Tag Archives: targets

Year 6 Miracles…or Madness? by @Mroberts90Matt

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Tis the season for family, festivities and formal assessments! We had our assessment week two weeks before we broke up for the holidays and as such, when we returned it was time to analyse the results. This is the experience of a Year 6 teacher preparing children for the SATs.

As my fellow Year 6 teacher, our TAs and myself sat with the Head and Deputy Head, we knew we had to go in with a plan. There was no where near the proportion of children we wanted at the expected standard for a Year 6 child at this stage in the year. Therefore, because Headteacher’s worry (and I don’t blame them – after all, they are the first point of contact for poor outcomes) we wanted to assure him and our Deputy Head that there is a plan, it is one that worked effectively last year and there is hope in a bleak situation. Isn’t the situation always bleak?

However, there is more to the data that was compiled. Yes indeed, there are a clear number of children who are behind where they should be. Despite this in the Autumn term there was accelerated progress made by the cohort. So the children did really well, but they still need much more progress.

However, targets were set, plans were made and there it was – these targets would project the cohort to achieve more than last year’s cohort. How is this so? Because we are going to see children make the progress they are expected to make in one whole year or more happen in over a term and a bit…logical right?

Now, do not presume I am insinuating that other Years and Phases are able to slack whilst Year 6 catch up on the progress that should have happened. I have a profound respect for practitioners in every Key Stage, particularly staff from EYFS. I spent 6 weeks of my teacher training in Reception and I went in wondering what I would learn considering I had pretty much had my heart set on teaching in Key Stage 2. I left amazed. The skill and knowledge it takes to build understanding in children who just want to play is exhausting and challenging work. I can’t believe the things that EYFS practitioners manage and this respect extends to all colleagues. However, what I am saying is that there is pressure that comes naturally to the staff working with children at the end of their national assessment cycle – in this case Year 6 staff.

Pressure is on everyone: the government, local authorities, Headteachers, Senior Leadership Teams, teachers and the children themselves. Due to this undeniable pressure there is pushing for what can only be described as miracles – terms and terms of progress hoping to be made in just over a term. So what happens? Teachers and children practise. They practise exam techniques, they practise test-style questions. The result. More children reaching the expected standard at the end of KS2.

How does this translate over into KS3? Do children have the deeper knowledge that is hoped for at the end of KS2? Of course not. But they have the label of expected. So that’s what’s important…right?

Year 6 teacher rant over.


NQT Resolutions by @Mroberts90Matt

So, as I come to the end of my 3rd week as a ‘real’ teacher, I finally got some time to read some blog posts which I haven’t done for a while. I saw this post by another NQT which sets out some resolutions for their NQT year. I thought this idea was excellent and so, decided to join in and create my own. The reason being that in reading their resolutions, I felt the desire to meet those resolutions too as they are really good. So my reasons are twofold – one, foot my own record and target setting and two, if any other NQT comes across this them hopefully it’ll inspire them to do some too!
1. Keep my home-work life balanced
I am convinced that if I do this all year then all things will eventually fall into place. My wife and son have been great supports and inspirations to me during my Initial Teacher Training years and they will be so for years to come. We are expecting our second child mid-October so, whilst it certainly won’t get easier, this goal will be vital for my performance at work to be at its best and my health 😉

2. Keep on top of marking
With all the things I will need to get done as an NQT, the one that has been a bug bear with me in the past is marking children’s books. In my view it is one of the things that, if not done right, can be the biggest waste of a teacher’s time. So, of course, to do it right requires a bit more care, effort and (you guessed it) time! Fortunately I’ve found, and been authorised to use, a method which was brought to my attention in a series of excellent summer blog posts by @LearningSpy who referenced it to Joe Kirby’s blog (sharing good practice or what)! Basically on Friday I marked a set of 30 Maths books in 20 mins – and I have a feeling that it will have a greater impact on them than a couple of short, quickly put down comments from me ever would. Take a look!

3. Don’t get TOO involved
For my specialism at University I took Computing. It was actually a choice that I was forced into, but I am so glad I did! I probably would not be blogging/tweeting as a teacher if I did not! However, at my school it is common knowledge that no one knows about Computing…sure, great for my future prospects but not this year please! I’ve already been assured by my Head that I will not be asked to take an further responsibilities (this year), but there is an RQT who has taken the responsibility. She has already asked if I would want to work with her on a Computing Club she’s started. A few months ago I might have said yes. However, after sage advice and experience of full time teaching, I declined. I may well take the offer up MUCH later in the year but as an NQT, I know I need to focus on getting things as right as I can in my classroom before committing to wider responsibilities.

4. Keep up my blog, professional and class
I’ve not been doing so well on this one, but only 2 and a bit weeks since my last post isn’t too bad, right? I am aiming to post once a week still on my blog and (hopefully) keep up my Teacher Voice Weekly Polls but I’ll see how that goes. If you get the chance take a look and vote, I’d really appreciate it.

5. Have Fun!
I am in this for the long haul. I do not want to become a burnt out, fatigued teacher but a vibrant, inspirational educator. It will not be easy, I know. Just because I have got through my first few weeks as an NQT unscathed and, honestly, feeling confident does not mean it will be all smooth sailing. I have my first lesson observation on Thursday…feeling a bit nervous! However, as I remember to enjoy the career, hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish this resolution!

There will probably be more thoughts as I plod along, however, if I can keep these things going in my NQT Year, I’ll be satisfied. Anything more, such in sure there will be, it’s going to be a great year!
photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

photo credit: Homes and Dreams via photopin cc