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

Non Negotiables

Discussion in 'Primary' started by wldawson, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Hi, I am a parent and infant teacher although I have been out of education for a while due to having children. My Yr 1 daughter came home the other day with a list of 40 Non Negotiable 'skills' that she was 'expected to acheive' by the end of the year. I was completely shocked. She has struggled a bit with school work and I have given her plenty of help but have been very careful not to push or do too much. She is now working at approximately 1c so slightly under what is expected for this term. She has moved from a p6 last term so has improved greatly. She has been doing ELS to support her literacy skills, she is happy to go to school and is never in any trouble. Her teachers are really good and have supported her well. I have not heard of this non negs term before but I think it is awful. Am I the only one? My daughter has made amazing progress really and is trying hard. Unfortunately she will probably not acheive all of these things that are apparently non negotiable. I am so cross about this, it makes all the hard work that has gone on at school and home insignificant if she is going to 'fail' the year anyway. Does anyone else have any experience of this?

     
  2. Hi, I am a parent and infant teacher although I have been out of education for a while due to having children. My Yr 1 daughter came home the other day with a list of 40 Non Negotiable 'skills' that she was 'expected to acheive' by the end of the year. I was completely shocked. She has struggled a bit with school work and I have given her plenty of help but have been very careful not to push or do too much. She is now working at approximately 1c so slightly under what is expected for this term. She has moved from a p6 last term so has improved greatly. She has been doing ELS to support her literacy skills, she is happy to go to school and is never in any trouble. Her teachers are really good and have supported her well. I have not heard of this non negs term before but I think it is awful. Am I the only one? My daughter has made amazing progress really and is trying hard. Unfortunately she will probably not acheive all of these things that are apparently non negotiable. I am so cross about this, it makes all the hard work that has gone on at school and home insignificant if she is going to 'fail' the year anyway. Does anyone else have any experience of this?

     
  3. no... what sort of things are deemed non negotiable?
     
  4. ROSIEGIRL

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    It may just be bad use of language, but it certainly is a bit silly at best and pretty awful if they're serious. I can entirely understand your anger- I think I'd feel the same.
    Could you have a chat with your daughter's teacher, just to find out a bit more about about what's behind this rather strange move?
    Or you could write to the head, asking for some clarification - sometimes writing is easier because you can choose your words carefully - quite important when you're feeling angry or emotional about something.
    It sounds as if your daughter is doing well and you have a lovely attitude to her learning - supportive and patient. Good luck!

     
  5. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    It sounds as if they are trying to use parents to help raise standards which is good if they do this in a supportive way. They sound like they've gone about this in the wrong way and the words 'non negotiable' are strange when it comes to children's skills as they all learn at different rates. What kind of things are they saying are non negotiable?
    If I was you I'd talk to the teacher or head and see what is going on. Work towards the ones you think will help your daughter and ignore the others! For what it's worth it sounds like your daughter is doing well P6 to 1C already is good progress. Well done.
     
  6. 'Non-negotiable' is a term that is being used increasingly in education to order teachers around. My last head said that one of the non-negotiables was that there should be nothing stored on the tops of cupboards! She also had lots of non-negotiables regarding basic skills every day etc. The term 'non-negotiable' to me conveys an air of bullying and coercion that should not exist in grown up teams of people. Decisions such as when to do basic skills should be the result of discussion, and the HT who makes things non-negotiable is really saying, "I'm not giving reasons, I don't have to justify it, I'm not going to listen - just DO IT". If things are that essential there must be a rationale behind it that can be explained and accepted. I think it is disgusting if this mind set is now being passed down to Y1 children and their parents. And also completely wrong-headed, because 'non-negotiable' is about stuff you can have control over whereas what a child learns is ultimately out of the teacher's, parent's and child's control. A child is not an empty vessel into which you can pour stuff and know that it will stay there. We can only do our best in finding the way of teaching which will work with each child, and in finding what they are ready to learn as they progress. I would be 'hopping mad' if I had ever received anything like this from my children's school.
     
  7. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Lead commenter

    And what exactly will happen if your daughter doesn't achieve these 'non-negotiable' skills? It sounds pretty absurd.
     
  8. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Am I the only one who'd be tempted to create my own list in return?
     
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Nopes!
     
  10. Totally Agree!
    Also bear in mind this teacher could be following a scheme the headteacher has put in place and/or is keeping the parents that constantly request activities/tips on what they can do at home to help happy!
     
  11. clawthorpegirl

    clawthorpegirl New commenter

    We've got these in my school! They came from some training run by Focus Education which DHT attended. I think it depends very much on how they're used and explained to children and parents but we view them as a shortish list of key skills for reading, writing and maths (we tend to ignore the ICT ones at the moment).
    We don't assess children against them but have shared them with class and will sometimes have a basic skills type of lesson using these as an objective. I've not studied all of them but the Y2 set are reasonably achievable for most children except those with SEN.
    I can understand how OP must feel though and would say, as with many things, take with a pinch of salt. I would hope no school would talk in terms of a child failing if they hadn't met each skill.
     
  12. ROSIEGIRL

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    I think the phrase 'Non Negotiable' is ridiculous in this context.
     
  13. Our head went on the same course and brought them in for every teacher at the start of the year. Apparently we'll have to justify why children haven't achieved them at the end of the year.
    They are 'panic led/ofsted due' rubbish imo. Clutching at straws. I'd like to see my head have all year 4 children know all their tables by the end of year 4...non negotiable. Load of rubbish[​IMG]
     
  14. Well clawthorpegirl, perhaps you need to reflect on the meaning of the phrase non- negotiable, as your parents will probably understand that phrase and will not regard a list of 'non-negotiables' as some sort of simple list of basic skills which the child will be working towards. This sort of language does not give that impression. As for taking something 'with a pinch of salt', if that is what is intended why do it in the first place? I would get you DH to sack Focus Education if this is the sort of carp they come up with. Sorry if I sound confrontational, but this has really annoyed me.
     
  15. clawthorpegirl

    clawthorpegirl New commenter

    If you notice in my post I never said we used the term non-negotiable with either the children or the parents or shared the lists in the format they were provided. In a similar manner to the way we don't share APP grids either.
    Also unfortunately in most schools you don't get much choice with some of these things and have to work with them as best you can.
     
  16. That's all very well, but if you read the first post you will see that the thread is about a list of non-negotiables (the phrase is used) sent home with a year 1 child.
     
  17. I haven't used these, but I do know of them. I actually think they are a good idea, but to send them home to a parent without explanation, might be a bit harsh. I am all for basic skills being taught and a list of what children must do before at the end of each year is a reasonable thing to ask. We base our basic skills at the bottom end of expectations. So for the end of year 4, our list of basic skills that must be achieved are at around the 2a/3c mark.
     
  18. I agree that basic skills must be taught, and that it is useful to decide on a list of the essential skills that should be given priority. However, can't you see that the creation of non-negotiable targets will turn into a stick to beat teachers with? This is how I have seen the term non-negotiable used, and this is actually what the term denotes - there are no excuses or reasons for failing to achieve these targets, there is no discussion, this MUST happen.
     
  19. pachamama

    pachamama New commenter

    Sounds to me like the school is having a mad panic about what the children 'should' achieve and therefore are trying to share with parents what needs to be achieved. However, I would be livid if my child had been sent home a letter worded like this.
    You obviously are clued up and are doing all possible to help your child learn. Yes she may be slightly behind, but hopefully ELS will give her that little extra input that she needs.
    Have you asked the school what they are going to do to help her achieve further? Do they have any reading programmes in place? (Reading recovery is excellent)
    Sadly, 2 & a bit sub-levels is no longer good progress. I had children in my year 1 class last year that made excellent progress, some more than 3 sub levels. But because it wasn't in line with the national average it wasn't good enough.
    I would definitely speak to the teacher/SMT and explain your concerns. Good luck.
    Thank God I am not a little person in school today. My only worries were not getting sent on the carpet for being naughty and if Rebecca would still be my best friend at playtime!!
     
  20. But if the non negotiable is set at a reasonably low level, it ensures that the majority will have the basic skills. It will ensure that children move into years 5 and 6 being able to join handwriting and understand what a sentence is, and have a working knowledge of number bonds to 10 etc. It cannot work 100% of the time. For those children who have a statement, who are working so far below the standard, then they must be the exception, but for the majority, it's a good aim.
    As a year 6 teacher, my own non negotiable is to get all children to achieve 2 levels progress from KS1. That's my target set by me. It makes it a difficult task if they haven't got the basic skills expected by year 5.
     

Share This Page