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Reading age of 8 in Year 10

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by iainanders, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

    Should my friends son have an if his reading age is 8? And why has the school never provided 1:1 intervention?
  2. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    The organisation 'See A Voice' states:

    "The average reading age of the UK population is 9 years – that is, they have achieved the reading ability normally expected of a 9-year-old. The Guardian has a reading age of 14 and the Sun has a reading age of 8".

    A reading age of 8 for a Y10 pupils is not what one would hope for but some might therefore argue that it may fall within 'normal' ranges rather than be a clear indication of SEND. All that said I would hope that the school and indeed the parents would have been doing something to help with progress some time ago
    lindenlea likes this.
  3. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Impossible to say with so little information.

    Firstly, reading ages are notoriously unreliable. Best practice has advised to not use them for at least 10years, because they don't mean what people think they mean.

    Secondly, these tests tend to be done on computers as groups, which introduces a huge variability in reasons for scores. Everything from 'I can't be bothered today' to 'I saw my friend had already finished' can and will kick in to some extend. I have seen scores go backwards by 24months over the course of an academic year, which is simply impossible without a serious neurological incident!

    Thirdly, have the parent had such a concern before? How did they find out about this score? If it is regularly reported in school reports, then I assume this parent has had no concerns before now? If not, why have they suddenly got a reading age score?

    Fourthly, is this a reading comprehension age or reading accuracy age?

    Fifthly, of course it is entirely possible that the school have missed a reading difficulty, it does happen. However, I would be surprised if they could get to Year10 without some indicators were obvious. Either poor behaviour, or poor standard of work, or distractability, or a teacher picking up on some shocking spelling. Although it is common to hear of stories like this, it is actually quite rare in practice (in my experience) for a school to miss so many things. Schools often do a lot of things to support pupils that parents are unaware of, and it is something which schools in general need to be better at communicating.

    Sixthly, even if it is the case, a 1:1 reading intervention may not have been required. If your friend's son is accessing his lessons it might actually be more detrimental to take him out of those lessons for such an intervention than leaving him in. Sometimes problems are created by good intentions. Such reading interventions recommend at least 3 or 4 interventions per week for sustained and useful impact, and this is generally impossible in a secondary school curriculum where lessons are an hour long. If we took pupils out for 4 hours per week (because we can't really cycle pupils in and out of lessons without huge disruption) then we are probably creating massive difficulties for that pupil in those lessons!
  4. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

  5. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    This is sadly all too common. When I worked at a UK Academy, we'd often have around 50% of our Year 7 intake be at least 2 years below their chronological reading age. By Year 10, we'd still have a good 20-30% way below where they should be. 8 is extreme, though the accuracy of that is massively variable as Flanks points out. If accurate, no way will they be able to access GCSEs and the school should apply for them to have a Reader in those exams which permit one.

    Is it a SEN issue? In my old school it was an English Department issue (in fact, my issue). We ran several reading intervention programmes (Lexia, Accelerated Reader, Reader Leader, Inference, Read Write Inc) and had a "war board" of targetted students tracking their progress and which interventions they had received. It had some impact. Those that didn't make much prgress did tend to be those with other SEN issues (dyslexia, global delay, etc) or were EAL students.

    However, fundamentally, it was mostly the case that students' parents didn't read, they weren't encouraged to read, they had few books in the house, they weren't taken to libraries and so on. So, no, not usually a SEN issue.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I believe the poor behaviour masks the real issues and he probably joins in the banter and disruption to avoid showing his reading and other needs

    Or, alternatively, poor behaviour may have caused the issues.
  7. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

    Always a combination of both.
  8. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

  9. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

    So let's put aside that for primary school and 3 .5 years at secondary nothing has been done. What should be done now?
  10. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    As you choose to ask the question passive aggressively, I will start my answer the same way.

    Putting aside the fact that the parent has paid no attention to their child's literacy skills or education for 14 years.....

    (See how unhelpful it is to apportion blame? Really gets in the way of trying to have productive conversations doesn't it?? There are thousands of reasons for poor literacy, and there is every chance the school has done it's job perfectly well, just as there is every chance the parents have done theirs perfectly well, but as you don't have a clue and neither do I, why do we bother blaming one side or the other? Ridiculous isn't it...)

    The school need to ask the pupil what they would be willing to engage with.

    1:1 literacy intervention is both least likely to work (due to age) and often the least likely thing a year 10 will engage with, but can be offered.

    The school could do a Round Robin for specific feedback about literacy skills. It may well be that the child is doing reasonably well despite these scores. Test scores are at best a colouring in of things, not something which draw the boundaries of needs (although they are often seen the other way around). Literacy is essentially a behavioural outcome of multiple risk factors, and often the best assessment of literacy is to look at the pupil's day to day output. If this indicates difficulties, a test is then a useful confirmation of the level of need.

    It would also be useful for some of these scores to be examined in greater depth. Is the spelling weak but easily recognisable as target word? Is the reading accuracy weak but phonologically plausible? In both these cases, one could argue that intervention outside the classroom would do more harm than good. The spelling issue is largely moot and the reading issue would be dealt with in class by ensuring the teacher teachers and articulates subject specific vocabulary clearly.

    As the letter you scanned says, they will look to see whether exam arrangements are necessary, which is correct to do.

    It is also worth asking if this is a relatively new development? For example, did they pass their KS2 Reading and GPVS? Have there been any life events that have impacted education? Has there been any prolonged period of illness or school refusal?
  11. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

    Passive aggressive or factual and exasperated as it is surely to late to do anything of any meaning. There is no doubt that in this case the single low income parent has struggled to do the right things for the lad in the past 10 years. Except that she has been in every month for the past year to get some action only to feel that she was fighting a brick wall. Hence why she asked me to attend the meeting. The person we were suppose to meet was ill we were told on arrival. The SENDCO is deemed too busy to engage with her. The boy is well liked by staff and has a high attendance rate. He also has an exemplary record in the sea cadets which he started in October. It is the only positive and constructive engagement he feels he has. He has done what you would expect become withdrawn at school is suffering from bullying at school due to his weight and ginger hair . His self esteem is bordering on mental illness. The mother has been told he would unlikely to get any help as the waiting list is now up to 40 kids. Some schools in plymouth are struggling under the weight of need and even the person we meet seemed to be at the end of her tether explaining how impossible it was for them, to make any difference. The fight has been drained from the staff was my feeling. I agree it is not constructive to apportion blame so it was agreed at the meeting he would be observed by one of the send teachers. I suggested that low key observation by someone, he does not know, in both a successful lesson and unsuccessful lesson might help identify what positive reinforcements to use. It transpires he is out of some lessons to create space for learning but the send teacher could not say what he does at those lessons? Whether it is constructive or merely catch-up homework. His homework is not checked by the tutor and daily class reading which they do with all students seems totally unproductive or effective as there appears to be no check if the kids are actually gaining anything from it.

    I am not clued up enough but I suspect he will not get anything in his exams. So why continue beating the same path? He need some basic literacy and numeracy skills and to work on his self esteem and then he has a chance of getting into the navy. He wants to be a navy engineer or chef. Can the school not just target those skills and forget the rest?
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I expect he is being offered an appropriate education. That happens to most children in most schools. Not all, I know, but almost always. At his age, it is up to him, whether he engages or not. No, of course it isn't too late, it still wouldn't be if he was 50.
  13. iainanders

    iainanders New commenter

    I appreciate all the professional takes on this issue. I think me finding out what he is being offered is key and seeing if it can be tailored to get him into Navy. And mum takes on board her obligations to support him in partnership with the school. As an employer he is not employable at the moment. The Navy trades may be the only window to lifelong success for him. Shame they did away with boy soldiers. If he was closer then duchy college Cornwall may be an option. It has brought home to me how important literacy and numeracy is and I had taken for granted that this was a given when for many different reasons it isn't. Functional skill level 1 has got to be the target and then something like https://www.duchy.ac.uk/cornwallcol...vices-academy/entry-to-the-uniformed-services
  14. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    It sounds as if the school are doing things then, particularly if they have created time out of class for him. Perhaps they have been poor at communicating this to home over the years, but it suggests that they have been aware of the need and done something about it.

    It's also worth saying, that a reading age of 8 counts as 'basic literacy skills'. A very large section of the population above age 40 not only get by with less, but have had and are having very successful careers while doing so. So while it isn't unimportant, it also isn't a prospect-ender the way that schools often suggest.

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