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KS2 v KS1 - your honest opinions please

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sparklyrainbowfish, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Hi all
    I would really like your honest opinions as I am having a dilemma.
    I last taught in KS1 several years ago, most recently I have taught upper KS2 (mostly Y6) for a few years. Although I enjoy the interactions with the children and the level of teaching, I am wondering whether it would be a good thing for me to work in a different phase as it's such a while since I have.
    As lots of things in teaching have changed since I taught KS1 - I would really like to know what the main differences are between teaching KS2 and KS1. I can only rely on sketchy memories and these don't take into account new initiatives etc.
    I thought Year 2 might be a good move as with the Year 6 experience of SATs and most of my career having been in KS2 I can help with the year 2 assessments and transition to Year 3.
    So - what is different? What's better or worse in KS1 compared to KS2?
    Thanks a lot,
    sparkly.
     
  2. Hi all
    I would really like your honest opinions as I am having a dilemma.
    I last taught in KS1 several years ago, most recently I have taught upper KS2 (mostly Y6) for a few years. Although I enjoy the interactions with the children and the level of teaching, I am wondering whether it would be a good thing for me to work in a different phase as it's such a while since I have.
    As lots of things in teaching have changed since I taught KS1 - I would really like to know what the main differences are between teaching KS2 and KS1. I can only rely on sketchy memories and these don't take into account new initiatives etc.
    I thought Year 2 might be a good move as with the Year 6 experience of SATs and most of my career having been in KS2 I can help with the year 2 assessments and transition to Year 3.
    So - what is different? What's better or worse in KS1 compared to KS2?
    Thanks a lot,
    sparkly.
     
  3. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    Well, I can only answer as an NQT who has taught Y1s and Y6s on placement! I went in to my PGCE thinking "there's no way I'm teaching KS1, they're too small, I like KS2", and my first 2 placements were in KS2, Y3 & Y6 and I loved it, especially Y6. I loved the fact they are such characters and you could do really interesting lessons with them.
    My final placement was then in KS1. I was dreading at first but ended up loving it. At that age they are so cute and so keen to please, and actually want to learn. Plus I think it lends itself to much more "fun" lessons and less pressure to get them "working". Unforutnatly, they don't get my sense of humour at all, and it takes AGES for them to do anything! Y6 teachers often forget you have to tell them to get their coats, bags etc 10 mins before the end of the day - you can't just wait til the bell rings and then say "off you go" like you do in Y6.
    You don't say when you were last in KS1, but I'd imagine the biggest change since you left may be the importance of synthetic phonics. Lots of KS2 teachers are a bit freaked by phonics but a bit of training and practice and you soon pick it up.
    I don't think KS2 SATs are as vital as KS1 SATs as no one is held accountable for them. They are teacher assessed, and if you're in a combined/primary school there is no benefit to overestimating your results as it just gives the Y3 teachers a hard time to prove progress the next year....unforutnately in many split infant/junior schools the infant teachers don't give a s*** about this and regularly overestimate kids levels, giving the junior school a fun job in Y3. Just my personal little bug bear....!

    Anyway, I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but that's just my personal opinion.
     
  4. I suspect as a trainee, with respect, you've a lot to learn. I've taught KS1 and KS2 (now KS1) and I've never had so much pressure as this year when my class, for various reasons, are THE focus of the school.
    I do feel so many people think that KS1 is the easy option and some (only some) colleagues and others look down on KS1 teachers for this reason. Content is easier (true), marking load is easier(true), behaviour can be easier (sometimes true). But as in anything, there are compromises. As you found, being a KS1 teacher can be relentless. They are learning social skills, basic skills, listening skills ... I could go on. Sometimes I LONG for 20 minutes silent reading in my class.
    I know several KS2 teachers who DO hold their KS1 colleagues in great respect and could never teach the little ones for the reasons above. .
    This is just plain wrong. [​IMG]
     
  5. I am key stage 2 trained and my favourite year group is year 4. However, since September I have been working in year 1 and I have found it really difficult. I honestly thought year 1 would be a breeze! Not much marking, easy subject knowledge, no real behaviour problems, crickey was I wrong!
    The first half term was a NIGHTMARE, a real learning curve for me. The children found it difficult to do everything, from putting their coats on, to lining up, to sitting in a straight line in assesmbly. They had to man handled (in a nice way) for everything. Things are a little better now, but now we are working properly in books, new problems are arising. For example, they try to write the date and title ( I give them the opportunity to try), but then they go on to clean page to do the work! They had to be trained to do their work under the date and title. Every little thing has to be taught because they have never done it before, and they often don't see the reasoning behind common sense scenerios. It is very tiring and a lot of patience is needed.
    Also, in year 1 some children have only just turned 5 and some are already 6 so the children are very different in terms of maturity and development. Some children just aren't ready to be sitting at a desk, meeting government targets. Year 1 is supposed to have a transition period so that the children can still learn through play for the first term, but if your school is under Ofsted's watchful eye like mine is, the head will probably want children at desks as soon as possible. I feel sorry for the little mites, I just feel like I am pushing some of them to learn things they aren't ready for yet.

    Year 2 will be different again though because they are a bit older. I am iching to get back to key stage 2.
    Good luck.
     
  6. Yes, my point exactly. Keep going - it does have many rewards!!
     
  7. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think a lot may depend on your personality. Years ago knew a colleague who was happy with KS2 having moved from Sec. and ended up in Year 1 feeling 'it was what she'd been born for!'
    Personally I prefer KS2 but when my own children were younger and I was more used to younger ones I coped quite happily with KS1.
    Have a quick trawl thro' these theads
    <h2>Moving from KS2 to KS1 and visa versa</h2><h2>Anyone else moving for KS1 to lower KS2 in September?</h2><h2>Moving from KS1 to KS2 - How easy & is it a good idea?</h2>from people who've recently made the move.



     
  8. Ok, so let's see if this is right so far:
    +ve = less marking, behaviour (maybe)
    -ve = time taken to do stuff, training them to follow rules / meet expectations, behaviour (maybe), teaching social skills, different levels of maturity...
    I presume you need to be super-organsied, well-resourced, have lots of creative ideas and energy...
    If I've got this right - all the negative stuff sounds like things I've had to deal with in KS2 anyway! I know when they are little it's different - and I've always seen myself as a KS2 teacher for that reason.
    Really want to know what other people think so I can decide whether I should make to move to KS1 or not. What is good about KS1?
    thanks again,
    sparkly
     
  9. Thanks Lara - I'll have a look
     
  10. Yes (that's not to say KS2 don't need to be...)
    True - but I always felt it was relentless in KS1 in a way it wasn't in KS2. The hardest part is realising how little they can do all round and allowing for this.
     
  11. Now, let me try and be more positive and go away and think about the good stuff in KS1!!
     
  12. I would say this depends entirely on your personality. I teach upper KS2 and find EY and KS1 really, really hard. The subject matter/content of lessons isn't an issue. Making lessons fun isn't an issue (this should be the aim wherever you teach if poss) - it's all about class management for me.
    I like the fact that by Year 5, all the hard work in terms of 'training' has been done. I can snap my fingers and say "1 minute to tidy and pack up" and I know it will be done. I can't bear the fact everything takes littlies SOOOO long and they can't sit still and listen or more than 2 minutes, and they wet themselves, burst into tears, fight etc. I can't stand having to be totally bouncy and 'upbeat' all the time, and not being able to 'come down hard' on those that misbehave! I also think you need to be far more creative when teaching children who can't read, and hardly write!
    Upper KS2 lends itself to my style of teaching and it would be very difficult (although not impossible) for me to change this style to suit a KS1 class.
     
  13. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    Don't get me wrong - I dont' think KS1 is the "easy" option at all - my first job is giong to be in Y1! I agree I do have a lot to learn - what I meant about getting children "working" is that you can give them far more games and things to do, which they will see as fun activities, than you can in KS2. Some of the maths for example in KS2 just has to be taught with a pencil and paper and it's really hard to turn it in to a game. I don't mean it's all fun and games in Year 1 and no one cares if they learn or not - of course they do.
    Re the KS1 SATs thing, I probably misphrased that, I'm sure the Year 2 teachers are held accountable. I just meant they are not published in a newspaper and the school placed in a league table with them, as in KS2. Or so everything I read in my research about this has told me - its' the main reason teacher assessment is fine for that. If the school was being held accountable there'd be every reason for giving the children inflated levels (though as I said this gives the Year 3 teachers a mountain to climb).
     
  14. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    As a supply now i tach in all areas of primary.from nursery through to year6....but in the =ast mainly taught in KS2
    The ks1 children express keemness to work,ar generally less bolshi,beter behaved and cheerful,but the down side is the small amount of output, the constant need to remind them of rules and to make sure you organise them and h their day.this particlarly applies to EYL.
    Marking content grows by year 2 but on the whole ther is a lot of observational work and noting down by teachers
    KS2,,require more discipline and keepinf the pace going.You do have a higher mark ing workload and more detailed lesson preporation, combined with issues of adolesence and attempts to 'thart' the rules and systems.
    Can one move.or course one can if your professional about it........they both require planning, marking,observing direction and nurture....and in one sense being on the go with reception can be more tiring than say a lessone with year 6 who are hopefully beavering away. at a task.In the end it comes down to what satisfys you, the class and the flexibility of yourself.
     
  15. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I moved from only ever having a year 5 or above class for 15 years to having a year 2 class this year. It hasn't been half as difficult as everyone else seemed to think it would be.

    If you are a good teacher, you will always respond to the needs of the children in front of you (emotional, physical, social as well as academic) so it hardly matters who it is.

    Yes there is more opportunity for practical lessons in KS1, but then you have your SLT asking to see 'evidence' of learning and you don't necessarily have any. You can take photos, record S&L activities, photocopy whiteboards and such like, but you can't always pre-empt what will happen have have ready a way to record the evidence. Writing on a post it what happened is apparently not good enough as anyone could write anything!

    There is far less marking, but you have to find a way to do it with the children really. What do the rest of the class do while you mark work? What does the child whose work you marked first do while you mark the rest? And so on. If you do it without the child and give it back to them, they often can't read it, even if you write really easy words. In the first half term I wrote 'ask me' in a handwriting book, assuming the child (who is pretty capable) would read it and so ask me what it was about. Nopes, next day they got their book out and copied the letters over and over to fill a line! Grrrrr!

    In terms of levels there seems to be more pressure in a way. Our school needs children to make better progress, but if they do there needs to be evidence for every single bit as no-one just believes you. You have to justify every single sub-level in every single attainment target. In year 6 we pretty much did a past sats paper and marked it and got a level, end of story!

    I'd not move back for all the tea in China! not even to year 3/4. Would quite like year 1 next year but there is little chance of that.
     
  16. Ive taught KS2 for 8 years. Each group of kids and year group is different. Personally I like yr 3/4 the most because they are independant enough but still full of awe and wonder.
    Ive been doing a lot of supply, and have jumped out of my comfort zone itnto KS1 also. In my opinion, Yr 1 and 2 are great for all of the reasons listed above. Year R however, never again....!
    An added advantage is that KS1 really adds to your KS2 skills - especially class management and behaviour control. Its a lot easier dealing with a room full of bouncy year 6's when you can envisage them as Yr1's - they aren't that different....[​IMG]

    Incidentally, you should consider some of the ideas on here : www.beasupplyteacher.co.uk as there is a lot of sense said about primary teaching in general.
     
  17. becky70

    becky70 New commenter

    OFSTED still check out the data as does the LEA. My school has good results at KS2 but not so good at KS1 hence KS1 staff are under greater pressure. Factor in the new reading test coming in - this is a huge pressure on Reception and even more Year 1 teachers. By the way, I believe results of the Year 1 reading test will be published but even if not it will be one of the first things OFSTED look at - phonics teaching is going to be a big issue in the new framework.
    I think I teach KS1 more effectively than I do KS2 (until Sept I spent four years teaching every age from EYFS to Year 6) but I know the reverse is true for some of my colleagues. There are several of my colleagues who would probably resign if our head asked them to do Year 1 and as for what would happen if she asked them to do EYFS...
     
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I've done KS1 for 2 years. Could not get my head around zones of learning and the learning through play that the reception teacher was suggesting. I like doing it for short bursts but much prefer KS2.
     
  19. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Are you mental? People are held accountable for the KS2 SATs A LOT more than the KS1 tests. The fact that in Y2 it is all down to TA makes the actual 'tests' nearly irrelevant.
     
  20. Not totally sure, but I think the poster meant to say that she didn't think KS1 SATs are as vital as KS2 SATs, not the other way around...
     

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