When the teacher will tell me my DS NC level?

(24 Posts)
rrbrigi Wed 18-Dec-13 10:57:43

My DS is in Year1. Every time when I ask his teacher about his NC level, she just tells me that “he is where he should be”. Or she tells me that most of the children are going through on level 1 in Year1. I do not even ask her where he is in the class (good learner or not), because I know teacher do not like this question. Or I do not ask her about the table setting (however I would like to know if he sits in the top, middle or lower table).

I am not so worried I just would like to know it. I think he is doing well, but I do not want to be in the situation, when the school tells me in Year5 or 6 that he has no chance for a grammar school. I would like them to tell me where he is even if it is good or bad. Because if he is not as good as I think I can help him more at home, or if he a lot better than I think we can spend more time with playing at home. I have just no idea if I ask too much from my son at home or too little (too much learning, or not at home).

For example, last parents evening the teacher told me to help improve my son handwriting. At that time, his writing was ok with joint letters, his spelling was ok too, but sometimes forget to use finger space, capital letters and points. Since then we write a little every day, he joins his letters beautifully, his spelling is very good and he can write full sentences with finger space, capital letters and point. Then we got some Christmas card from his classmate and I looked their writing, some of them do not even join the letters, some of them write t same height as a, some start a word in a line and finish the same word one line above, etc.. So I think my son writing is a bit better than most of his classmate. And if I am right than I would be happy to let him practice writing only every other day, instead of every day. But if he is not better just the same at least I would know that he really needs the everyday practise.

How can I get answers to these type of questions from his teacher?
Do the teacher have to tell me my son NC level or not?
Thanks.

MrsPnut Wed 18-Dec-13 11:03:48

It really doesn't matter what NC level your child is on, especially when they are in year 1.

I would get him playing educational games, and make learning fun. If he doesn't know that he's learning then so much the better. Read to him and encourage him to read to you and don't sweat about it so much. Let him do projects about the things that interest him using ICT.

The 11+ is a very long way off yet, don't turn him away from a love of learning when he's so young.

fedup21 Wed 18-Dec-13 11:20:14

*Every time you ask*---he's been in the class for a term! How many times have you asked exactly!?

You should be able to work out roughly how he's doing by looking at his writing and what sort of books he can read?

rrbrigi Wed 18-Dec-13 11:30:28

I did not ask her too much. Once in the parent evening and once couple of weeks ago.

I cannot work it out, because I grown up in another country. I can look at his writing but handwriting is just part of his “writing” level. I should consider his grammar how he puts the sentence together, which type of words he uses and I do not have experience of these. Also I know which books he can read, but reading is just part of his “English” level. Probably math the easiest for me, because I can see what the children need to know for e.g: 1A and I tick which one he knows so I know what he still needs to learn.

But I just do now understand why is so hard for the teacher to tell me his levels? I won't be mad if she tells me e.g.: he is in 1C or only working towards level 1, but at least I know and I can help him if he needs.

rrbrigi Wed 18-Dec-13 11:33:49

But I read here that some parent is saying my DC is on X level in Year 1.
I assume they got this information from their child teacher, did not they?

mydaftlass Wed 18-Dec-13 11:34:22

I've never been told my Y2 DC's levels, only what she needs to work on. Nor were we told phonics test scores in Y1. Our school don't like to and to be honest I have a fair idea of what she needs to work on and do bits at home, play educational ipad apps etc to keep her moving forward.

MrsPnut Wed 18-Dec-13 11:49:42

If you have an ipad, then use apps like hairy letters and bubble maths pop as fun activities.

My Y3 DD also plays games on woodlands and bbc websites.

LittleMissGreen Wed 18-Dec-13 12:07:22

The school only needs to report NC levels at the end of Yr2 and 6.

fedup21 Wed 18-Dec-13 12:07:47

When he writes...
Can he form letters correctly?
Can he use all the sounds he can hear when writing a word?
Is he able to spell simple words correctly? Make sensible attempts at harder words?
Does he write using finger spaces?
Is he consistently using capital letters and full stops?
Does he use connectives/wow words?
Can he use adjectives/adverbs?

This is the sort of progression you'd need to look for in KS1 if you want to help him.

I wouldn't worry about levels anyway; sub levels (eg a 1a) don't really exist and Gove is abolishing them soon anyway ;)

fedup21 Wed 18-Dec-13 12:10:05

Looking at the books he reads will give you a rough Reading level and the content of his writing (handwriting isn't as important as long as it's legible and well-formed) will give you his Writing level. There isn't an 'English Level' as you stated.

MerlinFromCamelot Wed 18-Dec-13 12:39:43

Also in terms of the 11+ it seems to me that there is no link between NC levels and passing the 11+

When DD1 was at the end of Y5 there was a lot if fussing about needing a NC level 5 to have a chance of passing. However a lot of pupils who got their L5 did not pass. DD1 only managed a L5 in maths. if I remember rightly and still passed. All I 'm saying is that if you are thinking about 11+ do your research about the syllabus in your area nearer the time. In the early years I would stick to educational games, books etc... It worked for us.

rrbrigi Wed 18-Dec-13 12:41:00

He is reading green books, and I know this is good.

He uses correct size joint letters, capital letters, finger space, full stop correctly (99% of the time). He uses his sounds for spelling most of the time, but sometimes chooses the wrong sound, i.e: uses ay instead of ai or ea. But once I tell him which spelling to use he can remember easily next time. He knows how to spell the common words like you, have, they, that, etc....

I think (and I cannot be sure because I have not seen any other children's work) his sentences are very simple (like: Under the apple tree there was a little house.). Or when he needs to write 2 sentences about the book he read, he write 2 sentences from the book, because he can remember easily. He does know adjectives (they call them “describing word”), but he does not use them in his writing, or he just uses simple adjective (like good, bad, happy, sad, etc…). Also when he uses his own words to write a sentence I am not sure that the sentence structure is correct. He hardly writes more then 2-3 sentences. Once I asked him to write his own story and he wrote 5-6 sentences, and it was his longest writing.

We read a lot at home, so really I do not understand why the long and nice sentences are not coming for him naturally when he wants to write his own idea down?

Could you tell me some examples for connectives/wow words?

redskyatnight Wed 18-Dec-13 12:50:52

I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. If you want to help your DS in areas he may be weak in, then you need to be asking the teacher "are there any areas in which I can support him at home?". Telling you that he is a 1A in reading will not tell you that e.g. he needs to work on reading with expression.

Also, knowing what table he is on will only tell you about his ability relative to his immediate peer group. My DC have gone to the same schools but DD's peer group is noticeably weaker than DS's. Hence DD has always been on relatively higher tables than DS (despite, for example DS being better at maths than her at the same stage).

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 18-Dec-13 13:49:07

honestly unless she tells you there is something that needs working on I would just let him play at home.

DD1 is in Yr1, she is doing very well I think, spelling is erm innovative but plausible, handwriting has improved this term with no effort at home at all (but thank you letters and Christmas cards still looked appalling, absolutely nothing like her handwriting in the few bits of school work I have seen), reading is good and maths I have no idea because they never send any home and she doesn't mention it really.

They are still very young, I understand you are from a different country/language/education system but I would worry if you are already thinking 11+. If you train a child to do an 11+ then you run the risk that once at senior school they will struggle to cope. There is a difference in coaching a child in the styles/techniques needed for such an exam to coaching a child to have to do extra work every day for 6 years to put them at the level for it. A bright child should be able to get there anyway. What happens when he starts getting homework which will limit the time to do extra work? or when he rebels against it? I really think at this age if you want to do a little extra at the weekend then that is all that you should do, any more than that would feel wrong to me. they are little children and need to play and explore and relax.

I hope this doesn't come across wrong, I am not getting at you, all cultures approach education differently and it is great you want to encourage him but I really wouldn't worry about technical stuff at the moment.

TheLeftovermonster Wed 18-Dec-13 13:51:56

Ask direct questions. Everything you want to know, just ask.

They will be able to tell you his levels from when he was last assessed. If not recent, ask when are they going to be assessed next. You are the parent and you have the right to know, whether they like the question or not.
Most teachers will answer if asked, but won't volunteer the information.

Current levels are not always an indication of ability or progress, but I hate the feeling that the school is keeping secrets from me. If they are using levels as a form of assessment, then I want to know them.

herdream1 Thu 19-Dec-13 21:40:41

hi rrbrigi, I can understand your frustration. My DD's state primary did not share much information. Her handwriting was very good when she started school and went down, as different teachers taught different styles. I asked for info for handwriting policy, but was never provided. (If you search marked past SAT2 papers, they include handwriting examples and what mark each got.) I also asked other things, such as reading book recommendation or advise on supporting her learning at home, but again was never properly answered.

So I have been doing my own things at home with my DD. You can play games while younger, or find lots of materials and ideas on WEBs. The test paper for 11+ do change sometimes, so what I could do is to make sure for good understanding on maths and literacy. VR and NVR could be taught in the last year if needed, but DD does some books when she feels like it such as during holidays.

Having been working with DD for years, as well as researching/reading up some sites, I think I have a good idea about where my DD's levels are, but whatever the level is, we keep doing a bit every day, as I (and DD thankfully now seems to) know, that is making a big difference in the end.

Iamnotminterested Thu 19-Dec-13 22:27:48

OP don't stress about handwriting, seriously, content is so much more important.

innercity Thu 19-Dec-13 23:00:54

I think you're right to be worried - foreign mothers find it hard to gauge where their children are at. The system here is very different and you don't want to find yourself in a situation when they tell you "all is fine" only to find out that by YOUR standards it's not fine when it is too late (2 years behind for instance, is a lot to be behind).

You should also maybe think about the situation in which what the schools here see as a normal level (expected level) might be a bit too low in the standards of your culture (like it is with mine). But in my case the school was not at all responsive and had marked me as one of "those" parents (which I only understood later on, actually, through mumsnet), - so what I did was to buy lots of teaching materials and work with my son at home. Then I know excatly where he is at and what his weak and strong sides are. I find that teaching varies so much from year to year depending on the teacher you get that a couple of years can be easily wasted. Also, there is nowhere near enough practice in maths and my son's class wasn't taught spelling much so they're all behind now - the school is finally acknowledging this in Year4.

rrbrigi Fri 20-Dec-13 11:36:18

Yes, it is frustrating, that I do not know if he is behind or not, or his whole class is behind or not. I went to parents evening the end of October and they put a tray in front of me telling this is my son work for September and October. They did 3 math worksheet, with probably 24 additions or subtractions all together, and he writes around 10 sentences. That was his work for 2 month! In our country this work is for probably a week or less. But if it is enough here for a good learner than it is enough for me too.

My son is really small with glasses, not so strong, does not like sport and I think he is intelligent too. Typical sign for a children who can be bullied at secondary school. Where I live we have 2 secondary schools one for girls and one for boys. My father and my mother works in the boy Secondary School as a cleaner and they told me that they saw lots of bad things in that school (pushing children’s head into the toilet, hitting children, etc…). That is definitely not the place I want for my son. And we have a private grammar school, where every bright child can get a bursary, so I do not need to pay the full fee if I cannot afford it. I do not want him to be bullied in Secondary School, and that is why so important for me to keep an eye on him to make sure he can get a place on the Grammar school.

simpson Fri 20-Dec-13 11:54:12

My DD is in yr1 and I don't have a clue what her NC Level is for numeracy.

I have an idea of her reading and writing because her teacher told me only last week.

Agree that content is more important than the handwriting.

I also would not worry about whether he is going to get bullied in secondary school when he is just 5 or 6!

columngollum Fri 20-Dec-13 12:06:27

Although, 5 or 6 is a good time to start learning karate, (just for entertainment, you understand!)

rrbrigi Fri 20-Dec-13 12:16:10

We tried karate,but he did not like it. sad

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 20-Dec-13 14:23:15

that work was probably a representative sample. We were only shown 1 piece of work but I know that they had done a lot lot more than that.

PastSellByDate Fri 20-Dec-13 15:30:51

Hello again rrbrigi:

For all who are new to rrbrigi - they've posted elsewhere on MN including here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/a1874903-need-advice-about-education-programmes

here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/a1726980-Reading-books-that-follow-the-phonics

and

here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/a1800443-KS1-levels-what-do-the-children-need-to-know-for-each-levels-and-sublevels

------

rrbrigi

It's clear you are foreign and very keen your DC does well and you are eager to do all you can to support them. In many cultures there is a strong drive for parents to give their children the best possible start.

Given I've responded to a lot of your previous e-mails - as have others in great detail - I think as others have advised on this feed - you should focus on what you feel is important (music, reading, etc...) but not try to climb everest day 1 or even day 100.

Your son's teachers have assured you they're happy. From what you describe it sounds like your son is doing very well for Year 1.

My advice is this. If you want the teacher to tell you your son is bright say the opposite. Say to the teacher you're very concerned your son is way behind where he should be and you will be working with him at home over the holidays, could she advise anything in particular you should work on. Odds are, they'll assure you he's not behind, he's doing really well, and really the best thing for him is a good rest and some happy times with his family.

I sincerely hope this does help and from everything you've posted I would urge you to relax. Your son sounds like he's doing very well indeed. Moreover, doing well right now is absolutely no guarantee later. It truly is important that they enjoy school, enjoy their work and are eager to learn.

I believe a very wise man once said:

All things in moderation (Aristotle)

HTH

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