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What to do if you doubt chns class levels as an NQT?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by angelatreneman, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. I'm looking for advice on what I should do. I am a NQT and I feel that the levels I have been given for my class from the previous teacher are a little inflated. I am basing this on what they have shown me so far that they are capable of producing. I realise that I have high expectations (which I think is a good thing) and I also realise that it is early days and settling in after a long summer holiday.
    However....!! I am in a mixed Year 1 and 2 class. If any of you do the Read, Write, Inc programme, the majority of my Year 1s are on red ditty books (advice from a fellow teacher from another school is that they should be off these books by Christmas in Reception). Many can barely form their letters when writing; very few are blending words, although they do know most of the alphabet sounds; some can't recognise numbers past 5.
    I have my first meeting with my HT tomorrow and I am wondering whether I should flag up my worries?? I don't want to teach for a year and then for someone to say "well they haven't gone up a level" when I think they are starting from a lower level than has been recorded. But at the same time, I don't want to be seen as a "troublemaker" if this is "not the kind of thing that you do".
    I'm sure this is a common situation, but I would like to hear your views on whether I should say something or let things lie and deal with it as the year unfolds.
    Advice much appreciated. Thanks!
  2. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Raise it in a polite way. If you don't mention it, it'll get to the end of the year and you'll either give inflated levels, or it'll look like they haven't made progress. If you tell management now, then you've made them aware that you don't agree. Take evidence if you don't.

    However don't approach it in an accusing way or anything, just say you've noticed some levels which you're not 100% sure about and would like to discuss. You could even ask the previous teacher and use being an NQT as an excuse "Can you explain how this child is a level 3? I'm not sure what level 3 looks like" even if you do know. Be polite about it but make sure you do say and it's acknowledged that you don't agree.

    Also remember that you are an NQT, and you may not have as much experience as other teachers, and what you perceive to be say a level 2 may not be the same, which is why moderating is important! I'd use being an NQT as an excuse if I was you and act a bit dumb. That way you won't step on toes.
  3. If it is your Y1s you are concerned about, is it their profile points you think are not correct? Have you looked at the actual profiles so that you can see the gaps etc? Reading is particularly tricky to correlate to KS1 - they can achieve quite highly on their profiles and not actually be able to read very well. You will be the one to baseline them and give them their NC levels, so do not worry too much - it will be your KS1 leader that will have to worry about the correlation between FS and KS1 results!
    As for your Year 2s, if you feel their levels have been inflated give them time. Sometimes children go back quite a lot over summer. Perhaps look at their work from last year if there is any. Teachers all assess in different ways. Maybe ask at some point for some moderation with other staff time for your own professional development - but use it to challenge other teachers if you feel they are giving levels too freely.
    There's not an awful lot you can do without causing upset, apart from get on with it to be honest. Some teachers DO inflate results for fear of the backlash if they have poor results - it's ultimately the fault of a system which feels the need to hold everybody accountable for results - but for now I would leave it, and see if the trend continues next year.
    If they are drastically over levelled, it's a case for your KS1 coord or your head.
  4. Hmmmmm. I'd be very tempted to raise it now rather than leaving it. I agree that using your NQT status might be a good way of doing this.
    I was in a similar situation last year with one year group in my mixed age class, and got myself in a major panic when, at the end of the year, they had all gone backwards or, at best, stayed the same, according to the inflated levels I had been given.There were some added complications, but a lot of the problem hinged on inflated levels.
    One of my colleagues suggested I inflate the levels too, for an easy life. I simply wouldn't do that, and I also wanted an honest starting point for them this year, so we don't end up in the same mess again next year. After some very sage advice from a couple of posters on here, I managed to settle it all with the HT, and we're moving forwards from a much more honest starting point.
    It was a difficult conversation, but I'm so glad I'm not going to have to go through the same stress again next summer!

  5. Thanks for your replies - I have taken both on board. I am actually attending a moderation meeting with a CLP group of KS1 teachers soon - have to set the same written challenge and then take a sample of my high, middle and low to go through and level together. So that might be a way of things being highlighted. I think tomorrow with my meeting with the HT I might cautiously raise the subject and do it in the "not used to this/dumb" way you suggest. think I would like to say something as I don't want to wish I had raised concerns at the end of the year when it looks like they haven't made any progress. I just wondered if there was a right or wrong way to go about it. I will definitely be extremely polite and totally acknowledge my experience. BUT...
  6. Exactly what I was going to say! As an NQT, you are given (or certainly should be!) an extra 10% non-contact time. I would play the naive card and ask if your mentor / KS1 leader / lit co-ordinator can spend some time moderating/levelling with you as part of your CPD (but schedule it in soon!). It is certainly not unusual for assessment to be a crucial part of your development over the NQT yr so it would be natural to ask for planty of 'help' with this!
    Focus on your Yr 2s and ask to use their last piece of unaided writing - in our school, unaided writing is completed in books/folders which are passed up with the child from year to year so are a very useful tool for tracking a child's progression. This would also help you to see if the children are just suffering from a bit of a post-holiday dip.
    If this highlights a suggestion of over-generous levelling from the previous teacher, then you could ask to look at some Yr 1 children together too but as others have said it is hard to correlate results from the FSP with NC levels so I would focus on the Yr 2s. If the person moderating with you reinforces the levels which you think are inflated then you will have to go with those but perhaps feign a little surprise along the lines of 'oh, I must have been quite harsh on my last placement then! Fantastic, thanks for your help ...blah blah' Then when the time comes for you to formally assess them, you can ask the same colleague just to 'cast their eyes' over a few to check you have not been too harsh. That way, you are flagging up your concerns without pointing the finger!
  7. I would wait it out a few more weeks. It's still very early days and they are all getting used to routines, getting down to work etc. My children are currently performing at a far lower level at the moment than they were at the end of last year. If I hadn't taught them myself last year and have all the assessment evidence to hand to look over again I would be writing a similar post to yours! If you still have concerns at the end of the month raise it then in the ways other posters have suggested.
  8. Hi, I think that's right...I'll hold fire and see how it goes for a while. Thanks for all the advice. It's really difficult to know certain things when everything is new! Thanks again.

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