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To be worried about ds year 7 English level?

89 replies

House4 · 24/07/2017 07:51

My ds has finished year 7 with an English level of 4a. This is what he started the year on. He has officially made no progress throughout the year. His end of year target was 5c.

The reports were given out on the day before the last school day so not enough time to digest and ask the teacher. It's playing on my mind now.

He has either met or exceeded levels in all other subjects. He has achieved a 6c in Maths (and has always been in the top set).

In year 6 SAT's his Writing level was 'working towards' so I had asked the Year 7 English teacher earlier in the year if he needed extra help and she said no. He doesn't particularly dislike teacher or lesson and was given 'good' for effort, behaviour and homework.

I will obviously speak to the school as soon as they start again in September but should I do anything now? I.e. Have him assessed independently or start to look at private tutoring? I do not want it to be 'too late' to get help by the time he is sitting his GCSE's.
Any advice appreciated.

OP posts:
Cary2012 · 24/07/2017 07:56

Presumably he starts High School in September OP?

minionsrule · 24/07/2017 07:56

Bit surprised you were given the grade, i thought these had been done away with? My ds has just finished year 7 and his report just talked about attainment levels, eg enhanced, core, higher etc with colours highlighting if at, above or below expected standard but we are in england.
Mightbe a bit early for tutors, speak to teacher after summer and see what is said.

FartnissEverbeans · 24/07/2017 08:00

I'm an English teacher and although those grades are a load of rubbish anyway (hence why they've been done away with nationally) I'd phone up and ask for a meeting to find out if he really isn't progressing.

Whatsername17 · 24/07/2017 08:00

It is difficult to know what a 4a means as levels have been scrapped nationally and all schools have their own system. Have you got any indication as to whether he is working at/towards/below the nationally expected level? The first thing to do would be to come tact his HOY at the beginning of the year and ask if you could arrange a meeting to discuss his progress in English. The HOY should ask the head of English to attend. Take his books with you and discuss your concerns. I'm a HOY. In this situation is expect that between me and the head of English we could come up with a few strategies to help. Boys are often better at maths than English at his age. Maths is logical, right or wrong. English requires a slower approach and there isn't always a 'right or wrong' answer. It requires a different learning style. Does your ds like to read? That can make a huge difference. Kids who dislike reading can often struggle.

House4 · 24/07/2017 08:02

Cary - he is in secondary school - just finished his first year.
Minions- thank you. We are in England too. They are using these levels - it's confusing when looking on the internet for info as diff schools seem to be doing diff things and there isn't much information on the report other than this. I am worried he hasn't made any progress in an important (the most important?) subject ☹️

OP posts:
Cary2012 · 24/07/2017 08:04

Sorry, ignore my previous post, he's just finished first year at High School...daft me.

Right, as an English teacher at High School I would advise you to see if he has different teacher/s in year 8 for English, whether he has been moved set wise. I would keep close tabs on feedback in his English book. Being aware is good, and if I had concerns after first half term I would certainly raise them via email/call to Head of English at that point. Do you know what his ATL (attitude to learning) grade was?

PotteringAlong · 24/07/2017 08:05

But an option of national curriculum level 4 is not the same as a new gcse level 4 so he could have made good progress, it's just being reported as the same number.

IchFliegeNach · 24/07/2017 08:08

As an English HoD, I would be concerned and have already highlighted a student who made no progress whatsoever in a year.
Definitely ask for a meeting, look at his book, etc.
However - be warned! The new post-levels system is such a mess that we actually genuinely don't really know nationally, or even departmentally, what we are actually doing with levelling or grading! Surprised they are still using levels as well. So the number or grade is sometimes utterly meaningless.
Regardless, actually teaching and kids making progress hasn't changed so you should be able to see a 'journey' (cheesy term, sorry) in his book and assessments. So look for work he has tried that has been marked with targets, him having another go, getting better, etc
Otherwise, if his behaviour and effort were good, I would be hoping for a different teacher in September, to be honest.

LiveLifeWithPassion · 24/07/2017 08:13

There's some good advice here.

Does he read for pleasure? Get him reading as much as he can.
As well as books, get him to read newspaper articles, some poetry or song lyrics and just talk about them.

DoctorDonnaNoble · 24/07/2017 08:18

Yes, you need to know whether it's an 'old' Level 4 or a GCSE 4. The presence of letters suggests an old NC Level but this might not be the case.

BringOnTheScience · 24/07/2017 08:19

Is it definitely a 4 in old primary levels (which were scrapped before your DS did his yr6 SATS) or is it actually a GCSE grade attainment or forecast? Ie grades 1 to 9 with 5 beng a 'good pass'?

Cat0115 · 24/07/2017 08:21

Hello.Without seeing your child's work it is hard to say but are you clear on what progress means in English? Does the teacher mean written communication (grammar)-useful for ALL subjects where written response is required or specifically Literature skills such as reading for inference? It's much too early to get a tutor in my view unless there are clearly defined reasons for doing so - not least because you run the risk of putting the child off. There are lots of ways of encouraging and supporting your child that are fairly easy to incorporate into family life: subscribe to 'First News',read and discuss articles together; write to the newspapers about an issue of interest;look at The Carnegie list and pick out a couple of books to read together or go to the library and do the same.Who is the reading role model at home?

nellytheelephant21 · 24/07/2017 08:25

Have pm'd you

minionsrule · 24/07/2017 08:58

Hope you get some answers from school op, you probably felt as we did in year 6 that we were guinea pigs for new cirriculum and when i thought i knew exactly where ds sat, i now don't know. We didn't even get told formally how he did in eoy exams..... his report did however tell us areas to work on.

House4 · 24/07/2017 09:04

Thanks everyone for your replies.
It is the new level GCSE grading.
It is the no progress I'm more concerned with now reading the replies. I can see this myself when I think about it over the last year or two in his reading and writing. His verbal communication is great. I will definitely arrange a meeting when he is back at school with HOD and keep in close contact with the class teacher. He always used to read lots but as he has got older hasn't kept this up. I buy him books but he isn't interested unless it's Tom Gates. We encourage this as anything is better than nothing. Will get back on top of the reading. I won't panic for now then!

OP posts:
Pengggwn · 24/07/2017 09:12

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cary2012 · 24/07/2017 09:13

I don't want to confuse you more OP, but I have had students that have made progress, but not enough to go up a level. And there are so many different boxes to tick with English, so he could be stalling in one area, coming on well in another, and it looks worse on paper than it is when it's averaged across a grade. Don't get too hung up on grades, do talk to school next term and encourage him to read, anything he likes is better than nothing.

BertrandRussell · 24/07/2017 09:18

If that's the new GCSE level then I really wouldn't worry. Remember ah there is a huge difference between primary and secondary English. And GCSE level 5 is an incredibly high target for year 7..........

Pengggwn · 24/07/2017 09:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KeiraTwiceKnightley · 24/07/2017 09:21

While attempting to predict new GCSE grades in Y7 is an absolute load of toss - we can't even do it for the Y11 who have just taken the things! - if the school are saying he is on a GCSE 4 at the end of y7, that's fine. 4 is a pass, a top 4 is roughly equivalent to a GCSE C. So he is pass grade capability now with 4 years to go.

Getting him reading will help though. Boys often get stuck on an author/genre and/or give up. Maybe try nonfiction - autobiography of a sports star he likes perhaps?

BringOnTheScience · 24/07/2017 09:22

If it is a GCSE 4... is it attainment or a forecast for what they think he's going to get? Forecast grades won't change massively. One of mine was steadily forecast 7/8 (awaiting results) and the other is forecast 1/2 :-(

nellytheelephant21 · 24/07/2017 09:23

If it is new GCSE grading then a grade 4 is significant progress from an old style level 4


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nellytheelephant21 · 24/07/2017 09:26

If it is new GCSE grading then a grade 4 is significant progress from an old style level 4

Whatsername17 · 24/07/2017 09:26

A lot of schools use a 'flight path'. If a child should get a grade 8 at GCSE (an A* in old money) then they will have to maintain an 8 from year 7 to year 11. The school will have a list of things that a grade 8 pupil could do in year 7 and tick them off against it (like an APP grid). That might be why they are using qualifiers like a, b, c. The 'a' suggests he's close to achieving a 5, which is a grade C. Clear as mud for the parents. If this is the case, your ds might need some interventions to ensure he achieves a 5 or better at GCSE.

nellytheelephant21 · 24/07/2017 09:28

And yes re none of us knowing what the grade boundaries are actually going to look like.... In our school we are grading based on what we think it will look like as exam boards have bern rubbish in giving any information

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