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?

Happymum22 Mon 07-Jan-13 17:58:01

Oops just saw this is a fairly old thread- sorry.

Happymum22 Mon 07-Jan-13 17:57:42

I used to teach primary/prep
With a G + T child, or just any child who was finsihing work early and getting everything right, I soon was differentiating giving different groups different work sheets if it was something like maths.
For subjects like english, history, geog, I would allow the child to do the basic task but then once they are done would set them work which didn't mean they were completing e.g. year 6 level work in year 3 but that they were 'broadening their knowledge' so once they'd written the letter from the victorian child about their time in school they would then have to write a letter back saying what is similar now/different or then do computer research and make a fact sheet on Victorian children's play.
In maths once they'd done the basic sums all the class were doing I'd have a sheet ready with the same style sums but harder numbers or problems with meant the child had to apply the knowledge, along with their previous maths knowledge.

It is absolutely not ok what is going on, go and see the head.

kistigger Sun 09-Dec-12 20:35:29

Sorry, not read any of the other posts.

My DD is in Y2 of an infant only school. I had a discussion with her teacher a month or so ago about how they were going to deal with DD's reading and Maths. I showed her the work she had been doing at home by herself, the teacher basically put her hands up and said I can't do anything like that. They have differentiation in class but DD is in the 'top' group which still isn't a high enough level. The teacher refuses to offer anything beyond the three levels she has put the class into. The teacher also keeps DD on the same reading level she has been on for the last year, as it is the last one the school has... despite an arrangement with the head for DD to come off their scheme entirely and read whatever she chooses as long as it is written in her reading record.

I think this issue, to a great degree, is down to the individual teacher your child gets. The teacher DD has for one day a week, understands the ability gap and provides a higher level activity for DD than top group... it's still not perfect but better! Our school spends so much time and resources on bringing the bottom end up to meet the minimum government standards that they have nothing left for the top achievers. They used to have a pull out class, but even that has gone this year! Some schools go out of their way to provide for the top end of the class... tell me when you find one!!!

anice Sun 09-Dec-12 12:41:46

I'm only pushy when my children refuse to do their homework so that its ready to hand in on time, otherwise its up to them. What I do do though, is try to provide them with opportunities to develop e.g. there are lots of books in the house for them to read but its up to them if, when and where they read them

cornflowers Sun 09-Dec-12 12:11:07

"Its going to be difficult as DS is resistant to doing any work out of school, but I will try."

This is a slightly worrying statement. If your ds has a natural interest in a subject, by all means 'extend' him. Forcing him to extend himself in his free time is another matter entirely. You do sound slightly pushy.. Perhaps the HT is picking up on this.

anice Sun 09-Dec-12 08:17:12

Just to add I went to a small state primary school in the middle of a council estate where most of the children went on to work in a local factory. Also the teacher had 3 years of children in her class.

anice Sun 09-Dec-12 08:09:48

Just as an aside, I went to primary school in the 1970s when things were much less regulated. My teacher when I was 8 years old realised that I had a good potential to learn quickly and took me out of art/ sewing/ PE classes as well as afternoon break for extra work. She also sent me home with extra homework.

She'd have been in her 50s back then, so she's probably dead now. I wish I could go back and thank her though because I can now see that she had a vocation rather than just a job. She selflessly gave up her time to change my life. What a wonderful woman.

anice Sun 09-Dec-12 08:01:36

DS plays chess at home and loves it. Mostly he plays it on his Dad's phone. Is the chess ability related to his maths? I never thought of it.

Still waiting to hear from the school but DS is a little more positive about maths again since he did so well in that SATS test. I guess Christmas is also a distraction at the moment too.

I strongly suspect you are right, Dromedary, about the governors backing up the HT who in turn backs the teacher. And I don't want a poor relationship with the school.

I had a bad relationship with the previous school when they did exactly the same thing to DS in year 2. So we moved schools and I really thought we'd just been unlucky. Now I realise that its endemic and its such a shame for the country that talented children are treated as a problem.

I'm going to take matters into my own hands wrt to Ds and extend him at home, as many of you have suggested. I'm not interested in seeing him sit his o level early, because what would be the point? Instead I am going to introduce him to the breadth of the subject which doesn't appear on the national curriculum.

Its going to be difficult as DS is resistant to doing any work out of school, but I will try. I will also try to get the school to allow DS to do some of this extension work within the hours they set aside for maths each week and I think this is the best i can hope for, although i'm not overly optimistic about that either. At least they have acknowledged what's going on which I suppose is better than an insulting denial.

Dromedary Sun 09-Dec-12 00:23:25

My experience is that the HT backs up the teacher, and the governors back up the HT. Otherwise, where would it end - parents would learn that complaining about things might make a difference, and then they'd be faced with lots of complaining parents disturbing the comfortable status quo.
If your child is beyond the top table in their class then I think it's difficult, as stretching them further would require more than the usual amount of work for the teacher.
There are gifted and talented courses children can be sent on outside of school. You could try getting your child on some of those, if the school will agree to it.
And maybe focus on some extra curricular activity that will challenge your DC - eg chess, learning a language or learning a musical instrument. The academic subjects aren't the be all and end all at this age, although it's frustrating if the child is bored at school. A friend's child got very bored and disruptive at school because the work was way too easy for her, but wasn't allowed to do anything more difficult before she had done all of the easy stuff (which she refused to do).

blackeyedsusan Sat 08-Dec-12 23:53:32

passes the second a flame proof suit.

onesandwichshort Wed 05-Dec-12 07:03:27

I'm afraid that I think you're going to have to force a confrontation with the HT. Were it me, I'd book a meeting with her and ask her to her face what she is going to do about it. Until you've been turned down, I don't think you can go to the governors or the LEA.

Don;t be afraid of doing this - next year won't be better unless you make a fuss. I am quite close to being parent from hell at our school, but it's how DD gets accommodations. And it's only what you would do if he had SN, isn't it?

Reading between the lines of what you've said, it sounds like a recently appointed HT who isn't yet used to the leadership bit of the job, and doesn't want to overrule an experienced teacher who was until recently her colleague. Which is an explanation, but not an excuse. She may have been an excellent teacher, but I'd be very worried about her as an HT with that kind of approach.

TheSecondComing Tue 04-Dec-12 21:57:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anice Tue 04-Dec-12 14:47:06

I bumped into the Ht today . It would have been a perfect opportunity to speak to me about my email, or even just to arrange to see me, if she had wanted to. But she didn't. She looked like I was the last person she wanted to bump into.

I realise even more now that I am going to get nowhere. The head is going to do nothing to help DS, whether because she doesn't want to or can't. Whichever reason, its a bad reflection of her headship.

So what should I do now? Drop it or prepare a letter for the school governors? Realistically what can they do for DS?

onesandwichshort Mon 03-Dec-12 18:36:35

I have a friend who's a primary teacher; she said that one of the great things about her job is the amount of self-determination she has in what she does. Now that she has a child in Reception though, she's finding it very difficult to be on the receiving end of.

But in a good school, the HT will clamp down on things where it's not working. So I don't think that your school is being run that well, perhaps.

How is their Ofsted report? Almost every one I have ever read says, must do more to stretch bright children- so it's worth raising that with the HT. If she doesn't answer, go to see her. If that doesn't work (I've only ever had to go that far) start writing to the governors. What his teacher said is outrageous. They're failing your son, and need to know that.

anice Sun 02-Dec-12 19:20:55

I really believe the head would really care if any child was being let down i her school. She was a fantastic teacher before she got promoted to HT and I just can't imagine that she would stop wanting to help the children.

However, when I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago, I got the sense that each teacher runs their own classroom like a mini-fiefdon. That can't be right, can it?

Don't we choose schools based on a whole experience, not seven individual, unrelated years??

As to what will happen to DS, my best guess is that I'll sit waiting for a reply for about 10 days and then gradually learn to not expect it. Then during the Christmas holidays, I'll take matters into my own hands and start teaching DS at home.

Maybe next year will be better??

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 20:47:05

And noisy what makes me so frustrated is that these sort of parents think you must have it so easy, with a very able child - and they think that when you do sometimes voice concerns/worries that you're just doing it for effect.

DD2 really struggled socially during her Yr2, because she got put up a year (stupid idea). She went back to wetting the bed FFS...but of course you're not allowed to show any worry over that because your child is G&T and so you just have to suck it up...apparently hmm

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 20:37:21

one DD2's Y2 teacher was very snitty (love that word) - and refused to acknowledge that DD2 was anything out of the ordinary. Fair enough. Except at the end of Yr 2, her assessments were high enough for her HT to be thrilled, and she discussed possible funding for DD2 to get one-to-one with a TA (though didn't happen sadly).

Yet, somehow her teacher had completely failed to notice?

Having a naturally gifted child can even make you/them unpopular even with their own teacher hmm And, it's not like I was always at school badgering for recognition. DD2 is in Yr4, and I have only ever been into school once about her and her abilities. I work, so aren't even there at pick-up times, all that often.

Never, ever discuss her with other parents. Say little during parent's evening, just smile and nod etc. But other Mums help out in DD2's class, and so people get to know ...and some people really are resentful.

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 20:28:21

noisy we genuinely didn't do a thing with DD2 in Reception. I actually felt very guilty about it, because I'd given DD1 a lot of input during her Reception year, lots of help with her reading and writing and simple spellings. She was bright, but had to be shown and needed things repeating.

But, when DD2 started in Reception, I had just started a new job and just didn't have as much time. So I know that I didn't teach DD2 to read, or ever really run through her spellings with her. One day she could only read her name - 2 weeks later she could read Biff, Chip & Kipper, and by the end of Reception she was free-reading The Worst Witch/Roald Dahl/Milly Molly Mandy etc.

And, so in a weird kinda way I then never really bothered reading with her - because there just wasn't anything she needed help with.

noisytoys Fri 30-Nov-12 19:53:42

I know what you mean about people assuming all you do is lock them in a room with flash cards. And the word hot housed is branded around a lot too. Having a naturally gifted child doesn't make you popular amongst the people who know. I tend to keep my head down in the playground and not talk to anyone about levels, book bands or anything like that.

onesandwichshort Fri 30-Nov-12 19:12:06

Yes, we never owned a single flash card, but that's definitely not what school believed.

We have a fantastically snitty teacher now for Yr1 (fortunately job share) who, when I went in to talk about how DD could be helped to cope with her best friend leaving, said "Does she have people round to play?' in the most condescending tones. I wish I'd had the presence of mind, to say, no I lock her in her room and force her to read books all the time, which is clearly what she was thinking. But I didn't.

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 15:10:16

sandwich I had to say exactly the same with DD2 all through Reception. I have no idea who taught her to read, but I know for a fact it wasn't me.

All I know is that before she started reception she could only read her name. But by the Christmas she was reading the highest level Biff, Chip & Kipper (the ones with about 30/40 words per page).

Her teacher was constantly implying that I must be hot-housing at home, or that DD2 had just picked it up from DD1. But that just wasn't the case, it really wasn't.

onesandwichshort Fri 30-Nov-12 09:05:54

Do let us know what happens. I completely sympathise about the almost having to apologise for them. DD entered school reading, and I spent the entire year saying, 'before we start, can I just make it clear that we did not teach her to read'.

BooksandaCuppa Thu 29-Nov-12 19:56:25

Sats are not to to test the school. They're to test the children. But of course the school gets judged on the results.

Cat98 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:38:56

I am quite worried about this too as ds goes up the school - he's in year r but already doing y3 work for maths, and is very advanced in other areas too. So far the school seem to be challenging him appropriately but it seems so common for this to tail off.
I am appalled that schools are refusing to stretch their brightest children tbh. If it happens to ds I will not be amused! I think you have done the right thing, op.

anice Thu 29-Nov-12 12:58:23

Then just to add at the end of the year, she'd set him a sats test, he'd get a 4A and his school report would say that he has made huge progress this year. then maybe next year, if he is lucky, he'd be taught level 5 stuff, but if not, I'd be told that he'd plateau-ed after a lot of progress in year 4.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now