Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 381 – Attainment Vs. Progress

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“What is more important? How well they do, or how far they’ve come?”

Ritu Bhathal

Thank you, Spidey, for handing the mic over to me, today, since the above quote is something that is weighing heavily on my mind right now.

It is this time of year that all teachers or at least teachers of some year groups are under a different set of pressure than the usual.

Assessment time.

Data time.

Report time.

I know secondary schools are awaiting the GCSEs and A-Level Exams to finish, they they have to wait for the grades to be announced in August, but in Primary schools it is the time for the Key Stage One and Key Stage Two attainment data to be submitted (our school’s was just the other week) and this coming week, I have to, with my colleagues, submit the first data in two years to our Local Authority, for the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.

We have to report on Attainment, which is whether a child has reached a particular level within many areas, or GLD, a Good Level of Development. Now, after a disrupted couple of years, this cohort included, data may look lower, across the board. This class managed a whole year in school but suffered lockdowns last year in their preschool year, and some didn’t even attend a nursery, because parental fear of Covid was, naturally, high. So there are still gaps in some children’s experiences meaning we have been trying to patch holes in their development, physically, as well as emotionally, before we could really see the difference in more academic subjects.

When we first inputted the data I felt deflated. We have worked so hard with these children, and I know they have worked tremendously hard, too. I spoke with our data guru, the Deputy Head, about my disappointment.

He pointed the obvious out, with regards to what we started with, compared to where we are now. And compared to the same official data of last year’s cohort, where they experienced two lockdowns. We are definitely on an upwards trajectory, however, I hate how this could reflect on the kids and us as a whole, because, as I said, everyone has worked their behinds off to support the children, school staff, and parents alike, as well as those little mites, themselves.

Then he said, (I am ad-libbing here, but it was the jist of the conversation!) “But, what about the progress? That’s the most important thing. And remember, just because we are submitting data now, it doesn’t mean they stop learning now. They still have over four weeks with you. More progress will be made in that time, too.”

And he is right.

The difference between Attainment data and Progress data is that while Attainment looks at whether children have met expected goals, Progress sees where they started and charts the steps they have made over the year, themselves. So a child who is at expected levels may have made the age-related expected steps of progress, (in our tracking system, five steps) but a child who doesn’t appear to have met these goals, may have started considerably lower, and still made five, or even six or seven steps of progress bringing them that much closer to the expected goal.

This is why I truly despise Assessment-based judgements, as we aren’t looking at an individual child and what their unique progress is. Instead, we have to judge on these sometimes unrealistic scales, which in the Reception year, assume that all children are at the tail end of their fifth year when some of my children aren’t even five yet.

Now, I am so proud of all these children who have, as all my pupils do, wormed their way into a permanent place in my heart. Those who have hit their targets deserve a big well done, but those who haven’t, have pushed themselves, and the progress data shows how far they have come, and that almost makes me even prouder of their achievements.

So, as. I step off my soap box, what do you think is more important – how well they do or how far they’ve come?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 380 – Happy Pops Day!

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“A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men.”

Anon

Thank you, Spidey, for a wonderful quote to celebrate that special day, that is Father’s Day, here in the UK today.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know what my father, affectionately known as Pops (formerly Papa), means to me.

He is my world, my inspiration, my support, my heart.

Growing up, I was never made to feel like I was anything other than perfect in his eyes, especially considering the comments that were made when I was born.

My parents had been married a couple of years with no signs of a baby arriving. And when I was due, my mum’s mum came over from Kenya to support my parents as they transitioned into parenthood. Many lamented that it was a waste of a trip for my grandmother, as a grandson would have been a much better result.

In fact, one woman was practically in mourning at the fact I had arrived and not a male version of myself, until Pops stopped her in her tracks and told her she should be ashamed of herself, being a woman herself, and saying such things about his little girl.

His sense of equality has always been there, with him showing the utmost respect to everyone around him, and working with my mum to form one of the most perfect partnerships in marriage, that I have ever seen.

Having lost his own parents at a very young age and having been brought up by his brother and sister-in-law, he always felt that mum, my brother and I were his first proper ‘own’ family. Those that were his, truly.

Pops, and mum, never let us want for anything. We were never spoiled, though, but that sense of always having enough was instilled in us from an early age, and we lived a blessed, though hectic, childhood filled with trips back to Kenya, and countless weddings, parties, babies being born, numerous visitors, and family staying with us. It could have been tough, but we never felt it because of our parents.

He’s a spiritual soul. Everyone who meets him feels that sense of calm exuding from him, and if you ever experience aPops hug, you’ll know what I mean.

He is an uncle to many, grandad to a small army, too, and even great grandad! (It’s traditional in our culture to not have great uncles and aunts and cousins once/twice removed. Rather, if your nephew or niece has children, they call you grandma/grandad, too… even I have a few! Oh, and your cousin’s kids are your nieces and nephews too. I have a HUGE family, filled with cousins, hence my parents extended status in relationships within the family!)

The love he shows is given back to him by all these youngsters; the respect he shows everyone, is returned to him tenfold.

Last year he even shocked me by reading my book. My Pops is not reader, by any stretch of the imagination., but he kept a paperback copy of my book beside his armchair in the living room from the moment I self-published it, wrapped in cellophane to protect it. He did try reading it at first, but couldn’t, then took the plunge again and even read through the mildly naughty bits this time, getting to the end.

That is love, you know. If you can read your daughter’s words, even though they make you a tad uncomfortable, and come through the other side, that really is love!

My first love – Pops

I always dreamed that I would have a husband like my Pops, and I have been so lucky to be blessed with my Hubby Dearest, who is different but so similar in his thinking. And he is a different but no less loving father to our two kids, who, as they pass through the difficult teenage years, test us daily but make us so proud. They are lucky to have a dad like him!

And though my Pops is further away from me than I would have liked, I have my father-in-law here, who I will be forever thankful too because, without him, I wouldn’t have my wonderful Hubby Dearest!

So, are you celebrating Father’s Day? My thoughts are with those whose fathers are no longer with them or those with absent fathers. Is there another male in your life who you thought of as a father?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 379 – Excitement

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“Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect.” 

Aryn Kyle

Thank you, Spidey, for always keeping my feet on the ground and reminding me to appreciate what I have.

It’s been a manic week, with the book release and trying to fit in some extra work, where I needed to.

In my head, this week was going to be all book-related, with the release happening and me having numerous hours to write since the kids are back at school, but our school had an extra week off.

But it wasn’t quite as idyllic as that. The release, being on social media, promoting, sharing posts, answering comments, making silly Tiktok videos… all that took a lot out of me, as well as getting the work I needed to do, done.

I was lucky to get time to read, let alone write!

But it made me realise that I need to be thankful for the moments I did have, and to embrace them as perfect moments that they were. I mean, Marriage Unarranged hit number 2 in a Hot New Release list! That is awesome! It has had some beautiful reviews, too, via the book tour, and so many of my blog pals have shared lovely posts about it, too.

How can I see this week as anything but a week filled with perfect moments?

And, even on the work front, I have managed to get so much paperwork done that it should make the beginning of this next manic term a lot easier, too… Just have that shadow of Ofsted still looming, though…

Still, onwards and upwards! It made me think, that quote. We can make our own perfect moments. It is definitely all about perception, isn’t it?

So, have a think, and tell me about a perfect moment you have had. A moment which you made perfect by your thinking or actions.

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 378 – Excitement

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“Cherish your excitement while you have it.” 

Lucy Varna

Thank you, Spidey, for reminding me to live in this wonderful moment while it is here!

Well, unless you have been living under a rock the last couple of weeks, you will know that my big re-release is happening tomorrow.

Marriage Unarranged, my original book baby, has got her second wind and is being released by Spellbound Books as a part of my three-book deal with them.

I remember the lead up to my original release when I self-published. There was so much to do, aside from writing the words. From the cover to the formatting, the editing, finding beta readers, organising marketing and blog tours… it was busy.

This time, I am able to revel in the excitement a little more, in a different way, since a lot of the above is already done, or being dealt with by the publishers.

Okay, so there isn’t a new cover, but it is being tweaked, and I am even more excited that there is a ‘call to buy’ quote from my all-time favourite author, Amanda Prowse, being added to the front. I am thrilled by that!

Minor edits were done, but nothing to change the storyline, as they were more than happy with everything that had already been done.

And the lovely Zoe-Lee O’Farrell has arranged the book tour, so all I am doing is sitting here, making Tiktoks about the release, reposting the content and just generally getting excited!

It releases tomorrow, initially on Kindle, and I am still on my half term break, though my own children are back in school tomorrow, so once I have dropped them off, and taken my mother-in-law for a blood test, I can celebrate the rerelease in whichever way I please!

I can’t wait to receive my new copies when the paperback hits a week later, but right now, let me enjoy this!

If you are interested in Marriage Unarranged, click this link:

https://geni.us/0ppP4O

If you have already pre-ordered, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 💜🥰🤗

Obviously, I am still finishing draft one of book 2, but that can take a back seat, for the day, as I relish in my fun!

So, please join me and share my excitement, and while you’re at it, tell me something you are excited about, too, so I can be happy for you, too!

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 377 – Thankful

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“Be thankful for what you hve; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” 

Oprah Winfrey

Thank you, Spidey for reminding me to count my blessings.

right now, there is so much happening in the world, that is not right, that you could end up with a negative spin on your whole life.

The implications of a two-year-long pandemic, that isn’t fully over, from covid related health issues to unemployment, to other mental health issues that have arisen as a result of the two years of hell.; a war far away that is still at the forefront of all our minds, as it still affects each and every one of us; the cost of living rising to the extent that some of us are having to choose between feeding our families or paying household bills; joke governments who aren’t doing anything practical to help their countries, but going from scandal to scandal instead.

Doesn’t sound great, does it?

However, we all have things in our life that, if we look carefully, we can be grateful about. I sat and made a list. These are but a few, but here’s what I came up with.

  • A roof over our heads – and it was exactly a year yesterday that we moved into this forever home. If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, we may not have ever been able to afford this property, so thank you for that! The moving day itself was hell, and those of you who have been following me a while may remember the awful moving day we had with a terrible seller… but look where we are now!
  • Our health – yes, I can feel age creeping up on me, and yes, I do silly things to injure myself but above all else, we are a healthy family, and that is a huge thing to be thankful for.
  • A job I love – it may be a hard one, and the responsibility of helping all these children to patch up the experiences they missed over the last two years, lays heavy on every teacher, but even though it is tough, I wouldn’t change it (Except, I’d scrap Ofsted… that I would change!) A steady income is also something to be hugely grateful for since so many are struggling out there. Even with what we earn, we are feeling the pinch, so to know many others are worse off, makes me appreciate what we have, more, and want to help where I can, more, too.
  • My family, including my fur baby, Sonu Singh – sure, they can be hard work, but I wouldn’t be here without my parents, my Hubby Dearest who loves unconditionally, and I wouldn’t change my moody teens for anything. Sonu Singh, and his feline love, is extra special, too!
  • A publishing deal – who knew that my book baby would pique the interest of a publisher to the extent that they offered me a three-book deal? And Marriage Unarranged is officially re-released under their banner on Monday 6th June, in less than 10 days! OMG!

See, these are all big things, and there are lots of little things, too, like having a beautiful garden, steady internet access, books to read, a computer that works…

Lucky. Lucky and thankful, that’s me, today, and every day.

So, have a think and tell me, what are you thankful for?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

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