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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Hi All

After years of home tutoring our son for the grammar school selective tests, we are fortunate that he has accepted a place at Wallington County Grammar. However, in hindsight, preparing, taking and passing the tests seems the easy part now. I'm concerned after hearing many parents talk about the fact their children are already at a good Level 5 (5B or 5A) or Level 6 in English Reading; English Writing; GPS and Maths and how competitive it will be at Grammar. At the parents evening at Wilson's Grammar last summer, the Head Master did mention that children should be working towards to a good Level 5 in order to be able to cope with grammar school.

Our son was progressing well, so I thought as at the end of Year 5, he was working towards all Level 5 in all subjects and his class teacher then was confident he would leave with all Level 5s. However, after recent discussions with his current year 6 teacher and results from his Mock SATS tests, his teacher said he is Level 5A Maths; 5B GPS; 5C English reading and worryingly, 4A or 4BH in English Writing. Given his current levels, he was still requested to sit all Level 6 SATS papers in Maths; Reading and GPS.

Do you agree that his levels in English are too low for Grammar and he will struggle? Could I support him in any way to cope and be more confident by finding an English Tutor?

Would love to hear from other parents who have children at Grammar. Did your children all start grammar on Level 5? Did anyone have a child achieving Level 4 in English when they started and how did they find it?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Regards

HSP2201


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 2:43 pm 
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Sent you a PM


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 2:49 pm 
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I know nothing about this, but as always am willing to give my opinion :D
It seems to me that boys are often a bit behind girls in writing at this stage, and to tell you the truth, I have no idea what levels my boys were on when they went to GS - I know they were both a level 5 overall on English, but I couldn't tell you for the indiviual bits (maybe we weren't even told - shrugs - can you tell it's all behind me?), and I would strongly suspect that both were level 4 for writing. They are both doing fine. One is in year 10 and the English department would like him to do English A level; - he won't, as he still doesn't like writing very much.
I know that in Bucks they had to have levels 5s in all elements of English to be allowed to sit the 12 plus, however I know of at least one boys GS that waived this for writing once they were allowed to run their own 12 plus, so presumably that was an acknowledgement of the above.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Writing is notoriously hard to get a Level 6 in, from primary, and children rarely do, as the teacher assessment means, realistically that they can't give it - effectively it is the standard required at around the end of Y9 and the nuances and reading between the lines, inference etc are nye on impossible for a primary school child, no matter how bright. Boys do tend to be worse than girls at this, as well, as writing about emotions and feelings is not often their bag! (I know there will be people whose children have scored a Level 6 but there are numerous threads on whether a primary Level 6 in both English and maths can ever be equated to one in secondary, in real terms!)

So, realising that the highest most children will have is a Level 5 something, if he is a 4A then he is not far off the "norm". continue to ensure he is reading widely, looking at different genres and take time to talk about what he is reading and why the author uses particular language etc. The English Department should be able to give you pointers as to where he needs to focus, once they have seen a bit of him - and certainly your current teacher should be able to say where his development needs are currently. I personally wouldn't get him a tutor unless the new school feels he is really struggling and behind as this may affect his confidence - you may find that several of his classmates are the same sort of level and, after all, he can't be overly terrible otherwise he would not have got in!


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 4:50 pm 
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HSP2201 wrote:
I'm concerned after hearing many parents talk about the fact their children are already at a good Level 5 (5B or 5A) or Level 6 in English Reading; English Writing; GPS and Maths and how competitive it will be at Grammar. At the parents evening at Wilson's Grammar last summer, the Head Master did mention that children should be working towards to a good Level 5 in order to be able to cope with grammar school.


I am not surprised. My ds is at L6 in both Maths & English writing and so are another 10-12 children from his school. I guess head teacher was saying 5A/6C.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 4:55 pm 
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I am sure that there will be a wide range of levels; in my school we get quite a few level 4s. He is in by qualifying so don't worry.

I wonder why they are taking the level 6 when DfE guidance is that: 'Headteachers should consider a child’s expected attainment before entering them for the level 6 tests as they should already be demonstrating attainment above level 5'.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 5:14 pm 
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Everyone is different, teachers are there to teach, just relax, send him to school with a clean uniform and a good lunch and an obligatory mum kiss, then let the English teachers do their job. You can support him with his homework, ensure he "gets it" and test him on the new huge list of Gove spellings they will give him to learn. Don't start tutoring him before you even know what is expected of him....too much pressure!

The head at Wilson's said should be working towards level 5, well your dc could be at level 1 in year 5 and working towards level 5, it dies not mean he will get there before the end of year 6, it is not essential and did he even mention level 6...No!
He will he just tickedy boo fine bless him.


Last edited by southbucks3 on Thu May 29, 2014 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 5:19 pm 
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parent2013 wrote:
I am not surprised. My ds is at L6 in both Maths & English writing and so are another 10-12 children from his school. I guess head teacher was saying 5A/6C.


Really? I am genuinely very surprised that 10-12 children from one school are at Level 6 in English (less so in Maths) - this certainly bucks the trend nationally by a very long chalk and I would be very interested to see how many of them actually come out with a Level 6 in English when the Sats results come out, after moderation, as that seems like a very high proportion for a primary school. Your school must be phenomenal at English. Certainly, in our school, 6 children were performing at/above level 5A and were therefore put forward for the L6 Maths but only 2 of these were put forward for the L6 English.

To reassure the OP - Guest55 works in the secondary setting so it certainly looks like your ds is not going to be alone, if he is entering with 4As.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:02 pm
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Thank you so much for all your comments, especially Kenyancowgirl and Tinkes. All your views and comments make sense and are reassuring. I agree that many schools have entered pupils for Level 6 English when clearly, the individual is not attaining a constant level 5B or 5A. As you have suggested, I do believe in allowing the English teachers at secondary school to do their jobs as they do know best and able to identify a child's weaknessesand strengths. Listening to your views, I will definitely not rush into finding an English tutor and allow my son some time to settle into school and see how he progresses.

Comments by Parent2013........Level 5A or Level 6......I agree some may achieve these levels at the end of year 6 but after hearing from parents, relieved to say that I think my son is doing just OK and hopefully he will continue to do so.

Once again to all the parents who responded with very kind warm words of advice. Really appreciated and certainly feel at ease now.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 9:17 pm 
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Let me just add more words of reassurance by saying it's only in the last couple of years that level 6 has even existed for primary school children. My son is now doing well in year 10 in Tiffin and all his SATS were "level 5 or above" - we didn't know sub-levels so had far less to worry about! As others have said, a 4a is nearly a level 5, and if your son passed the Sutton consortium and the Wallington exam it sounds as if he will be fine.

Once he starts at school, if there is any problem they will let you know and support your son, but it seems unlikely given his other levels and the fact that he was entered for level 6. In my experience they mostly really start to fly once they are out of the confines of primary school and start Year 7 - yes there are always a few exceptions but the school will help if necessary as I've said. I really wouldn't consider a tutor.

As stated by others it is unusual to achieve level 6 writing and even more so reading in year 6, especially for boys. At my daughter's school nearly a third of the cohort of 60 achieved level 6 maths last year (I think I've said elsewhere that the maths teaching is very good there), whereas a much smaller number achieved level 6 English writing (all girls I think). Only one child in the year achieved level 6 reading (my DD! Sorry I know it's showing off; I'm slapping my own wrist now...)

And, of course, HSP2201, congratulations to your son for his place at Wallington. I hope he really enjoys his new school.


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