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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:28 pm 
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My dd passed the entrance test for grammar school last Sept, I do not know the exact score but was strongly advised she would be suitable for grammar school. Previous friends children who got this advise were scoring 85 to 90% in the tests.

She is really good at Maths, and I am not worried about the sats for this, she is predicted an easy level 6. However, english has always been her weakest subject. She is fantastic at reading, but she is struggling with spelling and grammar. Over the last couple of years, when I have gone to see her teachers and have said about it, they have stated that she is improving and getting better. They have predicted her to be at a level 5 for sats, but want her to try level 6 work as well.

I have been testing her for the pass few weeks with SPAG practice papers, and according to my calculations with the answers she gets correct, she will basically just scrape through with a pass level that the government recommends. I think that is a level 4b, or sometimes on the tests, she fails and doesn't get the pass score of over 100. She gets between 40 to 46-47 questions correct out of 70.

What I am concerned and slightly confused about is, I cannot understand why the school thinks she is so much higher than she appears to be. If she fails her SPAG sats test, will the grammar school tell her she is not capable and remove her after they have offered her a place. They expect children to be working at level 5's, although they do state that they do take a small proportion of children at level 4, if they have shown ability through their 11 plus scores.

I am fairly sure that she will be offered a place within the next couple of weeks, and her teacher says she will be able to cope at grammar school. But I am worried if she fails the SPAG sats tests, will she really struggle or will the school help her to improve. I am trying to help her with her grammar and spelling as much as I can, but she can't seem to do certain spellings and just spells the words as they sound. Also, she can produce some good descriptive, creative writing ( she has a good imagination), but ask her to identify what category a certain word is, in a sentence, she does not have a clue i.e. progressive tenses, pronouns etc , and just looks blank and says she hasn't been taught some of it.

I would just like some advise, if she will be OK at grammar school, or would it be worth me paying to get her some extra lessons in English to help her understand more and maybe catch up a bit.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:51 pm 
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Location: Herts
Your dd will be fine. If she needs extra help you can ask for it at secondary school. It is disappointing that you have raised concerns and nothing has been forthcoming at primary school.

There is a primary intervention program called "White words" that helps students progress with their spelling.

You could write out some flashcards and go through them with her.

I assume she didn't do CEM as she would have struggled with sections like shuffled sentences. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:02 am 
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No, she did GL assessment tests, VR and NVR. I am slightly annoyed at the school, as I have always stated at parents evenings etc that she struggles with spellings. When she was in the lower years they used to have a spelling test each week and we used to practise with her, and then they stopped doing it for the last 3 years. All of a sudden they are now getting spellings to do each week, but they have to say the word out, then write it down three times and if they get it right the teachers then think they have learnt it. It is very easy to remember a spelling that you have wrote out within the last minute or so, but when I ask her a week later how to spell them, she can't remember.Also, from what I can remember , it took her ages to write her letter b' and d's the correct way, she kept getting them muddled up. She says she can't see the spellings in her head, and has to write them down, but even then gets them wrong, as she says that I didn't say them right, or that they don't sound like that. She is OK with re-arranging sentences and putting the words in the correct order, and her speech and reading are really good, its just the way she hears words and her spellings,and all the different names and meanings involved with the english grammar.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:41 am 
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Hi. Has anyone suspected dyslexia? Although, I once talked to a dyslexia specialist who said that some people can be good readers, non dyslexic but just bad spellers. This has always puzzled me.

I think you are doing the right thing by helping your daughter and wouldn't worry about grammar school as they do have dyslexic children who cope. Secondary school is not all about spelling and grammar, as year 6 seems almost to be!

Once you get your offer, if still worried, I would talk to the SENCO and ask what helping mechanism the school has.
Good luck!

Salsa


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:48 am 
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Oh, with regards to her score. If the school do not provide it, you can ask the local authority.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:05 am 
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I had never even thought about that. I know a couple of children at her school have been diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia. I thought that you couldn't read very well if you had dyslexia, maybe I am just a bit naive. I would have thought that her teachers might have mentioned it, if they had noticed anything that was of concern to them. I know that when she goes to grammar school, that they make the children sit Midysis tests straight away. I have been told that these tests can show learning difficulties, if the results show large differentials between different subjects. Do you think I should just wait until she has sat these tests, to see if they show any indicators of a problem?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:33 am 
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Location: Reading
I wouldn't worry too much. My DD was level 6 maths but just about made level 5c in writing and 5b in reading. She is now in year 10

At parents evening a couple of weeks ago she was asked if she was considering A level English. The teacher said she and a friend of hers were on a par. I know the friend left primary with level 6 English and I know she is very good at it, so I was shocked.

We all develop at different rates.

As for dyslexia, it shows itself in many ways. I have it and I strongly suspect DD has mild traits. She struggled to learn to read and he writing took a while to catch up. Other signs are there too. It's more common than you'd think. If your DD is bright and only mildly affected it wouldn't be anyone's first thought. They develop coping mechanisms which mask it.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:48 am 
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Location: East Kent
Yes, dyslexics can read well, but not be able to spell, some transpose letters and numbers It is usually classed as a specific learning difficulty rather than dyslexia, more of an umbrella term.

I'm surprised that school is referring to levels though. This year's year 6 will be the second year of non levels.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:07 am 
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...and, it is not uncommon for children who have no specific learning difficulty to transpose letters too! Bottom line is, I would stop worrying about teh SATs. If your DD has "passed" the 11+ then she has been deemed suitable for GS. If she is a bit "low" for the GS in her English, they will just have to suck it up buttercup, and help support her to do as well as she can. The SATs have become a minefield and I am fairly sure that children from a few years ago who sailed through with high Level 5s/6s may not have got them under the new regime. All good schools do their own assessments in Y7 anyway as many private schools do not take the same level exams as state schools do and there is often a discrepancy.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:22 am 
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+1 to all the above posts.

Please remember that the new SATs are harder. I think that it's great that the secondary school would do their own screening.
Just to add that I found the Squibbles app very useful for my youngest. They have all the curriculum words and you can input your own.
I'm not saying it would totally solve the problem, but it's another aid. My son can sometimes spell and type a word correctly, but writes it wrongly! Very puzzling. Still, he struggles with his handwriting due to joint hyper mobility and it may be the effort of writing which is the problem. His reading is very good.


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