21-Jan-15 21:28:20

And Lazy, the reading SATs test is very demanding in terms of comprehension. It's well worth you taking a look at one.

Lazymummy2014 Wed 21-Jan-15 21:53:13

I don't deny that, I'm just saying that once they get to me we don't do ANY levelled comprehension work, so if this is a big component of the reading level at key stage 2 it might explain why they don't match the level they come up from primary with.

Lazymummy2014 Wed 21-Jan-15 22:01:00

For eg, their first reading assessment in year seven is based on the hobbit. We read the whole novel, but the assessment is an analysis of the language and structure techniques Tolkien uses to present character. They write an essay, in point-evidence-analyse paragraphs, in response to the question "how does Tolkien present Gollum as a frightening and dangerous character?". I'm on my phone so can't access the papers on the site you linked to, but I would imagine (based on the feedback from my students!) that this is very different from what they are used to doing at ks2. I think the difference in methods of assessment is one of the reasons for the dip.

Lazymummy2014 Wed 21-Jan-15 22:02:57

Sorry; forgot to say, the analysis is of about three pages of text, when bilbo first meets gollum, to make sure they do close analysis rather than recounting plot.

PicInAttic Wed 21-Jan-15 22:33:34

Lazymum, would say that is very different from how we teach, assess and level 'reading' in Y6 so definitely a contributory factor in difference in levels. It sounds as if it has more in common with the requirements of the L6 paper, rather than the L3-5, and we all know how many children achieve L6 in the KS 2 SATs...

Lazymummy2014 Thu 22-Jan-15 00:00:09

Exactly, this is why I think they dip / struggle. We do a lot of talking to the pupils and parents about the change in how they are assessed and why we do it - with the scrapping of the ks3 sats it makes sense for us to build the extended essay writing analysis skills from the get-go - but we still get hammered by management about the 'lack of progress' in level terms.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 22-Jan-15 07:04:52

I think that explaining a yr 6's day would be a wasted opportunity. As has been posted I would like to know

what a yr 6 teacher would grade at level 3 - 6, and how much support/scaffolding went in to preparing for the assessment

Thatssofunny Thu 22-Jan-15 08:17:32

Context: We are working on migration in Humanities/Geography and have looked at push and pull factors. Our class text is "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan. It's a picture book, without any text. I gave them the pictures related to the migration stories of some of the characters and their task was to write in role as that person, telling their story. There had been no scaffolding, preparation or support at all. (The writing was done in their Humanities lesson, not in English. We currently work on discussion texts in English.) They had 20 minutes writing time in the afternoon. No planning time. I've kept their spelling, punctuation and paragraphs.
They don't get assessed on one piece of writing, though. These are just examples and I've given the child's current overall writing level.

Example 1 (current writing level: 3b/a)
A few years ago I migrated to banter land, because I was being used to slave for the upper Class. (e.g.) Rich people they used to whack me over and over until my leg turned into the darkest purple you’ve ever seen. I’d well and I cried but they continued to whack me. So one evening the two horrible monster’s granted me an ½ hours of sleep. So I got to the second landed [landing] and a mirror was hanging on the large wall, and I look at myself, and I pulled down my trousers to see my cuts and broses, on my Legs. Then I ran and Jumped out of the window and I didn’t Look back.

Example 2 (current writing level: 4c/b)
I was tortured, they made me work in a hidden mine underground, we never saw the light until the day I escaped from that forbidden hellhole. Every time we thought positive and begun to grow used to the mine we were shot straight back down into darkness and despair. I used to believe that one day we would escape and breathe the fresh soft air, and that I would smell the fresh flowers of the summer. The breeze I have nearly died for, instead of the coal filled air that acted like a blizzard when it felt like pins flying at speed the point straight into your face it was horrific it was a tragedy. Only five of five thousand kids made it out alive.
We escaped by digging a small hole just big enough for me and four others to escape. It was a dangerous plan because we had to go through our torturers office and climb out of the window.

Example 3 (current writing level: 4a/5c)
23 years ago, something horrific happened to me and my home town. War was declared. My life had changed in a fraction of a second.
The next day, I woke up to the sound of an air raid siren. I was shocked. Tears started to flow down my pale face.
Suddenly, I heard loud sounds coming from my shiny red door. I had this thought going through my head, saying “Don’t open it,” while other thoughts were saying, “What if it was a kid running in for protection?” I opened it…
It was a conscription officer. My shaking hand almost forced me to shut it in his face. I never, though. I just stopped myself.
After a while he said to me, “Are you Mr Roberts?” I stuttered, but I forced myself to say, “Yes. Yes, I am.” He looked right into my bloodshot eyes and muttered to me, “I’m so sorry, sir, but you are going to have to join the war.” I felt like fainting. I tried to stop myself but tears started to fill up my face.

I don't have any L6 writers in my class.

fourcorneredcircle Thu 22-Jan-15 15:46:19

So what single level would those pieces get if they were levelled as a piece of English writing?

Thatssofunny Thu 22-Jan-15 18:49:36

So what single level would those pieces get if they were levelled as a piece of English writing?
They wouldn't get one. hmm confused Writing doesn't get assessed on each individual piece, but across a range of writing. I don't know anyone, who would give a writing level based on one piece. confused

phlebasconsidered Thu 22-Jan-15 21:20:33

Levelling is a nightmare, but I find it just as dodgy in primary as I did in secondary. In secondary, in my subject(s), there was a LOT of writing to assess as well as coursework. I marked (and still do) A Levels for OCR, which helped me greatly in terms of levelling and grading Years 12 and 13, but the GCSE was never as predictable. We always ended up having huge moderation meetings and departmental shindigs levelling things out and the coursework moderation alone would be enough to make me weep.

In primary it's the same, as far as I can see. We still moderate nearly everything, but the big difference is the amount of evidence i'm expected to amass. Big Writes, ideas books, photographed group work, copied working wall work, videos, recording, every move they make is kept to back up your levels at the moderation meetings.

Of course, now we don't have levels.We can use wingdings instead.

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