New curriculum – First report

You may or may not have noticed, but at the start of this academic year our (I’m trying to think of an appropriate adjective, but I can’t right now) government saw fit to thrust a new curriculum on primary schools. Now maybe I’m being naive here, but as a parent with 10 years’ experience of kids in primary school, the curriculum didn’t appear to be broken. So I’m not sure why it needed fixing.

We’ve had many tweaks over the years, both by the government and the school, but this has been by far the biggest change I’ve seen in those 10 years. Ministers have changed their minds about what kids need to learn and when – so they’ve decided that World War II should be a year 5 topic instead of a year 6 topic. And they’ve decided that kids should have certain skills at different times – things like fractions and telling the time.

Thank goodness they allowed the year 6s to carry on under the old curriculum, otherwise they could seriously have messed up their SATs. But, for the other year groups, it’s been a year of change.

For my daughter, in year 4, some of the things that used to be on the year 4 curriculum are now on the year 3 curriculum. The upshot of that is that kids went into year 4 this year without the basic skills and knowledge to ‘pass’ year 3. So they’ve been playing catch-up – gaining year 3 skills and knowledge, whilst also getting to grips with the year 4 curriculum.

A few weeks ago, my daughter told us that, due to the new curriculum, the school reports would be changing. The school reports have NEVER changed. We knew where we were with the reports – you got a 1 if you were above expected, a 2 if you were at the expected level and a 3 if you were below it. Then you got an A for excellent effort, a B for good effort, down to an E for very poor effort.

But now it’s all about D and S. D is for ‘developing’ – children have achieved a number of expectation for the year group. S is for ‘securing’ – children have achieved the majority of their year group expectations and are securing their understanding.

Due to the year 3/ year 4 change, the kids had been warned. They would be getting D. Nobody would be getting S.

It wasn’t their fault, it was the fault of the curriculum.

I knew my daughter would be upset and, deep down, maybe I would be a bit. Even though I knew it wasn’t her fault or the school’s. We’d been so happy with her reports over the years and the new report just wouldn’t feel right.

And then the report came home.

She got that elusive ‘S’. Not just in one subject, but in everything apart from computing and languages. Due to her own ability and determination, combined with some very good teaching, she has navigated the pitfalls of the new curriculum and she’s come out on top!

Not only that, but her teacher, who has always had a real soft spot for my daughter, has said the nicest things. I don’t think you could get many better comments than this: She was, and still is, one of  the most mature, self-motivated learners I have ever met, with a fiercely independent, quietly competitive streak!

Once again, I am so proud of my daughter for her brilliant school report. The government can mess with our curriculum, but it can’t mess with my daughter’s ability, determination and enthusiasm!

Mum of Three World

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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22 Comments

  1. Well done to your daughter for her brilliant report, I’m also a school governor and we were told that here in Wales there’s going to be a massive overhaul of the national curriculum in the next 2 years & for us to get prepared!

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    • Thanks very much! Good luck with the change in Wales. I used to be a school governor and miss that bit of insider knowledge it used to give me!

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  2. Ah this is lovely Sarah! I’ve been so confused by it all this year but we too are using D, S and R, which means you’ve grasped it all and are completely ready for next year. My son got an R in everything bar English Writing for which he got an S. The teacher still didn’t praise him or say anything encouraging in his report! I now realise just how difficult it is to get an ‘R’. Your daughter has clearly shone again this year, at least her teacher recognises that 🙂

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    • Thanks very much! My daughter has had a lovely teacher this year. It’s not right that your son’s teacher didn’t praise him for such a good report!

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  3. Well done to your daughter, what a fabulous report to end the year on.

    I do hate change when it’s unnecessary, and it certainly seems there have been many unnecessary changes to our education system of late. My little ones had their Yr 1 school reports, their first ever, and honestly I’m baffled by the “scores”, levels from 1 – 2 and A – C, averages and effort from 5 – 1….gah!

    I’ve decided to concentrate on the comments, they seem to impart far more information than 1A 3……what does that even mean?!

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    • Ha ha, you’re so right! I do know what it means, but only because I used to be a school governor. Unnecessary change does seem so pointless.

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  4. I didn’t know they had changed it so much, it doesn’t sound very fair. But then when have this government been fair! I’m so glad this change hasn’t phased your daughter, it sounds like she has down amazingly well even with the odds stacked against her. A glowing report x

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    • Thanks very much! Quite right – when has this government ever been fair?! They meddle with things that don’t need meddling with! x

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  5. Firstly you should be super proud, and clearly you are. She sounds like a very clever, nature, determined young lady
    I am constantly challenged by the Government’s changes to education and learning, and although my children are nearer the start of their education journey I already know note pressure will be put on Reception children this yr compared to last. If a system isn’t broken does it need to be changed?!

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    • Exactly what I think! It’s ridiculous to put more pressure on Reception children.
      My daughter is ace 🙂

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  6. Well done her and it’s great that they are recognising her abilities in her report. We were lucky as parents that our curriculum changed in 2007 so it’s been in place for a good few years now. As I mentioned to you earlier, we have secure, consolidating and developing and levels which I guess are similar to the key stages. We also have an effort indicator from 1-5 with 1 being highest. We don’t do SATs here though. Each year the kids do assessments at start of the year and at the end of the year to assess how far they’ve come on. It’s strange how the education system is completely different across the country.

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    • It is amazing how different the two systems are, but it sounds like the English system is getting more similar to the Scottish with the secure and developing. What a good idea to do assessments at the start and end of the year.

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  7. I noticed a massive change in the reports under the new curriculum when I read my daughters (n Yr 6 which is under the old curriculum) and then my son’s (in Yr 3). We don’t use R, S and D, but ‘Below age, At age related and Above Age’. He got ‘At age’ for most things, even things that he’s seriously good at and way above the national average. My daughter was nearly all ‘Above age’. I couldn’t believe it as they’re both as bright as each other. That’s when the teacher explained that it was probably because my daughter is under the old curriculum. I then spoke to a mum who’s also a teacher and she said its crazy how high they’ve set the bar – its going to mean loads of kids will feel like they’re failing. Not impressed. But then I never have been impressed with Mr Gove. ‘Could do much better’ is what i’d put on his report card (even if he is supposedly no longer the minister)

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    • Totally with you on all of this! You saw on the two reports exactly what I expected to see. We’d been warned that the reports wouldn’t look as good as they had in the past, which is demoralising for children and parents alike. And why? There’s no logical reason other than that the government like to mess with these things.

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  8. I pressed send before saying how brilliantly your daughter has done! Was ranting too much! huge well done to her – and she sounds like she might be like her mother “fiercely independent”!

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    • Thanks very much! She’s probably more independent than me!

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  9. That’s wonderful in a year that could have potentially very disappointing for her through no fault of her own at all. It’s like they haven’t even thought it through and someone has sat there and almost played musical chairs with subjects they think should be studied per year, probably that prat Gove and his team. It’s such a shame they do keep messing with a system that was doing well. But so glad your girl hasn’t suffered even though it probably took a lot more effort than she should have had to put in this year!

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    • Thanks very much! She did so well. It’s ridiculous the way they’ve messed with the system and I really can’t see that they’ve made it any better, all they’ve done is confuse kids and parents!

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  10. Congratulations to your daughter. As my eldest is only about to go into year two, I guess these are challenges we as a family will inevitably face in the future. I really do learn a lot form you parents with older kids!

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    • Thanks very much! No doubt there will be more changes and challenges to come in the next few years.

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  11. Congrats – that’s a fantastic achievement given the way the goalposts have been moved this year.

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    • Thanks very much 🙂 It really surprised me that she’d done so well considering the way everything had been changed.

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