Is it difficult to get your school to teach your G&T child?

(64 Posts)
anice Mon 26-Nov-12 16:56:55

My son's school doesn't have a G&T program until year 5. DS is in year 4, so he isn't in any program. However, he is very able at maths.

His teacher met me twice in the first half of this term, and both times she volunteered a warning not to expect any development in his maths this year as she's got her hands full teaching the lower ability children who need to come up to the government minimum in order to reach NC level 4B at the end of year 6.

She said that she was sorry, but this is the way it is. So now every day, DS then does the ("easy peasy") work set for the class quickly and when he has finished he just quietly reads a book for the rest of the maths lesson. I've spoken to the HT to ask for help with the situation but I am not expecting much tbh.

Apart from issues with DS's boredom levels and disengagement from learning generally, what is bothering me is that this can happen in this day and age! In fact, this is the 2nd time this has happened to DS. In year 2, his teacher told me that he'd had to repeat everything he'd already done because "what am I supposed to do?? teach him year 3 work? Then what would he do when he gets to year 3?!" So, its happened twice in four years at two different schools (we changed school thinking the first school was just an aberration!)

Is this actually quite a common problem? And if yes, then how do you handle it?

3b1g Mon 26-Nov-12 17:46:49

Assuming you understood the teacher correctly, I think this is appalling. Every child should be allowed to learn and progress at school, regardless of what level they are currently at. Since starting junior school, DS2 has been provided with science extension work and maths extension work all the way through (he is in Y6, so he has been at the school for over three years).

3b1g Mon 26-Nov-12 17:52:15

In science lessons, he does the same topic as the other children but in more depth, using KS3 materials. He and one other boy have one hour a week with a secondary-level science teacher. In Y4 he went to a local secondary school to get some lab time.

In maths lessons, he does the same topic as the other children but does questions appropriate for his level. Once a week, he and three other children are taught by a secondary-level maths teacher who does more advanced topics with them. Approximately once a term, he and a few other children attend a maths or problem-solving workshop.

3b1g Mon 26-Nov-12 17:56:40

Does the school have an inclusion co-ordinator or SENCO? From what you have posted, I don't think your son's needs are being met by the school. If you decide to pursue this, remember to put everything in writing and keep copies.

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 18:08:03

That is an appalling attitude! Our school teaches maths and literacy across the school, not across the class, so the more able year 4s are in with the year 5 or 6s for example. This seems to work well. We are not sure what happens when they reach year 6 but hopefully they further extend and aim for the level 6 or something, rather than leaving them twiddling their thumbs
Are there other schools nearby? Any chance of becoming a governor? School sounds crap, just going on what you've posted

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 18:08:03

That is an appalling attitude! Our school teaches maths and literacy across the school, not across the class, so the more able year 4s are in with the year 5 or 6s for example. This seems to work well. We are not sure what happens when they reach year 6 but hopefully they further extend and aim for the level 6 or something, rather than leaving them twiddling their thumbs
Are there other schools nearby? Any chance of becoming a governor? School sounds crap, just going on what you've posted

orangeberries Mon 26-Nov-12 18:19:34

Hi anice,
just wanted to share your pain, as we have been in the same boat and now that my DD1 is in Y3 I am pulling my hair out and have nearly given up - I am planning to pull her out and put her in selective academic.

I am very upset about it tbh as this shouldn't be the state of affairs and I think it is really lame and letting the children down. I don't think it is THAT unusual tbh as I have heard it a lot from friends up and down different parts of the country.

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 18:31:06

Sorry, jusr re-read your post and see you have already changed school once. I'd kick up a big fuss with the governors if possible. Do they have a curriculum committee?

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 18:31:07

Sorry, jusr re-read your post and see you have already changed school once. I'd kick up a big fuss with the governors if possible. Do they have a curriculum committee?

squeezedatbothends Mon 26-Nov-12 19:42:28

This is shocking. The teacher has an obligation to differentiate the learning to meet his needs. In some of the schools I've supported, this has meant different work, in others, moving classes for some subjects. My ds's year 6 teacher taught him GCSE Maths while still managing to meet the needs of the other kids. I can't believe this teacher has such a poor attitude - ofsted would be appalled. Definitely complain - head first of all then if no joy, chair of governors.

Nuttyprofessor Mon 26-Nov-12 19:47:11

That is awful. I guess I have been lucky my DS's school arranged his maths lessons at another school to work at a higher level.

anice Tue 27-Nov-12 13:14:47

There is a SENCO. Talking to the special needs parents, and having had a little experience of her myself, I don't think she'd put herself out to help. I could be wrong, but an educated guess would put at her at 90% likely to bite my head off and then aggressively ignore...!

I have talked to the head and I've drafted a letter that I am going to finish this afternoon. The more I think about it though, the more I realise that my son's education is going to come down to what I provide/ get tutors to provide. So far, I've been naively leaving it to the school, especially as the deputy head at the first school rather nastily told me "lo leave the education to us". (This was said when the school had decided to not educate in year 2.

LaQueen Tue 27-Nov-12 13:23:15

I think it's unacceptable for your DS's teacher to fob you (and him) off like that.

Twice now, in the last 6 months, I have been assured by DD2's teacher and HT that they are going to challenge her, and provide more scope for her ability - but, nothing has changed.

Her latest piece of extension literacy homework was a word-search hmm DD2 finished it in the car coming back from school.

She's 8.5 and already easily doing DD1's 11+ homework - and her teacher knows this, but she gets given word-searches and 'Design a Xmas Bauble' for her extension homework?

I've given up with her school - I just don't think they're geared up for G&T children, which is fair enough, because they're very small.

When DD2 starts with the 11+ tutor next September, he also offers advanced maths programs which I think we'll sign her up for.

anice Tue 27-Nov-12 13:40:02

I did understand the teacher correctly. I thought I'd misheard the first time, so I checked and she confirmed. Also she rephrased it several ways for me and we discussed it.

This is what I am going to do:-
1. write a letter to the school giving them one last chance to do something themselves.
2. offer to supply books, worksheets and/ or an online maths study program at my cost. The work to be done in the maths lesson, after he has finished whatever his teacher has set.
3. If all that fails, I can't see how I will still be optomistic about the school but I'll try to bite my tongue, wait three eyars for secondary and, in the meantime, I'll organise something for DS at home.

anice Tue 27-Nov-12 13:44:02

orangeberries and LaQueen - I sorry you are in this situation too. Bizarrely though, there is some comfort in knowing DS isn't the only child in this situation because I've been asking myself is it just us? Did we do something/ not do something/ have the wrong idea about what schools are supposed to do for all children/ was I just too naive?

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 13:51:17

I would approach it differently. Look at their stats on ofsted including value added. How many level 5 and 6s are they getting? Do they even do level 6? When you have researched, go to the governing body and complain. Also speak to the parent governors and tell them what you have been told. Try to get elected as a governor, ideally not as a parent governor (do you go to church or work for anyone where it might count as community governor). Also speak to other parents, there will be others in the same boat. Tell the head what other schools do and demand to know why this is not happening at your school. If the next ofsted is due soon, go online and comment on the lack of challenge - they have a 'review your school' form

iseenodust Tue 27-Nov-12 14:21:13

That's not good. At DS's school the SENCO and the G&T co-ordiantor are different members of staff.

DS is in yr4 and is quite good at maths. What I learnt from him this week is that on two mornings a week in the numeracy session he sits on a table by himself and does more advanced work. He also seems to get different homework sheets.

Like MerciB, a friend's DS is at a state primary where years 4-6 all do literacy and numeracy in the mornings, in mixed year classes set by ability. They go back to their forms for all other subjects.

If you go looking for an online maths programme, I recommend mangahigh. Your DS can try some of the games for free and if you sign up there are elements with explanations/teaching and users' progress is monitored. (no vested interest!)

anice Tue 27-Nov-12 16:03:56

I already asked the head if DS could be taught with year 5 for maths and she said "not possible" but didn't offer any further explanation. I thought it was a reasonable solution given that the year 4 teacher has said she hasn't the capacity to teach him the next level up.

However, now that I've done the SATS test and seen the detail of what DS actually knows (I think I'm the only person who has taken the trouble to find this out), I think he'd be better off with maybe the middle or second top table in year 6. (My other son is in year 6 so I know a bit about that class). Anyway, its academic which class he would be best off in as he's clearly not going anywhere.

But I do know for a fact that the school does get children up to level 6 in maths, although i can see that its a fairly small proportion that progress beyond level 4.

Basically the school ranks well in the league tables because almost everyone gets a level 4, but if the rankings were on level 5+ instead, then it would be mid-low in the league table.

The value added is just over 100.

Knowing what I now know, my best guess is this school plays the system by focusing on the lower ability children to get as many as possible over the 4B threshold. They don't seem to both about G&T until year 5 (and apparently that's a recent innovation as a few years ago they only did G&T for year 6).

The school has an Ofsted "Good" rating and generally i am happy with it, although obviously not on this issue.

LaQueen Tue 27-Nov-12 16:14:34

anice please be careful about asking for your DS to receive lessons with older children. We had our fingers badly burned trying this with DD2.

In Yr 2, her teachers decided it would benefit her to go and do literacy/numeracy with the top group in Yr 3. It didn't end well.

Clever 8.5 year olds didn't take very kindly to having a wee 6 year old whup them at maths. There was some frostiness, and sniping sad And, even worse her own friends in Yr 2 stopped playing with her, because they didn't see her in the classroom anymore.

It caused DD2 a lot of upset, and she had to work hard to build bridges with her friends again.

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 16:18:38

There's no problem in our school with that, LaQueen, but I think that's probably because it's a whole school approach, and the school fosters a 'be the best you can be' attitude
I hadn't realised quite how lucky we were til I read this thread!

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 16:18:38

There's no problem in our school with that, LaQueen, but I think that's probably because it's a whole school approach, and the school fosters a 'be the best you can be' attitude
I hadn't realised quite how lucky we were til I read this thread!

LaQueen Tue 27-Nov-12 16:20:41

Merci on paper our school would appear to foster the same attitude. It's one of the top performing small primaries in the country, after all.

But in practice, it doesn't seem to actually work that way, really.

simpson Tue 27-Nov-12 22:19:03

LaQ -can I be nosy and ask why it did not end well,your DD doing lessons with the year ahead???

DD is only in reception now but is doing yr1 work ( am lucky in that there is another boy about the same level as her) and the school have provided the 2 of them their own TA to do work with just the 2 kids together, which is working great so far!!!

But am wondering what will happen when she is in yr1, whether she would go into yr2 for some lessons and what the down sides are???

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 22:39:11

Sorry, laQ, perhaps I didn't understand. I meant that because the whole school mixes up and down for lessons, it's quite normal to have a number of year 4s with year 5 and 6 and vice versa. It sounded like your daughter was more singled out as the only one of her year working above her year. There are at least 4 year 4s in the top class at our school, plus quite a few year fives, the rest are the year sixes.

And tbh I would be v suspicious of top performing primaries. I went to one - hideous. All the bullying brushed under the carpet or blamed on the victim as anything else threatens to tarnish the reputation of the school. Seems quite a common experience for the 'good' schools from talking to friends. And at secondary as well. Then the victims told perhaps this isn't the right environment for them, and encouraged elsewhere. Same for any special ed needs that might take any effort to sort out.the stories I have heard (shudder)

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 22:39:11

Sorry, laQ, perhaps I didn't understand. I meant that because the whole school mixes up and down for lessons, it's quite normal to have a number of year 4s with year 5 and 6 and vice versa. It sounded like your daughter was more singled out as the only one of her year working above her year. There are at least 4 year 4s in the top class at our school, plus quite a few year fives, the rest are the year sixes.

And tbh I would be v suspicious of top performing primaries. I went to one - hideous. All the bullying brushed under the carpet or blamed on the victim as anything else threatens to tarnish the reputation of the school. Seems quite a common experience for the 'good' schools from talking to friends. And at secondary as well. Then the victims told perhaps this isn't the right environment for them, and encouraged elsewhere. Same for any special ed needs that might take any effort to sort out.the stories I have heard (shudder)

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