1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

How do I know if my Y9 daughter is getting a good education?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by MrsC@TheGates, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    Sorry if advance if this is a bit long-winded.
    I am a primary practitioner with a Y9 daughter. At primary school she was always very talkative about school and her learning. She attained L5s in Y6, works hard and behaves well. She was identified as gifted and talented (not that I really agree with it).
    Since going to secondary school, she has become quieter and quieter about school. If I ask she just says it was boring or alright. I have put this down to becoming a teenager. She gets good reoprts and at open evening the teachers said she is doing well and works hard and is a model student in terms of attitude. The only issue was that she doesn't put her hand up in class and she has explained to me that the other students laugh if a wrong answer is given, so she doesn't bother.
    Her current levels and end of year levels are quite variable with one subject target for 7c and she is currently already attaining this. In one language she is 6b but 5c (having regressed 2 sub levels this year) in her second language and now is not taking it at GCSE.
    She's in the top sets and the homework for these sets is overbearing. She sits, from arriving home after clubs, till after 10pm mainly doing homework- but I don't know if she is just bad at time management.
    The tasks seem very closed and sometimes involve colouring in which I feel is an issue.
    The marking in her books is very variable and in many subjects nothing but ticks and 'well dones'. Lot of subjects don't set curricular targets and she has no idea how to move her learning forwards in them.
    The school is very strict about uniform and lateness, but my daughter describes some appalling behaviour of some boys in some of her classes which disrupt learning and is very offensive to the teachers.
    Some subjects seem stronger with effective marking linked to levels and curricular targets. There is no peer and self assessment as far as I can see.
    Her tutor is lovely and has helped with a few fall outs with friends and to develop my daughter's social skills.
    There is a fantastic range of out of school clubs and lots of broad trips- which I really appreciate.
    I have tried so hard not to be 'the complaining parent'. However, I have contacted the head twice about homework. Some consultation was undertaken after the first time (online parent survey) but no results were shared and my daughter says there has been no student voice on this issue.
    The second time I mentioned the amount and the content and identified a few examples. The head forwarded my email to the departmental heads. I then spoke with them to say it was more a strategic issue in my opinion, not specific to the department.
    When my daughter first started at the school (middle class with higher then average intake I would think- based on local primary results), the school had just above national results. Last year there were below national (significantly in some areas).
    So,
    How much progress should my daughter be making?
    To be 'on track;' for A-C at GCSE where does she need to be by end of Y9?
    Is finding school alright or boring normal in Y9?
    Is such variable practice in marking and curricular target setting usual in secondary schools as they are so big?
    How much homework is appropriate and does it really have any impact on progress?
    Does this picture look worrying to you?
    If it does- what would you do about it, without being the pain in ***** that the school can really do without?
    Thanks so much, any responses would be appreciated.

     
  2. Hi,
    Sorry if advance if this is a bit long-winded.
    I am a primary practitioner with a Y9 daughter. At primary school she was always very talkative about school and her learning. She attained L5s in Y6, works hard and behaves well. She was identified as gifted and talented (not that I really agree with it).
    Since going to secondary school, she has become quieter and quieter about school. If I ask she just says it was boring or alright. I have put this down to becoming a teenager. She gets good reoprts and at open evening the teachers said she is doing well and works hard and is a model student in terms of attitude. The only issue was that she doesn't put her hand up in class and she has explained to me that the other students laugh if a wrong answer is given, so she doesn't bother.
    Her current levels and end of year levels are quite variable with one subject target for 7c and she is currently already attaining this. In one language she is 6b but 5c (having regressed 2 sub levels this year) in her second language and now is not taking it at GCSE.
    She's in the top sets and the homework for these sets is overbearing. She sits, from arriving home after clubs, till after 10pm mainly doing homework- but I don't know if she is just bad at time management.
    The tasks seem very closed and sometimes involve colouring in which I feel is an issue.
    The marking in her books is very variable and in many subjects nothing but ticks and 'well dones'. Lot of subjects don't set curricular targets and she has no idea how to move her learning forwards in them.
    The school is very strict about uniform and lateness, but my daughter describes some appalling behaviour of some boys in some of her classes which disrupt learning and is very offensive to the teachers.
    Some subjects seem stronger with effective marking linked to levels and curricular targets. There is no peer and self assessment as far as I can see.
    Her tutor is lovely and has helped with a few fall outs with friends and to develop my daughter's social skills.
    There is a fantastic range of out of school clubs and lots of broad trips- which I really appreciate.
    I have tried so hard not to be 'the complaining parent'. However, I have contacted the head twice about homework. Some consultation was undertaken after the first time (online parent survey) but no results were shared and my daughter says there has been no student voice on this issue.
    The second time I mentioned the amount and the content and identified a few examples. The head forwarded my email to the departmental heads. I then spoke with them to say it was more a strategic issue in my opinion, not specific to the department.
    When my daughter first started at the school (middle class with higher then average intake I would think- based on local primary results), the school had just above national results. Last year there were below national (significantly in some areas).
    So,
    How much progress should my daughter be making?
    To be 'on track;' for A-C at GCSE where does she need to be by end of Y9?
    Is finding school alright or boring normal in Y9?
    Is such variable practice in marking and curricular target setting usual in secondary schools as they are so big?
    How much homework is appropriate and does it really have any impact on progress?
    Does this picture look worrying to you?
    If it does- what would you do about it, without being the pain in ***** that the school can really do without?
    Thanks so much, any responses would be appreciated.

     
  3. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    Two levels of progress from KS2 to end of KS3. So Level 5 at end of primary= Level 7 at end of Year 9. Level 5 at Key stage 3 should equate to Grade C at GCSE, so anything above that should be A*-B. In MFL the levels are expected to be lower - as most pupils don't start learning a language until Year 7 (although there are now, of course, exceptions where primaries are introducing languages). So Level 5 at end of Year 9 would be considered good and GCSE target grade would be A/B.
    Perfectly normal. The enthusiastic learners of Year 7 have usually succumbed to other interests (mostly extra curricular) by Year 9.
    No. Schools, however big, should have clear marking policies followed by all departments. No two subjects will look the same - because they have different criteria - but they should be setting targets. This is a thorny issue - in some schools the targets are meant to be 'aspirational', in others they are realistic, expected levels. For the students who are very able aspirational targets are a good motivator. For those who are unlikely to achieve them however much work they put in they are very demotivating.
    Your school should have a marking policy - ask the Head if you can see it.
    At my school it's roughly 1 and a half hours a night for Year 9, rising to 2 hours for KS4. There is no hard and fast rule. Of course as teachers it is quite difficult to guage how long a student might take to complete a piece of work. One might blast through it in about 15 minutes, while another will be spending an hour or more. It would be quite helpful to have some feedback from parents about how much time their children are spending on homework - assuming it is being done exclusively and not at the same time as facebook and MSN chat! I think it would be worth speaking to your daughter's tutor if you think she is being overwhelmed by the amount she is required to do.
    As for the impact on progress - generally those students who do their homework attain better grades than those who don't, although there are always exceptions either way! This is an observation - I'm not claiming anything about cause and effect.
    If you are worried contact the form tutor or head of year or head of key stage (whichever your daughter's school has). These are all reasonable (and frequently asked!) questions and unless you raise them your daughter's teachers won't know that you are concerned.

     
  4. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I may be barking up the wrong tree, but this might be a major part of the problem. And I'd lay good money on these individuals being the ones that laugh at wrong answers - though they probably couldn't give the answer themselves.

    If I am right, these individuals need a really good sorting out immediately - it won't be just your daughter that's suffering. There are few things worse than a group of disruptive boys, so try and compare notes with other parents, and if this is the case get together and complain en mass - and keep complaining and go to the board of governors if necessary.
     
  5. ferrisbueller

    ferrisbueller New commenter

    DG - how long have you been away? The system is now so screwed up that giving 'a really good sorting out' means a detention (not effective for most) or a fixed term isolation - or 'holiday' for two days.
    These problems are endemic within the system and cannot be solved by a school alone. You now have kids in classes that 20 years ago would have been in a special behavioural unit. Coupled with the issue of growing mental health issues in the young, you don't stand a chance!
    On the issue of progress, go through the headteacher, who, if worth their 6 figure salary, will kick ass !
     
  6. i compleatly agree, just ask, its the best thing to do.
     
  7. wrt to the homework - this has been a problem here - your problem may be completely different but what worked for us was:
    1. get a schedule of homework including how long each piece should take and so how much there should be each night
    2. get homework done in a public room - kitchen, dining room - living room with a fold out table and who wanted to watch the tv anyway to see if (a) it''s being done in a concentrated manner (not dipping in and out of facebook/msn as aleready said (b) which homeworks are the stumbling blocks
    3. reasons for homework taking too long
    (a) it's too much homework - it's a ridiculous amount or a ridiculous task (if she is having trouble researching a topic on the internet, you try - if you have trouble, the teacher is at fault - it's horribly common) if she has done the 'real' homweork and the rest is colouring in, is she brave enough to take it in as is with an 'i'm sory but she didn't have time' note from you. if this was a flowchart, most of these arrows would end in 'go in and talk to subject /form teacher/year leader
    (b) she's too conscientious - you need to look at her books and talk about an acceptable and sanity-saving standard. this is not skiving off, this is excellent preparation for real life
    (c) are there subjects she finds so difficult the homework does take forever? you mention languages - does vocabulary learning take 3 times as long as it should? if she wishes to continue with these subjects, can you help? if desparate, can you get a tutuor? are there subjects she really has difficulty with that she will definitely jettison next year - if so, see (b)
    (d) even without facebook etc, is too much homework time spent staring at the wall/sharpening pencils/on other distraction ploys? do you just need to sit in the room reading a magazine and coughing from time to time, or is this an indicator of inner panic?
    good luck!
     
  8. Thanks for your responses- some ideas really seem to 'hit the nail on the head'. And, perhaps if she's on track for her A-Cs I should worry a little less.
     

Share This Page